Adelphi Friends Meeting Interchange Reports

The text of Adelphi Friends Meeting reports in the Interchange are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

  Fall 2011 Interchange
Winter 2012 Interchange Spring 2012 Interchange  
Winter 2013 Interchange Spring 2013 Interchange  
  Spring 2016 Interchange  

Spring 2016 Interchange

On Saturday, June 4, Adelphi Friends Meeting will hold its 2016 Strawberry Festival from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at 2303 Metzerott Road in Adelphi, Maryland (between Riggs Road and Adelphi Road). The Strawberry Festival is a long-standing community event and day of fun for the whole family. Annual traditions include a live-entertainment stage, outdoor grilled-food tent, indoor cafe, tie-dye booth, and sale of quarts and flats of just-picked strawberries from Oak Grove Farm in southern Pennsylvania. The large rummage sale is a major attraction, with additional areas for silent auction, clothing, jewelry, plants, and a full room of used books. In recent years the children’s area has featured a bounce house, train rides, face painting, and games. Come for the fun and leave with great bargain purchases of clothes, electronics, books, and more. Join us as we celebrate the abundance of summer and the richness of our community! The Strawberry Festival is a rain or shine event. All profits are donated to charity. For more information see adelphifriends.org/strawberry or email John Stith.

Spring 2013 Interchange

Adelphi Friends Meeting Delivers Minute on LGBTQ Relationships

Meg Meyer, Clerk of Interim Meeting

During Interim Meeting at Little Britain Monthly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting received a minute from Adelphi Friends Meeting regarding their relationship with members and attenders who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. (LGBTQ). The Minute reads:


Adelphi Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends understands that God, who loves all people unconditionally, is leading the Meeting to honor the gender identity of each person, as that person determines it.

The reading of the Minute was followed by deep worship and profound conversation reminding Friends that our Meetings may not be actively engaged in welcoming gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals. We need to begin raising consciousness of the ways in which transgendered individuals are met at our Local Meetings.

Friends were reminded of the difficulties experienced by Meetings and individuals when first considering gay and lesbian welcomes in our midst. Many Meetings have formally expressed welcome to gays and lesbians, but perhaps not even discussed the matter since that welcome. Other Meetings have changed their statements to welcome bi-sexual individuals and, sometimes, transgendered individuals. However, Meetings may not have been active in greeting individuals who come to Meeting for Worship or welcoming them into Meeting activities. And Meetings are very unlikely to have had the personal experience of knowing a person as he or she undertakes the process of changing their gender identity.

Adelphi Friends Meeting has had that experience. A long-time member of the Meeting, supported by family, has changed gender identity. The whole Meeting is part of the process and continues to welcome the family. This experience has provided an awareness that welcoming transgendered individuals isn’t as hard as it might have seemed it would be.

Adelphi Friends Meeting has approved a Travel Minute for its member, Chloe Schwenke, to meet with people of faith about the transgender phenomenon. Chloe has been trained by the Human Rights Campaign and has been reaching out to faith groups and schools for some time. She is willing to come to a Meeting for a second hour or a short workshop. Chloe may be reached at chloemaryland@gmail.com or 301-448-2953. Members of Adelphi are also willing to talk with Meetings about their experience.


Winter 2013 Interchange

At Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business on January 13, Adelphi Friends Meeting approved the following minute:

Adelphi Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends understands that God, who loves all people unconditionally, is leading the Meeting to honor the gender identity of each person, as that person determines it.

In addition to welcoming transgender persons to worship with us, in 2009 our Meeting supported a Friend and her family through her gender transition as she claimed her wholeness as a woman. Our testimonies of equality and community confirm that when we embrace that of God in everyone, including the full spectrum of gender identities in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enriched.

Every person should be able to live out fully what the Spirit is leading them to be. Adelphi will be an affirming, safe, and nurturing place for everyone. We extend our loving care to all transgender persons, and their families and friends, who seek to share our Quaker spiritual journey and corporate life.

Jen and Lexi Chapin-Smith were married for a second time under the care of Adelphi Friends Meeting Jan. 5. While they have already been married under the care of the Meeting for six years, this wedding was the first in the state of Maryland for Quakers under the new same-sex marriage laws. Long-time member Bob Auerbach was the subject of a news obituary, with photo, in the Washington Post Dec. 28. Bob led a remarkable life of peacemaking dating to World War II and was actively engaged in that cause at the time of his death.

Following nearly three years of discernment, Adelphi closed one chapter in its consideration of how to upgrade the facilities at its Adelphi campus, with the a report from Friend and architect Miche Booz and Associates. Its findings may be relevant to Friends now or in future consideration similar undertakings, and is on the Meeting’s website.


Spring 2012 Interchange

Friends Community School, which is under the care of AFM, reported the largest enrollment ever—210 students—with kindergarten, sixth and seventh grades now the most likely points of entry. The school preparing for the upcoming visit from an accreditation committee. A Quaker family has stepped forward to provide partial financial aid to any AFM member child attending FCS.

First Day School classes shared a seder March 25, telling the story of Israelites suffering to win their freedom from slavery. The annual Easter Egg hunt for young and younger friends “rolled” out again this year. Adult Religious Education Committee organized a second hour April 1 on Jesus—a sharing of what members/attenders viewed as their relationship to Jesus and how/if AFM addressed and respected the diversity of views on Jesus. AFM members/attenders volunteers helped organize the 27th Annual Maryland Peace and Justice Conference.

Following nearly a year of discernment, and recommendation made at November business meeting, the ad hoc committee considering AFM’s relationship with FUM approved the following epistle.

To Friends Everywhere,

We at Adelphi Monthly Meeting are deeply concerned that there are Friends in any Meeting or Quaker organization who cannot be honest about their intimate relationships and know that they are honored and fully included in their worship and work communities. Such a condition diminishes not just those relationships, but all in the community as we endeavor to minister to one another. We witness to our conviction that every person should be able to live out fully what God is leading them to do in their lives.

The Spirit that resonates in our souls is one that affirms love, that celebrates love, that rejoices in the presence of love. When we embrace that of God in everyone, including the full richness of the loving relationships in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enhanced.

After laboring for almost a decade, Adelphi Monthly Meeting approved a minute affirming same-sex marriage in 1991. We have done our best to welcome equally gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and heterosexual Friends into the life of our Meeting. The first same-sex marriage under Adelphi’s care was celebrated in 2006. After twenty years, Adelphi’s policy on same-sex marriages continues to feel Spirit-led.

We of varied sexual orientations and gender identities worship together and accomplish the committee work of our monthly Meeting. We raise our children and minister to one another in the wide variety of ways that the Spirit leads us. Our Meeting recognizes “the Light in all sincere, loving, supportive relationships, which are characterized by growth and in which faith, hope, love, and truth abide.” Although we do the work of community imperfectly, we have all been blessed by the open, accepting, and loving atmosphere of our Meeting.

Adelphi works hard to be a welcoming place for young people from our monthly and yearly Meetings. We owe our youth the guarantee that Adelphi be a safe place where our community will defend their basic human rights, including their right to have responsible loving relationships without discrimination of any sort.

Our lives are better for this. We are grateful for the gifts each member brings to our faith community. We have been uplifted by the openness with which our children accept differences.

Our Meeting is now considering whether we have a corporate leading to organize a gathering for Friends with a concern for the loving inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning Friends in their meetings and within the wider circle of Friends. Perhaps there are other Meetings or individuals with similar leadings. We would like to hear from you.

We treasure our kinship with all Friends. We have genuine, heartfelt connections to Friends and Meetings around the world. We have built relationships by worshipping and working together, by sojourning and through visitation. We are filled with hope that, through continuing dialogue within the wider Quaker community, we can come to an understanding that allows us to walk gently over the earth, answering that of God in every person and slighting none.

This is our experience. This is our witness.


Winter 2012 Interchange

Adelphi Friends Meeting continued its concern over the issue of BYM resuming financial support of FUM in light of FUM’s policies on same-sex relationships among Friends, with plans in 2012 to address its seasoned thoughts to the wider Quaker world. Meeting continued as well in its deliberations on what changes might improve the physical property at its Adelphi campus, as well continue reviewing the possibility of relocating the Meeting.

Adelphi Friends have taken an active role in the Occupy Washington movement, with particular contributions form Young Friends, some of whom have served in leadership and peacemaking roles at the site. The life of meeting continued with Friends actively supporting grass roots projects in Haiti, with some members/attenders active in efforts in Annapolis to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, and with others addressing the critical effects of the Citizens United consitutiional amendment effort.

Michael Newheart returned from a month-long sojourn in Kenya among Friends. Ken Leonard and family moved to Tanzania through August to study economic improvement issues. Mary Ellsberg and Michael Levi returned from visiting Friends in Kenya as part of Mary’s work on behalf women in Africa. Assuming the clerkship as of January 1 were Jade Eaton, with Michael Levi assuming assistant clerk responsibilities.


Fall 2011 Interchange

photo by Robert Duncan

Adelphi Young Friends Travel to Mexico

Ray Lane, Adelph Friends Meeting
Some Young Friends, one of their parents and one of their First Day School teachers joined a neighborhood service trip to build houses with the Mexican service organization, Esperanza. The neighborhood group began organizing in January for the trip which was July 15 to 23, 2011. The first task was fundraising. Individual letters requesting donations, a share of the profits one night at a local restaurant, a Mexican Dinner cooked by the teens held at the Adelphi meetinghouse and a grant from the Adelphi Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee accumulated more than was needed.

The funds went to pay for airline tickets, food for the week and a $300 donation for each participant to the Esperanza loan fund, which Mexican families borrow from to buy the building materials. The next task was preparation. The group met once a month to coordinate purchase of airline tickets, to learn how to work as a group and to study the social and cultural background of the neighborhood where we would be working. The town of La Gloria where Esperanza is located and other small towns in the hills above Tijuana are deeply affected by the Macheladoras (US owned factories that have sprung up since NAFTA) and by the continuous stream of immigrants moving North and deportees moving South. We did research and played role-playing games to gain a better understanding of these issues.

Finally the day came; we were off to Tijuana. The team-building paid off as we moved from plane to van to trolley to footbridge over the border and finally to the Esperanza bus without lagging or separating. After a day of rest we rode the bus to the job site. The homeowner, her sister and two daughters were waiting for us with broad smiles, but our faces weren’t so bright as we stared from the pile of building material up a long flight of uneven stairs to the place where the cement addition was to be built. The teenagers don’t know how to worry about hard work so they just dug right in. Before we knew it we were passing heavy five gallon buckets of sloppy wet cement one after another from the mixer on the street to the new floor 20 feet above. Our group was so strong and enthusiastic that the director of Esperanza, Eduardo, sent us to another job where the volunteers were all adults.

After we arrived at the site, he stopped the bucket line, pulled out the tired volunteers and replaced them with our crew. Then he said, “Fill the buckets fuller, we need to move cement faster if this floor is going to be set properly.” The tired volunteers got a rest and the camaraderie with the other group that shared the living space at Esperanza with us made the week even more fun.

The greatest reward came at the end of the week when Eduardo organizes a sharing circle on the job site. All the volunteers, the Esperanza staff and the families who have worked side by side with us and cooked lunch for us all week have a time to individually express to the group what it meant to work on this home or have people generously contribute to the home they will live in. The sharing this year was particularly special because one of the adult women from our group is fluent in Spanish. During the week, when she took a break from shoveling or passing buckets, she carried on a conversation with the women of the family (the men are off at work so we never see them). Based on the rapport she gained we were drawn closer to our hosts and they felt more comfortable with us. After one of the local women shared deeply from her heart, Eduardo said to me on the side, “She has never spoken to an American group before.” We returned to our homes in Maryland enriched by the experience and committed to continue doing all we could to raise living standards and build the neighborhood of the world.

The year has been eventful, as we rejoiced in three weddings under the care of Meeting, and a fourth wedding in the manner of Friends. We continued offering new attendees and the curious a primer of Quakerism called Q101, a look at the processes, testimonies and history of Friends. The six Wednesday evening sessions took place at Friends Community School, where new families and new children are being drawn to examine the mystery and joys of the RSF.

Too, this June the school and AFM celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Friends Community School with Meeting for Worship, music, games, cake and much merriment with founders and families dating back to the days the school began in the meeting room of AFM. Jane Manring, FCS’s first head, came all the way from her retirement home in Maine to celebrate, and inaugurated a peace garden installed to honor her service.

Friends created ad hoc committees to support the tuition of one poor child at Haiti’s oldest girls school. Some Friends acted to raised funds and purchase supplies to send to Haiti’s needy population, while others sold Haitian coffee at meeting and elsewhere in support of rural Haitian communities. Another ad hoc committee was begun in search of a communal response by Adelphi Friends Meeting to the on-going tragedy in the Horn of Africa. David Zaremka of the African Great Lakes Project visited to share stories and sign copies of his new book on peacemaking in Africa.

Meeting continued its search for ways to upgrade, renovate, build or move Adelphi Friends Meeting in light of the physical needs of the buildings. A building fund was created, a search for experts and architects is being considered as the three-years-and-growing effort moves forward. Finally, stepping down following completion of his term of service is Meeting Clerk Chase Clement, who will be followed by Jade Eaton beginning January 1, 2012.