Our History

The following is a list of our speakers and topics since we began meeting in November, 2004. For complete minutes of the meetings from October 2007 through April 2011, click here.

November 14, 2004
A group of 40-50 activists from the Kerry campaign in Fauquier County, Virginia got together for a pot luck supper less than two weeks after the 2004 elections. Many were crushed at the outcome of the election, but the consensus of the meeting was a desire to move forward, to rise as a phoenix from the ashes, and to build hope for a better future.

November 21, 2004
Two weeks after the first meeting, we met again. The brainstorming that took place at that meeting predicted much of the next two years. Here are some concepts that were generated as we considered our focus:

diversity – representing the majority – speak up! – objectives – network – honest – outreach – inclusive – Democrat – Independent – proud – liberal – progressive – freedom – moral – American – grassroots – truth – New Democrat – compassionate – politically active – constitutional rights – civil liberty – change – choice – moderate – living wage – heatlh care – informed education – pro-values – positive – solution searching – THINK – media savvy – activist – life support

December 5, 2004
Our group took on definition. Our objectives were defined as: exchange of information; discuss political activities; listen to invited candidates; learn to organize grassroots efforts. And an overriding principle was that each member’s input would be valued and protected. It was decided to use temporarily the name “Sunday Supper Club” – a name that would not be limiting and that would invite people of all perspectives. The name stuck! Our goal was to make a difference in our community through Education, Discussion, and Action!

January 9, 2005
The Sunday Supper Club would meet on the second Sunday of each month (continuing at the home of Linda and Neil Swanson), and it was decided that we would launch a web site. By the end of January, sundaysupperclub.org was up and running!

February 13, 2005
Fauquier County School Board members Sally Murray and Don Rose came to speak with us. They approached the issue of the third high school in Fauquier County from vastly different political perspectives and we had a lively and fruitful exchange about a critical local issue.

February 27, 2005
The Sunday Supper Club study group met to view and discuss the documentary OUTFOXED.

March 13, 2005
We met in a new location for the first of four meetings, the firehouse in The Plains, VA. Linda Swanson presented “Elections 101” which explained the political structures we live in and the upcoming elections. Karen White of the Afro-American Historical Association and Robert Walker of the Fauquier NAACP spoke about the upcoming joing project of SSC and their organizations to show the 14-part PBS series “Eyes on the Prize” at the AAHA museum.

April 3, 2005
The SSC study group met to view a DVD produced by the ACLU – Unconstitutional: A War on Our Civil Liberties, and discussed the Patriot Act.

April 10, 2005
Our guest speaker was Al Weed, candidate for Congress from Virginia’s 5th congressional district in the 2004 election. He opened our eyes to the challenges that can face progressive candidates in many areas of Virginia.

April 24, 2005
The SSC study group met to view the documentary CORPORATION, which was quite long, leaving little time for discussion but providing much food for thought.

May 8, 2005
Shawn O’Donnell from Fredericksburg presented a preview of his soon-to-be-published book, Rebuilding the Democratic Party from the Grassroots. It was another wake-up call to do better in upcoming elections and a challenge to local Democratic committees. (Shawn would soon become candidate for Congress from VA’s first congressional district.) Amy Reger, a representative of the Tim Kaine for Governor campaign, also spoke with us.

May 22, 2005
The SSC study group met to view the documentary about historian Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

June 12, 2005
It was decided to move the meetings back to Warrenton to the Swanson’s home. Our speaker on this occasion was vice-chair of the Fauquier Democratic Committee, Conway Porter, who talked with us about growing up black in Fauquier and challenges that remain to full integration. We also organized to assist the Fauquier Dems with a booth at the country fair in July, and responded to requests for help from the Kaine for Governor campaign.

July 10, 2005
The SSC study group met to view another documentary, HIJACKING CATASTROPHE, a project on which one of our members, Kelly Alm, had worked. She spoke with us during our discussion.

