In-person Soup Kitchen Returns

Several times a year our Meeting hosts a Soup Kitchen at Genesis Church in Royal Oak. During the height of COVID we were only offering meals to-go. At our October 28th offering, we were back to face-to-face meal service, as well as take-out. We offered a menu of spaghetti and meatballs with green beans and salad and homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We also re-instituted the distribution of hand-made colorful winter hats.

Many members and attenders from our meeting helped make the event happen. Here’s some photos from the day.

Golden Rule Peace Boat Visits SE Michigan

In 1958, Quaker anti-nuclear weapons activists were arrested to stop the Golden Rule from sailing to obstruct atmospheric U.S. nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Resulting protests lead to the passage of the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, halting atmospheric testing. The Golden Rule and her crew inspired the later actions by the ships of Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds. A short film about the boat’s history entitled Making Waves was shown at this year’s Lake Erie Yearly Meeting along with a visit and discussion with Skip Oliver from Veterans for Peace.

The 34-foot wooden ketch is sailing on a 15-month voyage around the “Great Loop” of the central, southern and eastern United States, making 100 ports-of-call to raise awareness about the growing danger of nuclear war and to build support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The Golden Rule is a national project of Veterans For Peace, which owns the boat.

Schedule of Events in Our Region

On August 13th-17th, the Peace Boat visits SE Michigan, docking at Milliken State Park & Harbor, 1900 Atwater Street. Tours of the Golden Rule on August 14, 15, and 16 at William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor will be available from 11 am to 4 pm ( Along with festivities and talks in Detroit on August 13th and 16th, the crew will give early evening presentations in Ann Arbor on August 14th and in Lansing at the Red Cedar Friends Meeting House August 15th. See image below for additional details. For a full schedule of activities visit

Also, according to local Michigan organizers from Veterans for Peace Chapters 74 in Detroit and 93 in Ypsilanti, there is a real need of donations to keep the Golden Rule operating and also to help pay for expenses associated with the Detroit stop (lodging, local transportation, meals, etc.). Tax deductible donations can be made at For more information about the Southeast Michigan visit, contact Jim Rine at

To see the full schedule of planned events on the great loop trip and to track the Golden Rule in real time, visit the Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project website. To find out how you can help the project visit the How You Can Help page.

Birthday Potluck with Phil Clampitt

BFM Friends recently enjoyed a good time celebrating Phil Clampitt’s 93rd birthday at a potluck held at Joyce Bowen’s home. We’re getting back to regular potlucks on the 3rd Friday of each month, and as luck would have it, our event fell on Phil’s birthday! The food was good, as usual, and the chocolate cake got rave reviews.

BFM Participates in Story Tree Project

Friends in Birmingham Friends Meeting worked together to produce a quick visual introduction to our Meeting as part of this year’s Lake Erie Yearly Meeting annual sessions. The Story Tree Project invited Monthly Meetings from across our region to create something to share during the opening session where Friends get to know each other. All the contributions were compiled into a LEYM Story Tree Gallery that can be view online whenever one is so moved.

Birmingham Friends enjoyed getting into our history, even uncovering an old audio recording wherein several Friends (Ginny Carhart, Janet Hawksley and Richard Tucker) reminisced about the early days of BFM. Thanks to the skills of Liz Bondar, we now even have a transcript of that recording. Who knew that at one point in our history, there were 4 people all named Rachel attending our MFW!

Trying out Hybrid Meetings

This Sunday, May 1, BFM Friends will be meeting in-person AND online to test our ability to meet in a truly hybrid format. The physical location is the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce (address below), and the remote Zoom link will be the same one we use every First Day, assuming all works as planned! We hope to have a mix of in-person and online participants to give our system a real test. Join us at 10:15 AM – we’ll settle into silent worship at 10:30.

May 1 Physical Location:
Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce
200 S Washington St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

Later in the month, on May 22, we are also planning for a Hybrid session, this time at our old meeting location at Star Presbyterian Church at the location below. We’ll use our regular Zoom link.

May 22 Physical Location:

Starr Presbyterian Church
1717 W. 13 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Holiday Cookie Exchange

To spice up the 2021 holiday season, BFM Friends decided to do a cookie exchange. Friends took a batch of their favorite homemade cookies to the Bowen’s home, and later in return they received a lovely variety pack of delicious cookies. After the rise of our online Meeting for Worship on December 12th we took time to share stories about the cookie recipes and various family holiday traditions and favorite memories. We also enjoyed carol singing with accompaniment on guitar. A good time was had by all!

Some BFM Friends gather to collect their holiday cookies

The Quaker Way – A Rhyme by Geoff

At a recent Meeting for Worship, Geoff Brieger shared this impromptu rhyme.

The Quaker Way

We twelve Quakers from Birmingham see
Sitting in circle, waiting to be
Blessed with insight in these fraught times
Still small voice, just speaking in rhymes

Can we find ways to better the life
Of the many that live in strife
Live in hunger, live without home
Live without hope, to diseases are prone?

Yes, we can, for we know it’s true
There’s that of God in me and you
And that makes us all one family
And we’ll care for each other in unity

Bring to the table some of your food
Bring some clothing that is good
If you have space, some shelter provide
Counsel the needy, take others inside

These are the actions, what we can do
Just having beliefs is not coming through
Friends have a mission, as you will see
To share our good fortune, whatever it be!

BFM Participates in LEYM Intervisitation Day

Birmingham Friends Meeting (BFM) is affiliated with a broader group of Quakers known as the Lake Erie Yearly Meeting. As part of Annual Sessions this year, LEYM Friends were invited to use Zoom to visit other meetings for their Meeting for Worship on August 1. BFM joined with 6 other meetings to open our virtual doors to visitors, and to encourage virtual travel to worship at meetings other than our own. Here’s the Monthly Meetings that participated in the wonderful opportunity for intervisitation.

  • Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
  • Birmingham Friends Meeting
  • Broadmead Friends Meeting
  • Detroit Friends Meeting
  • Granville Friends Meeting
  • Pittsburgh Friends Meeting
  • Wooster Friends Meeting
Lake Erie Yearly Meetings with Birmingham Friends Meeting highlighted