Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

September 2019 Newsletter




Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

Please respond to vbfm.emailer@gmail.com with ideas for future Newsletter articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications Committee
VBFriends.org



Contents:


Link to Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Home Page - VBFriends.org


Note:

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 September business meeting are posted at this link…



Query #2 - Meeting for Worship:

Are we faithful in our attendance at meetings for worship and are we careful not to disturb the spirit of the meeting by our late arrival? Is our behavior therein that of open submission to God in silent communion?

Response:

We understand the challenge of honoring the sacred space we create when we gather, and we cherish the grace that comes upon us in this space. We wish to come into our Meetings for Worship with advance preparation for these gatherings. Members of our Meeting do a good job with arriving on time and are understanding of the challenges that some of our members have with their children and with the distances they must travel. Some of us do travel long distances but choose to come rather than staying away. The query asks us to be discerning in listening for God’s voice and God’s plan for us. We want to wean ourselves from our phones. We learn from early Friends to trust the Peace and Love Beyond Understanding that settles among us in our worship. The important thing is to take this peace and love with us when we leave Meeting.

Head of School Report:

  • School Report: Mike Barclay rose to comment on the first month of school. His written report, posed on the Meeting’s website, had emphasized the “flow” the School is seeking to achieve for every student and faculty member. He noted especially the enthusiasm of parents for the new programs and new branding of the school, a characterization that was endorsed by parent Natalie Bray, who spoke movingly about the new spirit she sees at Friends School. Mike noted that the current enrollment is 104 students, including close to 50 new students, and said that he expected enrollment to reach 112 by the next semester. The announced closing of the upper school, after careful analysis of the School’s place in the local educational scene and the best use of our facilities, had impacted the enrollment for this year, but the addition of the toddler program and recruitment of new students who fit the School’s profile promise real enrollment growth in the future. He commented on the very strong new faculty that have been brought aboard and announced the receipt of recent gifts totaling $85,000. He also spoke of the challenges that he and his colleagues have faced over the past year in repairing the physical plant, strengthening the academic programs, and rebuilding the reputation of the School. He said it is going to take time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. We have a long way to go, he said, and he is deeply appreciative of the support of the Meeting along this journey. Friends are encouraged to read the very informative Head of School Report posted on the Meeting’s website.
  • Assistant Head of School: Galen Hamann read aloud her June 18 letter about special educational plans for this academic year, including a trip for the full faculty to the Southern Friends School Conference in April at Guilford College (an event that takes place only every five years) and a trip for high school students to the FCNL Spring Lobby Weekend in March. She again requested support from the Meeting and the Yearly Meeting to help cover anticipated costs for these two events, estimates of which she itemized in her letter. Dave French explained how the Meeting’s $16,000 gift to the School this year included a significant increase in funding, intended to help cover special educational opportunities for faculty and students. Patrick Goold suggested that the Meeting return to its previous practice of separating matters like faculty support and the FCNL trip in its budgeting process.
  • Approved: That these specific requests to the Meeting for help with the faculty trip and the FCNL Spring Lobby Weekend should be taken up by Finance Committee this month and passed on to the Yearly Meeting at the time of the October Interim Body Meeting.
  • Finance Committee Report: Tom Kennedy presented a written Finance Committee report that had not been posted in advance because of its sensitivity. This report included wording for a proposed promissory note that covers the $100,000 loan disbursed by the Meeting to the School in 5th Month 2019 as well as the additional $100,000 loan approved by the Meeting at the 8th Month Meeting for Business. The proposed promissory note accommodated the request from the School to extend the repayment schedule of the two loans until 3rd Month 31, 2020 and 6th Month 30, 2021, respectively. The terms proposed by the Finance Committee for the two $100,000 loans from Meeting to School were not discussed openly in the Meeting for Business; they will come before School Committee for consideration later this week.
  • Approved: that the Meeting expresses its wish that the Finance Committee and School Committee can reach agreement on the terms of these loans in a timely way.
  • Peace & Social Justice Committee Report: April Megginson called attention to the posted Report of the Peace & Social Justice Committee, which covers the Committee’s work over the past summer. She asked approval of the two recommended action items in that report, the first concerning our VBFM engagement with the Poor People’s Campaign, and the second concerning a change of the name of our P&SJ Committee. Both action items had been discussed in earlier posted reports of the committee over the past year and seasoned.
  • Approved: That the name of the Peace & Social Justice Committee be changed to “Peace, Earthcare & Social Justice Committee.” And that the Committee update its description for the website, and bring it to business meeting for approval.
  • Approved: That the clerk notify Yearly Meeting that VBFM continues to endorse the Poor People’s Campaign and requests that the Yearly Meeting set up a committee to support those individuals and other meetings who feel led to engage with the Poor People’s Campaign.
  • Ministers, Elders & Overseers: Patrick Goold reported that MEO has been spent several months examining the benefits of realigning its duties into two committees: Counsel & Care and Spiritual Life. He said that MEO will sponsor two discussion groups in the near future, open to all, to discuss and help describe the functions of these two committees. This proposed change has been seasoned for some time within MEO.
  • Approved: That the duties of MEO be realigned into two new committees, Counsel & Care and Spiritual Life, pending upcoming open discussions in the Meeting concerning the functions of those two committee (dates to be announced later).
  • Information Items:
    • The Clerk noted for the record that Dave French and Nancy Craft had attended the North Carolina Yearly Meeting Sessions at Wilmington College in July and that Liana Fleming and Robert Kent had attended a portion of the sessions. Dave, Nancy and Tom Bertrand will represent our Meeting at the Interim Body Meeting in Greensboro on 10th Month 26. Dave asked for people to inform our representatives of other matters that may need to be carried to Interim Body.
    • The Clerk read a letter from Olivia James in northern Virginia inviting Virginia Beach Meeting to consider setting up a Preparatory Meeting under our care in Washington DC. This request, which clearly seeks to connect with the Conservative Friend tradition, has been received, and we will continue to review it.


Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is October 13, 2019, 8:30 a.m. in our Meetinghouse.





QuakerSpeak

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

Click here to find out more about QuakerSpeak and to subscribe to receive QuakerSpeak by email when new videos come out each week on Thursday...

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The Prayer Life of Quakers



Announcements


World Quaker Day
Submitted by Linda Smith

Date: Sunday October 6
Time: 10:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Join us for World Quaker Day! The Virginia Beach Friends Meeting would like to invite anyone who may be interested in learning more about Quakers, Quaker Beliefs or who would like to experience Meeting for Worship for the first time to gather with us on October 6.

Each year World Quaker Day is celebrated around the world on the first Sunday of October. This year we will explore and discuss the theme of sustainability.

Families with childre are welcomed. We will have programs for children.
Below is the day's schedule, please join us for the whole day or pick and choose the portions that appeal to you.

10:30 Intergenerational Meeting for Worship
We will begin worship with a Faith and Play story for our young friends. After the story and discussion, children will be accompanied dowwnstairs for a group activity while adults remain for silent worship.

11:45 Potluck
All families are welcome to join us for lunch and fellowship downstairs in the Meetinghouse.

12:30 World Quaker Day Program
An interactive program with QuakerSpeak videos and discussion. This will highlight the theme of sustainability as we consider how Quakers live their testimon of Stewardship.
Child care will be provided.







Lynnhaven River Now 2019 Fall Festival
Submitted by Whit Peace

Date: Saturday October 12
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Mount Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach





Friends School Fall Festival
Submitted by Kristen Barclay

Date: Saturday October 19
Time: 1-4 pm
Location: Friends School
1537 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach
For more information: Click Here...

Our Goal This Year is to Raise $25,000 for Professional Development!

But we need YOU!

Our amazing faculty and local businesses have volunteered to be SLIMED to benefit our school.


Your job is to:

 

What is the Slime Time Fall Fest?

It’s a Festival! Think pumpkin patch, hayrides, dunk tank, bounce house, prize grab!

It’s a Fun Run! All ages of our community will run (walk, jog, shimmy, crawl) through a fun obstacle course at all ends of our campus.




It’s a SLIME EVENT! If we meet our fundraising goal, the brave faculty and business owners who have volunteered to be slimed will get what’s coming to them :-)





Adventures In Quaker History #1: Somerton Meeting House and Lake Drummond
Submitted by April Megginson

Date: Sunday October 27
Time: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Somerton Friends Meeting
3239 Quaker Dr, Suffolk, VA 23437
To Register: Email vbfm.emailer@gmail.com





Somerton Friends Bazaar
Submitted by Whit Peace

Date: Saturday November 2
Time: 10:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Somerton Friends Meeting
5329 Quaker Dr, Suffolk, VA


Somerton Friends Meeting Pastor Richard Wilcox said, "come and join us on the first Saturday in November for homemade ham biscuits, homemade Brunswick Stew, homemade chicken salad, garden produce, crafts, baked goods, and all around stuff. The Bazaar proceeds support the majority of our United Society of Friends Women budget for the year..."






Articles


The Clerk’s Corner
Submitted by Jeanne Crawford

Jeanne Crawford began the business of the Meeting this month by reading several “business basics”, explaining the spirit and process of our Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business:

From the Clerk’s archives of Virginia Beach Friends Meeting:

The Clerk orders the agenda for Meeting for Business and the timing of each item. The Clerk recognizes one person at a time and re-centers discussion that wanders off topic. The Clerk indicates the need to hear from those who have not spoken, and/or to speak views not already presented to avoid repetitions of a point that has already been made. (The Clerks may receive support from others attending meeting to remind us of the courtesy to speak to the topic, and address the clerk – not another person. It is the responsibility of all attending business sessions to have an orderly meeting.) when discernment is not clear on a topic, a suggested action(s) may include a special called meeting on the issue, referral to a standing or special committee, corporate and personal prayer, forming a committee or simply stating that unity is not discerned, and delay or schedule reconsideration at the next meeting for business.

While meeting committees function at the pleasure of the meeting, some committees may modify their duties (with notification and concurrence of the meeting) to better fit their capabilities. This needs to be clear so that the meeting does not ask committees to handle items they are not prepared to handle. Committees do not function independently of the business meeting and meeting must approve all actions proposed by the committee. The exception is the School Committee; while under the care of the meeting, this committee functions as the governing body of the school and functions under incorporation papers and by-laws handling business and reporting action, etc. to business meeting. There are some instances when it is appropriate to announce to the meeting an event under the care of the meeting and gain informal consent – such as a memorial service – that may occur before a business session occurs.

Both clerks, recording and presiding, work together to ensure all minutes are accurate and complete and both sign the minutes. There is no need to “submit” the minutes for approval, etc., as all minutes are approved as the business progresses. Sometimes the presiding clerk and sometimes the recording clerk clarifies and actually states, or writes, the minute needed.

It is critical if a situation arises where there is a conflict of interest with either clerk that the clerk step aside and a substitute be chosen to fill in during this time.

Quaker Business Basics, adapted from “Quaker Toolbox” at www.fgcquaker.org:

Whenever we remember that we are in the presence of God, transformation is possible. Every task, no matter how mundane, becomes an act of worship, a word of praised offered to God. This is the basis for Quaker business practice. We call it ‘meeting for worship with attention to business’ because it is grounded in an awareness of God’s presence.

Don’t be lulled into thinking that you are there to get the job done and can dispense with the worship. Hold the work of the meeting in the Light. Listen deeply and speak tenderly. Begin with worship; end with worship; and call for worship whenever tempers fray or weariness sets in.

We should be willing to take as long as necessary to reach unity, but we are most certainly not required to take longer than necessary...

Present each item as if it were a question for worship sharing. Explain the guidelines for worship sharing. Make clear that you expect Friends to approach the business in hand in a way that is radically different from ordinary discussion. Here are the basics:

  • Allow silence before and after each person speaks.
  • Listen attentively and respectfully.
  • Do not react to or critique what others have said, but express your own concerns and insights as deeply and honestly as you can.
  • Speak as much as possible from your own experience.
  • Expect to speak only once during consideration of a given item.

Paradoxical as it may seem, this approach is likely to achieve a decision, grounded on a sense of the meeting, far more quickly than a back and forth discussion would. Everyone has a chance to speak, and to be listened to. Everyone is encouraged to dig more deeply and share more honestly than they normally would. When everyone has spoken once, there may well be a clear sense of how the meeting is led to move forward. The clerk may want to reframe the question in light of what has been said and ask for another round of worship sharing. If there is no unity, further discussion is unlikely to help. Ask a few Friends to explore the question further and bring back a recommendation to the next meeting. Then move on to the next item of business...

Meeting for worship with a concern for business is the crown jewel of Quakerism. In worship we learn how to listen deeply, and open our hearts to the Light and to each other. In business meeting, where we inevitably encounter disagreements and differences, we find out whether we can listen and love deeply enough to be a gathered people, obedient to divine guidance.





A New Year at Friends School
Submitted by Galen Hamann

This August begins our 64th year at Friends School, and I am reminded- while there are many changes; Louise Wilson’s vision of providing a Friends Education to students in Virginia Beach remains the same. Let me share a snapshot of some of the moments I experienced that vision for a Friends Education this week.

On Tuesday, we held a new parent orientation to Friends Education in the Meetinghouse. In the room were 30+ families (last year only 6), we shared silence and introduced them to what it means to be a part of a Friends community. During the open time for questions one parent shared- “I picked the school because it is Quaker. I went to a Friends school and when I found out we were moving to Virginia Beach I told my husband there is only one place our daughter is going- Friends School.” After that a couple asked me, “Do you ever talk about God? We believe that all people are created with a purpose from God but how does that connect to the Inner Light? How can we help our daughter make the connection between our Methodist faith and Quakerism?” This led to a conversation about the Inner Light and its connection to the Divine, and how I share about God with children during the faith and play stories.

On Wednesday, we held our first Meeting for Worship. Downstairs I read a book about going to Meeting for Worship to all our Lower School students. I asked them what the silence in Meeting for Worship reminds them of, and what do they like to do or think about during the silence? Upstairs our Quaker Leaders had prepared queries for the Middle and Upper School students to consider during worship. When we all joined together for the last 10 minutes there was a deep and rich silence. I watched two very active 6 year old boys, reunited from summer sit quietly enjoying the peace of being in worship together again. During the joys and concerns, we listened to what was on the heart of the community, celebrating the return to school and lifting of community members who are ailing.

Thursday during our Middle School faculty lunch meeting I felt the camaraderie of the faculty I read about in Louise’s book. Our faculty shared their goal for the year: to build community with one another and act as a team. We discussed how to best care for students and laughed together over lunch. Today I received this note from one of our assistant teachers. “ Today Kindergarten went to science...included an introduction to the garden and then we experienced the garden first hand. Plus we had a potential new student who participated......and her parents observed… What an amazing experience! Kate was so connected to our students...she was so knowledgeable, patient, accepting, and re-directing...What a lovely experience for the first day in the garden…”

This summer I have been reading a book on mindful leadership. Making time to be aware of the beauty and gifts of our school, and be present to these moments amongst the business of an administrative day of doing is one of my personal goals for the year. I hope you will help me with this goal, join us for Meeting For Worship, come have a walk to the garden with me, enjoy our winter concert, come share a cup of coffee with me in the faculty lounge, or stop in to see the artwork on your way to our newly revitalized library.

Meeting members have been so vital to the continued Friends Education at our school. I am so grateful for your support and hope you will visit often to see the ways the seeds you have planted are growing.

Happy New Year!


Galen Hamann,
Assistant Head of School
August 30, 2019





Friends School Senior Trip
Submitted by Galen Hamann

Friends School has long had the tradition of taking students on trips. I have heard about the camping trips to First Landing, trips to play basketball against Tandem Friends School, and of course (Quaker Youth Leadershio Conference(QYLC) trips. Last year the high school students went to Camp Silverbeach in the fall as a bonding trip. We all had a good time, but outdoor camping isn’t every teenager’s favorite activity. Mike and I wanted the students to be invested this year, so last spring they got to choose the destination New York Cit for 9-11 and a college trip for seniors.

This week I have been with the senior boys traveling to Greensboro and Richmond. In preparation for the trip, I asked the students to think about how colleges differ and consider what they are looking for in a school. Danny and I created a research and reflection journal for them to learn about each school and then reflect on the visits. On the way to Greensboro we learned the boys are still trying to decide what to study, and not surprisingly, have different interests in different kinds of schools which appeal to them. Fortunately, we planned a trip to see 4 different schools- Guilford, UNCG, Commonwealth University, Richmond University.

Our first stop was Greensboro. It was awesome to see their nerves and excitement as they walked across the Guilford campus with their backpacks in their collared shirts and pressed pants. For many, our visit to Guilford was their first formal tour and interview. We were welcomed with open arms by students and faculty. One of our students quickly shared “this is it!” Danny, our US history teach proclaimed, “I had no idea there were colleges like Friends School!” We had a chance to meet leaders of the Quaker Scholars Program and learn about the possibility to continue to “apprentice to the Quaker tradition” in college! In the evening, we met VBFS alum Anna who said she thinks of Guilford as Friends School 2.0. She also shared her experiences with us. Ana said that Friends School had taught her that her voice mattered and that she was important; Guilford had taught her how to organize and make her voice heard. It was clear the Friends identity had been a big part of her transformation.

On our second day in Greensboro we not only got to see UNCG but we also had a chance to connect with history. We went to the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro and learned about the sit ins at Woolworth’s. Then on to New Garden Friends Meeting where we learned from Max Carter about the many historical Friends buried there who had huge impacts on education, abolition and desegregation. We ended at Friends School founder Louise Wilson’s grave. We remarked that hearing all the stories about schools founded by Friends and the social justice work done by area Friends it was no wonder Louise felt called to begin VBFS. Then we headed to New Garden Friends School to get a tour and watch a volleyball game.

This trip has been one of great joy and learning for these four boys and it has been a blessing to watch. As we waited in the UNCG van they were discussing plans for an informal group trip to a next set of colleges. This was our hope- to inspire and motivate them and it is clear that we have and it’s only the second day!


Galen Hamann,
Assistant Head of School
September 26, 2019





Frances Crowe's Legacy Lives On
Submitted by Whit Peace

Quaker peace activist Frances Crowe (1919-2019) spent her whole life fighting for peace, justice and the environment, and of all the causes she fought for, the one she was probably most passionate about was the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Frances was joyously tearful at hearing the news two years ago (at age 98) that 122 countries had finally adopted a treaty banning everything to do with nuclear weapons under international law. She was determined to give this new treaty all the support she could, and so we worked together to form NuclearBan.US, a campaign to build support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was launched in her living room in November, 2017.

Frances was prepared to go to jail for her beliefs (and did many times). But she was also prepared to make enormous personal sacrifices for her beliefs. She stopped paying her taxes because her tax dollars were going to pay for war and preparations for war. She stopped driving her car because fossil fuels were causing climate catastrophe. She stopped eating her favorite foods because they were being shipped halfway round the world and fueling not only climate catastrophe but global inequality.

She agreed that NuclearBan.US could not expect people to take such extreme steps, but she wanted people to do more than just “proclaim” their support for the elimination of nuclear weapons. She wanted people to take action, to demonstrate their commitment to this, to take personal responsibility for the fact that we still have these evil weapons in our midst and we still have governments who are ready and willing to use them to slaughter millions of innocent people, supposedly for the sake of ‘national defense.’

NuclearBan.US therefore set up a process through which individuals, faith communities, businesses, schools, cities and states could “align” themselves with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – by divesting from any investments that may be supporting the continued existence of nuclear weapons in this country; by refusing to work for any of those companies, do research for them, supply to them; and by agreeing to boycott their products (until such time as they stop their involvement in the nuclear weapons industry).

Some cities and towns across the country had already made such commitments when they became Nuclear Free Zones back in the 1980s. Takoma Park, Maryland and Berkeley, California thus became the first two cities in the US to declare themselves “Treaty Aligned.” Frances’ own city of Northampton, Massachusetts, however, became the first city in the US to go through the process from scratch to become newly Treaty Aligned, which they completed in 2019.

Frances’ own Quaker Meeting, Northampton Friends Meeting, became the first faith community in the country to become Treaty Aligned. Since then, a small but growing number of churches, businesses, schools, colleges, cities and towns have become Treaty Aligned or have started the process. Frances herself was, of course, one of the first to declare herself individually aligned with the treaty.

Since the NuclearBan.US campaign was launched nearly two years ago, it has gone through various transformations to keep up with the latest developments on the nuclear front (such as the collapse of the INF Treaty and the Iran Deal, the changing relations with North Korea, the nuclear false alarm in Hawaii, etc) – and to keep up with the latest developments on the Frances Crowe front! Frances has always been concerned about many other issues apart from the nuclear weapons issue, and as she approached 100, was increasingly concerned about the climate crisis and its links to all the money, brainpower and international goodwill being squandered on wars, militarism and nuclear weapons in particular.

One of Frances’ personal goals as part of the NuclearBan.US campaign was to get Smith College to align with the Treaty by divesting from the nuclear weapons companies. Smith College holds her archives and considers her one of their own, although she did not go to college there. Last spring (at age 100), Frances helped bring together students from the Divest Smith (from fossil fuels) campaign and the Smith Center for Religious and Spiritual Life to talk about getting the college to divest from nuclear weapons and from fossil fuels.

Just a few days before she died, Frances sent a letter to the President of Smith College, urging her to divest the college from nuclear weapons and fossil fuels as a way of “addressing nuclear weapons, the climate crisis, and injustice in powerful and practical ways.” The campaign at Smith will go on, as part of Frances’ legacy. But there are other ways that the legacy of Frances Crowe lives on through NuclearBan.US.

Partly as a result of Frances’ persistence in seeing the links and trying to bring together the issues of peace, justice and the environment under a single banner, NuclearBan.US has now expanded its focus to include all three of the life and death emergencies facing the whole planet right now. These are the climate crisis, which threatens catastrophic consequences to human civilization and the planet if it is not fully and immediately addressed with bold and decisive action (ie. with implementation of a Green New Deal); the threat of nuclear war, which could happen at any moment, on purpose or by accident, and has the potential to destroy all life on earth; and a third global emergency, the increasingly unsustainable levels of inequality that threaten to tear this country – and the world – apart at the seams, preventing us from being able to address either of the other two emergencies.

The new “Warheads to Windmills” campaign was launched in Congress, with the publication of a report by the same name in Rep. Jim McGovern’s office. The campaign calls for implementation of a Green New Deal to address the climate crisis and inequality with the scale and urgency required. It calls for the US and other nuclear nations to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This will to help pay for a Green New Deal, not just in this country but also in the other countries that emit the most greenhouse gases – and just happen to be spending all their billions on nuclear weapons at the moment. It would also release all the scientists, engineers and technological infrastructure currently devoted to nuclear weapons, but needed to solve the remaining renewable-energy challenges. And it would help build the international cooperation and goodwill needed to address climate change and other worldwide problems on a global scale.

By divesting from fossil fuels and from nuclear weapons, by taking steps as individuals and as organizations, faith communities, cities and states to disconnect from these companies as far as we can, and by declaring our solidarity with the rest of the world, we can all carry on the work of Frances Crowe and help ensure a healthy, thriving future for our children and grandchildren and the many generations still to come.


This article was published by Timmon Wallis as an update for NuclearBan.US's Treaty Compliance Campaign. The original article is posted at this link...





50th anniversary: Fayetteville Quaker House strives to be a "witness for peace"
Submitted by Mary Pelham White
(From the the Fayetteville Observer, posted on September 21, 2019)


The Fayetteville Quaker House celebrated its 50th anniversary this weekend and leaders look forward to continuing its mission.

When Donald Trump staged a rally in the Crown Expo Center on Sept. 9, both supporters and opponents of the president gathered outside.

A few miles away, a smaller demonstration took place.

About 25 members of the Quaker House and their supporters stood outside the Market House in downtown Fayetteville holding banners with slogans, including “Love Thy Neighbor — No Exceptions” and “Quaker House — A Witness for Peace Since 1969.”

“We did not want it to be a negative, contentious thing,” Quaker House Director Kindra Bradley said. “We wanted it to be a positive experience and it was. It was so much fun. It had a really positive, happy feeling out there.”

Since it’s founding during the height of the Vietnam War, the Quaker House has been a steady advocate for peace in a community that bears the brunt of war more than most others.

Saturday, the Quaker House celebrated its 50th anniversary with a luncheon, open house and appearances by past directors and people who have benefitted from the house.

"They saved my life. There’s no other way to put it," said Monisha Rios, who turned to the Quaker House to help deal with the sexual harassment and assault she said she experienced in the Army. "I was ready to check out and become a statistic."

The Fayetteville Quaker House dates to 1969, when a Fort Bragg soldier wanted to leave the Army but wasn’t sure how to do it.

Dean Holland was the soldier. A friend suggested he visit a Quaker House in the Triangle area.

Holland, who didn’t have a car, hitchhiked to Chapel Hill to attend a meeting. There, the Quakers — who preach non-violence and oppose war — helped Holland obtain a discharge.

Bradley said that during a Friends meeting in Chapel Hill, Holland stood and said there needed to be a Quaker presence in Fayetteville, given its proximity to Fort Bragg. After discussing the issue, the Quakers agreed to establish a house here.

Along with providing a meeting space for the Religious Society of Friends, the Quaker House became a place where people trying to get out of the service could go for advice. Some sought refuge there while their cases were being considered.

The original Fayetteville Quaker House was on Ray Avenue, but it was partially destroyed by fire in 1970.

At the time, Fayetteville was a center of anti-war activities, including visits by activist and actress Jane Fonda. Quaker House officials said they had received threatening phone calls before the fire, including one from someone who asked if the house’s insurance was paid up.

After the fire, the house was reestablished on Hillside Avenue in Haymount, where it remains today.

Holland, who became director of the Quaker House, died in a car accident in Georgia on New Year’s Eve 1969, along with his assistant, Edith K. Lindsay.

But the house’s work continued under a series of directors, most of whom agreed to a five-year commitment. Directors, chosen by the Quaker House board of directors, included Wood Bouldin, Ken and Ellen Arning, Bill Sholar, Bob Gosney and Sandy Sweitzer.

In 1972, the Quaker House made local headlines when 20-year-old John Keith Dallmann took sanctuary there after the Army denied his application for conscientious objector status. Days after Dallmann went AWOL, he was picked up at the house by the Army and returned to his unit.

Chuck Fager became director of the Fayetteville Quaker House in 2001 and left in 2012, making him the longest-serving director.

During Fager’s tenure, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started and escalated. So did the number of calls to the Quaker House from soldiers reconsidering their decision to enter the service.

“When I interviewed at Quaker House, they said, ‘What do you want to do here?’ ” said Fager, who now lives in Durham. “I said, ’We have to get ready for war. I don’t claim to be a prophet, but I’m sure it’s coming and it’s going to be awful and we’re on the peace side and we have to get ready.”

Fager said his tenure also saw an uptick in domestic violence cases as returning soldiers dealt with the trauma of war.

During the early 2000s, Fager said, the Quaker House and its supporters maintained a presence protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he saw public opinion change over that time.

"We went down to the Market House every week for years, probably a few hundred times". Fager remembered. "We would get a lot of one-finger salutes, people yelling profanities at us."

"We went from that to where more people were cheering us as they went by," Fager said. "We saw the tide of sentiment, at least in the ranks, turn against the war."

Fager said he also had to deal with more practical concerns in the more than a decade he was director of Quaker House. The aging Hillside Avenue house, once the home of former Gov. Terry Sanford, was badly in need of repairs.

"The house was close to falling down. When I got there the roof leaked, we had to put a new roof on", Fager said. "The chimney was falling apart, the electrical system was falling apart."

"The upshot was we had to raise almost $200,000 to renovate the house, which scared the heck out of me," Fager said. "But we did it."

Fager said the house had to be vacated for several months while repairs were made.

Lynn Newsom and her husband Steve succeeded Fager as directors of the Quaker House, serving until 2017.

During their time in Fayetteville, the Newsoms hosted house concerts and other events to raise money, get people through the doors and introduce them to the Quaker House’s work. They also carried on with the mission of counseling soldiers and assisting in conscientious objector requests.

Lynn Newsom called her time at the Quaker House "immensely moving and rewarding and very heart-breaking."

"We’re still haunted by some of the stories," she said.

Newsom cited the case of a man who served multiple deployments and won a Purple Heart. He began suffering from post traumatic stress disorder to the point where he couldn’t even fill out a check.

The man, who had attempted suicide on more than one occasion, contacted the Quaker House’s GI Rights Hotline counselors, Lenore Yarger and Steve Woolford.

"They got him to an independent psychiatrist who confirmed that he had severe PTSD and our counselors advocated for him to be honorably discharged," Newsom said. "Steve and Lenore went with him to his hearings and he was able to change his discharge to honorable."

The number for the hotline, established in 1994, is 877-447-4487. Bradley said it receives as many as 300 calls a month from all over the world.

Tom McCollum, a Fort Bragg spokesman, said the post isn’t opposed to what the Quaker House does.

"As the attitudes towards the military, the government and the country’s global interests change, we see not only a change in the opinions and attitudes of our service members stationed at Fort Bragg but in the services offered by the Quaker House," McCollum said. "Though their role to many may appear to be in opposition to the Army’s mission, we will continue to protect their right to serve those who seek their services."

Rios said she learned about the Fayetteville Quaker House when she attended a community conversation on “moral injury” in Clearwater, Florida.

Moral injury refers to the lasting effects of actions that violate a person’s core moral values.

Rios, who was scheduled to speak at the 50th anniversary celebration Saturday, said she served in the Army during the Persian Gulf War and encountered sexism and sexual harassment and assault from fellow soldiers.

"It happened at every duty station and there was a culture of silence, a culture of denial," Rios said.

Rios said Quaker House counselors helped her deal with her issues and followed up after her initial counseling.

"Any time I meet another veteran who is struggling, I tell them, ’You should call Quaker House,' she said. "They saved my life."

Bradley, the current director of Quaker House, came to Fayetteville in 2017. Previously, Bradley said she worked as a police officer and firefighter in Chapel Hill, and later obtained a law degree.

Raised in the Mormon faith in an Air Force family, Bradley said she gradually felt called to Quakerism and its values of nonviolence. She went to a Friends meeting in Alamance County in 2014 and "never left."

Bradley said she doesn’t see the Quaker House as being an adversary to Fort Bragg or the military. She said the house has worked to strengthen ties with Fort Bragg and the military community.

Bradley said she doesn’t see the Quaker House as being an adversary to Fort Bragg or the military. She said the house has worked to strengthen ties with Fort Bragg and the military community.

"I think it’s a very positive relationship that we have with them," Bradley said. "At the same time, they realize that we maintain a peace focus, to decrease the amount of time we go to war."

Bradley said the Quaker House plans to continue its peace focus as it enters its second half-century.

One method was the demonstration during the Trump visit earlier this month. Bradley said she is also trying to arrange a local screening of the movie "An Endless War: Getting Out of Afghanistan." And its counseling efforts will continue.

"I would like to see the world, especially the United States, be less involved in conflict and more involved in preventing conflict," Bradley said. "That’s going to be a long road. I understand I’m not going to achieve that tomorrow. But I would like the Quaker House to be a part of that trend."


Published by the Fayetteville Observer, Staff writer Rodger Mullen - click here for the original posting...





Dreams of Security, Peace, Freedom...
Submitted by Liana Fleming

Today, while colliding with technology and transformation, we still have this insatiable drive to seek peace, security, and freedom.

We dream of peace in the mind, in the world, in a stressed out life, with no hostilities, no strife, with human rights and social justice for all.

We dream of security, safety and protection for us, our family, the earth, the environment.

And we dream of freedom, which for me still stands for the absence of foreign invasion and domination. Because I came from a Country invaded and dominated for too long.

To stay awake and to go after these dreams, it is what it is all about.

And mine were right next door. The realization of my dreams appeared to be in the form of NATO! For I grew up in Europe with NATO Headquarters not far from my family's home. And I became partial to NATO and to what it stood and still stands for in the free world.

This September 11, 2019, of all places, I humbly stood with many others at the NATO Allied Command in Norfolk for the intense and emotionally solemn Commemorations of the 2,977 innocent victims of "The Attack against all". A reminder that we are not alone.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or OTAN, was first founded in 1949 to "counterweight Soviet armies stationed in Eastern and Central Europe". And, lately, to "counterweight regimes deliberately threatening peace and security".

This was the first peacetime alliance to offer hope to a ravaged Europe, or rather, to those hopeless survivors of the carnage of WWII with nothing left but their skin.

Belgium, Canada', Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the initial proud founders of this organization. West Germany joined in 1955, (reunified Germany in 1990), Greece in 1980, Spain in 1982. And so forth. France, which had pulled out from the Treaty in 1966, rejoined in 2008. More recently, other peace seeking nations have applied to join. These are Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey.

As a child, I delighted to the NATO colorful parades, the ceremonies of the raising of the flags of the nations, and other festive events accompanied by the liberating sound of marching bands of US Forces. I was intrigued in hearing other languages spoken by people of other countries, which at the time I dreamed to visit one day

My love story with NATO continued all these years during which NATO remained committed to peaceful resolutions to conflicts while participating in operations and missions.

I rejoiced for the NATO presence in the Cold War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the War on Terror, the Baltics, the Libyan Civil War, Kuwait, Iraq...

Eventually, there were people who believed that NATO had done its job and it should have dissolved. It did not. And as our free world was confronted with challenges after challenges, this organization became NATO Transformation.

I felt safer to grow up, to live near, and soon, to work for NATO in various capacities wherever NATO was.

I started at Afsouth Supreme Allied Command and, much later, in Norfolk, Virginia.

In between, after Training School in Coronado, I was sent to the magic and pristine Island of La Maddalena - Sardinia (the playground of Europe!), where, after complicated negotiations with the Italian government, theUS was granted a NATO Pier, and a Naval Base "home port" with a very wide range of fleet and ashore support.

As the intercultural Relations Specialist with "many hats", such as Interpreter-Translator, Education Service Officer, and Evening Languages Prof at the University of Maryland, I spent the most rewarding decade of my (long) life.

This first Overseas Diplomacy position was founded on the traditional commitment to promote peace and good will with our Host Nation, to protect human rights and personal freedom. As a Team Leader I developed and conducted Seminars and Workshops on Race Relations, Equal Opportunities, Intercultural Relations, Area Specifics, Peace and Social Justice, followed by Substance Act, American Disability Act, Women in the Military, and always new and exciting Human Goals programs. First implemented by our department on a NATO Pier, soon they were used by other NATO counterparts.

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was our CNO. "We made too many mistakes in Vietnam, he would say, now we seek peace the right way". And we loved him!

(But his father had ordered Agent Orange, from which Elmo eventually contracted cancer and died).

In search of peace and security, our US vessels were (are) nuclear power submarines whose engines were designed by Adm. Hyman Rickover, a Polish born emigrant, a genius and a bully, (He never used the chain of Command). Nuclear power helped the US and the other NATO military capabilities by strengthening sea power, with the purpose of keeping us free.

Peace is such an elusive concept!

Today, I still follow the NATO programs very closely.

Are we safe? What about Russia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia?

Ideology and propaganda, as much as the economy, have caused conflicts of interest prohibiting NATO to continue plans initiated in the past to joint ventures with Russia.

With Japan NATO has been implementing political programs.

As for China, NATO is aware of its rise and understands the emerging threats of its military power.

Saudi Arabia is a different challenge. The current president of US was pushing for an Arab NATO, an alliance built on shaky grounds. The states involved would have been Saudi Arabia, United Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan. But, although NATO has demonstrated its capability in the past, major issues of operability, data sharing, and potential miscalculation of military intent are preventing this from happening.

Staying informed, reading the Briefs, and the information News, participating in Global Information Challenges Workshops and Lectures with NATO Partners such as ODU, The World Affairs Council, etc., helps me to learn what is going on, to feel a little safer and protected from hostility and conflict.

We hold our hope and faith high. We visualize and affirm. We take actions for our dreams to live on.

And hoping to feel safe and peaceful, while living in what Francis Scott Key called "The Land of the Free, and The Home of the Brave".





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, yoga.illuminations@gmail.com

Work Day at the Meetinghouse

Date: Saturday October 5
Time: 9:00 am - noon
Location: Meetinghouse

World Quaker Day

Date: Sunday October 6
Time: 10:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Lynnhaven River Now - 2019 Fall Festival

Date: Saturday October 12
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Mount Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach

Friends School Fall Festival

Date: Saturday October 19
Time: 1-4 pm
Location: Friends School
1537 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach
For more information: Click Here...

Interim Body Meeting

Date: Saturday October 26
Time: 11 am - 3:30 pm
Location: Friendship Meeting, Greensboro, NC

Adventures In Quaker History #1: Somerton Meeting House and Lake Drummond

Date: Sunday October 27
Time: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Somerton Friends Meeting
3239 Quaker Dr, Suffolk, VA 23437
To Register: Email vbfm.emailer@gmail.com

Quaker Women Luncheon

Date: Wednesday October 30
Time: 11 am
Location: The Village Inn
313 Independence Blvd
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Contact: Nancy Nixon (757-375-2224), or Kathie Garner (804-714-4012).

Somerton Friends Bazaar

Date: Saturday November 2
Time: 10:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Somerton Friends Meeting
3239 Quaker Dr, Suffolk, VA 23437

How Shall We Remember?: The American Civil War Museum Grapples with the Legacies of Slavery and the Confederacy

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2018
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Location: Virginia Wesleyan University
Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center
Speaker: Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, VA

FCNL Annual Meeting & Quaker Public Policy Institute

Dates: November 13-17
Location: Washington, D.C.
Details: Click Here...

Christmas Eve - Singing and Caroling and Open Worship

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




Next Meeting for Business Query - #3 / Love and Unity:

Do we follow the teachings of Jesus and seek the inspiration of His Holy Spirit in our daily lives? Are love and unity maintained among us? Do we cultivate a forgiving spirit, and do we avoid and discourage needless and destructive criticism of others? When differences arise, do we endeavor promptly to resolve them in a spirit of love, honesty, and humility?

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is Sunday October 13, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


 


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Updated: Monthly