FreQUENTLY Asked Questions
How long has Arlington Friends House been a cooperative?
About fifteen years.
Are all members Quakers?
No; the number has varied over time. Currently two of our six residents are Friends.
Are you active politically?
Individually, we subscribe to a number of causes and do volunteer work, but we don’t have an affiliation as a household.
Does the house host outside groups?
We sometimes hold events here that our residents are involved in — book groups, potlucks, committee meetings, writing workshops, singing groups, etc.
Do you ever have people live with you short-term?
Yes, occasionally, if we have space while we’re looking for long-term housemates. We’ve also used our parlor or our library to put up travellers and friends of the household.
Do residents have guests overnight?
Yes. Relatives, out-of-town guests, and significant others are welcome, as long as we let each other know about visitors in advance.
How do you decide practical questions like food policies or furnishings for the house?
We discuss them in house meetings, using the model of Friends Meeting for Business.
What is the Friends model?
It resembles consensus, but with a spiritual basis. Quakers take it on faith that we’re meant to work to-gether rather than against each another: that we’re seeking a higher good, not just individual comfort. In discussion we listen thoughtfully; everyone is heard. The goal is not expressing personal preferences, but finding what's best for the entire community.
Is there a leader?
We rotate the job of facilitating, or "clerking." The clerk keeps the meeting on track, invites each member to speak in turn, and takes notes.
Do you vote after discussion?
No. If an issue really divides us, then we aren’t ready to move ahead. We need to wait and seek more clarity. However, this problem is rare. People who choose to live here tend to want the best for each other.