Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

May 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 May business meeting are posted at this link…

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?


The meeting continually examines its use of resources. One example of our beliefs in action and living in harmony with nature isthe protection of our valuable trees. The issueof environmental protectionis of national importance. We act individually, locally and nationally through Friends Committee on National Legislation to protect our environment.

Recorded Minutes include:

  • Head of School: The School’s commitment to the environment includes being a Pearl School, the Green House, and many ongoing projects including a rainwater and landscape design. Mike Barclay reported the decision to retire the Upper School. Galen reported on the activities of the Spiritual Life of the School. The meeting for worship was changed to Wednesday and given more emphasis. Next year, the students will provide more queries at the beginning of meeting for worship. The Lower school is included by utilizing the Faith and Play program before they join the school in silence. Currently the third and fourth graders are taking leadership roles.The curriculum is called Quakerism in Action, which considers the testimonies and how we as a school enact the testimonies. The Upper School has classes in comparative religion and specifically Quakerism. DeeTalbertleads the students in many aspects of spiritual life. The Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) returned the school to full accreditation. This year is the first year of a five year accreditation. Work has begun on the Cottage renovation. Enrollment contracts for the Fall School year stands at 71 contracts received and 20 new and re-enrollment contracts pending. Galen expressed the gratitude of the school for the vibrant and varied support the meeting provides to the school.
  • School Committee:: A meeting on 04/18/19 was a called meeting to consider the alternatives presented by Michael Barclay at the 4/9/19 meeting for retiring the upper school. School Committee united in accepting Michael Barclay’s preferred alternative that will keep the upper school open all of next year and retain only seniors as the last graduating class the following year. The attorney Bert Poole reported that the Court has approved the Parcel 3 transfer. He is presently preparing the documents necessary for closing. Friends of Friends, LLC has studied projections for the next three years. They are presently obtaining investors for next year’s funding; however, the funds will not be available to the school to meet upcoming expenses. Meeting approves: School Committee’s request that Meeting loan the school $100,000 for a period of 90 days using the same one page agreement that was used for the previous loan.
  • Young Friends: : Young Friends committee is dwindling rather than growing. We have lost 2 committee members. We need one or two Meeting friends to teach one Sunday a month. Otherwise, we may need to reduce the number of Sundays for which Young Friends classes are held.
  • Faith & Practice: The meeting approves the report of Faith and Practice to Yearly Meeting re: section 11 on MEO and Travel Minutes. This is a result of the committee’s work and the input and discussion of the meeting.
  • Representatives to Yearly Meeting: Dave French, Tom Bertrand, Nancy Craft and Nancy Delle Femine will attend 7/11-7/14. Others are welcome.
  • Nominating Committee: We are seeking a recording clerk, Young Friends teachers, leaders for adult first day school, as well as others. The meeting appreciates Jeanne Crawford for staying on as clerk for another year. The meeting appreciates Joanne Crass’ work as recording clerk.
  • Treasurer/Finance Committee:: The meeting approves the treasurer withdraw money from the Friends Fiduciary Fund for the 90 day loan to the school. Income for 4th month was about $1834 and expenses were about $491.
  • Building and Grounds Committee: Work day 5/18/10! The awning is being replaced.
  • Peace and Social Justice Committee: The committee continues to seek volunteers to be our liaison to American Friends Service Committee and Steady Footsteps. These are both organizations supported by our meeting. In response to the Friends Council on National Legislation request to suggest changes in “The World We Seek”, the committee solicited and carefully considered feedback from the meeting. The committee responded to FCNL with the comments which can be read in detail in their report of 4/28/19.

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is June 9, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.

Barb French

Our dear friend Barbara French quietly passed away last week. Barb and her husband Dave were in Delaware looking after grandchildren at the time. Barb has been an active and vibrant member of Virgina Beach Friends Meeting for many years. She was a positive, supportive friend to all and her loving, caring presence will be missed.

There will be a Memorial Service for Barb on Saturday July 27, 1:30 pm at the Friends School Wilson Center.

Details will be forthcoming.

In our April 2018 Newsletter Midori Bamba reported on an interview with Barb. Click on this link for that story...


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 have continued in 2019..


Meeting, clearness, clerk. Like other religions, Quakerism has its own language, and that can sometimes be confusing for newcomers. Here’s a quick guide to some of the words that have special meaning for Friends.


FREE TRIP TO EGYPT - a film that encourages unity and listening
Submitted by Whit Peace

On June 12th, join Kindness Films for a nationwide, one-day-only, premiere event of the film FREE TRIP TO EGYPT and join the #PledgeToListen Day of Unity at AMC Lynnhaven 18.

Seeking to build a bridge of mutual understanding and friendship, Tarek Mounib (a Canadian-Egyptian muslim) decides to reach out to the very people who fear him. He travels across the U.S. to find Americans concerned about an Islamic threat and makes them an intriguing offer: A Free Trip to Egypt.

Immediately following the film, a panel discussion with Tarek and thought-leaders will be streamed into theaters from Washington DC where they will discuss ways to listen and to bring more kindness to the world — and asking everyone to take the online #PledgeToListen and to look beyond that which divides us and to bring authentic conversations to their community.

To watch the trailer and find out more information visit the website

To find a theatre closer to you here enter your zip code: ...


Two Minutes to Midnight: The Threat of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty to Ban Them
Submitted by Steve Baggerly

The Hampton Roads Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is hosting a workshop on Thursday June 20, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at St. Andrews Episcopal Church - 1009 W. Princess Anne Rd. Norfolk, VA 23507.

Vicki Elson and Timmon Wallis from NuclearBan.US will speak on the risks and the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war as well as the efforts of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The movement is growing.

Piano Recital at the Meetinghouse
Submitted by Whit Peace

Martha Giles has taught music in the Friends Community for many years.

Martha sent a thank you message after her students' recital this month:

The Meeting House has become a special place to the parents of my students, as they attend each year’s spring recital and observe the growth (musical and otherwise) of all the children. This was the final recital for one of my students, who heads to UVA in the fall, after fourteen years of music lessons with me. He felt surrounded and supported by the good wishes of my “music community.”

Thank you, again, for letting us share our music in this peaceful setting.


If anyone is interested in music lessons you may contact Martha at

The picture below is from the Martha's students' May 19 recital:

Yearly Meeting Program Highlights
Submitted by Nancy Craft

Here are some of the Highlights from the program for Yearly Meeting this summer:

Our Keynote Speaker on the evening of Sixth Day will be Johan Maurer Johan Maurer and his wife Judy Maurer are members of Eugene Friends Church in Oregon and of Moscow Monthly Meeting in Russia. Johan was on the staff of Friends World Committee for Consultation for ten years, and of Friends United Meeting for seven. He has also been a pastor in Northwest Yearly Meeting, and a marketing writer and editor specializing in schools and nonprofits. He and Judy spent most of the last decade in the industrial city of Elektrostal, Russia, teaching at a small linguistics college and working closely with Quakers in Russia. Today they live in Portland, Oregon, and attend Camas Friends Church in Washington.

Rubye Braye will be our Bible Study Leader
Rubye Braye is a member of Wilmington Friends Meeting. She led the Bible Study at Friends General Conference in 2015. She will lead inter-generational "Bible Study and Spiritual Stuff" during our sessions. It will center on the "spiritual stuff" that may be studied to understand how and why we are constrained and motivated. The selected scripture list for daily study will likely be as follows: John 4:24, John 16:13, John 6:63, 1 John 4:1, and Galatians 5:16.

Quaker House is Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary
The Quaker House presentation in the early evening of seventh day will include a brief video from clients of Quaker House thanking folks for their support. Hotline counselors, Steve and Lenore, and therapist, Joanna will also share some stories.

Bring Your Talent
After the Quaker House presentation we will gather together for our inter-generational talent show. All are welcome to share.