August 14, 2005
We looked at the effects of climate change through viewing a DVD entitled “We are All Smith Islanders” which was produced by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. We also instituted the five-minute flash reports by attendees who used this venue to report on actions they had been taking during the previous month to help our community, or to announce upcoming events.

September 11, 2005
John Duemmel spoke to us about the Patriot Act. Huel Meadows talked with us about the Downing Street Memos and threats to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Lisa Richard reported on the Eyes on the Prize project. And we planned to have a group attend the upcoming Peace March in Washington, DC.

October 9, 2005
Gael Murphy, co-founder of CODE PINK, joined us to discuss her activism and her organization. A visit was planned to Congressman Frank Wolf’s office to discuss Iraq and the lies that took our country to war.

November 13, 2005
We celebrated our first birthday by having a report from David Carpio of the Tim Kaine for Governor campaign and by watching the video about Wal-mart – “The High Cost of Low Price.”

December 11, 2005
Gerry Eitner, Warrenton resident and founder of Communities for Peace, spoke to us about her work, and the Eyes on the Prize committee announced the formal schedule for viewing the series.

January 8, 2006
David Swanson, co-founder of afterdowningstreet.org, spoke with us about the importance of the Downing Street Memos. Laura Kitchen spoke with us about her work with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.

February 12, 2006
Our first cancellation – due to heavy snow!

March 12, 2006
Our guest speaker was high school student and founder of Equality Fauquier/Culpeper Tully Satre who talked with us about discrimination against gays and positive steps to take.

April 9, 2006
Democratic congressional candidate from the 10th district of Virginia, Dr. Judy Feder, came to speak with us about her campaign against Rep. Frank Wolf.

May 12, 2006
Harris Miller, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate from Virginia in the June primary, spoke with us about his vision for the future of Virginia and the US.

June 11, 2006
The other candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate from Virginia, Jim Webb, sent two representatives to speak with us about his campaign. We met for this meeting on the porch of Georgia Herbert’s historic home, Avenel. It was a beautiful setting for a very informative meeting.

July 9, 2006
Bill Day, one of our members, spoke to us about his recent visit to the Middle East. Andrea Martens, another of our members, spoke with us about the crucial vote on the Marshall-Newman amendment coming up in November – an amendment successfully misnamed “the gay marriage amendment” by its proponents.

August 13, 2006
David Waldman, known on the internet as Kagro X, came to speak with us about impeachment and his work as a freeway blogger for accountability.

September 9, 2006
This meeting was at the home of Bill Day. Sandy Alm arranged for Mike Medley, professor at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, to show a film and speak with us about a situation in Harrisonburg in which Kurdish immigrants had been ensnared in some of the more draconian provisions of the Patriot Act.

October 8, 2006
Ann O’Hanlon, chair of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Virginia chapter, led us in a very lively discussion of choice and how state committees function to block the progressive agenda. We also paused for a few moments to remember our dear friend and SSC founder, Huel Meadows, who had passed away in September.

November 12, 2006
Happy Second Birthday, SSC! A meeting for looking back and looking ahead. We were honored to have Shawn O’Donnell and his wife Drucilla with us just four days after he took 35 percent of the vote in District One. We laid out an ambitious agenda of topics to study and address in the coming year.

December 10, 2006
We were honored to have as our guest Leslie Byrne, former member of the Virginia House of Delegate, former Virginia State Senator, and former member of the United States Congress. Leslie also ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2005. She spoke to us about “The Politics of Division and Why the Republicans Lost Congress.”

January 14, 2007
Our guest speaker was one of our founding members, attorney and resident of The Plains, Georgia Herbert. Georgia, counsel for the Piedmont Environmental Council, was working with PEC and others to prevent the construction of the Dominion Electric power lines across Fauquier County. She came to educate us and to update us on the situation, as well as to offer suggestions for how people could get involved.

February 11, 2007
Our guest speaker was Susannah Goodman, a lobbyist on issues related to election reform and election security for Common Cause. This was one of the topics that came up on our second birthday because folks wanted to learn more about it.

March 11, 2007
We were privileged to have Kent Willis, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, as guest speaker. Serious concerns had frequently been raised at our meetings about the Patriot Act and many other policies and programs of the present administration that have abridged our rights and threatened our Constitution, and Kent addressed them all.

April 14, 2007
The Rev. Vinnie Lainson narrated the slide show many of us watched Al Gore narrate in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Vinnie, a long-time friend of the SSC, was selected to be one of 1000 people trained by Al Gore to become a Certified Climate Project Presenter and she chose to work with us to bring this critical information to the entire community at the Highland School Center for the Arts.

May 6, 2007
Two long-time Fauquier residents who had also been politically active in our community for many years, Mr. John Williams, member of the Warrenton Town Council, and Mr. Conway Porter, Vice-Chairman of the Fauquier Democratic Committee, spoke to us about Fauquier.

June 10, 2007
We hosted a friendly debate between Scott District Board of Supervisor candidates Holder Trumbo and Chuck Medvitz. All attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions of each candidate.

July 8, 2007
Our guest speakers were both running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the general election the coming November. This was not a debate since both candidates were running on the Democratic ticket, but Commander Carlos Del Toro and Bill Day explained their platforms and took questions from the SSC attendees.

August 12, 2007
This meeting featured a fascinating discussion of the Fauquier County Public School System by guest speaker Sandra Mitchell, Associate Superintendent for Instruction for the Fauquier County Public Schools.

September 9, 2007
Our featured speaker was the Honorable Senator Creigh Deeds, a member of the Virginia Senate and formerly candidate for Attorney General in 2005. He eventually lost that election by the closest margin in Virginia History, 323 votes or about 0.0001615%.

October 14, 2007
Our guest speaker, Ms. Tara Reber, was a Case Supervisor in the Prince William County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program. Tara spoke movingly about the work of CASA volunteers who guard the safety of children who are under supervision of the courts due to abuse or neglect.

November 11, 2007
Our Third Birthday! And our guest speaker was Albert Monroe, Co-Convenor of the Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Northern Virginia chapter who explained the work of his organization. Mr. Monroe was also the Amnesty International State Death Penalty Coordinator for Virginia.

December 9, 2007
A special video night: We viewed a highly recommended video entitled “The Dollars and Sense of Protecting Community Character,” and the discussion following was led by two of our most highly respected community leaders – Terry Nyhous and Peter Schwartz.

January 13, 2008
Lawrie Parker and Liliana Anaya of the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center in Warrenton told us about their very important work in resolving conflicts and working with restorative justice in our community.

February 10, 2008
An evening of conversation with Peter Schwartz, member of the Fauquier Board of Supervisors. Peter talked about a wide range of topics including transportation and land use and generated a great deal of discussion.

March 9, 2008
Claire Guthrie Gastanaga,a strategic advisor, legislative strategist and professional lobbyist for Equality Virginia, the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (among many other affiliations) spoke with us primarily about immigration and her work with the Virginia Legislature and lobbyists.

April 13, 2008
Our topic was Local Food – how to find it, how to produce it, everything you want to know about eating local. Our speakers were Pablo Elliott, who runs the Local Food Project at Airlie Conference Center and has his own farm in New Baltimore, and Harvey & Ellen Ussery of themodernhomestead.us who told us from their own experience some of the many things that can be done with a small plot of ground.

May 4, 2008
A conversation with the two candidates for the Democratic nomination for Congress from Virginia’s 10th Congressional district in the June primary election, Mike Turner and Judy Feder.

June 8, 2008
A conversation with Fauquier County’s new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jonathan Lewis who talked with us about what Fauquier County Public Schools must do to ensure success for all of its students in an increasingly global society.

July 13, 2008
Our topic was water, and our speaker was Lynn Broaddus, a native Virginian, who spoke of her current work with Friends of Milwaukee Rivers, a water advocacy organization, and described the conditions of some of Virginia’s rivers which need our attention.

August 10, 2008
Our speaker was Mike McCoy of the Charlottesville, VA office of Appalachian Voices who told us about the alarming practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.

September 14, 2008
Mark Hackley, “Food Procurement Officer” of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, discussed the growing problem of food security in our area and throughout the state.

October 12, 2008
Virginia State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel spoke with us about her freshman year as a state legislator.

November 9, 2008
Our Fourth Birthday party, which was celebrated with a look back and a brief discussion of possible future topics. Then we were treated to a fascinating discussion of the first 50 years of NASA by SSC “member” Dr. Ellen Stofan, who also previewed her new book which was arriving at book stores a week after our meeting.

December 14, 2008
We devoted the first half hour to a “Change is Coming” house meeting which was in response to a request by the Obama administration for feedback on issues of major concern to citizens. Then our topic was one of those issues. We viewed the PBS Frontline documentary “Sick Around the World” which compared the health care systems of five major countries other than the US.

January 11, 2009
This was the first of three meetings held in the New Baltimore Fire House and our speaker was one of our original “members,” Georgia Herbert. Georgia alerted us to the implications of something many of us had known nothing about prior to her talk – uranium mining in Virginia.

February 8, 2009
Our speaker this month was David Lambert whose topic was “World Hunger and You.” David spoke from many years of experience working with the UN and other government agencies on global food security, nutrition, food safety standards, and agricultural trades issues.

March 8, 2009
Trish Ethier, Recycling Education Coordinator for the Fauquier County Department of Environmental Services, talked with us about her work with the award-winning recycling program in our county – and answered many very specific questions about how to dispose of all sorts of items – thus helping us to be more responsible citizens of the planet.

April 19, 2009
Our guest this month was Tom Benjamin, Executive Director of the Fauquier Community Action Committee, who told us of the many areas of our community’s life that are touched by his organization.

May 17, 2009
From Amanda Hitt, a Public Health and Safety Associate with the Government Accountability Project (GAP), we learned about private sector whistle blower reforms, especially as they deal with food safety. It was an eye-opening talk!

June 14, 2009
One of our own “members,” Donna Lipinski, shared with us a great deal of information about her work as an immigration attorney and helped us understand many of the issues facing immigrants in our country today.

July 12, 2009
This month we divided our time between two topics with three speakers. Michael Rainger spoke about his work on energy conservation, and Terry Nyhous and Tim Mize discussed the Green Grass program that encourages homeowners to reduce the use of fertilizers on their lawns.

August 12, 2009
Dr. Margaret Flowers, Co-Chair of the Maryland branch of the 16,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program, was our speaker this month. She addressed many concerns relating to proposed health care reform, specifically discussing single-payer as by far the best option for the country.

September 13, 2009
Another of our “members” was one of our speakers this month. Ken Garrett, renowned photographer for National Geographic and our neighbor, shared with us highlights of his work on a book and project entitled “Journey Through Hallowed Ground,” and brought with him Cate Magennis Wyatt who is president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground organization.

October 11, 2009
Karen Hughes White, Founder and Director of the Afro-American Historical Association in The Plains spoke with us about her work and her new book, African Americans of Fauquier.

November 8, 2009
Friend of the SSC, Dr. Karen Schultz, along with one of her current and one of her former students in the doctoral pharmacology program at Shendoah University, shared with us their love of and enthusiasm for an approach to education called Service Learning. We celebrated our fifth birthday at the Marshall Community Center, our new “home.”

December 13, 2009
Our speaker was Jack Gibbons from The Plains, VA. Jack has had many important responsibilities in the scientific life of our country including director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton-Gore years. He gave a fascinating presentation on energy.

January 10, 2010
Matt Benson, Tim Mize and Deanna Child’s began the SSC’s 2010 season with a great presentation on agriculture and local food availability in Fauquier County. Matt Benson serves as the Northern District Community Viability Specialist for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, Tim Mize is the extension office agent for Fauquier County and Deanna Childs is a farmer and co-founder of Farmer Girls Online Market.

February 21, 2010
We were pleased to be joined by Michael Kieffer, executive director of the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy, for a presentation on “A Natural History of the Bull Run Mountains.”

March 14, 2010
The topic this month was “Introducing the Farm to Table Program: Growing Agriculture, Nutrition and Community in Public Schools.” We were pleased to be joined by Trista Scheuerlein of the Rappahannock Farm-to-Table Program. She spoke with passion about the immense benefits of this program for the students, the community and for our rural agricultural-based economy.

April 11, 2010
We were pleased to welcome Beth Panilaitis, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, as our guest speaker. Her presentation provided much food for thought and corrected a number of prevalent but false beliefs about the death penalty.

May 16, 2010
We were pleased to welcome Krystal Ball, newly elected Democratic candidate for the 1st CD, as our guest speaker. Krystal began by sharing with us a little of her biography and her reasons for making the decision to run for Congress and then moved on to her positions on the issues. After her presentation she gamely engaged in a free for all of questions and concerns.

June 13, 2010
This meeting was an SSC first, complete with five great speakers and two live performances! Featured were Fauquier Community Theater, State Theater Foundation of Culpeper, Windmore Foundation for the Arts, Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, and Allegro Community School of the Arts.

July 11, 2010
Chris Miller spoke about the mission and work of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

August 8, 2010
We were so pleased to welcome three speakers from the Fauquier Family Shelter: Executive Director Ed Childress, Board President Jim Mitchell, and the new program director for Domestic Violence Services, Lisa Lynn Chapman.

September 12, 2010
This month we were treated to a wonderful presentation by Brian Duncan of the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board (RRCSB).

October 10, 2010
This month featured a lively discussion about growth in Fauquier County with guest speakers Holder Trumbo, Peter Schwartz, and Terry Nyhous of the Fauquier Board of Supervisors.

November 14, 2010
As a change from our more usual topics, we heard from several holistic practitioners who spoke about acupuncture, Reiki and meditation as well as holistic nutrition and health.

December 12, 2010
We pleased to welcome Dr. Steve Monfort of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) as our final speaker of 2010. Dr Montfort spoke about SCBI’s mission to “conduct research to aid in the survival or recovery of species and their habitats, and to ensure the health and well-being of animals in zoos and in the wild.”

January 9, 2011
Our speakers were Fauquier County Fire and Rescue Chief, Tom Billington, and Tom Marable, President of Fauquier Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. These gentlemen explained Fauquier’s combination career and volunteer Fire and Rescue operations and the challenges faced as the county becomes more populated.

February 13, 2011
Our speakers were: Terri Porterfield of Reesie’s Project Outreach, which provides fostering for animals whose human guardians can no longer care for them; Jenny Spain, program director of Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center, which provides therapeutic programs to individuals with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome and learning disabilities; and Caroline Folker, the Community Relations Manager and Joan Hellandsjo, the Volunteer Coordinator and Events Manager, from the Fauquier SPCA.

March 13, 2011
We were very pleased to welcome Warrenton Mayor George Fitch and town Council Member Yakir “Yak” Lubowsky as our guest speakers this evening. They provided a lot of great information on the past, present and future of Warrenton and graciously answered many questions from our meeting attendees.

April 10, 2011
Our speaker was Fauquier County school superintendent, Dr. Jonathan Lewis who brought us up to date on the Fauquier High School addition/renovation project and school redistricting, as well as other items of interest regarding the public school system.

May 2011
No meeting

June 12, 2011
We had a delightful evening at Clifton Farm, where Dr.Tom Wood of Environmental Studies on the Piedmont presented a slide show and discussion of the ES trail camera monitoring project.

July and August 2011
No meetings

September 11, 2011
Ike Broaddus, Director of the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority and spoke about plans for the proposed Vint Hill Village.

October 9, 2011
We heard from Fauquier Board of Supervisors candidates Jim Stone of Cedar Run District and Peter Schwartz of Marshall District, as well as Center District School Board candidate Sally Murray.

November 13, 2011                                                                                                               We heard from George Fenwick of the American Bird Conservancy. The Conservancy, as its name indicates, is concerned with conserving native birds, and their habitats, throughout the Americas.

December 11, 2011
In a departure from our usual routine, our December meeting was a holiday potluck with no speaker.

January 8, 2012
Gerry Eitner, president of the Communities of Peace Foundation (www.communitiesofpeace.org), spoke on her presentation at the Fifth Summit of the Global Alliance for Departments and Ministries of Peace, in Cape Town South Africa, in October. She also discussed the Communities of Peace concept and models, featuring the current local thrust in Warrenton and Fauquier County since her return from South Africa.

February 12, 2012
Nancy Goetzinger and Tom Ramsey presented Life on the Edge:  America’s Atlantic Coast. This 50-minute multi-media presentation utilizes video, stills, and graphics to demonstrate the beauty of coastal habitats and the diversity of the resulting life forms there, all within the context of the geologic and hydrologic formation of the East Coast shoreline from Georgia to Newfoundland.

March 11, 2012
Our March speaker was Carol Noggle, President of the Prince William Area chapter of the League of Women Voters, who spoke on voting rights issues. She also shared her insights on the inner-workings of our General Assembly.

April 2011
No meeting

May 13, 2012
We welcomed Daria Nashat, who spoke on  her experiences working in the former Yugoslavia on refugee issues and post-conflict development at the local level.

June10, 2012
This month we heard an update on the status of uranium mining in Virginia from Rob Mamet of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

July 8, 2012
We were excited to welcome Robert Marro of the ADAMS Center (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) along with Sid and Melissa Hamid for a panel discussion on Islam.

August 2012
No meeting

September 9, 2012
Rob Marino, director of the Fauquier Free Clinic, and Steven G. Cosby, MHSA Volunteer Board Member of FCC, spoke about the present work and future of the clinic.

October 14, 2012
Carla Petersen of Virginia CURE spoke on prison reform. Virginia CURE is an all volunteer non-profit organization with a focus on the Virginia criminal justice and prison systems, and the people whose lives are impacted by those systems. Virginia CURE has been advocating for reform of Virginia’s criminal justice system since 1988 and is an effective and respected voice in bringing attention to challenging criminal justice and prison issues that might otherwise be ignored.

November 11, 2012
Our speaker was Colin Davis, executive director of Transitional Housing BARN Inc., in Bristow.  This non-profit provides temporary housing and supportive services for women and their children.  Colin spoke with us about the work they do at BARN and shared information about changes in state and local funding for organizations such as his.

December 9, 2012
Our second annual holiday potluck.  A chance to chat with fellow attendees.

January 2013
No meeting

February 10, 2013
Our speaker was Stuart Baker, who provided some insights on how to complete successful construction projects. Stuart is a long time carpenter/contractor who is also a mediator and coach. He learned in his construction business that providing high quality work, along with a commitment to excellent service, communication, and a spirit of intentional cooperation is a winning formula.

March  10, 2013
Our speaker this month was Donusia Lipinski- immigration lawyer and founder of Blue Ridge Immigration in Warrenton, VA, who spoke on immigration reform.

April 2013
Meeting cancelled

May 5, 2013
Kate Brown-Wing, local artist and illustrator, spoke on ways to heighten visual awareness and enhance enjoyment of the world around us.

June 9, 2013
Lee Owsley, owner of Latitudes Fair Trade Sore in Warrenton spoke about Fair Trade in general and her trips to Ghana, Peru and Nepal to visit the artisans whose work she sells.