Bethesda Friends Meeting

Officers & Committees

The following information is provided to help us all understand how the Meeting works and to emphasize how much we depend on everyone’s participation to keep our community running smoothly.

Meeting for Business
Much of our Quaker decision making takes place in a special service that we call our “Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business.” It is usually held the first Sunday of each month at 9:00 a.m. and is open to all who wish to attend. Child care is provided for children through age 11.  

  • For specific dates, see our online Calendar, or see the "year at a glance" listing in our paper Directory.  This document lists when each committee report is due and the Hospitality schedule.)  

Coordinating Gathering
Representatives of BFM committees meet at 12:30 on Sunday once a month (usually the week before Meeting for Business) to discuss the upcoming agenda and to share our reflections on the spiritual state of our community, specific tasks, and Quaker processes. These meetings are open to all who wish to attend.  

  • For specific dates, see our online Calendar, or see the "year at a glance" listing in our paper Directory. This document lists when each committee report is due and the Hospitality schedule.)  


Co-Clerks (July 2022 to June 2023)
Jillaine S. and David W. email: Use our Contact Us link

The CO-CLERKS are responsible for convening Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business, guiding deliberations, and carrying out the Meeting’s instructions.

The RECORDING CLERK is responsible for preparing an accurate record of the proceedings at Meetings for Business.

The TREASURER is responsible for the management of Meeting funds, under the guidance of the Stewardship & Finance Committee. Duties include overseeing the work of the assistant treasurer, responding to queries, preparing periodic reports to the Meeting, and preparing donation acknowledgments. Email: Use our Contact Us link

The ASSISTANT TREASURER maintains the books for the Meeting. Duties include receiving and depositing donations, writing checks for the Meeting’s expenditures, and entering all transactions in the Meeting’s accounting system. Do you need to be reimbursed for a purchase or do you want to donate your expense as a "gift in kind"? Please use the BFM Expense Reimbursement Request Form (writable pdf). Do you need to specify which account your donation should be directed to? Please contact the Assistant Treasurer (see Directory) or use our Contact Us link.

THE RECORDER records births, deaths, marriages, and changes in membership, and provides a status report annually to Meeting for Business and to Yearly Meeting. 

The SCHEDULING COORDINATOR is the liaison with the Sidwell Friends school and with Meeting committees and individuals regarding times and locations of various activities.

The SIDWELL FRIENDS SCHOOL LIAISON discusses issues with Sidwell Friends other than use of space for specific events, such as procedures, requirements, limitations, or expectations governing our access to and use of the school’s classrooms and facilities.

Our several EDITORS update the website, compile the weekly bulletins, and assembles/composes the articles in the monthly newsletter, as well as maintaining the mailing list and, with lots of help, updating the annual Directory.

The LIBRARIAN encourages others’ interest in reading and supports efforts to collect and make readily available Library reading materials for people in the Meeting.

The ARCHIVIST keeps all permanent files and records, the history of the Meeting. 

(*Asterisk indicates open only to a member of a Quaker Meeting; others are open to all.)

Committee Meetings
Most Committees meet monthly on Sunday mornings, either at 9:30 or 12:30. Some committees meet on an as-needed basis.

Committee Nominations
Near the beginning of each calendar year, the Nominating Committee asks people who attend our Meeting to learn about the committees who do the important work at BFM. We invite you to consider joining a committee that reflects your interest. Joining a committee is an important way to meet people and to be called into the life of our community. Please use our Contact Us form to obtain additional information. New committee membership begins in June of each year.