Bring the Kids
Children of all ages love the age-appropriate independence of living on campus and participating in their own program (which includes visiting the beach and other sites, Quaker-grounded religious activities, and lots of fun). We are planning 3 different programs so that we can meet the needs of all age children. Children stay for free.

Friends World Committee for Consultation
Submitted by Nancy Craft

Click here for the current issue of the FWCC Newsletter which mentions the poster with a list of all the Americas section YM schedule...

Click here for the the position announcement... - Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas seeks a creative Advancement Manager to join our small, friendly and successful team nurturing faith, hope, and resilience.


ISMAIL, AMEEN, AARYA : Bil tawsiq! (Good Luck to you!)
Submitted by Liana Fleming

Today there are 15 African nations involved in wars and post-war conflicts. One of the nations affected is The Republic of South Sudan in East Central Africa. The split from the rest of Sudan has caused families displacement, hunger, and homelessness.

Numerous conflicts in Africa have lead to a mass migration to Europe compared to Exodus, the second Book of the Old Testament, with stories of slavery and liberation, but now with wanderings through Europe without finding the Promised Land.

Dozens of organizations in Italy have tried to take care of these refugees. This year that the Italian government has joined the rest of Europe in closing ports and borders, grassroots agencies keep helping with or without the government support.

This month a friend from one International Rescue groups trusted us with accompanying a Sudanese mother and her two little boys, 3 and 4, on the Trenitalia (Italian Railroad) to cross the Peninsula from Naples to Venice.

We were asked to meet her and her children at 10 am of May First at Stazione Centrale in Mc Donald where they would be dropped off after coming to Naples by boat and train from Lampedusa (the small island near the ancient city of Agrigento-Sicily), They had been staying in a Refugees Camp in Sicily since their rescue at sea near Lampedusa.

We had planned a second part of our own trip with a departure from Naples on May First with the Freccia Rossa Trenitalia Roma- Florence-Bologna-Venice-Trieste, to continue by car to Slovenia and Croatia to visit Italian cities such as Fiume, Rovinj, and Pula, lost to Jugoslavia in 1947, and now part of these rwo independent nations. It was the right time and the same train and we were glad to help.

Meeting this woman and her two small children turned out to be a most sobering experience.

I do not know any of the tribal African dialects, and got by with my basic Arabic. She spoke no other language. Earlier, they had traveled by boat more than 3,000 km from Sudan to Sicily with 450 more people, then by train 650 km from Sicily to Naples, and now, they were traveling another 550 km with us to reach Venice. Then what? Where? For how long could they stay? I learned that her husband had "gharaq", drowned, with "many others" on their way over to Sicily.

We had been told that someone was meeting them in Venice to take them by bus to nearby Padua.

She was dressed very modestly and was carrying only one bag. The children were very quiet, but after we shook hands they became more relaxed, and, contrary to other noisy Italian children on the train, they slept off and on. Occasionally the mother would mash a banana in a napkin and feed it to them with a plastic spoon. They refused any other food we tried to offer to them. She used the word "semolina" more than once, which, of course, we did not have on the train, not even at Wagon-Restaurant.

When many hours later the train stopped in Venezia-Mestre for 5 or 6 minutes, we identified and delivered them to another "friend" who would go with them on the bus to Padua.

She had shown me a piece of paper that read "Friends of Caritas of Rome" (the pastoral organization in support of the most vulnerable people).

We said "wadaeaan" (goodbye) at Venezia-Mestre Station.

The youngest boy was named Ismail, meaning "God will hear me".

The older boy was Ameen, meaning Faithful.

The mother wrote down their first name for me. Hers was Aarya, the Arab word for Prayer.

She May Have Saved a Life. Then She Was Arrested.
Submitted by Mark Connolly and Faye Bailey

The path to Teresa L. Todd’s arrest began when three desperate Central American migrants waved frantically at her car on a Texas highway one night in February.

At least one other car had hurtled by, afraid to stop. But for Todd, compassion overrode any fear. “I’m a mom,” explained Todd, who has two boys, ages 15 and 17. “And I see a young man who looked the same age and size as my younger son. And if my son was by the side of the road, I would want someone to help.”

Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30)

Todd, a single mom who works as a lawyer for a city and county in West Texas, found three siblings: two brothers ages 20 and 22 and their sister, Esmeralda, 18. To escape violence, they fled their native El Salvador years ago and recently Guatemala, where friends were murdered and a gang leader wanted to make Esmeralda his “girlfriend.”

Esmeralda was suffering from starvation, dehydration and a potentially fatal syndrome called rhabdomyolysis that can lead to kidney failure. Seeing that Esmeralda was very sick, Todd invited the migrants into her car to warm up, and she began frantically texting friends (including one who is a lawyer for the Border Patrol) for advice about getting Esmeralda medical attention.

“A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.”

A sheriff’s deputy pulled up behind Todd’s car, lights flashing, and a Border Patrol officer arrived shortly afterward. The officers detained Todd for three hours, confiscating her possessions and keeping her in a holding cell.

By stopping to help a stranger, Todd may have saved a life — but this also got her arrested.

“It was totally surreal,” Todd recalled. “Especially for doing what my parents taught me was right, and what I learned in church was right, which was helping people. So finding myself in a holding cell for that, it was hard to wrap my head around.”

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine."

Esmeralda was hospitalized for four days, and she and her siblings are now in ICE custody. Todd has not been charged with a crime so far, but the authorities seem to have been considering a federal indictment. I reached out to federal and local officials for comment; they did not respond.

Todd told me that she has no regrets. “I think it’s the right thing to help those in need,” she explained. “That’s what I learned from my parents. That’s what I learned in church.”

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine."

“Then he [the Samaritan] put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

The arrest of a mom who may have saved a life reflects the increasingly harsh treatment under President Trump of anyone who tries to help migrants. In Arizona, a man named Scott Warren of the aid group No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, which leaves water, blankets and food for migrants, is to go on trial this month on felony charges that in theory carry terms of up to 20 years in prison. That’s quite a penalty for trying to save the lives of fellow human beings, and others have been prosecuted for misdemeanor offenses.

“This is all about trying to chill the willingness of people to help others,” Todd said. “A friend told me, ‘The other day, someone tried to flag me down by the side of the road and waved an empty water bottle, and I thought about what happened to you and didn’t stop.’”

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Referring to Trump, Michele Bachmann, the former Republican congresswoman, recently said, “We will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetimes.”

“Whoever claims to love God but hates his brother or sister is a liar.” (1 John 4:20)

I thanked Todd for her humanity, and for helping save a life. She said her assistance had been instinctive.

“I’m simply a mom who saw a child in need and pulled over to try to help,” she said. “The whole time I was by the side of the road, I was thinking: What country am I in? This is not the United States.”


From the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof, May 15, 2019. A version of this article appears in print on May 16, 2019, on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Border Agents And a Good Samaritan.
Click here for original posting...

The Stewardship of the Planet
Submitted by Jeanne Crawford

The Lynnhaven River Now “Growing a Greener Faith” Workshop was held at the remarkable Brock Center. That all by itself was a treat. I was so impressed with the architectural design. The Brock Center stands as an example of what can happen when a city, a foundation and the communities get together with a collective vision. Their vision was to create a building as net-zero as possible. The Center’s mission has fully invested in every possible way to be self-sustaining and environmental friendly. It runs solely on what can be recycled, electricity generated through photo-voltaic panels and wind turbines, as well as geothermal wells and two 1,600 gallon rain cisterns and a filtering system. This filtering system makes the Brock Center the first project in the United States to receive a commercial permit for drinking filtered rainwater. Even the toilets fit into this efficient beautiful building by being composting waterless units. The design also takes advantage of natural light which creates energetically a calm, beautiful space.

The workshop started with the participants introducing themselves and sharing a little about their faith community. Morgan Schmidtendorff from Pearl Faith Community spoke about this important movement that includes every public school in Virginia Beach. She mentioned Friends Meeting and Friends School.

Trista Imrich talked about native plants and the importance of attending to the species specific to these plants. She educated us about the evolution of species specific to their food. Insects can only produce on the plants in which they share evolutionary history. Their food does not change and some species have only one type of food. The monarch butterflies cannot survive without milkweed. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed and the monarch needs the milkweed to lay their eggs. This is an example of how “Insect Armageddon” is happening. The loss of specie specific food and environment has us in crisis. We know that we are losing millions of species to extinction at the present time. We need our pollinators; the bees, birds and bats. Some of the Native Plants she suggested we plant in our yards and in our gardens are Blue Star, Columbine, Coreopsis, Sneezeweed, Blazing Star, Scarlet Lobelia, Bee balm just to name a few.

Farmer John Wilson talked about how to reclaim and restore fields where the soil needs help to grow anything again. These one crop farms are destroying the land and are not contributing to any sustainable farming. Much like our love affair with our lawns, we are doing nothing to feed the pollinators nor are we helping to feed our communities. Farmer John is known around these parts as the “Compost King.” He shared a dream that inspired him to work the land and learned how to make the best compost to help recover the soil. It has everything to do with the science. His love of biology, which he studied in school, gave him a leg up when he began investing in his remarkable compost. He talked about the timing, the “heat” of the compost, when to turn it, what not to add to it and how to produce such rich compost that he can guarantee topsoil recovery.

In between lectures, Karen Forget, Executive Director of Lynnhaven River Now read from poems, songs and sacred texts and encouraged us all to bring into our Faith Communities these readings. I will share one.

We Belong to the Earth

This we know. The earth does not
Belong to us, we belong to the earth.

This we know. All things are connected
Like the blood which
unites one family.

All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters
of the earth.

We did not weave the web of life;
we are merely a strand in it.

Whatever we do to the web
we do to ourselves.

--Attributed to Chief Noah Sealth

I came away wanting to put solar panels on our roof, get involved with the Friend’s School garden, find ways to make it into a community garden and to plant native plants only in our entrance ways. I learned about VCAP Funding which is a conservation assistance program that gives money to non-profits. Norfolk Academy was an example. What they were able to accomplish in a year is wondrous! I want every parking lot, open space, unused lots to be put to work caring for this planet. We are there folks. It is now. Whatever we can do to slow down this crisis of climate we need to do. We are all connected to this Web of life. It is our lives we are saving.

Pendle Hill Program
Submitted by Mary Pelham White

Eighty-two people -- 55 of them new to Pendle Hill -- participated in "The Wisdom of Jesus and the Light of Christ" a week-long program of talks, chanting, meditation, contemplation, and mindful work projects led by Cynthia Bourgeault, Paulette Meier,and Marcelle Martin, May 12-17. Enthusiasm for this program ensures that this collaboration will continue to bear fruit here and elsewhere. Paulette's chants enjoyed musical accompaniment this year and generated such support that Paulette and the musicians are looking to create a recording of new chants as a sequel to Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong.

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,

Virginia Beach Friends School Graduation

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

FREE TRIP TO EGYPT a film that encourages unity and listening

Date: Wednesday June 12
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: AMC LYNNHAVEN 18
1001 Lynnhaven Mall Loop Virginia Beach, VA 23452-7205

Two Minutes to Midnight: The Threat of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty to Ban Them

Date: Thursday June 20
Time: 6:30-8:30 pm
Location: St. Andrews Episcopal Church
1009 W. Princess Anne Rd. Norfolk, VA 23507

NCYM(c) Yearly Meeting

Date: July 10-14
Location: Wilmington NC

Barb French Memorial

Date: Saturday July 27
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Wilson Center

Next Meeting for Business Query - #11 / Social Justice and Equality:

Do we reverence that of God in every human being with concern for the needs of each individual? Are we seeking to rectify existing social injustice and racial discrimination in our local communities and in the world at large?

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is Sunday June 9, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly