News & Special Events

Candlelight Service at Valley Friends Meeting

Annual Valley Friends Meeting Candlelight Service was held December 19, 2021.

Our Annual Peace & Remembrance Candle Lighting Service will include lighting candles, singing carols, and visiting in fellowship over finger foods.
Our Annual Peace & Remembrance Candle Light Service included lighting candles, sharing blessings and memories and singing.

VFM  Annual Candlelight Service
Sunday, December 19 at 5pm at the Meeting House

As we gather in silence on the approach of the Winter Solstice, Friends will be invited to light a candle in celebration of the Light within and the miracle of Christmas.

We will conclude indoors with several instrumental selections by Friends, Dave Pruett (guitar), Clara Bortolot (violin) and Ed Brantmeier (flute).

Weather permitting, we will continue our celebration around a campfire with s’mores and hot cider.

Please Bring

  • An unscented candle and holder
  • A mask to wear indoors
  • 8-10 small treats (food must be wrapped except nuts in shells or citrus fruit)
  • 8-10 simple holiday greetings (signed)

These treats and holiday notes will be placed in bags for each Friend to take home and to give to Friends who were unable to attend.

This special service is free and open to the public. Our Covid-19 practices will be in place.

One Minute for Earth Video Series

A series of one-minute videos, with new videos introduced daily, each of a local community member talking about their personal connection and involvement with the environment. These Central Shenandoah Valley residents also tell why it is important to them to vote for candidates with the best pro-environment stand. This non-partisan community collaboration is sponsored by Earth Day Every Day of Harrisonburg and Climate Action Alliance of the Valley. All videos are captioned and available free 24 hours a day through November 3. Watch the videos at this site:

FGC Gathering at Radford

Are You Registered For FGC Gathering?

2020 FGC Gathering: June 28-July 4, 2020
Radford University, Radford, VA

Registration starts April 1, 2020.

Way Will Open

Learn about how “way opens,” Quakers, and the larger community. Experience the excitement. You know you want to be there.

“Way is opening for life-changing workshops, inspiring speakers, a spirit-filled youth program, music and movement, dance and art and films and book talks, and worship…especially worship.”

~excerpted from the FGC brochure

JW Spear, Sr. Obituary

Jo-Walter Spear, Sr.

JW Spear, Sr.
JW Spear, Sr.

November 3, 1942—March 1, 2020

Jo-Walter Spear, Sr., known to many as “JW,” died peacefully in his home on March 1, 2020.

JW Exuded Love

He was born to Joseph G. Spear and Miriam (Davis) Spear i n Salem, NJ on November 3, 1942. He inherited his father’s devilish wit and mother’s grace and a love for all people. He had a silver tongue, a ready smile, and usually a joke or two for anyone with the time to chat. His warmth and congeniality was a magnet that drew in everyone he met. His best friend and wife, Faith (Ford) Spear, was unable to resist his charm for 54 years.

Education & Employment

Jo graduated from Pennsville HIgh School and went on to receive a biology degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He used his captivating gift for communication to teach elementary and high schools in Elsinboro, Olivet, and Vineland, NJ before finding his true calling in solid waste engineering.

He founded a successful business, JSA Environmental, Solid Waste Management Consultants, in 1997, while continuing to honor his love for teaching. He taught solid waste engineering at MSCE Midwest College of Engineering in Chicago and MSOE Milwaukee School of Engineering and was a member and certified instructor of SWANA Solid Waste Association of North America.


Most recently, Jo served on the Lewis Creek Watershed Commission in Staunton, VA. He was a Federal Emergency Management Association certified instructor of disaster debris management.

He was always eager to share his knowledge of environmental management practices. Jo’s love of teaching extended into his weekends and evenings as he was a lifelong member of the Religious Society of Friends and a member of Valley Friends Meeting in Dayton, VA. He taught at the Friend’s Meeting whenever the opportunity presented itself. Leading groups of young Friends brought joy and meaning to his life.

Jo served with pride on the board of MICAH, Milwaukee Intercity Alliance of Churches for Hope during his time in Milwaukee, WI. He was active in Meeting and served on various committees throughout his long tenure as a Friend.

Bringing People Together

Jo believed strongly in equality and representation for all people. He enjoyed volunteering his time to promote causes that would bring people together or shed light on inequalities. He believed in community, cooperation, and inclusion. Jo was an initial organizer of the Bridges International Potluck in Harrisonburg, VA, bringing people of all cultures and backgrounds together for meals and laughs.

Listening, Loving, Laughing

Where Jo really shined was anytime he was with the important people in his life. He could make anyone, friend or family, feel like the most important person in the room. He was a listener and a thinker and a teller of tales. He was strong, but tender, fun-loving, but dignified, and always dedicated to his loving wife, Faith, who will forever miss him. He will also be missed by his sons, Jo-Walter Spear, Jr. and Fritz Flynn; daughter, Morgen Flynn; and his cherished granddaughter, Erin Faith Flynn. The family says no one will ever make them laugh quite the same way, but they will continue to joke and tell stories as he would have wanted.

Nonprofit Support

Jo’s favorite nonprofits were Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley and Southern Environmental Law Center.

Celebration of Life

Valley Friends Meeting will hold a celebration of Jo’s life at the meetinghouse, 363 High Street, Dayton, VA on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 11 am (one-hour service), to be followed by a light potluck lunch and an ice cream social. All are welcome. Please bring a dish to share, or simply show up and enjoy the camaraderie, but please do not forget your smile and your sense of humor.

2020 SPI Scholarship Recipients

Valley Friends Meeting Provides Two Scholarships for Peace in 2020

In 2020, Valley Friends Meeting chose two applicants to receive peace building scholarships to Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI). A total of $2,250 in scholarships was awarded to Josephine Santiago of San Francisco, California and Maha Mehanna of Palestine.

For the past eleven years, VFM has supported peace builders attending EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Recipients have come from around the world, including Australia, Burundi, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korean and United States.

To learn more about the scholarship, visit: EMU Summer peacebuilding institute valley friends scholarship

For more information, contact

VFM Awards Three Peace Building Scholarships | Discusses Peace

Valley Friends Supports Peace, Awarding Three Peace Building Scholarships in 2019

In 2019, Valley Friends Meeting chose three applicants to receive peace building scholarships to Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. A total of $3,000 was awarded to Eunkyung Ahn, Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth Po, three global peace makers.

All three recipients will share their peace building experiences in free discussions at the Valley Friends Meetinghouse, 363 High Street, Dayton, Virginia.

Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth Po, global peace activists from Australia, will discuss the implications of their Summer Peacebuilding Institute studies on their work with the UN, Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty having just attended the conference prior to coming to Virginia. Their presentation will be held Sunday, May 19, at the VFM meetinghouse, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Eunkyung Ahn, a teacher and peace builder from South Korea, is attending the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR 1) program. Ms. Ahn will discuss her peace building activities in a presentation on Sunday, May 26, at the VFM meetinghouse, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm. The discussion is free and open to the public.

For the past ten years, VFM has supported peace builders attending EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Recipients have come from around the world, including Australia, Burundi, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korean and United States.

To learn more about the scholarship, visit: EMU Summer peacebuilding institute valley friends scholarship

For more information, contact

Guest Speaker April 28, 2019: Jerry Knutsen

Valley Friends Meeting to Host Guest Speaker: Jerry Knutsen

VFM’s April 28, 2019 Worship & Second Hour Discussion will be led by Special Guest, Jerry Knutsen, author of “Individual Spiritual Discernment: Receiving, Testing, Implementing Leadings from a Higher Power,” Pendlehill Pamphlet #443.

This pamphlet presents—in a kind of how-to format—methods for receiving individual spiritual guidance; testing the guidance using methods that give both reliable and ambiguous results; and implementing the guidance. The pamphlet concludes with suggestions on using spiritual disciplines to build a better relationship with a Higher Power. Discussion questions included. ~ Amazon

Join Valley Friends Meeting in reflective Meeting for Worship at 10 AM followed by a discussion of spiritual discernment on Sunday, April 28. For more information, email

2017 Candle Light Service December 17

Annual Candle Lighting Service at Valley Friends MeetingOur Candle Lighting service will be held on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. at the Meetinghouse.

This is one of the most cherished services Valley Friends Meeting holds each year. We hope you can be there.

Please remember to bring a candle in a holder to light and feel free to share a message, remembrance, etc.  Also, please bring a plate of finger food to share after the service.


Silent Peace Vigil at Dayton Days

Peace and Doves imageValley Friends Meeting
Holds Silent Peace Vigil

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, during the Dayton Days Autumn Celebration, the Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends held space in their booth for a Silent Peace Vigil.

Friends sat in silence with others, praying for peace. We lifted up our silent prayers to help the world heal and bring healing to those who suffer.

Valley Friends also offered respite from chaos during the day in their meeting house, located at 363 High Street, Dayton. People were invited to stop by the meeting house for tea or joinin our Silent Peace Vigil at our booth at the Autumn Celebration.

FREE. Everyone welcome.


Join Us for Quaking Saturday


Peace and Doves imageSinging for Peace, Saturday, November 11, 2017, 7-8:30 PM

Everyone welcome. The Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting will host “Singing for Peace, Songs of Peace and Light,” an evening for one and all to sing songs around the campfire and pray for peace. Join us at 363 High Street, Dayton, around the campfire behind the meeting house. Light refreshments provided. Help us lift our voices for peace. FREE.


Intergenerational Games Night
Intergenerational Games Night!

Intergenerational Games Night, Saturday, October 14, 2017, 7-8:30 PM

Everyone welcome. Family games night at the Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting, 363 High Street, Dayton. Light refreshments provided. Come join us. FREE.