Committee and Clerk Resource Guide

Click here to download BFM's Committee Resource Guide. The Guide gives a thorough overview of how committees are formed, the role of a committee clerk, and what to expect from committee membership.  Scroll down or jump to a list of Tips for Committee Clerks

* PASTORAL CARE (PC) is concerned primarily with the well-being of the people in the BFM community and helping those in times of need. PC arranges clearness committees for membership, marriages, and personal or spiritual concerns; considers and recommends Meeting action on membership applications and requests to marry under the care of the Meeting; responds to ill, troubled, mourning, or needy Friends; and provides a Friendly Ear each week at the rise of Meeting to hear personal or spiritual concerns and address questions about the Religious Society of Friends and BFM. The committee also designates a committee member to serve as a “personal friendly ear” to each member and attender, to learn how the Meeting can be of support, and to be a personal point of contact with the committee. PC has set up a Friends Helping Friends list that they use to connect those requesting assistance or counsel on particular issues with those in the meeting who have offered to share relevant skills or life experiences. This is a confidential referral list. For a list of the topics, please open this PDF document. The committee can make small grants to those in the meeting suffering urgent financial hardships and for Quaker camping and Friends learning opportunities. PC meets on committee night. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting in June.

* MINISTRY & WORSHIP is concerned primarily with what happens when the Meeting gathers for worship (including Meetings for Worship for the Conduct of Business). Members of this committee serve as Head of Meeting (on a rotating basis), bring closure to Meetings for Worship, and make the announcements. The committee is responsible for special gatherings such as weddings and memorial meetings. From December to February each year, the committee drafts an annual report on the Spiritual State of the Meeting (SSOM). It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in August. 2021-Report on the Spiritual State of the Meeting

* NOMINATING strives to understand the interests and talents of individuals in our community and how Friends may feel led to contribute to the well-being and work of the Meeting. With the benefit of that understanding, Nominating identifies friends to serve as BFM officers, as members of standing committees, and as liaisons to other organizations. It endeavors to make nominations that strengthen our community, serve BFM’s needs, and support personal growth. All members of the Nominating Committee must be members of BFM. The Nominating Committee provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in January.

* AD HOC COMMITTEE TO NOMINATE THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE. The members of this committee are nominated by the Meeting Co-Clerks. It typically consists of Friends who recently rotated off the Nominating Committee.  It finds people to fill Nominating Committee slots that fall vacant the following on July 1. Since the Nominating Committee draws from the same membership pool, the ad hoc committee completes its work by February, if possible.

ADULT RELIGIOUS EDUCATION was laid down as a standing committee in 2020.

However, Ministry & Worship and other standing committees continue to set up periodic and ongoing programs oriented to adults, both online and in-person. These programs foster spiritual growth and development in the Meeting.   The programs are of interest for everyone -- from newcomers to seasoned Friends. They might include topics such as Quaker faith and practice; readings and discussion of Quaker history and testimonies; personal spiritual journeys; prayer and meditation; topics on grief, death, and dying; our involvement in social justice events, as well as shared reflections on our spiritual experience. Please go to our event calendar to look for upcoming sessions. 

The AUDITORS conduct an annual audit of the Treasurer’s records and report to Meeting for Business in November. Annual Reports available upon request.

CHILD CARE is responsible for ensuring that children from age six months until Kindergarten (or when they move into the First Day School program) are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment while their parents attend meeting for worship. Committee members recruit the child care professional and volunteer helpers, assuring that all those who work with young people in the Meeting follow guidelines in the Youth Safety Policy. (Volunteers must have have attended BFM for at least six months.)  The committee meets as needed. 

FELLOWSHIP & HOSPITALITY keeps hospitality supplies in stock and coordinates with committees responsible (on a rotating basis) providing hospitality after Meetings for Worship, and potlucks on the second Sunday of most months. It provides hospitality for special occasions, such as memorial meetings. It meets as needed. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at Spring Fling in April, and at the rise of Meeting and the Pageant in December. Please click here to see the Hospitality Instructions. 

FRIENDLY EIGHTS [laid down] was set up to organize opportunities to meet others who attend BFM. The structure is for adults or families with children to meet for fellowship over a simple shared meal in groups of eight on a rotating basis. In January 2017, the committee was laid down due to other opportunities to engage with BFM Friends.

LIBRARY is responsible for the acquisition, care, and circulation of the Meeting’s books and videos. It meets as needed, about every six weeks. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in February. Click here for details on How to Use the Library. To see the 2016 report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee, please click here.

LITERATURE/BOOK TABLE friends organize the book table display and sales at the rise of Meeting three Sundays per month, September through June, and occasionally during summer months. They offer a special holiday book gift table during November and December.  It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in February.

OUTREACH & COMMUNICATION (O&C) welcomes newcomers and visitors, helps them connect with Meeting community activities, and furthers community-building activities. It manages BFM publications, the List Serve, the website, and the online member software system. It hosts Getting to One Know Each Other gatherings and a newcomers table at potluck. The O&C Committee meets on the third Sunday of the month at 9:30 a.m. in the Teachers’ Lounge. In July, it provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck. [Until 2017, the committee was called Advancement & Outreach.] The Diversity Change Group, which moved under the auspices of O&C in 2020, hopes to focus on queries, actions, and conversations in support of Spirit-motivated inner changes, which could serve as a foundation to support the other ways the Meeting responds to the opportunities of anti-racism work at BFM. 

PEACE & SOCIAL JUSTICE furthers prospects for peace by deepening the Meeting’s engagement in peace building and social justice and by empowering all of us as individuals. Advocacy, education, vigils, and financial support of community groups are among the ways the committee pursues its mission as well as through its liaison with the American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker UN Office, and other like-minded groups. It designates the Social Concerns Box each month. The committee is self-constituted with Nominating being attentive to its membership. There are no term limits. It meets the fourth Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting in May. In 2015, the Environmental Sustainability Group was formed under the auspices of P&SJ. In 2017, the Helping Refugees Group was formed under the auspices of P&SJ.  

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (ADULT) is known as ARE (Adult Religious Education). Please see the description that is listed alphabetically above under "A."

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (CHILDREN & YOUTH) offers First Day School (FDS) classes during the school year to help young people grow in faith and understanding about Quaker testimonies. demonstrate Quaker Values & Leadership. It organizes the Christmas Celebration. It recruits teachers and volunteers, assuring that all those who work with young people in the Meeting follow guidelines in the Youth Safety Policy. In partnership with Ministry and Worship, the committee helps organize parent discussion groups and opportunities to deepen connections between families and the life of the Meeting.  It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in March. 

STEWARDSHIP & FINANCE is responsible for preparing the annual budget, raising the funds to meet the approved budget, providing guidance and support to the Treasurer, and ensuring proper care and use of Meeting investments and property. It meets monthly, and provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in September. Budget materials are available upon request. 

Tips for Committee Clerks

  • A detailed Committee Resource Guide can be found toward the end of the BFM directory
  • Clerks of committees are reminded that copies of the minutes of all committee meetings should be given to the BFM co-clerks and the archivist (Susan K.)
  • To schedule an event at Meeting, contact Jane M. C. to be sure there isn’t something else scheduled at the same time. It is important to decide about events and (including when committees will meet) before the newsletter deadline of the 13th of every month except July, i.e., events in October by September 13.
  • Many of the newly constituted committees have already met to welcome new members. Please be mindful that some folks are new to committee work or new to our Meeting and will be especially appreciative of outreach and welcome. On the other hand, if you find some people who have been nominated to serve and now find they are unable to, please let the clerks of the Nominating Committee know, especially if you are hoping for a replacement. It would also be helpful to inform the Clerks of the Meeting.
  • Take time to consider how to make participation on committees a nurturing experience for all, including plans for the coming year, the committee’s priorities, and what might be laid down, shared more widely with the larger meeting, or done differently in a more spirit-led way. Please see the Committee Resource Guide beginning on page 43 of the 2021 Directory. It has answers to 19 different frequently asked questions about committee responsibilities and the role of committee clerks.
  • The following queries for decision-making were approved at the July Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. Please consider them when making decisions in your committees.

        How might our pending decision reflect underlying biases and risk a negative impact?  - To what extent are privilege, class, stereotypes, and other biases unwittingly affecting this decision making process?  If carried out, how might this decision impact adversely those who have been harmed or marginalized by systemic or interpersonal racist behavior? 

        In what ways would our decision promote racial opportunity and equity? -  What opportunities does this decision provide to those harmed or marginalized by racist behavior or systems?  How else would this decision promote racial equity and/or diversity and inclusion?

(BELOW) Peace & Social Justice Committee and the children's First Day School classes
sponsor a work day at A Wider Circle

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends
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