Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

March Newsletter

Dear Friends: As previously reported, our Newsletter format is evolving.

We received lots of content this month and have added a table of contents section at the top, and links within the body, to allow for easier scrolling of the Newsletter.

Please respond to with ideas for future Newsletter Articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications committee


Message From The Clerk - The Welcoming Spirit

I struggled to fall asleep last night as my mind was busy contemplating how we as Friends are good stewards of the Meetinghouse. But, what kept surfacing to mind was how important “hospitality” was in our commitment in welcoming visitors. Then, on my way home from First Day this morning (as synchronicity would have it) I was listening to “The Splendid Table” on NPR. The author of Far Afield: A Global Search for Hospitality and Tradition, Shane Mitchell was being interviewed. Shane talked about how food is the strongest bridge between every human being—it’s the ultimate inclusive conversation. Her experience with Sudanese refugees in France, under horrible conditions, wanted to make her their traditional meal when she visited them. They had nothing. And yet, it was important. Their culture honors hospitality above most everything. This is where their elders tell story and connect their roots for all people of the Sudan keeping their traditions alive. They are generous people and it is their nature to share regardless of how little they have.
Shane also shared an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Ahh, this is why Quakers seek unity before taking action on an issue. We know how to reach far but are we opening our arms? Every First Day somehow we manage to have “Hospitality” and every First Day we welcome a visitor into our simple beautiful Meetinghouse to feel the presence of God as we wait upon the Lord in the Silence welcoming all.

- Jeanne Crawford

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Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Minutes from our March business meeting are posted at this link…

Highlights include:

  • Communications committee recommends formation of an Ad Hoc Working Group to Welcome newcomers and grow the meeting by establishing a clear process for follow up from guest book, developing an electronic process to follow up, and establishing a Welcoming Team. The report from the Richmond Friends Ad Hoc Welcoming Group is referenced as a resource and is a stimulus for ideas. Everyone is encouraged to read the report before our next Business Meeting.
  • The Faith and Practice committee invites the community to have lunch at rise of meeting on April 15 for the purpose of providing feedback regarding the yearly meeting’s newly drafted version of The Doctrines and Testimony section of Faith and Practice.
  • Houston Shirk died March 7, 2018 . Houston was a long term valuable and active member of our meeting and will be missed.
  • Meeting approves the recommendation by Liana Fleming’s Clearness committee to enthusiastically endorse her for membership. The Clearness committee notes her passion and knowledge of Quakerism and her long service.

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Liana Fleming - Newest Member Report

There is some Goodness in all that is alive... 

Based on this Principle, here is my note on the goodness of some special people I recently spent time with: my Clearness committee on becoming a member of the Virginia Beach Friends Meeting.

Let me start from the beginning…

Through the years, as I participated in the Meetings, I delighted in learning that Quakerism embraces all the principles I have lived by, such as my connection with Christ, better defined as the Inner Light, Simplicity, Harmony, desire for Peace, and Service to the less fortunate, such as refugees or homeless people. 

I learned that, earlier, Quakers took a stand against slavery and other abuses, and, recently, they are doing their share against war, any kind of violence, and social injustice.

My parents, and all of their European generation, were born with WWI at home, married with WW2 at home, and died accepting it all, resigned to the will of their chaotic governments.

I came to America as a (legal) Dreamer, a young Peace bride, to a place where I soon learned we conduct wars in faraway lands: Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo and Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan...

I soon learned that most people carry weapons. (The right to arms is in the Second Amendment, but no Amendment provides Health Care?), and at 18 a young person can legally carry a killing machine, can go to war, but cannot buy a beer. 

I am an expat, a naturalized citizen, actually legally defined "second class citizen" by the Courts. Do I regret my choice? Well, I have a friend who lost both legs in Iraq, and when we talk, he tells me that it was all worth it.

I suppose I agree. 

From the time I left my George Fox classroom at Friends School on a Sabbatical until recently, I believed that one can only be a Quaker by birth, or by transfer from another State or Continent.

Of course I was wrong… :-)

In February I wrote the Clerk, (not the priest, the pastor, or the bishop), of my desire to become a Friend.

At the next Monthly Business Meeting she read my Petition. 

I was provided with graceful spiritual guidance; I was explained and directed to the Clearness Committee who, to my surprise, contacted me before I could call on them. 

They provided me with a copy of the Meeting’s Faith and Practice Book to read before visiting at my home for an informal but important evening of dinner and talks.

The Faith and Practice text of Discipline of the North Carolina Early Meeting (conservative) of the Religious Society of Friends is the Source and Guide containing Advices, Worship in the Spiritual Life, Organizations and Procedures, Special Occasions, and Queries for Quakers, and serious Seekers of the Truth.

Under Procedures, I read about Membership for those who "may not yet profess complete adherence to all Friends doctrines and testimonies but will indicate a readiness to wait upon the Lord and to seek Divine Guidance in those areas where they may not be convinced that the Quaker way of life is right..."

I was ready and answered their questions, and they answered mine. 

Most of all, during the course of the evening, I was delighted to the goodness in these people, their gentleness, and their faith. (A type of goodness best explained in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians...) 

They accepted me.

I will not disappoint them and the Lord.

It is that simple.

Because there is a Way to Peace, Harmony, Justice, and the Inner Light.

In Service,

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Dave French Interview

Midori Bamba has embarked on a regular Newsletter section where she will interview individuals and write up an "introduction" - for our Community to get to know each other better.

This month Midori interviewed Dave French.

Upcoming next month is Midori's interview with Dave's wife Barb.

“The first duty of love is to listen.”
Paul Tillich

Barbara and David French celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2017.
David is treasurer at the Friend Meetings. When he checks the offering box on the wall, he always asks someone else to check it too; then he records it in his note. I was very impressed by his honesty.

David loves to cook. He cooks almost all of the meals. I've learned that many men who love to cook are easy going. I agree.

David was independent very early in life. He never got an allowance from his parents; he started working early; shoveled neighbors snow, mowed lawns, had a newspaper route when he was 8. He had $1,000 of his own money in the bank when he graduated from high school in 1963.

He learned to bake pies from his mother at age 12 when he complained to her that the store-bought pie wasn't as good as her home made one. He's liked cooking ever since.

He was responsible to baby sit at home from age 6 to 7, and for neighbor kids from age 12.

School was always easy enough for him, but he enjoyed sports, music and dating more. He had different girl friends from age 13, and met Barb in 9th grade. They started dating in their senior year in high school and married in their senior year in college. He was attracted to her lively personality and enthusiasm for life, and for the many different experiences with the Quakers. He had no religious background prior to that; his family was totally non-churched.

"Got my college degree in chemistry from Iowa State University. It was really difficult for me; I was so relieved when I graduated," he said.

"When I got married, I was twenty-two, still a young kid," David said. "I was not sure if this marriage would last longer or not, so I suggested to Barb, 'Let's try it for five years, then if we don't get along, we will divorce.'"

They made that agreement. Sometimes they had ups and downs, but stuck to their five-year agreement. When the five years passed, he asked her again, "We better try another five years." After ten years, he stopped asking her.

He is a very smart thinker. Japanese proverb defines patience as staying on a rock for 3 years. Five years is even better.

They started a family with hosting foster children, then Barb gave birth to a daughter, then adopted 3 children and borrowed a couple more.

"So, we've somewhere between one and 30 children, depending on how they get counted," David said.

As they moved to different places, they found Quaker Meetings to join.

This bred his spiritual background.

Bio: David French
1945: Born at Ames Iowa, a small town with a large university. Second of 7 children.
    Father: Professor of biochemistry.
    Mother: Ran the house, strong personality.
1963-1967: Iowa State University, Chemistry major.
1967-1969: Entered Peace Corps, taught Science and English at Chinese school in Malaysia.
1969-2004: Worked at Dupont Company as a chemist.
2005: Retired from Dupont Company.
2007: Moved to Virginia Beach.

Busy retirement:

  • Staffs the information desk at VB Court House.
  • Election worker for the city.
  • Teaches at Friends School as a substitute teacher.
  • Treasurer of our Quaker Meeting & convener of the Faith and Practice Review Committee.
  • Naturalist with the Aquarium on their whale and dolphin boat tours.
  • Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus (He has been a vocalist all his life.)

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Nominating Season

Once again the time is here for us to individually consider that portion of Query 4 relating to service, particularly to our Meeting.

“…Do we regard our time, our talents, and our possessions as given us in trust, and do we use them freely for the needs of others.”

Our committees perform the important work of the Meeting and there is much work to be done.

Our Committees:

Adult First Day School History
Building and Grounds Library
Communications Nominating
Faith and Practice Peace and Social Justice
Finance Young Friends

Nominating Committee will report committee memberships for 2018-2019 in our June Meeting for Business. Between now and then, Nominating Committee members (Andy Young, Mary Pelham White, Nancy Nixon and Kathy Garner) will discuss with the Meeting community their individual committee experiences and interests and will verify or update contact information. Please feel free to approach any Nominating Committee member to discuss leadings you have for service on a particular committee

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Quaker Women

Nancy Nixon reported from the Quaker Women Gathering at the Meetinghouse in March:

We had a nice Quaker women's gathering.  We "squeezed" around the Library, eating and laughing while we shared a lively conversation about books and stories we had read.  It is so wonderful to get to know one another better and feel our community grow closer. 

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Third Month Meeting For Eating

Because the March winds came in howling, the scheduled March 2-3 Retreat with Brian Dayton was canceled.

However, we worked it out and had a most wonderful Meeting For Eating on Sunday, March 4:

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Health Care for all Virginians Coalition

On April 11 lawmakers will be in Richmond to work on the budget as directed by our governor. This includes Medicaid expansion.

Call the Hot line at any time - 844-252-3720

For more information check out

- Liana Fleming

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Survey link:

Our Peace and Social committee continues to take responses to the this survey until Wednesday April 4.

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Houston Shirk

Our friend Houston Shirked passed away on March 7th, 2018.

A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, April 22, at the Virginia Beach Friends Meetinghouse at 2 pm.

A Memorial website has been setup for Houston at this link:

Below is the write-up from the Memorial website on Houston's Life:

Houston was a lifelong Quaker, a gentle and living example of the belief that there is that of God in everyone -- and everything. A 1969 graduate of Ohio State, Houston studied and followed his passion as a certified arborist and horticulturist.  In his retirement, he was an interpreter for the Back Bay Wildlife Restoration Foundation and a great supporter of environmental justice. On the acres he and his wife owned in Creeds, they enjoyed kayaking, hiking, and hosting friends at the water’s edge – including a small Quaker Meeting gathering space. 

A generous and engaged member of his community, Houston was a lover of nature, animals, and children. He and his wife Linda cherished fostering puppies for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind and dog training whose mission is to connect exceptional dogs to individuals for greater independence. He loved his volunteer work with the students at Creeds Elementary as a Reading Buddy. He also facilitated a writers group at the Senior Resource Center in Virginia Beach. 

What his wide circle of friends and family will remember most about Houston, besides his commitment to the world around him, is his passion for the arts. Life was a stage for him. Houston knew how to dress for an occasion, always changing costumes for work, play, or adventure. He always said there are musicians and there are entertainers – and Houston was a consummate entertainer. He always made an effort to delight and inspire rather than just to sing and play the guitar, which he was accomplished at, and found a way to make those around him smile. 

His family has selected Earth Day, G Houston Shirk’s favorite day and the Anniversary of his marriage to beloved wife Linda Tingle Shirk, to celebrate his life.

“In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.” - John Muir

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Bob Young Memorial

From Bob's Family:


We are eternally grateful for all the efforts of members of the Friends School and of the Friends Meeting that made the memorial for Bob Young such a meaningful occasion.  We felt the March 17 gathering was a perfect celebration of our dad’s life. Sitting in a circle on the basketball court where he once coached, surrounded by a wide array of family and friends, listening to people share their own particular experiences with “1YoungBob,” and taking in the music, photos, and silence all added up to helping us say goodbye to our dad. It also enabled us to clearly see and feel that our dad’s spirit lives on.

Your support was a priceless gift that has made a real difference in our lives.

Thank you.

- Josh, Kim, Susan, Cynthia, Mark, and Family


Bob's Bio...
Slideshow from Bob's Memorial...
Sound from Bob's Memorial...

Pictures from the Memorial:


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Community Notes

Judeo Christian Outreach Center - Award

Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) is pleased to share that the Executive Director, Todd Walker, has been selected by the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission to receive the Daniel M. Stone Humanitarian Award for his dedication to enhancing Human Rights for those in our Community. Todd's accomplishments and career in Human Services span 26 years.

The 24th Annual Human Rights Awards Ceremony is on Thurday, April 5th, 2018, 7PM-9PM, at Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Medicaid Expansion Community Forum

Virginia Beach: 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at The Church of the Holy Apostle, 1593 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach, 23453. Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director of the Judy Ford Wason Center at Christopher Newport University will moderate the forum. Panelists will include: Delegate Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach; Dr. Dan Carey, Virginia’s State Secretary of Health and Human Resources; and Amy Paulson, director of the Consortium for Infant and Child Health at Eastern Virginia Medical School (invited).

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Quick Links

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Next Meeting for Business Query - #9 / Manner of Living:

Are we mindful of Friends testimonies against alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other harmful drugs; and do we refrain from using them or dealing in them, realizing that abstinence is the clearest witness against overindulgence? Do we seek to avoid all kinds of gambling and places of diversion that tend to be demoralizing? Do we keep in mind how diverse and widespread are the temptations to grow richer at the expense of others? Are we faithful to our testimony against taking oaths?

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Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly