Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

April 2019 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 -


The purpose of this newsletter is to share our monthly meeting minutes and other news with members, attenders and others interested in the Virginia Beach Monthly Meeting.

The minutes represent the official view of the meeting.

Other announcements and articles relating to the meeting are included and reflect the views of the person submitting the information. The name of the person writing or submitting each article is included to avoid the impression the information represents the opinion of the meeting.

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

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

Query #8 - Manner of Living:

Do we observe simplicity and honesty in our manner of living? Are we careful to live within the bounds of our circumstances, punctual in keeping promises, prompt in the payment of debts, and just in all our dealings? Do we choose those activities which will strengthen our physical, mental, and spiritual life; and do we avoid those harmful to ourselves and others?


As a meeting we meet our obligations. We base our decisions on Quaker principles. Simplicity and Justice are exemplified in our attending to our building and caring for immigrants. As a meeting, community, and nation, we are effected by and concerned about our individual and national debt and we endeavor to be a positive force.

Recorded Minutes include:

  • Head of School: Mike Barclay’s report highlighted the Memorial for Kristen Hofheimer and the showing of the film Silent Soldier and the Portrait. Both events brought together the community in a meaningful way. Current enrollment is 116 and re-enrollment is active and progressing slowly for next year. The goal for next year is 130. Mike showed renderings for the Cottage renovations which include shoring up the structure and creating a new playground for the youngest students. It should house 20-30 new students. Fund raising for this project is ongoing. Mike showed renderings for the Cottage renovations which include shoring up the structure and creating a new playground for the youngest students. It should house 20-30 new students. Fund raising for this project is ongoing. The school appreciates the donation from the meeting.
  • Rosalie Deer Heart’s Clearness membership committee: Meeting approves the recommendation from membership clearness committee and whole heartedly endorses membership for Rosalie Deer Heart.
  • School committee: Meeting previously (Second month) approved gifting Parcel 3 to the school. Therefore:
    • Meeting approves the Waiver of Conflict of Interest form prepared by the attorney Bert Poole and directs the Clerk to sign the form.
    • Meeting approves and adopts the Resolution regarding Property Transfer prepared by the attorney Bert Poole and directs the Clerk to sign the resolution. Further, Meeting directs the Trustees to sign a deed conveying Parcel 3 to the School once approval is obtained from the Circuit Court of the City of Virginia Beach.
    • Meeting directs the Clerk of Meeting to sign the affidavit prepared by the attorney Bert Poole confirming that the Resolution Regarding Property Transfer was approved and adopted at this business meeting and which also confirms the identities of the Trustees of the Meeting.
    • Meeting will pay the attorney’s fee of $3500 for handling the return of Parcel 3 to the School. The finance committee will determine the source of the funding.
  • Faith and Practice: Meeting approves the modifications to the introduction to the queries made by the faith and practice committee. Modifications to the MEO and Travel Minutes section of Faith and Practice will be discussed 5/5/19 at a brown bag lunch.
  • Treasurer: Income for 3rd month is $1543 and expenses are $896.95. Capital expenses included the chair rack and stair treads at $1346.59.

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is May 12, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


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's QuakerSpeak addresses "What Does Quakerism Teach About Connecting to Nature?"


Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup
Submitted by Whit Peace

I encourage everyone to come out on Saturday May 4th, from 9 am - noon, to join me on a Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup at Beach Garden Park (2854 Kilbourne Court / Virginia Beach, VA 23451).

Beach Garden Park is right down Laskin Road from our Virginia Beach Friends Campus.

Our annual Beach Garden Park Waterway Cleanup is very family friendly with opportunities for volunteers of all ages and skill levels.

There will be volunteers working from land and water.

There are still some available seats in canoes/kayaks - or you can bring your own.

Contact me if you have any questions or want to sign up.

Thank You!
Whit Peace, / 757-613-2828

Work Day at the Meetinghouse
Submitted by Dave French

Work List:

  • clean kitchen - fridge, stove exhaust hood top, etc - 2 people 2 hours
  • clean window wells outside - 1 person 1 hour
  • Meeting room cobwebs - 1 person 1 hour
  • outside trash patrol - 1 person 1 hour
  • paint kitchen cabinets, basement woodwork - 2 people 4 hours
  • paint window wells outside - 2 people 6 hours
  • tidy entrance closet - 1 person 1 hour
  • oil / clean pews as needed?
  • clean doors outside / stain doors inside - 1 person 2 hours
  • sort kitchen utensils and supplies to toss out what isn’t needed - 1 person 2 hours

Yearly Meeting
Submitted by Nancy Craft

Come to Wilmington, NC, this summer!

  • Connect with Friends from the region
  • Have interesting conversations while sharing meals in the cafeteria
  • Go to the beach
  • Enjoy deep cool thirst-quenching worship
  • Attend business sessions
  • Hear thoughtful Quaker speakers

Children of all ages love the age-appropriate independence of living on campus, sleeping in the dorms and eating in the cafeteria.

The Children and Youth programs will include visiting the beach and other vacation spots, Quaker-grounded religious activities, and lots of fun. We are planning three different programs so that we can meet the needs of children of all ages, including a nursery for babies and toddlers.

Do You Have Something to Share?

The planning committee is looking for individuals or small groups interested in presenting during interests sessions. Sessions in previous years have included Faith and Practice Review, Considering Conscientious Objection, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Reflections on a Mission Trip to Guanajuato, Contemplative Practice, and Adventures in Knitting. If you are interested in presenting at an afternoon session for 45 minutes to an hour, please fill out this form or contact Elizabeth Wintermute

Mark your calendars now and watch for registration materials in May.


Easter Sunday was a special day at Virginia Beach Friends Meeting!
Submitted by Linda Smith

Easter Sunday was a special day at Virginia Friends Meeting!

Our Meeting for Worship began with an intergenerational story with all our Young Friends (and a few oldsters) gathered on the floor in the center of the room.

Galen read “The Mystery of Easter” to the attentive gathering who then wondered about the mysteries of death and new life.

At Rise of Meeting, Young Friends hunted for Easter eggs, cheered on by "hot or cold" hints from the crowd!


Faith and Play
Submitted by Galen Hamann


I was pleased that the meeting welcomed my telling of a Faith and Play story this Easter. Faith and Play is a curriculum and method that I have been exploring as my action research project during my time in the Leadership Cohort program of Friends Council on Education. It is a research project that I began at Moses Brown School and then brought here to Virginia Beach Friends School. I recently presented my findings to my colleagues and heads of Friends Schools in Philadelphia. I thought Virginia Beach Friends might be interested in reading my report to learn more about Faith and Play as well as to hear about what has been happening at school.

With joy, Galen, Assistant Head of Friends School

Faith & Play(TM) in Friends Schools: Deepening Our Worship Experience and Teaching Friends Beliefs and History

Galen Hamann, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Virginia Beach Friends School


In most Friends Schools, the majority of students and teachers are not Quakers. However, we expect our students and teachers to embrace and live Quaker values and practices. But how do we teach these? In particular, how do we provide an on-ramp to our youngest children when it comes to Meeting for Worship? These were the questions that drove my decision to more fully utilize Faith & Play as a teaching tool in my school community. “Faith & Play is a story-based curriculum focused on building spiritual community with children and offering them images and languages to express their wonder and experience of the Divine. Faith & Play grew out of Friends work with the Godly Play story curriculum which embodies the Montessori belief that play is children’s work and has dignity” (iv Faith and Play Group). Faith & Play Stories were first published in 2008, and a second edition was released in 2018. The Faith & Play Group shepherds the work of Faith & Play Stories, Inc., including story development and publication, and training for Quaker meetings and Friends school educators. I attended a “Playing in the Light” training in 2014 and had told a few stories here and there at Moses Brown School, but I wanted to push myself to explore how it could be integrated into curriculum. In 2017/2018, I began a collaboration with our first grade class in order to share Faith & Play stories in coordination with the Social and Emotional curriculum. In 2018/2019, I moved to Virginia Beach Friends School and brought Faith & Play with me, using it as a method to reintegrate the Lower School into the school-wide weekly Meeting for Worship and to teach students and faculty about Quakerism. Each Wednesday, I gather our early childhood and lower school community in the basement of the Meetinghouse while the Middle and Upper School communities are worshipping upstairs, to share a Faith & Play story and then wonder together. Our time ends with us quietly walking upstairs to join silent worship.


Faith & Play does indeed provide an on-ramp to Meeting for Worship. In two very different environments, one small and one larger, I found that the structure and elements of Faith & Play, enabled students to become more comfortable with responding to queries and sharing their own voices out of the silence. This helped them to develop a newfound comfort in speaking out of the silence. As one teacher put it, the stories and the reflection or wondering after the stories helps the students to see that Meeting is more than just “sit still and be quiet.” I witnessed classroom teachers having their own faith in the Inner Light in each child renewed as they listened to their students wonder and offer their own musings. “I never knew he could be self-reflective like that,” one teacher shared. I often found the wonderings that followed Faith & Play deeply touching and profound, in a way that our regular messages in Meeting for Worship don’t always feel. While Faith & Play can be seen as an obvious curricular component of Friends Education, I found it also dovetails wells with Social and Emotional Curriculum. The stories enabled us to provide extensions to the SEL curriculum work that had already begun.

“Faith & Play stories use three dimensional materials made from natural materials, including felt and wooden people figures, to tell the stories of Quaker faith, practice, and witness.” The visual components and storytelling really draw the group in and captivate their attention. The method enables the storyteller to engage our youngest 2 or 3 year olds to our most veteran teacher. It does this because we are all focused on the story in a prayerful way. Each week I invite them to listen with their eyes, their ears, and their hearts. During my research we had parents and other teachers participate, which widened the circle and deepened the foundation for the group. While it is possible to have larger groups participate (50+), I think it is most effective with smaller groups of 10-20. From my research, I learned that that the stories can be most effective if the storyteller knows her students, their stories, and their current learning. If the classroom teacher is not the storyteller, this means she needs to collaborate and share the story with the classroom teacher in advance to help make connections for the students and be aware of possible reactions to certain themes.

Faith & Play stories are most usually told sitting in a circle on the floor, and creating the story mats themselves is part of the learning for the teachers and whoever joins them. At Moses Brown School we made them as a service project and high school students created each story mat. Here in Virginia Beach I have reached out to community members to help me find materials when I could not. Both experiences have been inspirational and positively impacted the storytelling. It is worth noting the materials are not always readily accessible in one’s local craft store, advance planning to build stories will be helpful. Creating the story materials has allowed me to connect more deeply with the story and to consider how each element might impact the students who would be hearing it. In telling a story, I often try to find ways to incorporate the students into the physical story by inviting them to place a figure representing themselves onto the story underlay.

Next Steps

My next steps with Faith & Play will be to organize a training for teachers at my school so that they can tell stories in their classrooms and we can have smaller group experiences. I personally hope to find ways to share the stories with other populations in our school and the wider Friends community. At VBFS, I hope we can find time to build opportunities for extension activities using the Godly Play method after I tell the story. Extension activities would be the Montessori method of choosing one’s work; students may write, build, act, or read as a response to the story they just heard.

This winter I was inspired to tell my own story based on the life of Bayard Rustin. I built the story by asking myself again and again what is the story that needs to be told? That experience inspired me to to think about what other stories are missing and I have concluded that more Friends School stories need telling. It would be wonderful to have a universal Friends School story that tells the history of how Friends Schools began and have evolved. Then each of our schools that uses Faith & Play could write their own story to ensure our school history gets taught. Recently I have also realized that stories of Friends School students and young Friends could be very important- like the story of John and Mary Beth Tinker. I would like to tell one of these Friends School stories at the QuLLMS peer network of Friends Council on Education to test my leading and introduce Faith & Play Stories to more Friends School educators. These stories can be our practice of telling our faith to the next generation and deepen our worship experience. I hope more Friends Schools will join this growing Faith & Play movement.

For more information on Faith & Play please visit or buy Faith & Play materials at

Friends School Memorial Garden
Submitted by Michael Barclay/Friends School Head, on Earth Day, April 22, 2019

Dear VBFS Community,

As you drive on campus tomorrow, you will be surprised to see new, beautiful landscaping donated by Tom and Angie Underhill, parents of Sarah. Tom and Angie are owners of Coastal Landscapes.

About a month ago, the senior class and I visited Tom and his team searching for a tree the seniors wanted to plant in remembrance of their former, beloved teacher and advisor, Barbara J. Podkowka. The students and I toured Coastal Landscapes until the kids finally found the perfect tree they felt would memorialize Barb.

As you will see when you drive on campus, Tom and his team took campus beautification to an extreme by donating a number of new shrubs and trees around the Friends grounds. And, they not only planted a tree in Barb's memory, but they also created a beautiful memorial garden around the tree. Barb's garden and tree are right behind the VBFS sign on the green at the entry circle. There will be an official dedication of the tree on graduation day.

Campaign to support Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Submitted by Tom Bertrand and April Megginson

In our last Peace and Social Justice Meeting on April 14, Steve Baggarly, of the Norfolk Catholic Worker discussed the Hampton Roads campaign to convince local municipalities to declare their support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, first adopted by 122 nations in 2017. Steve displayed a table full of literature about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) as well as about the mission and programs of the Norfolk Catholic Worker. He reported on his attendance at a March 4 meeting at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) offices on Capitol Hill where FCNL’s Diane Randall conversed with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, the organization which has been the driving force behind the international campaign to convince the nations of the world to ratify the treaty.

Characterizing nuclear weapons not as a “necessary evil” but as a darkest evil, Steve shared several excerpts from the booklet he has edited, Nuclear Weapons or Us. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the “Doomsday Clock” is at 2 minutes to midnight, the closest the world has been to nuclear destruction since World War II. As a result of various interconnecting factos: tensions among the nine nuclear states and nine other nations currently developing nuclear weapons; non-state terrorism; computer hacking and cyber warfare; unstable leaders in various nations; 1800 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert; mistakes; the unilateral abandonment by the United States and other nations of disarmament treaties; the rebuilding of nuclear arsenals by the nuclear powers.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been adopted by 122 countries and ratified by 23. When 50 countries have ratified the treaty, it will become international law. It is hoped that after the Treaty becomes law, the nuclear nations which have all boycotted the treaty, will be stigmatized and the movement of nuclear weapons around the world will become restricted.

Steve discussed the local strategy of approaching local municipalities. The Hampton Roads Campaign has been accepted as an ICAN partner and has started having monthly organizing meetings. The local campaign has already spoken to several council members of the City of Norfolk, giving examples of other cities that have passed resolutions supporting the Treaty, including Baltimore, San Francisco, Washington DC. The case for the municipalities of the Hampton Roads area to support the campaign is compelling: we represent one of the world’s largest concentrations of military personnel, weapons and technology and therefore are a predictable target in the event of nuclear conflict.

The Virginia Beach Friends Meeting has endorsed the campaign.

Update on support for Central American refugees awaiting asylum hearings
Submitted by Tom Bertrand and Mary Pelham White

Tom Bertrand reported In our April 14 Peace and Social Justice Meeting that Virginia Beach Friends shipped 4 large boxes of backpacks, carrying bags, and blankets to “The Monastery” in Tucson, AZ, which is a processing center for refugees that have been processed by I.C.E. and allowed to travel by bus to cities across the country where they have relatives or sponsors.

Sally Gudas reported that buses carrying several such refugees arrive every day in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. A grassroots phone and internet network has grown up in the last several weeks that is tied into a nationwide communications network that enables local volunteers to welcome specific buses and ensure that the refugees are provided with food and successfully connect with their families or sponsors. Various members of our committee signed on to join the list of volunteers. These are amazing people fleeing great violence in their communities of origin.

Anyone interested should contact Mary Pelham White, Tom Bertrand, or Sally Gudas or click here.

The Order of Sacred Earth
Submitted by Rosalie Deer Heart

I became a Quaker and took a sacred vow to be the best lover and protector/defender of Mother Earth that I can be within the same week. Now I know that Quakers do not take vows, and I also know that Quakers listen deeply and follow the still, inner voice of God.

By joining the Order of Sacred Earth, as created and organized by Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing, I am dedicating myself to both ecology and social justice. This feels like a step beyond our pledge to be a Lynnhaven River Now Pearl Faith Community.

I experience the Earth as a blessing and I believe we are here as a blessing to one another and to the Earth Herself. Furthermore, I believe that it is our responsibility to return blessing for blessing.

Thomas Berry said, “We will not save what we do not love” It is also true that we will neither love nor save what we do not experience as sacred.

Making a vow to be the best lover and protector/defender of the earth as I can be means I hold the earth as sacred and I am taking full responsibility for my connection to the Earth as sacred. Dedicating myself to the survival of our planet in all its diversity, beauty, and magnificence reinforces my decision to become a Quaker.

If the calling to become the best lover and protector/defender if the Earth as possible appeals to your heart and mind, you, too might consider making the vow. There is no former organization to join, no dues, and not even an email. For more information about this movement, I recommend reading Order of the Sacred Earth by Matthew Fox.

Rosalie Deer Heart

The Emperor's Wall (And how Hadrian made Rome "great again".)
Submitted by Lianna Fleming/last

We know of the China-North Korea 1400 km wall, and of the Egypt-Gaza 12 years old steel wall, and of all other 77 walls built around the world, including the barriers at the Russian border to Norway and Finland with the automatic alarm to warn of trespassers. And we know of other Eastern European nations' walls. And we know that half (?) of the USA continues to struggle in accepting the construction of taller and more powerful walls at our southern borders.

The National Geographic magazine traces the construction of walls in the world to 12,000 years ago. Persia, China and Rome built walls. None of them were meant to prevent "terrorism, immigration, and illegal drugs from Central and South America". But they were built nevertheless.

The Smithsonian magazine, The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, to mention a few publications, have a lot to say about how barriers can wreck ecological havoc, impact the species, and fragment the ecosystems in those areas that geologist Mika Mckinnon warns "are comprised of wetlands, grasslands, rivers, mountains, deserts, and forests".

We have heard of Hadrian's stone wall in Northern England (122 AD), whose ruins today are as famous as Pompeii. This wall remains an example of cultural landmark and imperial power. But Hadrian's Wall has also been defined "a marvelous mistake". Maybe because the human spirit is stronger than any stone or steel wall?

Hadrian, defined in history books as "One of the five Good Emperors", built a wall stretching 80 miles from the Irish Sea to the North Sea of England.

This was a defensive military fortification with observation towers meant to protect the Roman Province of Britannia from its "barbarian" neighbors of Caledonia, now called Scotland.

History reminds us of what really happened.

The Caledonians engaged in guerrilla warfare. The land was never secured. The inhabitants of Britannia never learned to speak Latin.

The Emperor abandoned the idea and instead he turned his attention to bring the world to Rome, and Rome to the world.

Within years most of the stones of the wall were removed to build roads, bridges, and public buildings, and by 160 AD villas with mosaics, almost like in Rome!

The "good Emperor" reformed his military. He visited and rebuilt entire towns including Jerusalem. He consolidated and unified the vast Roman Empire, distinguishing himself as a humanist, with a passion for Classical Greece and poetry, never taking credit for himself.

"Historian Augusta" remembers him as one of the most respected and beloved leaders of the Ancient World who played a very important role in the development of policies and laws, encouraging literacy, while overseeing public infrastructures, projects, such as public buildings, health spas, homes, temples, mausoleums, which were all vital to the economic and social development of his people.

He did make Rome great again.

Actually, this period is known as "The Golden Age of Rome", the high point of history, with prosperity and stability for the people.

Quaker Funning

Friend Jones sat down to his breakfast with the day's newspaper. He was shocked when he turned to the obituaries page, to find an announcement of his own demise. He immediately pulled out his cell phone and called the clerk of his Friend's Meeting. "Has thee seen the announcement of my death in the newspaper?" he asked the clerk. "Errr, yes," responded the clerk. Then after an uncomfortable pause he added, "... Um, where exactly is thee calling from?"

(thanks to Old Town Friends, Baltimore, MD)

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,

Quaker Women Luncheon

Date: Wednesday May 1
Time: Noon
Location: Waterman's
415 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Contact: Nancy Nixon (757-375-2224), or Kathie Garner (804-714-4012).

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup

Date: Saturday, May 4
Time: 9 am - noon
Meet Up Location: Beach Garden Park
2854 Kilbourne Court
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Whit Peace, / 757-613-2828

VBFM Faith and Practice Brown Bag

Date: Sunday May 5
Time: Noon
Location: Meetinghouse

VBFS proudly presents....L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz

Date: Wednesday May 8
Lower School Time: 2 pm
Upper School Time: 6 pm
Location: MOCA (Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art)
2200 Parks Ave VB 23451

VB Friends Community Judeo-Christian Outreach Center Service

Date: Wednesday May 8
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: Judeo-Christian Outreach Center
1053 Virginia Beach Blvd
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

VB Friends School Grand-Friends Day

Date: Friday May 10
Time: 9:30-11:30 am
Location: Friends School

Friends School Takes on PANfest

Date: Saturday May 11
Time: 9 am - 6 pm
Location: Oceanfront - 24th Street Park, Virginia Beach, Va 23451

VB Friends School Cottage, Pre-school and Kindergarten Open House

Date: Wednesday May 15
Time: 3-6 pm
Location: Friends School

Work Day at the Meetinghouse

Date: Saturday May 18
Time: 9:00 am - noon
Location: Meetinghouse

Coastal Friends Gathering

Date: Saturday May 18
Time: 11 am worship followed by potluck
Location: Fayetteville, NC

Hands Across The Sand

Date: Saturday May 18
Time: 11 am
Locations: VB Ocean Front, Ocean View Beach Park, Buckroe Beach, and Eastern Shore
To Register: Click Here...

Virginia Beach Friends School Graduation

Date: Saturday June 1
Time: 2 pm
Location: Friends School

NCYM(c) Yearly Meeting

Date: July 10-14
Location: Wilmington NC

Next Meeting for Business Query - #10 / Manner of Living:

Do we endeavor to live in harmony with nature? Are we careful in our stewardship of the world’s irreplaceable resources?

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is Sunday May 12, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly