Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

October Newsletter

Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

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

Thank you,
VBFM Communications Committee


Link to Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Home Page -

In the Wake of Disaster…Ferocious Love

At Meeting for Worship, I practiced Tonglen. There was nothing else I could do in the wake of yet another hate crime. This time worshippers in L’Simcha Congregation, or Tree of Life, were conducting a service in Pittsburgh. The hopelessness, suffering, and polarization of our World felt crippling.

At rise of Meeting, we sang the chorus of “We Shall Overcome.” There were not many dry eyes as we joined our hearts together in lament. Yet what are we, especially those of us who espouse Quaker responses, overcoming?

Elizabeth Waitekus spoke about love as the path in the face of such violence. Rosie Heart spoke about creating a nest of ferocity. Maybe, just maybe, the two go together.

Ferocious is latin and shares its prefix, feroc, with feral, meaning “wild,” “cannot be contained,” “existing in a natural state” or, and I like this one, “having reverted to a wild state, as from domestication.” The suffix of the word means “full of.”

It is said that practicing Tonglen is part of the path of the warrior. The practice is that “on the in-breath you are willing to feel pain, willing to acknowledge the suffering of the world with “bravery and willingness to feel that part of the human condition.” With every out-breath you open, connecting to the “feelings of joy, well-being, satisfaction, tenderheartedness, anything that feels fresh and clean, wholesome and good.” It is simply taking and sending.

Pema Chodron says, “Tonglen takes a lot of courage. You start out maybe with one thimbleful of courage and a tremendous aspiration to want to open your heart to the world and to be of benefit to yourself and others…you have the aspiration to walk into any situation and be of benefit.”

It is a heart-opening practice that connects us with the suffering of all sentient beings, including those whom we may see as enemies. But that’s the thing. Tonglen dissolves us of our enemies, with our hearts open, understanding flows and we can no longer hate or see the object of that hate as other. This is fierce love and fierce courage. We can acknowledge the suffering of the innocent victims but can we find the bravery to acknowledge the suffering of the shooter or that of a president who is so out of touch with his own humanity he has no idea how to offer simple condolences?

In the Silence, asking myself what to do with all this suffering, I naturally fell into sending and taking. I let the practice lead me and as I did so, it ceased to become a practice as my heart freed itself-it knows what to do. First alighting on the suffering of the victims of the attack and their families, taking their horror, bewilderment, pain, and outrage, on my inhale. Then sending to them prayers of peace, support, love. Moving from there, my inhale took on the suffering of the shooter, his darkness, rage, hate and his own inner light hidden. Sending him clarity, acceptance, light. Next, my inhale took me to our current President, took or maybe more aptly, shared in his suffering from small-mindedness, polarization and his own abused heart. I sent him healing.

So back to my earlier question; what are we overcoming? Maybe its our own heart’s domestication. We are taught from birth of the language of the “other.” But this is not our hearts’ language. Our hearts speak all the languages of pain, suffering, abuse and sorrow, but also goodness, wholeness, joy, contentment and all of it is love. What if we free our hearts to their ferocity?

Ferocity of the heart is its natural state and we can gently begin to allow them their wildness through the practice of taking and sending. At first, it may be difficult to chip away at the confines we have been taught to build up but all we need is a “thimbleful” of courage and a willingness to be of benefit. We can commit to this practice in the face of overwhelming feelings and soon, practice ceases as our wild hearts are freed.

- April Megginson Mitchell, 31OCT2018

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Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

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

Highlights include:

  • Membership: A clearness committee was formed for Kate Rogers, who requested membership.
  • Inclement weather cancellation policy: There was discussion of issues involved with cancellation decisions. The sense of the meeting is that we do not need a cancellation policy at this time. Our policy is that we do not cancel Meeting for Worship. We will remain mindful of the needs of the community.
  • A special events committee was formed to help with Bob Clapp’s memorial, set for 11/4/18.
  • The Meeting endorses the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and recommends that our Yearly Meeting endorse the Poor People’s Campaign as well. Meeting will forward our position to Yearly Meeting.

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North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) - 2018 Summary of Exercises

The 321st annual gathering of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), met on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina in Seventh Month 2018, from Fourth Day the 11th to First Day the 15th. We arrived to find a number of construction projects underway across the campus, making changes to what for many is a very familiar space. We engaged with each other in the course of meetings for worship, addressing business, times of contemplation, eating and play. We found familiar relationships and practices while also constructing new relationships and receiving new guidance.

Our sessions were attended by a number of visitors from beyond our yearly meeting, including from Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and other communities in North Carolina. We were grateful for the fullness of participation of these visitors and the added richness they brought to our gathering. We also welcomed new participants from our own monthly meetings with joy.

On the first afternoon we began with grounding worship, and continued in the evening with a gathering of the body that cares for the ministry and nurture of monthly meetings. That body shared mostly informal reports among the monthly meetings regarding how meetings are being cared for by those taking that responsibility.

At 6:00 AM each morning Friends gathered for coffee and spiritual conversation with Lloyd Lee Wilson in the lobby of Hobbs Hall. These gatherings were so well attended this year that we ran out of chairs.

Bible study this year was led by David Hobson of Rocky River Friends Meeting, exploring biblical passages in song. This was an intergenerational experience when the youth participated in the singing and in the selection of the songs.

A concern had arisen in Interim Body about our need to address social injustice. In response to this felt need we began our business sessions by sharing each monthly meetings response to the eleventh query which challenges us to consider these issues. In our final regular business session on Seventh Day we wrestled to discern how our yearly meeting, our monthly meetings, and individuals should actively and urgently respond to inequities. The focus was to recommend uniting with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival for those who can.

Other sharing during business sessions included reading state of the meeting reports and the remainder of the query responses from each of the monthly meetings. The body shared reflections upon hearing query responses, which as always was a time of depth of Spirit.

In the course of business we heard reports from Virginia Beach Friends School, AFSC, FCNL, the Travel in the Ministry Trust Fund, and other groups. We have lost contact with some of the organizations dedicated to Native Americans that we have supported in the past. Eric Ginsburg has looked into this and reported back on what he had found. He challenged us to consider our intention with regard to supporting Native Americans and presented some alternative actions that we will explore.

We heard a report from Bill Geary on the Southern State Worship Group in New Jersey, including an invitation to write messages to the participants in that prison community, as well as an epistle from that group. In response, Friends were led to write an epistle specifically for this worship group, recognizing the deep and long-term friendship between the two communities.

We also received a report from the Discipline Review committee and gave second approval to two more sections for the revised explanation of our faith and practice.

In interest groups, the Discipline Review committee received feedback on the introduction to queries with a need for some new changes, and also got people to brainstorm about possible queries. Other interest groups included: AFSC describing the local “Siembra NC” program focused on caring for undocumented immigrants, particularly Latin immigrants, by strengthening leadership, engagement with surrounding community, and resisting deportations through mutual support; William Penn House presentation; Quaker Earthcare Witness; and Quaker House of Fayetteville. For the past few years those named by their monthly meetings as ministers or elders have met together to share stories and experiences. This year the meeting was opened up to any interested Friend. Twenty-four Friends showed up and they found the time for sharing too short.

Evening presentations included some terrific experiences. Barbara Gosney developed a presentation and acted as narrator while 14 other friends gave dramatic (and some not so dramatic) readings of historic letters and journal entries written by Friends in North Carolina during challenging times of slavery. We also heard from Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation, a talk held in the meeting room of New Garden Meeting across the street, sharing the experience with others beyond our yearly meeting. The youth program organized a talent show for Saturday night, which was a fun experience for participants and the audience. This was preceded by a time of worship reflecting about how the theme and organization of the yearly meeting sessions had impacted those participating. Every night ended with snacks and fellowship, enjoyed by all.

In addition to organizing the talent show, the youth got to experience time together and fun with outdoor games, a visit to the Elsewhere museum, bowling, ice cream making, swimming, and jigsaw puzzle assembly. The “adults” got to encounter their lively presence throughout the sessions and were grateful. We left the campus inspired by the experience, each other, and the Light, and look forward to gathering again in a year, if consistent with Divine Will.

For printing, the PDF version of this article can be accessed by clicking here...

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Bob Clapp

Bob Clapp's Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, November 4 at 3 pm in the Friends School Wilson Center.

Bob was recently interviewed by Dave French for our July Newsletter. Click here for that article...

Below is Bob Clapp's obituary as it appeared in The Virginia Pilot on October 21, 2018

Robert (Bob) Clapp, 89, passed away peacefully at his home on September 9, 2018. Born to Raymond and Jean Clapp in Waltham, MA he attended Deerfield Academy, the University of Massachusetts and after serving in the Marines, received an MA in teaching from Harvard. When offered a teaching position, he moved to Virginia Beach, where he learned more about Edgar Cayce and then at A.R.E, met Ann, who became his wife of 54 years. Later he began working at A.R.E. as the Membership and Therapy Department Director, and through A.R.E., he discovered the benefits of massage, became a massage therapist, and worked in his own business for over 30 years, up until the week of his passing. An active Quaker and member of the Virginia Beach Friends Meeting since 1961, over the years, Bob served as Trustee, Elder, Overseer, and Clerk of the Meeting, in addition to serving on various committees. Passionate about helping people, he was prominent in establishing and finding funding for Friendship Village, a low income housing community, and gave time and resources to many charitable organizations and people in need. He and Ann both enjoyed dancing and Bob started the Virginia Beach International Folk Dance club, which still exists today, and the Heritage Dancers performing group. He had many different interests and enjoyed gardening, beekeeping, the symphony, ballet, opera and the theatre. The love, generosity and attention he gave to his family was immeasurable. Family was always his priority. He was a loving husband to his late wife Ann and a wonderful father to his surviving daughters Gwendolyn Jannone and Linda Clapp. He is also survived by his grandson Anthony Jannone, sister Jean Stier, of Arizona and sister-in-law, Martha Clapp of New Hampshire. Bob lit up the world with his kindness and generosity and set such a loving example for us. He was a great soul who had the unique ability to move through life with such calm, peace and ease which was recognized by so many people, especially his family, who loved him very deeply. A Memorial Service honoring his life will be held at the Virginia Beach Friends School, in the Wilson Center, 1537 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach on November 4th at 3:00. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice or the Virginia Beach Friends Meeting.

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News from Friends School

I have been asked to share news from the school from time to time with the Meeting. I am inspired to share today news from the Meetinghouse. As a new member of the Virginia Beach Friends School staff and as a new attender of Virginia Beach Meeting, I am still getting to know Meeting members and how things work. I have been so grateful to everyone who has made this transition a smooth one and shared with me the hope that the school will use the Meetinghouse for worship and community events, especially Whit and Dave who have been in constant communication about use of the Meetinghouse.

We gather weekly on Wednesday’s for worship, more about that next time. And we gather weekly for meeting for business on Mondays.

And then there are occasional one-time events.

This week the Kindergarten teacher asked if she could use the Meetinghouse kitchen to make an apple pie because they had been studying apples.

On Tuesdays our community time is for school buddies.

This is a weekly event that we hope will create the space for students to live the testimony of community through relationships as they get to know one another.

Upper and Middle School students have been paired with a Lower School student and they meet once a week for an activity. It is also an opportunity for us as teachers to see our students in new ways, whether it is the upper school student who becomes the teacher or the lower school student who thrives on the individual attention of an older peer.

This week’s activity in Kindergarten was going to the Meetinghouse to make an apple pie. As you can see from the pictures, a good time was had by all Kindergarteners, Middle School Students, Upper School Students and Faculty!

I wanted to share this news in particular from school because the ability to make use of the Meetinghouse kitchen is a gift for us in moments like this that enables ourcommunity to grow and flourish. You may also recognize some familiar faces in the Kindergarten class, it has a few Meeting attenders- Jackson and Grace.

I hope members of meeting know they are always welcome to join us at school for community events, or weekly meeting for worship on Wednesdays.

With appreciation,
Galen Hamann
Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs

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Friends School Alumni Spotlight: Morgan Davis

This past summer, I had the good fortune to sit down with VBFS alumnus Morgan Davis, President and CEO of Towne Bank. Having never met Morgan before, you would have thought we were old friends. He emerged through the front door of his office instantly greeting me with the warmth reserved for a fellow classmate from years back. The reality being, Morgan and I didn’t attend school together, but we did attend the same school, Virginia Beach Friends School. And, here lies our instant connection.

Morgan went to Friends before there was a high school, attending from third through seventh grade in the late 50’s and early 60’s. One of the big questions I wanted to ask him was if his time at VBFS had any influence on his career choices and how Towne Bank runs as a whole. He really stressed how VBFS can make any student feel special, as well as give them a sense of belonging. These are the qualities he has carried over to his time at Towne Bank. Morgan emphasized how Towne Bank is very intentional about calling its customers “members” versus “customers.” Customers come and go, members stay and feel as though they are part of a community. Communities build trust. He wants all of Towne Bank members to feel like they aren’t just a number, but a part of the bank, a member of the family.

As Morgan and I reflected on our collective VBFS experiences, I noticed that many things have changed in terms of facilities and administration, but the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship remain the same. These values are the ties that bind all Friends students, regardless of age or how long they went to the School.

Finally, I asked Morgan if he had a favorite memory from his time at Friends. He immediately told me about the time he planted the magnolia tree that still stands today in front of the Friends Meeting house located near Laskin Road. I also asked him about Louise Wilson, the founder of the School. Morgan had her both as his Head of School and his teacher. He also shared he and Louise lived in the same neighborhood when he was a child. Morgan’s described Louise as a wonderful individual who always made him feel welcomed.

Today, Morgan is very active throughout the Hampton Roads community. He helps raise money for various charities and gives his time through community service for organizations such as Operation Smile, and the American Heart Association.

Typically, the word alumnus is used for individuals who graduate from a specific high school or college; however, Friends values all students, regardless of how long they attended. Any student who experiences a Friends education and the School’s commitment to the Quaker S.P.I.C.E.S, whether for one year or many years, has a lasting connection to the School and is worthy of the Friends Alumni moniker.

If you know of any Friends Alumni who are changing the world and making an impact on the community, locally or globally, please let us know. We would love to spotlight them.

Special thanks to Morgan Davis for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with me!

- Alex Dworetzky
  Virginia Beach Friends School class of 2014

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QuakerSpeak is a project of Friends Journal and is directed by Jon Watts.

QuakerSpeak is in its 5th Season!

A new QuakerSpeak video is released every Thursday and folks can SUBSCRIBE to be in the know!

Communications Committee and the VBFM Newsletter staff have decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018.


Early in our history, Quakers were successful in business because of our integrity. In a field dominated by dishonest and manipulative practices, Quakers’ simplicity and honesty was a breath of fresh air. Could the same approach work today in politics?

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Quaker Women Luncheon

About a dozen Quaker women visited at Liana’s gourmet luncheon on Saturday, September 29th  (All Angels’ Day).

Liana had truly prepared the most delicious feast, with decorated festive tables for us to enjoy.  Her condo was like a museum with colorful paintings and collectibles to remind her of her Italian childhood and her many travels.  She was the consummate hostess steering our conversation off of politics and onto happier topics.  We all had such a lovely, gracious afternoon.  We discussed how important it is to meet casually and to get to know each other more deeply in this relaxed atmosphere.

Next, we will gather December 4th @ 5:30 p.m. at Nancy Nixon’s home.  All women are welcome to come.  We’ll each bring a personal, treasured object to give away.

- Elizabeth Waitekus



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September Hum Dinger

On Sunday September 30, many folks from the VBFM Community traveled to Creeds Preparative Friends Meeting for the biggest Hum Dinger Ever!

Whenever there are five Sundays in a month Creeds Preparative Friends Meeting invites us to come down for worship, eating, singing and having fun!

Making new friends and deepening friendships.

This was our first Hum Dinger since my good buddy Houston Shirk left this world.


Several years ago Houston and Linda had a 'calling' while traveling. They came home and worked with Louise Wilson and Virginia Beach Friends Meeting to form the Creeds Preparative Meeting, where many have enjoyed worship - and on the Creeds Hum Dinger days, great food, fun, laughter and playing there on the banks of the North Landing River.


It can take forever it seems driving by yourself down to Creeds – so I carpooled with Larry Herz and Elizabeth Waitekus.

The drive seemed like five minutes, and Elizabeth telling me, reminding Larry, about a million zillion how she came to our Meeting, married John in Meeting and lots – but not all :-)

Elizabeth needs to continue that story with me/us! :-)


We got there and everybody helped each other unload chairs and coolers and good food!

We looked around – too many people, no way could all of us could fit inside the Creed PM’s Meetinghouse?


So we decided, and circled up chairs outside under shade trees.

The weather was almost perfect, sun shining – and just enough breeze to make bugs not be a problem.


I discussed after with folks – it was the first time for me, and many of us, to have a Meeting for Worship (MFW) "outside".

So beautiful, all the light and colors filtering when I had my eyes closed.

So much to see and the water right there when I opened my eyes, and each and everybody Gathered There With Us Circled Up.

The birds singing songs.


I got to Shaking some – but no words came to say?

Kinda like Houston was stirring in my heart, and I can't explain it good?

I was about to stand up and go behind my chair and hold on – and ask everybody to say the Lord’s Prayer with me.

Then Ana beside me was scratching her itches – we whispered and grinned, and went back into the Silence.


There are lots of dogs that hang out around Creeds PM.

I think Houston and Linda’s dog Heidi has got the other dogs in the neighborhood to be Quaker and Friendly :-)


There was one dog that circled up with us, and during worship favored some of us, and Mary Pelham White especially ;-)

Gwynne Wells is my good friend, and a good thinker/dreamer, especially sometimes in MFW.

Gwynne Wells told me after that she was thinking during MFW - Dog/God.


First time Hum Dingers, Joanna Clinton and daughter Grace came, and Joanna’s Mom and Dad visiting from out of town joined us.


There was great eating - a big spread laid out and the grill fired up.

Andy Young guitar playing and all of us singing favorites.

What a great Hum Dinger!


First time Hum Dinger Emily Gisson – brought me back to ‘town’, making friends with Emily, and remembering our Mama’s to each other.

- Whit Peace


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World Quaker Day

VBFM had a delightful gathering of Friends for the annual World Quaker Day on Sunday, October 7. We also added a “Newcomers Potluck” to the purpose of the day. We were especially happy to welcome several newcomers to our Friends’ community and we spent time introducing ourselves and sharing some interesting bits about how we each came to Quakerism.

This was followed by the viewing of two QuakerSpeak Videos:

We enjoyed a lively discussion over a delicious potluck meal.

- Linda Smith


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Waterway Cleanup with Lynnhaven River Now

On Saturday, October 13, members of the Virginia Beach Friends community worked with other volunteers as part of Lynnhaven River Now's Great Neck Creek @ Laskin Road Waterway Cleanup. 533 pounds of trash were removed from the land and water that day - and the participants had lots of fun!

Next Waterway Cleanup is Saturday, November 10.

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Meetinghouse Work Day - Saturday October 20

What a great work day we had. Ten folks came to prove that many hands can get a lot done. Thanks to all! Plus, a special thanks to the two cooks who brought outstanding apple muffins and “to die for” pulled pork sandwich makings. Anyone who missed these treats really missed some tasty eating.

Accomplishments include a long list:

  • Gas log pilots are lit - we’re ready for cold weather. Thanks, Robert
  • Windows and storm doors washed. They are now transparent. Thanks Linda, Joanne, Tom, Nancy, Dave, others? Wow, even got the basement and library windows.
  • Kitchen cleaned and sorted. Rosie and Kate led this work
  • Meeting room benches cleaned, cobwebs found and removed. Barb and Molli were on top of it.
  • Window wells cleaned out - Whit is “da man!@"
  • Coffee thermoses cleaned - Dave and Kate made sure you have clean coffee!
  • Coffee stain on basement carpet - Kate got it!
  • Shutters on west side are more white than green again. Dave + bleach + ladder

- Dave French

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FCNL Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute 2018
November 28-December 2, 2018 in Washington, DC

Your voice. Our power.

Be a part of the 75-year legacy of prophetic, persistent, and powerful Quaker advocacy. Join FCNL November 28-December 2, 2018 for Annual Meeting and the Quaker Public Policy Institute.

Just weeks after voters elect a new Congress, join us to:

  • Lobby to advance peace and justice.
  • Establish FCNL’s lobbying priorities for the upcoming congressional session.
  • Celebrate FCNL’s 75-year history and look forward to the next decades of our work together.
  • Hear from exciting and inspiring speakers – policy experts, faith leaders, and more – about how you can engage your community for policy change in the coming year.
  • Worship together and make new connections with committed people from across the country.

Quaker advocacy has never been more important. We hope you’ll join us.

Click here to find out more and to Register...

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Spotlight: Friends World Committee for Consultation

We have decided to use our Newsletter to give focus on the organizations that our Meeting supports.

We’ll start with Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC):

The FWCC Website is

To subscribe to the FWCC Newsletter:

About FWCC

The purpose of the Friends World Committee for Consultation is to encourage fellowship among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends.

The Quaker community circles the globe, spanning a rich diversity of regional cultures, beliefs and styles of worship.

FWCC, through its four section offices, runs programmes in different regions, uniting Friends around the world through Spirit-led fellowship.

Our association with the Quaker United Nations Offices offers a means to monitor and present Quaker contributions to world affairs. Our consultation extends to those of other faiths through work with the World Council of Churches.


Answering God’s call to universal love, FWCC brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications, and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world. (approved 2006)


In 1937, after years of concerned work to reconnect a fragmented Quaker world, the Second World Conference of Friends created the FWCC “to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over.”

Today, Friends from yearly meetings and groups in 75 nations continue this work. Around the world there are four cooperating, autonomous FWCC Sections serving Africa, the Americas, Asia & the West Pacific, and Europe & the Middle East. FWCC’s World Office is in London.

Since 1948, FWCC has had “consultative” status with the United Nations and is responsible for the two Quaker UN Offices in Geneva and New York.

Click here for more information about FWCC...

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Save The Dates!

Listed below are events that Virginia Beach Friends Meeting is supporting/promoting for the next three months - as recorded on our website at the time this month's Newsletter was published.

Frequently check our Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Upcoming Events webpage as event details are worked out and new events are added.

Church Women United
2018 World Day Community Day Celebration

Date: Friday, November 2
Time: 10:30 am - Registration / 11:00 am - Program
Location: First Lynnhaven Baptist Church
2744 Robert Jackson Drive, Va Bch VA 23452

Friends School Fall Festival

Date: Saturday November 3
Time: TBD
Location: Friends School Campus

Bob Clapp Memorial

Date: Sunday November 4
Time: 3 pm
Location: Friends School Wilson Center

Sacred Earth - Sacred Work / How are you called to care for God's creation?

Date: Saturday November 10
Time: 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Brock Environmental Center

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup @ Potters Road

Date: Saturday, November 10
Time: 9 am - noon
Meet Up Location: The Breeden Company
560 Lynnhaven Pkwy / Virginia Beach / Va 23452

Christmas Eve - Singing and Caroling and Open Worship

Date: Monday December 24
Time: 7pm to Midnight
Location: Meetinghouse

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Next Meeting for Business Query - #4 / Work of the Meeting:

Do we assume our rightful share in the expenses of 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?

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Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly