Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

January 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 -

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Complete Minutes from our January business meeting are posted at this link…

Query #6 - Growth of Our Children:

Do we endeavor by example and precept to cultivate in our children a sense of openness and expectancy about life, and to aid them in their growth in spiritual understanding and moral discernment? Do we share with them the faith that guides the practice of Friends, while encouraging them to develop their religious insights as that of the Spirit of God may lead them?


We lay the spiritual seeds in our children and hope they come to fruition in later life. It is telling that they return when they are in town.

School continues to strengthen the Quaker values. We acknowledge that the children help create spiritual growth in the adults of our community.

Recorded Minutes include:

  • Volunteers for the Special Events Hospitality Committee for the Lloyd Lee retreat (2/16/19): are Tom Bertrand, Jeanne Crawford, Hank Ghittino, Nancy Craft.
  • School Committee approved the actions needed for the property exchange and easement in agreement with the Meeting approval. Therefore, we are authorized to move forward contingent upon resolution of the VDOT and Dominion Power Land exchange agreement.
  • Committees are reminded to provide enough information for Meeting for Business to have clear understanding. We value the questions that increase this understanding.
  • MEO requested and meeting approved dispersing the Lucy Stone Education Fund of approximately $2000 to use for the tuition for a Friends School student.
  • Final income for 2018 exceeded expenses by about $1000. The preparation for the annual report has begun.
  • Handicap access to basement brought wide ranging discussion about the future of the building. The committee was asked to get specific proposals for a lift. A long range planning meeting will be held 1/16/19 at Dave French’s home. All welcome. The Meeting for Business encourages exploring a major upgrade for the building.
  • Meeting approves a B&G proposal to improve safety on the stairs by removing the carpet and replacing it with rubber tread at a cost of about $1000.

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is February 10, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.

Fifth Sunday Potluck

Our Fifth Sunday Potluck was well-attended with lots of great eats!

Good, old-fashioned fellowship with Friends, young and not so young.

A wonderful opportunity to get to know one another a little better!

A big Thank You to everyone who helped to make it all happen.

- Linda Smith

Spiritual Retreat with Lloyd Lee Wilson, “Encounter with God: The Root of Testimony and Witness

Saturday February 16, 2019, 9:30AM -3PM, Lunch is provided

We are so fortunate and pleased to have Lloyd Lee Wilson lead us in this retreat to deepen our Quaker Spirituality. We anticipate a fireside gathering in our Meetinghouse where we have the opportunity to explore as individual Friends and as a Friends community how the silence of Quaker worship leads us on the journey to an encounter with God where the Quaker Spiritual journey begins. This encounter is the heart and core of Quakerism which is experienced personally and communally in equally important ways. Our commitment to this journey grows over time into the defining experience of our lives where we are loved, nurtured and healed. This retreat will give us the opportunity to grow in our experience of the Divine by whatever name we call It.

Lloyd Lee Wilson is a recorded Quaker Minister from Greensboro, N.C. and an active member in our yearly Meeting NCYM-C. He has a MA from ESR, authored numerous books and essays on Quaker Spirituality, including the popular Pendle Hill pamphlet book ”Who Do You Say I Am?”, featured in Friends Journal and QuakerSpeak videos. Lloyd Lee has also co created the Broken Vessels Quaker ministries program and has travelled in Quaker Ministry all of the US. Additionally, Lloyd Lee is a life long activist committed to bringing about equality in the lives of the poor and marginal people in society,even if it takes him to being arrested for Civil Disobedience.

For those of us who were members and attenders of Virginia Beach Friends Meeting when Lloyd Lee was a member/minister here, were blessed by his vocal ministry and teachings and in the role model he provided for us on our journey.

We encourage all to join us for this unique opportunity.


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

Communications Committee and the VBFM Newsletter staff decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018, and will continue in 2019.


This month...

On the surface, it can seem like Quaker worship is just sitting in silence. But as Lloyd Lee Wilson explains, something much more profound is happening.

Friends School January 16 Service at the Judeo Christian Outreach Center

Friends School is passionate about teaching our children the value in service, community outreach, and loving thy neighbor. The Judeo Christian Outreach Center has been a long standing operation that we feel interwoven to help serve. We are thankful for their ministry.

Friends School Event - It’s Not Your Imagination, Kids and Conversations Are Different Today

Monday, February 4, 6:30-7:30, VBFS Library

Friends School has invited Jen Cort, LCSW-C to bring parents into a deeper understanding of how different life is for kids today. There are four constructs which either were non-existent or have changed in their understanding within the last four years, these constructs are:

  • Athletics as an entity around which family life orients
  • Devices as a means of communication, information gathering, and connection
  • Elongation of adolescence beginning earlier and concluding later
  • Diversity topics including race, gender, changing language use in society and inclusion through social media

Jen has been working in Friends Schools first as a teacher, then principal, and school counselor and now she is consulting with schools around the Country, speaking at National Conferences, and is a prolific writer, and podcast host. She will spend the day at Virginia Beach Friends School on Monday February 4. She will be meeting with faculty, administrators, and students, to help us engage more fully with our Friends mission of upholding the values of community, equality, and integrity.

Friends School invites VBFS parents, prospective parents, School Committee members, Meeting members and other community members to join us for this event and to grow in its understanding of these, and other topics. Jen will share how research supports her long-standing belief that understanding these constructs add to academic excellence and prepare students for higher level education and employment.

* This is an adults only event, if you need childcare please sign up at the front office, or call by Friday at 9am and we will arrange for HS students to provide childcare during the event.

Friends School Alumni Spotlight: Ellen Sinclair

Virginia Beach Friends School has long been known for its commitment to the arts. Since the School’s inception in 1955, the arts in all ways, shapes, and forms have been fostered in each child’s Friends educational experience. This past December, I had the privilege of sitting down with one such VBFS artist and alumnus, Ellen Sinclair. Ellen is a well-known Hampton Roads artist best known for painting the poster for the 2018 Neptune Festival, a poster that celebrates the heritage of the city of Virginia Beach but has a distinctive flare that varies from past posters highlighting Ellen’s artistic style.

Ellen and I began by discussing her achievements within the art community, as well as her time at Virginia Beach Friends School. Ellen attended VBFS from Kindergarten to the 7th grade, the only grades Friends offered in 1958. Ellen was very clear to share how different her Friends campus was versus the one that currently exists today. “During those early years, the campus looked much less developed. Only the Meeting House, the Fox and Woolman buildings stood at that time.” Her reflection on the then and now campus differences led to vivid memories of playing hopscotch under the breezeway and the realization of how much larger the buildings felt to her as a child.

When asked about where her passion for art began, Ellen shared that she always had a passion for art but felt that Friends further fostered this passion through the School’s nurturing atmosphere. Ellen recalled a memory where she was called into the principal’s office, who at the time was Louise Wilson, the founder of Virginia Beach Friends School. Ellen had been called into her office after laughing during Meeting for Worship. Expecting to be reprimanded for her disruption, Louise reminded Ellen about how we all have to be respectful for everyone’s quiet. What Ellen remembered most about the experience was that Louise asked her to spell principal. After spelling the word, Louise then asked her what the last three letters spelled out leaving Ellen to ponder the meaning of Louise’s question on her own.

Ellen majored in studio art and art history in college and even spent a year abroad studying art in Paris. Today, Ellen continues to foster art in Virginia Beach by serving on the board for the public arts of Virginia Beach. Ellen was a member of the group that raised private funds for the canoe sculpture that is shaped like a star on the newly constructed Lesner Bridge on Shore Drive.

During my time with Ellen, I observed in her what I see in so many VBFS alumni I know today. Virginia Beach Friends School instills a sense of community in everyone who attends the School, regardless of how long or when they attended. Community is one of the Quaker values that the School strives to teach every single student whether they attend for just one year or end up as graduates. Thank you, Friends!

If you are interested in Ellen’s art work, please visit her website or you can email her as well. (website) (emal)

- Alex Dworetzky
  Virginia Beach Friends School class of 2014

Notes from our P&SJ Meeting, First Month, Sixth Day, 2019

Following rise of Meeting for Worship, Faye Bailey, Tom and Beth Bertrand, Mark Connolly, Nancy Craft, Nancy Delle Femine, Patrick Goold, April Megginson, and Lewis and Mary Pelham White met as a Committee and discussed the following matters:

  1. Our Meeting’s Environmental Witness. We shared anecdotes from our visits to restaurants and grocery stores about local efforts to avoid single-use plastics. Tom shared a photo of a pertinent notice posted on the chalkboard at Small’s Smokehouse & Oyster Bar, 2700 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, five blocks from the Norfolk Catholic Worker Hospitality House.

    It was pointed out that our Meeting House kitchen stores a ten-year supply of plastic, single-used coffee stirrers, which we habitually set out in the library during our hospitality time following Meetings for Worship. Someone pointed out that these plastic stirrers are probably not recyclable. Our best idea for what to do with them is to ask Teacher James and his art students at Friends School to develop a clever, creative project utilizing the straws so as draw public attention to the environmental dangers of the use of disposable plastics.

    We have been following news reports about the logistical challenges facing Dutch-led efforts to break up and perhaps recycle the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

    Lewis addressed public plans for flood mitigation efforts in the Hampton Roads area. He pointed out that there will never be enough money to fight the flooding by pumping. Operative concepts we need are “accommodation” and “adaptation” to climate change.

    Faye is seeking all ideas for how to make a difference in our use of plastics. Amazed by the amount of garbage found in our parks and beaches, she said she has a plan for building environmental action into our daily exercise routines: Build up your quadriceps by Walking, Squatting, picking up litter. Walk, Squat, Grab the Litter. She says she is becoming “unabashedly brazen.” We encouraged her to edit her plan into an irresistible jingle that she could sell to Nike for a national ad campaign. April instructed us on how to learn to squat without endangering our knees.

    Nancy Delle Femine called attention to the success of the “Bottle and Can” laws in Maine that have had great success in reducing litter throughout the state.

  2. Report on recent visits with Virginia Legislators. Nancy Craft and Tom Bertrand participated in lobbying visits in December with Delegates Jason Miyares (82nd District) and Barry Knight (81st ), respectively, to advocate for The Legislative Collaborative Table Legislative Agenda for 2018 – 2019. This agenda urges legislative action on the following issues: Redistricting (One Virginia 2021 Plan), Immigration (Driver Privilege Card), Coastal Protection, Non-Discrimination (LGBTQ and passage of the ERA), Public Transportation, and Criminal Justice Reform (full-funding of STEP VA to reform the criminalization of mental health conditions).

  3. There is an occasional need for transportation services to immigration-case related appointments in northern Virginia. Sally Gudas, a fellow Quaker from Ashland Virginia and her husband, Steve, have recently moved to Ocean View in Norfolk. Up until recently, Sally was a key figure in the Central VA Sanctuary Network (CVSN), a ministry of the Richmond Friends Meeting and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Sally coordinated CVSN’s network of volunteers who provide transportation to immigration-case related appointments, such as ICE check-ins and immigration hearings in Northern Virginia. Sally reports that “our transportation volunteers found this work to be so very fulfilling since it provides a greatly-needed service.” Testing out this proposition, Tom provided transportation for several folks needing to appear in U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington on January 9, 2018 and found the experience to be especially rewarding There will be a continuing need of such volunteers in the months ahead; for example, driving a homeless mother and child to visit the husband/father in a detention center west of Richmond in order to celebrate the child’s birthday.

  4. Update on the Poor People’s Campaign. The government shutdown is threatening the livelihoods of 800,000 federal workers as well as the millions of our nation’s poor people of all races, ages and geographies who rely on federal services to get by. This includes millions of children, elderly folks, indigenous, white, Black, Asian and Latinx communities, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and communities of faith and conscience. While our federal government remains in a state of inaction, we’re organizing to build power among those 140 million poor and impacted people across 40 states where thousands are organizing hearings, canvassing and returning to their state capitols to deliver the demands of this Campaign. To see the times and locations for these events as well as others that may be happening near you, check out the PPC events page:

  5. We discussed evolving plans for a field trip in March, April or May to explore historical sites of Society of Friends, of the “Maroons” in the Great Dismal Swamp, and post-civil war Friends-sponsored ”Freedman’s Schools” in Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina. Whit Peace and April Megginson are leading this effort, initially by making contact with Pastor Richard Wilcox at the Somerton Friends Meeting west of Suffolk, who wrote his thesis on the history of the Quakers in Eastern North Carolina and Virginia. They will bring further information to the Committee and to Business Meeting in Second Month. Learning that Lewis has done scientific studies of the hydrology of the Great Dismal Swamp, we decided to tap his expertise in planning the trip to the Swamp.

  6. Other news of our Committee: Mark left on Monday for his annual snowshoe/backpack adventure in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Beth shared her concerns about the growth of student debt in the United States that is threatening the financial well-being of the Middle Class. She predicted that this will become a national crisis whenever a recession sets in.

Click here for the full report of the Peace and Social Justice committee to Meeting for Business in January including coverage of the British Quakers Ride For Equality And The Common Good this past summer, and the Fundamental Principles of the Poor People's Campaign.

Underground Railroad 200th Anniversary

2019 is the 200th anniversary of the first known activity in North Carolina on what came to be known as the Underground Railroad.

On Saturday, February 9, 1:30 p.m. at New Garden Friends Meeting, two Guilford College historians, Adrienne Israel and James Shields, will share about that history.

Following their presentation on the significance of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) for both the African-American and Quaker communities, there will be guided tours of the UGRR woods on the Guilford College campus and the Friends burial ground where some of the activists on the UGRR are buried.

The event is sponsored by the North Carolina Fellowship of Friends.

Underground Railroad
Saturday, February 9, 1:30 p.m.
New Garden Friends Meeting
801 New Garden Road
Greensboro, NC

Remembering Poet Mary Oliver

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

- Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was an American poet who died on January 17. She won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007 The New York Times described her as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet.

- Submitted by Mary Pelham White

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.

Regenerative Yoga Therapy

Dates: Thursdays
Time: 1:30-2:30 pm
Location: Meeting house
Cost: $12 per session
Contact: April Megginson,

Work Day at the Meetinghouse

Date: Saturday February 2
Time: 9:00 am - noon
Location: Meetinghouse

Friends School Event - It’s Not Your Imagination, Kids and Conversations Are Different Today

Date: Monday February 4
Time: 6:30-7:30 pm
Location: VBFS Library

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup

Date: Saturday, February 9
Time: 9 am - noon
Meet Up Location: Francis Land House
3131 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Underground Railroad 200th Anniversary

Date: Saturday, February 9
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: New Garden Friends Meeting
801 New Garden Road
Greensboro, NC

Quaker Women Potluck Luncheon

Date: Tuesday, February 12
Time: 1:00 - 3:30 pm
Location: 2228 Lynn Road, Va. Beach

Spiritual Retreat with Lloyd Lee Wilson

Date: Saturday February 16
Time: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm (Potluck Lunch
Location: Meetinghouse

VB Friends Community Judeo-Christian Outreach Center Service

Date: Wednesday February 20
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: Judeo-Christian Outreach Center
1053 Virginia Beach Blvd
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Memorial Service for Kristen Diane Hofheimer

Date: Saturday March 30
Time: 1 pm
Location: Friends School Wilson Center

Next Meeting for Business Query - #7 / Peace Testimony:

Do we endeavor to live in the life and power that takes away the occasion of all war, seeking to do our part in the work of reconciliation between individuals, groups, and nations? Do we faithfully maintain our testimony against nuclear and all other military preparations, the bearing of arms, and all participation in war?

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is February 10, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly