War and Foolishness, by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, September 19, 2021

War is what’s on my mind and in my heart today – and foolishness, too.  War and foolishness because war, I believe, is one of the most profound forms of human foolishness, and tragic, too.  War and foolishness have been on my mind because of the recent end of the war in Afghanistan and also because of the recent 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the subsequent launch of the ‘war on terror.’  Hundreds of thousands of lives lost – who knows how many? – and trillions of dollars spent badly. 

In October of 2012 –I jotted down the following list of things that are likely to happen in a war – things that are likely to happen beyond soldiers being killed or wounded.  I don’t remember what led me to write down this list.  This was nine years ago, and eleven years after 9/11.  Most U.S. troops had left Iraq a year earlier, and U.S. troops would still be in Afghanistan for almost a decade longer.  So I don’t remember why I jotted down this list.  We were very much in the middle of a never-ending war, as we always seem to be. 

  • Young lives will be ruined.  The survivors will wake with terrible memories. 
  • Civilians will be killed.
  • The costs will be much, much higher than anticipated.
  • Unspeakable acts will be committed, some by us.
  • Civil liberties at home will be trampled.
  • There will be secrecy and lies that undermine democracy.
  • We will worsen our relations with some otherwise uninvolved friends and serve the purposes of some opportunistic bad actors.
  • We will create massive, distant wreckage that we will not want to repair.
  • We will entangle ourselves in ways that will make it hard for us to disengage.
  • We will set in motion an unfolding humanitarian crisis that will last for years: refugees, divided families, deprivation and the like. 
  • We will sow the seeds of future conflict. 
  • We will fail to learn lessons of peacebuilding because we won’t have tried it, again. 

All these things happened in Afghanistan.  All these things happened in Iraq.  And they happened in Syria and Lebanon and Libya, too – and not only in those places.  It would be foolish to go to war and not expect that most of the bad things will happen.  Those who support wars should have their eyes wide open and their hearts hardened in anticipation of these tragedies. 

I’ve opposed this sequence of wars.  When I’ve written my Senators or written a letter to the editor, I’ve talked about these terrible things that are likely to happen and urged them to oppose these wars.  I’ve mostly written about things on this list. 

Let’s call the items on this list the prudential arguments against war.  War won’t get us where we want to get to.  It won’t bring peace; it will bring further war.  It will not bring understanding; it will bring mistrust and hatred.  War today will bring war tomorrow.  You’d have to be foolish to expect anything else.  We have abundant recent evidence. 

But these prudential reasons for being against war aren’t really why I’m against war.  These prudential reasons are important – very important – but deep down I know I am against war because I am a foolish person – foolish in a very different way. 

I’m a different kind of foolish person because I’m a pacifist. 

I became a pacifist in the late 1960s during another war, the one in Vietnam.  (All those bad things on the list happened then, too; they always do.)  I became a pacifist before I became a Quaker.  It was in understanding why pacifism made sense, even though it was foolishness, that I found my way to Quakerism.

Why is pacifism a kind of foolishness?  Do you even need to ask?  Tell someone you are a pacifist and they look at you with utter dismay and incredulity.  Voiced or unvoiced you hear a torrent of questions.  Would you have let the Nazis win?  If someone attacked your mother, wouldn’t you try to stop the attacker?  If they attacked your wife? Your children?  Would you really not raise a hand to stop an aggressor? 

It’s unfathomable; people can’t believe you’re serious; as soon as you say you’re a pacifist they know you are a fool. 

You certainly put yourself beyond the boundaries of reasoned argument.  You can no longer have any standing whatsoever in discussions of foreign policy.  There is no point in writing your Senator and telling her she should oppose a war because you’re a pacifist.  That letter will carry no weight.  When you say you’re a pacifist you put yourself out of bounds – beyond the pale.  Only ‘serious people’ get to participate in the decisions about going to war – and no ‘serious person’ is a pacifist.

I understand being a pacifist is foolishness.  It’s a very, very different kind of foolishness from the foolishness of thinking that war won’t bring those twelve terrible things I listed before.  You have to choose which kind of foolishness is yours:  believing that war will work, or believing that one door to a different, better world (the “beloved community”) is marked “I will not go to war.”  Let’s call the pacifist argument against war the transformational argument against war.  It’s an argument deeply grounded in Jesus’s argument to love your neighbor as yourself. 

“What if everyone acted like you did?”  That’s one of the torrent of questions you provoke if you declare for pacifism.  And that one question is easy to answer:  You can say, that would be wonderful.  You have to believe – you should believe – that everyone can and should make the same choice, the choice to say no to war.  Not just your family and friends, not just your fellow citizens, but everyone would make the same choice. 

Pacifism is a kind of foolishness that begins by saying I am not going to accept that what has happened over and over again is the only possibility. 

“I told them I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars.”  That’s from George Fox, of course.  He’s saying, I took myself out of this world and put myself in a different world.  And, he might well have added, I’m not coming back. 

Join me in the that new world, Fox is saying.  Sign up for the foolishness that says there are new possibilities.  We can do this together.  We can choose to love one another.  We can put ourselves into an understanding that each and every one of us is a child of God, capable of giving and receiving love.  But each of us has to begin by making the individual choice to say no to war.  Each of us needs to make a solid commitment to the way of love, not a tentative or half-hearted, ‘but you go first’ one. 

Yes, that’s foolishness.  It is a rare and wonderful kind of foolishness.  Here’s a statement from British Friends in 1920 – that is, just after the end of another horrible war – in which all those terrible things happened. 

“When the early Friends said that the ‘Spirit of Christ would never move them to fight and war against any man with outward weapons!’ they not only testified that war was wrong, but they also indicated that there was a new and right way of dealing with men consonant with Love, and certain to be attended by a success far greater than had ever been attained by war. Instead of destroying or suppressing the evil-doers, the new method would transform them into children of light. These early Friends were come ‘into the Covenant of Peace which was before wars and strifes were’ and by their lives lived in the power of the light they were helping others to enter that same covenant.”

Or as A. J. Muste once put it, “there is no way to peace; peace is the way.”

Yes, pacifism is foolishness by the world’s lights, but it is, I believe, a far, far better foolishness than the endless alternative of war. 

So here is the choice, a choice between two kinds of foolishness.  Do you choose the foolishness of war and its terrible train of tragedies, or the foolishness of a new life lived in love?

Also posted on Riverview Friend.

“Praying for Zoom Support,” by David Coletta

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, September 12, 2021, by David Coletta, Three Rivers Meeting

Good morning, Friends.

I want to thank you for inviting me to bring the message this morning. Just to say a little about where I’m bringing it from… I live in Boston, but I happen to be in Hanover, New Hampshire this weekend, so that’s where I’m physically Zooming in from. Back when you invited me a couple of months ago, it seemed like maybe by now it would be safe to come visit you in person to give the message, but it didn’t turn out that way. And this is only the second time I have ever brought a prepared message to a Quaker meeting. The first time was a couple of months ago, as one of the hosts of Three Rivers, where we bring a prepared message each time. As you heard in the introduction, Three Rivers is a worship experiment that has been meeting online under the care of Fresh Pond Monthly Meeting since the beginning of the pandemic. Before it was Three Rivers, it was a project called “Quaker Dinner Church” started by Kristina Keefe-Perry. As a worship experiment, we are not even formally a worship group, although we are hoping to gain formal status as a preparative meeting under the care of Fresh Pond some time in the next year or so. Anyway, I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring a message a second time.

There’s someone here at this meeting today who is responsible for the “Zoom” aspect of worship, and sometimes that person is called the “tech host”. I think maybe you call it “Zoom support” here? I’d like to take a moment now and invite us all to hold that person or people in prayer as they work to support us.

Thank you, Friends. A little later on I’ll say more about why that bit of prayer is important to me.

But first I want to share about my personal journey of the last 18 months or so – how I came to this work. At the beginning of 2020 I finished a career in software engineering. For quite some time before that, I had been aiming at February 2020 as the time to wrap up my software career and start something new. My work had been focused for a long time on technology, and I wanted to transition into doing work that was more about connecting with people. I really didn’t know what the work was going to be, but only a few weeks after I quit my job, I found out. There was this Sunday in March 2020 when we went to our local meetings in person, not realizing that it was going to be the last time for a while. And then the very next Sunday many of our meetings held worship online via Zoom for the first time. It wasn’t yet obvious to me what my work was going to look like, but what struck me then was how many folks were going to need tech help in order to do the basic things that were necessary in order to join Zoom worship: besides getting Zoom to work, it suddenly became important to manage all these Zoom links somehow! So I made a website where people could sign up for free one-on-one tech help, and I spent some time every day helping people figure this stuff out. This turned out to be excellent preparation: it was obvious, it was sorely needed, and it was challenging for me. I was used to having complete command and facility with technology, and this work required me to develop compassion and understanding for what it felt like not to be in command.

Back to Friends Meetings. It quickly became clear that it was one thing to hold meeting for worship over Zoom, and quite another to hold meeting for business. I studied how Beacon Hill Friends Meeting and Friends Meeting at Cambridge were experimenting with the features in Zoom like “raise hand”, and noticed how some of our business practices were being modified in small ways to accommodate the needs of the clerks’ table and of the body in an online setting. I found opportunities to try being the “tech host” for worship and business, and helped write some of the guidelines we were using. I joined these new things called “tech teams” at Beacon Hill and Cambridge, who met every week or two to identify tech hosts for events, teach each other how to use the tech, and generally huddle for warmth and mutual support. It was and is challenging work. 

By now it was early June and I could see we were going to need this same work to happen at Yearly Meeting sessions, which were going to have to be online if they were to happen at all. I approached the Yearly Meeting staff and offered to recruit and lead a team of volunteers who would do the tech hosting work for the business meetings and plenary events of Yearly Meeting sessions. We only had about eight weeks to prepare, and these were eight of the scariest weeks of my life. I had seen business meeting work over Zoom at the monthly meeting level, but I had never seen it work with hundreds of people present. A great blessing for us was that New York Yearly Meeting was a couple of weeks ahead of us all summer long in their preparations, so I reached out to my friend Jennifer Swann who was helping New York Yearly Meeting figure out their sessions tech, and the two of us worked together to bring those learnings to New England. At the same time, amidst all that fear, there was a still small voice at the center of it all telling me that I was in the right place, doing the right work at the right time, that I had been preparing for that work my whole life, and that everything would be okay. That everything already was okay.

This is probably a good point to explain why praying for the tech host is important to me. When the tech for a Zoom meeting is going well, it’s invisible. Everything just works. And this is like so much of the infrastructure in our world that we take for granted: we mostly only think about electricity when the power goes out, right? But the tech team is doing all sorts of little things, quietly, invisibly, to make sure that everything just works. Being on the tech team can feel a lot like being on the backstage crew of a theater production! But that’s not what we’re doing in our meetings for worship and business: it’s not a show, it’s a living, breathing witness to the promptings of the Spirit. So we don’t judge our meetings by how well the clerk hits their cues, or whether the finance committee report starts and ends on time. When we pray for the tech team, it’s a chance to let go of our expectations that the show follow the script.

After 2020 sessions I was hungry for more of this work. So in the fall, I went on to recruit and lead the tech team for FCNL’s Annual Meeting, and in the spring of 2021 for the FWCC Section of the Americas meeting, and then this summer for our recently concluded 2021 Yearly Meeting sessions. I learned more and more at each of these conferences about the work and how to lead it. My first priority was not to put on a glitch-free show, but to create a fulfilling opportunity for service for the people on the tech teams. That meant providing training and practice sessions, it meant not asking any one person to do more than they were capable of, and it meant putting structures in place by which we could support each other. The work can be really scary! Press the wrong button and end the meeting by mistake? That happens! And it feels terrible! And yet it somehow has to be possible to move past these mistakes with the understanding that God is inviting us to be faithful — not perfect! What makes that moving-past possible is being present to each other, over the physical distance, praying for and supporting each other, literally whispering messages of support — and reminders of upcoming cues — in each others’ ears. So another thing that is mostly invisible to you when you go to a big Zoom event is that we members of the tech team are connected to each other in additional ways beyond Zoom, via invisible threads of technology. And these connections somehow manage to restore a great deal of the intimacy of being together in person, for us on the tech team to be sure, and maybe for everyone else too.

So with all that in mind, now I want to talk about a stark contrast that I have been experiencing this year. It’s a contrast between the richness and sense of great abundance that I feel on these tech teams at big Quaker events, versus the burnout and sense of scarcity that I hear about when I meet with Friends’ meetings who are trying to discern the way forward with online and hybrid worship. And it’s different for different sized meetings. Some of our smaller meetings never went on Zoom at all: they kept meeting on each others’ porches, or they met each by themselves in their own homes at the appointed time. Some of our bigger meetings formed tech teams and created that same sense of mutual support that I described. And our medium-sized meetings struggled. I heard stories of meetings where there were just one or two people doing all the tech hosting, and they were tired and burned out. And this was just from holding online-only worship. When they heard that holding hybrid worship was even more work, it was as if I was describing a trip to another planet.

Friends, we are tired. The work of holding our communities together when we can’t be together in person is hard work. We are tired from not being able to come together for our Yearly Meeting sessions, tired from being afraid for our health and safety when we perform the basic functions of daily life, and so, so tired of the uncertainty. It can feel like we are wandering in the desert sometimes. And you know we have lost folks along the way. Friends for whom online worship just doesn’t work. Friends whose passing cannot be commemorated in person. And our young Friends, for whom Zoom church and Zoom retreats on top of Zoom school is just more Zoom than anyone should be asked to endure, let alone kids. When we are this tired, we yearn for things to go back to normal. That’s legit, right? Please just let us all come back to our meeting houses together and sit next to each other and sing together and shake each others’ hands and feel safe and connected. Let’s take a moment now and hold that yearning in our hearts, breathe into it, and acknowledge that it’s a totally valid thing to want.

One of the things I had to learn the hard way during the pandemic is that there are at least a couple of different ways that Friends respond under these circumstances, in the ways that we care for our meetings for worship. One is what I’ll call “holding”. It’s about calming, being careful and predictable, about protecting meeting for worship, and resisting change. The other way some folks respond is what I’ll call “experimenting”. It’s about changing, learning, about embracing chaos, about making lots of mistakes, and figuring out new things that work. Both of these kinds of care are needed! As you might guess, my response was mostly about experimenting, and I came up against a lot of resistance to that in the week-in, week-out meetings for worship of a local meeting. I had to accept that I was going to have to create my own opportunities to experiment, and as it turned out, the large events with big tech teams were the perfect place, because that abundance of energy and creativity and connection that came with such a big tech team created the safety within which to experiment. That experimentation was and is a big part of what sustains me through this time. But I want to caution you: every meeting needs both kinds of care, holding and experimenting. If your meeting tends to lean in the direction of holding, don’t forget to embrace and support those among you who want to experiment and learn. And if, like Three Rivers, your meeting is all about experimenting, remember those folks who come each time looking for something that feels familiar.

I want to share with you the vision that has been breaking through for me, just here and there a little, of what’s around the corner for us. One of the things we have been learning about online and hybrid worship is that it’s an opportunity to create accessible space for those Friends we were leaving out in the “before times.” People who couldn’t come to the meetinghouse because of health or distance or ability now can join online. People who could come, but couldn’t hear, now can read closed captions. And these are just a couple of the many ways that our meetings have become, and have the potential to become, more accessible. 

When I think about and speak about hybrid worship, I try to resist the idea that it’s centered in the physical meetinghouse, with a few remote participants. Instead I talk about it as an online meeting in which some of the “Zoom squares” have groups instead of individuals in them. One of those groups might be the folks at the meetinghouse. Some of those groups might be families at home. By my definition this meeting today is a hybrid meeting for worship. Maybe that was already your picture of hybrid worship! If it wasn’t, try it on for size. 

I feel like one of the effects of the pandemic has been to atomize us into soap bubbles! Early on during the pandemic we tried to stay in the smallest bubble we could. Later on some of the bubbles popped as things got safer. Maybe now we are trying to find smaller bubbles again. It’s like some of the bubbles are popping and joining together, and other new ones are forming. But imagine that we start to actually get good at this. Good at holding meeting for worship with bubbles of all sizes, and at adapting the sizes of our bubbles as the needs of the pandemic dictate. Who’s to say where it stops? If we can hold hybrid worship in one meeting with lots of different sized bubbles, could we join two meetings together in hybrid worship? How about a whole quarter? or a yearly meeting? What does this mean for the idea of your “local Friends Meeting”? What does it even mean to be a “Friend at a distance” any more? And what does it mean for the burnout and exhaustion that many meetings are experiencing? Maybe it’s okay to let the meeting down the road do the online hosting, and just show up? Maybe each meeting doesn’t have to do it all on their own? Maybe it’s okay to let down some of the boundaries that separate us?

By the way, if you find hope and inspiration in this vision, I recommend reading Emily Provance’s piece called “Fruit Basket Upset and the Eighth Continent”, published in March 2021. I’m indebted to her for some of these ideas, and I share her sense of hope.

I want to close with a poem that I first heard at Three Rivers. It’s called “The Way It Is,” by William Stafford, and best as I can tell it was first published in 1998 in his collection of the same name. For me this poem touches on what it feels like to be doing this particular work in this moment.

The Way It Is, by William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among

things that change. But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Malaga Island, by Surya Milner

Peace and Social Concerns Committee encourages members and attenders of Durham Friends Meeting to read “Inhabited: The Story of Malaga Island,” by Surya Milner (Bowdoin College ’19).

Here’s how it begins: Less than ten miles from Bowdoin as the crow flies, just a short distance from the Phippsburg shore, Malaga Island was once home to a small fishing community established by descendants of a freed slave, all of them forced from their homes by greed and state-sanctioned intolerance. Nature is Malaga’s only resident now, but the presence of those who lived on the island lingers.

To read the rest, follow this link.

Malaga Island is now owned and conserved for public use by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT). MCHT’s website on Malaga Island is here.

“Faith Without Works Is Dead:” an exhortation from Leslie Manning

In Meeting this morning (September 5, 2021), Leslie Manning encouraged and exhorted us all to do more to make this troubled world a better place. She drew upon the Epistle of James, and a poem attributed to Rumi.

From the Epistle of James, 2:14-20 Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish mortal, that faith without works is dead?

Unfold Your Own Myth by Rumi

Who gets up early
to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Soloman cuts open a fish, and there’s a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop.
Now there’s a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
Suddenly he’s wealthy.

But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams*. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,
lifting.

*also Sharms, City of Peace

“A Prayer for Reconciliation,” by Pádraig Ó Tuama

by Pádraig Ó Tuama, leader of the Corrymeela Community, read by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon this morning (21.9.5) opening worship

Where there is separation
there is pain.
And where there is pain
there is story.

And where there is story
there is understanding
and misunderstanding
listening
and not listening.

May we — separated peoples, estranged strangers,
unfriended families, divided communities —
turn toward each other,
and turn toward our stories,
with understanding
and listening,
with argument and acceptance,
with challenge, change
and consolation.

Because if God is to be found,
God will be found
in the space
between.

Amen.

Passing of Tommie Frye

August 29, 2021, revised August 30, 2021

Our member Tommie Frye passed away this morning after a long period of ill health. A green burial will be carried out at Lunt Cemetery on Monday, August 30, at 5pm. All welcome to attend.

At worship this morning, thanks were expressed for Jeri Kemple and for the members of this meeting who cared for Tommie as his health declined. This meeting was his home.

Memorial Service, Phyllis Wetherell, September 25, 2021, 2pm

On September 25, 2021 at 2 pm the family of Phyllis May Curtis White Wetherell, will hold a Celebration of Life memorial service for Phyllis, who passed away April 25, 2020. Durham Friends Meeting, Durham, Maine, will be the host of this service.

Unfortunately, due to the increasing concerns from the rise in Covid cases again, this will be a family only, in person gathering. Durham Meeting will host a Zoom gathering at the same time, so that those friends and family of Phyllis who are not able to attend in person, will be able to share in the Celebration of Phyllis’s life.

We look forward to sharing the joys, stories and experiences that we shared with Phyllis over the course of her marvelous life.

If you aren’t able to join in, but wish to share a story or memory of Phyllis, please feel free to either send an email or letter to Susan Geier (daughter) and it can be read at the service.

“There Is a Balm in Gilead,” by Fritz Weiss

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 15, 2021

Hymn – “There is a balm in Gilead”

This hymn comes from Jeremiah’ despair – 8:22 – “Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there..” This hymn is the communities response to the prophet’s lament.

 In the Bible half hour talks in NEYM’s sessions in 2019, Colin Saxton mentioned that his favorite character in the Bible is the crowd.  It is the crowd who question, or doubt, or seek or follow.  Colin said he could find himself in the crowd.  A faith journey is a journey of questions, doubts, seeking and following.

The message I have today began when I participated in a brief bible study group last summer with a group of clergy affiliated folks in Portland supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.  We specifically were pondering the shift from being allies to being in solidarity with the BLM protesters. Our Bible study explored the story of the loaves and fishes.  Today I want to think about how this story starts.  I want to pay a little attention to the wisdom of the crowd in the beginning of this well know story.

Mathew 14: 13 13 “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns”

John 6 1 -2 “Sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a great crowd of people followed him.

The story begins when Jesus learns that his cousin John had been brutally and unexpectedly executed. – When Jesus heard that John had been brutally executed, he withdrew.

I imagine that Jesus himself was angry, scared, grieving, despairing, and so he withdrew from people. Jesus knew John, loved John, traveled with and preached with John. John’s execution was personal; and it may have challenged his confidence that the beloved community of God that Jesus was proclaiming was already here. So Jesus withdrew.  I certainly do this when I feel broken, I withdraw to be by myself. It’s a very human response.   

And the crowd also knew and loved and traveled with John were also probably angry, scared, grieving and despairing.  The crowd followed Jesus and would not let him be alone.

The version we read in the bible study group next said that Jesus came to the crowd and “all felt compassion and all were healed.”  I couldn’t find that version as I prepared this message; most translations say that Jesus came to the crowd that Jesus felt compassion and the all in the crowd were healed. I prefer the version we read last summer.

All felt compassion, all were healed, not simply the crowd, but also Jesus.  And then they stayed together for the rest of the day and did not want to return to their homes and the story goes on from there. But I want to stay focused on that miracle of healing at the beginning of the story – All felt compassion, which literally means ”to suffer together” and all were healed. I’m sure after the healing there was still grief, despair, and brokenness, and there was compassion. The movement from suffering alone to suffering together was the movement of healing. Healing was moving to a space where both profound grief and profound love could be known as parts of a whole rather than as contradictory impulses.

I hear in this story that the crowd was wiser then the teacher.  The crowd knew that, as early quakers knew, that the ocean of darkness and death are real and are a part of our experience;

and that we bring the light which overcomes the darkness to each other.  We help each other to the light.

This message germinated for me in that small group gathering in Portland after the execution of George Floyd, and when we read the story we were feeling grief, and anger and some despair. This past year has been hard for most of us in many ways; the pandemic, we’ve been isolated, the politics have been hard, the systemic racism in our country has been exposed again. And we’ve remembered that our “city on the hill” is built on a foundation which includes genocide and slavery. At times I’ve continue to feel despair, grief and fear.  And we continue to gather together.  This morning I remind us of the wisdom of the crowd, who calls us to be together with compassion – suffering together-  with compassion and to be healed.  This is the movement to wholeness. This is what we learned when we affirm that “there is a balm in Gilead.”

Falmouth Quarter: Report from Summer 2021 Gathering

by Fritz Weiss

The summer meeting of Falmouth Quarter is usually a time for connection and community celebration.  There has not typically been a formal program or any business conducted. 

The last time the quarter met in person was in October 2019!  It had been a long time since we have been together.

Nineteen Friends from three of the monthly meetings in Falmouth Quarter and from one meeting in Dover Quarter  gathered together – IN PERSON (!) – on Saturday August 7th ,2021.  

Friends gathered at the Portland Friends Meetinghouse at 1837 Forest Avenue in Portland Maine from about 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.  Together as a quarter we participated virtually in the opening celebration of the 2021 New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) sessions, had a brown bag lunch outdoors with some shared fruit and cookies, attended virtually the NEYM plenary with Shirley Hager and gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) and concluded with some worship sharing.  Our meeting closed when the landscapers arrived and started mowing the lawns.  We did not tire of each other’s presence.

During the period of sharing and catching up with each other, I was struck by how much catching up there was to do; in the past 18 months our meetings have been discovering new ways of being in communion, and we have changed.  There have been milestones in our lives – weddings, moves, new children born. It was good to see each other again.  

A special thank you is due to Chris Fitze who was our technical support person. The connection with the Yearly Meeting events was smooth.  Both Martin Eller-Fitze and Leslie Manning were able to give their reports to the yearly meeting during the opening celebration easily.

Falmouth Quarter will gather again on October 23, 2021 to conduct essential business.  Unless the usual plans change our schedule for the coming year will be to meet on the fourth Saturday of October, January, April and July.

The quarter needs a second co-convener.  Sara Sprogell has laid this service down.  I’ve asked a number of Friends but have not yet found the person led to this work.  Please consider it.  It is a light service with rich rewards.

The Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, by Helen Howard Hebben

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, July 18, 2021

Thank you very much for inviting me.  I became a Friend in Poplar Ridge NY, a hamlet so small that it is frequently not included on maps of New York State. The Friends Meeting is located in an area of the finger lakes that many Friends settled in the early 19th century and is the only surviving one from about 7 within short distance that were active at one time.  It is semi programmed three Sundays a month and unprogrammed the last Sunday.

I will share a bit about me and why I am passionate about BQEF:  the worst day of my life was the day my younger daughter was killed in a terrible accident.  Emily was 23.  It was a year after she graduated from Hampshire College.  My Friends Meeting cared for me and gradually I began to see my way again.   A hospice grief counselor told a group of us bereft parents that we needed to find a way to take our children with us through our lives.  A Friend from my Care Committee suggested that I join the Bolivian Quaker Education Program Board and share the story in my new home in Michigan. Way opened to for me to do that, and the work has stretched me and brought me joy.

There are more than 30,000 Quakers in Bolivia, and they are all Evangelical.   Almost all of them are Ayamara, which, with Quechua are the largest groups of Indigenous people in this majority indigenous country.  You may wonder why they are Quaker.  Quaker missionaries and educators went to Bolivia in the early 20th century from the West Coast, Indiana, and Ohio.  It was illegal to educate indigenous people until 1950, but somehow Quakers built schools and taught in them.  The cultural values of the Ayamara are very similar to Quaker values, which may have made our religion attractive.

Newton Garver, a philosophy professor at the University of Buffalo, made several trips to Bolivia starting in the late 80’s. There he met and had conversations with Bernabe Yujra, a leader in the Aneala Yearly Meeting, about what Quakers in Bolivia needed.  Bernabe was clear that they wanted more connections with Friends in the North and that their young adults wanted higher education and needed some help with it.  A few were enrolled in the tuition-free public universities, but because they also had to work to pay for food and housing and transportation, it often took them 8-10 years to complete degree requirements. 

In the new organizations, it was determined that Bernabe would manage a small office in LaPaz, recruit and choose scholarship students, and pay the stipends, and support and counsel the students who are the first in their families to attend universities or other schools of their choice.  In most cases their parents are only partially literate.  In the 19 years of its existence, BQEF has graduated 220 young Bolivians!  It is a drop in the bucket of need, but it has been highly successful in bringing those young people and their families out of crushing poverty!

The US office of BQEF is modest with one part time contract employee.   We raise funds to support the program and make sure that all US laws are followed in handling funds and transfers to Bolivia.  The program is funded largely by individual Friends, monthly and yearly meetings.  We have also run study tours, the most recent having been postponed due to Covid.  We hope that may go next year.  

BQEF has sponsored graduate teaching assistants to come to the US to work in Quaker schools.  After a year in the US they take home teaching resources, and hands-on methods of teaching. Their English and leadership have greatly improved, and they are comfortable in international Quaker settings.

We have had North American and European volunteers go to Bolivian that have used their skills in a variety of ways.  Because there are very few native speakers teaching English in Bolivia those skills are always needed.

One of the ways that Friends Meetings can help is to sponsor a student, currently at $850. per year.  This has the advantage of connecting First Day Students to a real person in Bolivia, with the possibility of an ongoing relationship. Scholarship students write letters to their sponsors and we have just begun a program of connecting sponsors and students via Zoom with the assistance of a translator. 

 Zoom is an asset that Covid has brought to our attention.  We now have meetings with staff and students in Bolivia, and if you are interested, we could arrange a session with an English-speaking graduate.  In fact, on Tuesday there will be an interest group as part of NYYM annual sessions, on how Covid has affected our students and their families. 

I will be glad to answer your questions following Meeting for Worship.  Thank you for your attention.

Bolivian Quaker Education Fund Event, July 20, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm

Helen Howard Hebben spoke to Durham Friends Meeting on July 18 about the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund. She mentioned an interest group gathering as part of New York Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions. Here is further information.

“Alicia Lucasi and two scholarship medical students, Susan Ramirez Cauna and Tania Colque Chambilla will be sharing Bolivia’s experience of COVID, and their own, during the past year-and-a-half.”  Alicia is the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund staff member who works closely with the scholarship students.”

Zoom information:
Join by computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81018817596?pwd=Z2dxdTJLWndnT2lqODJvNVg0Y3Q1dz09

Join by phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 810 1881 7596
Password: 591415

Crisis in Cuba – July 2021

From Friends World Committee for Consultation:

DECLARATION OF THE YEARLY MEETING OF THE FRIENDS CHURCH (QUAKERS) IN CUBA
Peace is a desire and a necessity for all human beings. It is an essential condition for our personal and communal well-being. For the current moment in Cuba, marked by a crisis situation that affects the most sensitive areas of citizens’ lives, it is becoming something urgent.
Quakers, inspired by the teachings of Jesus, also seek to live and promote peace, through alternative ways, based on the principle of non-violence, to carry out civil justice and work within society to repair wrongs or errors.
Quakers believe in the Peace of Jesus. This Peace is not like what the world gives (John 14:27), from positions of power that exclude the voice of the least in the Kingdom. From this perspective, we Quakers know a Virtue that takes away the occasion of all war, and consequently, we do not support any way to solve conflicts that involves the use of force.
We therefore advocate for dialogue and for our authorities to recognize the tension and overwhelm of a people that feel vulnerable due to the precariousness of their economy, their health and their public services.
Likewise, we consider that the government must promote alternatives to violence in the face of other sectors of the people that, for various reasons, are fueled by positions of hatred that are encouraged from abroad and that in the current context of the crisis that we are experiencing, become breeding grounds for the emergence of violent demonstrations with unpredictable consequences.
This is the time to open spaces for dialogue in the search for an answer to dissatisfaction and a solution to our problems. Let us all seek a common path that leads us to well-being and peaceful coexistence. Conflicts, if we address them with non-violent alternatives, are opportunities to find a peace that shelters all Cubans.
From a recent newsletter from Friends United Meeting:
During last week’s FUM International Prayer Gathering, we heard a distressing report from Friends in Cuba. Jorge Luis, Clerk of Cuba Yearly Meeting, sent a message to the global community requesting prayer as Covid rates are doubling there, food is scarce, and the medical and economic systems in the country are on the verge of collapsing. This week, demonstrators are taking to the streets demanding change. While churches in the country cannot gather for worship, Jorge reminded us that the church is not closed, and their members and pastors are doing their best to care for each other and their communities during these difficult times. 
Since the US State Department designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, many of the channels Friends United Meeting has previously used to send support for Cuban Friends are now closed to us. This designation also prevents the US from sending humanitarian or medical assistance amidst this crisis.
On Tuesday, July 13, representatives of New England Yearly Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation–Section of the Americas, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and FUM met to discern how the global community of Friends can best support Cuban Friends. We ask Friends to pray for Cuban Friends. Pray that Cuban Friends will experience God’s strengthening love and courage during this time of trial. Friends United Meeting is preparing to send support to Cuban Friends through our Covid-19 Solidarity Fund. We are investigating several legal avenues for distribution. Contributions to this fund will go to support the ministries of Cuba Yearly Meeting. Friends can mail checks to the FUM office or give online at https://donorbox.org/covid-19-solidarity-fund. We encourage [U.S.] Friends to reach out to their members of Congress, urging them to lift restrictions against humanitarian and medical support for Cuba. 

A Prayer of Gratitude, by Brown Lethem

        In gratitude we come, opened and childlike Lord,
        God, source of all Life, all Beauty, and all Mystery  
        Enfold us in the water, light and air of your Goodness
        Your fertile soil
        That we, your small seeds might grow
        Worthy of your Harvest.

July 18, 2021, at Durham Friends Meeting

Deep Dive on Reparations

Featured

Peace and Social Concerns Committee will thinking about reparations for the next few months, and we’d like to invite the wider Durham Meeting community to join us.  How can we, as a nation, as a state, as an organization begin to make amends for the tremendous injustices done by slavery and colonization?  What would we want reparations to accomplish? What form might they take? What is enough to address these injustices?

To help us think about these questions we will be posting videos and readings on the website over the next 8 weeks. In the fall we will host a conversation to share our reactions to the readings and consider how we might answer the call for reparations. We encourage you to take notes as you read, highlighting important ideas and interesting approaches.  [First posted July, 2021, then regular updates]]

21.9.14 Tom Hanks, You Should Learn the Truth About the Tulsa Race Massacre, New York Times, June 4, 2021

21.9.14 60 Minutes on the Tulsa Massacre of 1921

21.9.1 Cush Anthony, Reparations bill will put concerns over racial injustice into action, Portland Press Herald, June 20, 2021

21.9.1 H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, Congress.gov

21.8.20 Farmer’s Family Owned Slaves: How to Atone? New York Times, July 5, 2021

21.8.20 Evanston, Ill. Moves Towards Reparations, New York Times, March 23, 2021

21.8.4 Nikole Hannah-Jones, What Is Owed, It Is Time for Reparations, New York Times, June 28, 2020

21.7.28 Catholic Order Pledges $100 Million for Reparations

21.7.28 Virginia Theological Seminary Pledges Reparations

21.7.20 Ta Nihisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

21.7.13 Anne Bailey, Revisiting reparations: Is it time for the US to pay its debt for the legacy of slavery?

21.7.13 James Varner, Reparations: Through my Black Eyes to Your White Minds

21.7.08  William Darity, How Do We Span the Racial Wealth Gap?

“A Call to Harmony Amid Harm – or ‘I am glad you are here,’” by Mey Hasbrook

Message given at Friends Meeting, July 4, 2021. Slightly edited for publication. Scripture quoted from NRSV.

—–

Friends, I am glad you are here.

Gratitude for the grace and presence of God in this exceptional time – exceptional for the planet, our home; for humanity, our species; for most of us individually as Beings who are linked to one another throughout Creation, and who are here as Quaker family.

Today’s message is an invitation to welcome new Light, what Friends also call continuing revelation. Let us take up “the new and living way” (Heb. 10:20) that is the path of Jesus – that of Love. Let us review and renew our encounter with God on this declared Day of Independence by the nation-state, the United States of America.

I’m grateful to be here with you – alive, surviving overlapping upheavals.

With respect to my mixed lineage of Cherokee Celtic-Irish Descent, I acknowledge the First Nations of this continent, Turtle Island, who are the remnant descended from those who survived genocide in successive waves over centuries, and who continue to strive to survive life-threatening conditions.*

Gratitude for this living legacy of resilience and survival that is empowered by Hope, Faith, and Beauty. It is a call to Harmony Amid Harm, a way of living that says, “I am glad you are here.”

Harmony is the journey from Unity into Right Relationship, transforming us in unexpected ways that heal one another and that brings wholeness to Creation.

I give thanks for the precious ways that we’ve shown up for one another – some visible, and many beyond naming in a public space. Let us continue showing up amid the harm that seems continuous, especially patterns of living that draw us away from Love – Love being that which draws us into Harmony.

I’m grateful for the leading to have served among Durham Friends Meeting as Meeting Care Coordinator in times such as these even amid personal losses, which also is the stuff that living is made of.

I’m grateful too for the ministry of birds, whose songs and calls have returned me to remembering God’s presence and grace amid moments of pain and frustration.

These recurring invitations are Spirit-held openings, as are difficult surprises and inevitable changes. All together, they are the stuff of which living is made.

Indeed, Friends, I am glad you are here.

~ ~ ~
What the Fourth of July carries for me personally is a memory – that of being the sole companion of my maternal grandmother, Margaret, as she transitioned from this material living onto the Otherside Camp at sunrise. That was 15 years ago.

Margaret was a retired middle-school science teacher who became a full-time volunteer, a mother of four, and a spouse to a hard-working poor farmer.

That same summer, I worked with senior refugees, most of whom did not speak English. I picked them up in a van to buy fresh produce and eat lunch at a community center. Many of them had survived adult children lost to violence.

The job ended when the funding stopped that summer, as did the vigil by my grandma’s bedside after her death. But the invitation to Love despite Loss and to seek Harmony Amid Harm persisted.

Beings of Creation, we are glad you are here.

~ ~ ~ 
“I am glad you are here, Liza,” ** she in a security uniform, me re-packing carry-ons, I looking through wet eyes to her over our masks. And she replied, “I’m glad you’re here too.”

Liza was the agent tasked to give me a second security screening after the first had a false alarm. As a survivor of violence from childhood and adulthood, and someone living with chronic PTSD, airport security can be very trying on the central nervous system.

This occasion was especially taxing, because I was told that I would be taken to a room with a closed door for another screening. Despite panic and immediate tears, I somehow stayed tuned-in to the presence of God and said, “No, I cannot go to a closed room. I’m a survivor of sexual violence. You’ll need to do this in the open.”

Liza replied that she too was such a survivor and would talk with her supervisor. You see, my request wasn’t protocol, so required approval. Permission granted, we proceeded to a calmer adjacent area.

The re-screening brought on a lot of tears. I had to remind myself to breathe. And upon completion, I began the work to re-pack my belongings. Despite wanting to be left alone to recollect my composure, Liza stayed. It was Mother’s Day this year.

Liza spoke fast. She shared that the nearby chapel and sensory room were good places to sit. And then confided her story in me, a complete stranger: surviving abuse as a child from her family, and dis-engaging with them as an adult; later surviving breast cancer, and rejecting subsequent efforts by family to reconnect.

What the presence and grace of God gifted me in that painful moment was to say, “I’m glad you’re here.” 

~ ~ ~

Friends, my Quaker family, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as our self (Matt. 22:37, 39).

We are invited to show up – regardless of pandemic, or personality, or pain – to show up for God, for one another, and in turn for ourselves.

We are challenged in order to open us up to “the new and living way” (Heb. 10:20) who is Jesus –  or the Living Path of Love.  Such is the movement of Spirit amid Harm, calling us toward Harmony.

This is the message I hear from a fresh reading of Matthew ch. 12, vs. 1-8.  As Friend Denise reads for us, let us welcome in new Light or continuing revelation:

Not long afterward Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pick heads of wheat and eat the grain. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do this on the Sabbath!” 

Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he and his men were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the bread offered to God, even though it was against the Law for them to eat it –  only the priests were allowed to eat that bread. Or have you not read in the Law of Moses that every Sabbath the priests in the Temple actually break the Sabbath law, yet they are not guilty? I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple. The scripture says, ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ If you really knew what this means, you would not condemn people who are not guilty; for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

In v. 6, Jesus says, “I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple.” Yes, just as there is someone here greater than our Meeting House, which we sorely miss. I hear the rush of Spirit’s movement – even with space between us –  that is, the presence and grace of God within each of us.

As Friends, we honor the Light carried by each Being in this beautiful Creation. In our honoring of Light – or the Divine in the Human and All – Jesus calls us to be merciful and kind. The Living Path of Love tugs us beyond routine sacrifice or elective service, even beyond how we have done things and how we expect to be doing things.

And this also is Jesus calling us to Freedom:  Truth Telling and Integrity all the way down to the Roots of Love, Liberation, and Lies; that is, to face Harm in our pursuit of Harmony.
~ ~ ~

Friends, when are we glad to be here with one another, and why? How do we say this, show it, feel it, and mean it? Just as honestly, when are we not and why?

This is the query I bring for today’s message. Let us listen for Truth, even beyond Facts or Reason or secular Common Sense. Let us seek Harmony while healing Harm. Let us open our hearts to Love, who is Jesus and is carried within each of us.

To draw this query down into our daily lives, I pair it with “The Final Appeal” by Linda Aldrich, former Maine Poet Laureate. You can find the poem on Maine Public Radio’s website <mainepublic.org>, published 29 June 2018, also with an audio version.

The poem’s last line reads, “his words closing around us like sea smoke.” May the “sea smoke” be

like the Spirit of the Living God falling afresh upon us to melt us, mold us, fill us, and use us. ***

——

* On the whole of the US population today, Native Americans are counted below 2%. One historical comparison: North American Indians have been estimated at 15 million in 1500 versus only 237,000 by 1900.  A widely used figure is that 90% of Native Americans were killed due to the onset of settler-colonialism. For a current perspective with historical context, read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s article, “Yes, Native Americans Were the Victims of Genocide” online at <truthout.org>, published 4 June 2016.

** “Liza” is a pseudonym.

*** I refer here to the lyrics of the hymn “Spirit of the Living God”. The song partly is inspired by Acts 10:44, which often is described as the Gentile Pentecost.

NEYM Annual Sessions, August 7-12, Registration Now Open


We would love to welcome you.

From August 7 to 12, we invite you to join with Friends from across the northeastern United States and beyond for Annual Sessions. Once again, Friends will gather through the use of videoconferencing technology, knowing we are connected in the Spirit.


Having first gathered in 1661, in 2021 New England Yearly Meeting of Friends celebrates 361 years of journeying together as a community of faith and witness. 

If you’re hoping to attend, registering online as soon as you’re able helps us prepare to welcome you.

Teams of Friends are hard at work daily getting ready—and knowing your plans is a great help, and an encouragement to our work. 

This year’s Sessions will include:Five Bible Half Hours with Jay O’Hara A Saturday plenary program with gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Shirley Hager (co-author of The Gatherings) in conversationA Monday plenary message with John CalviA Tuesday program with Hanifa Nayo Washington including meditation, small group sharing, and songMeeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business Memorial MeetingProgramming and opportunities for Friends of all ages”Home Groups” for small group connection, spiritual nurture, and discernment throughout the weekFurther opportunities for connection for Friends identifying as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color; as younger adults, and moreLearn more about worship and programs, view the Sessions schedule, and more on the New England Quakers website.

Have questions to help you decide if attending Sessions this year is right for you or your family? Just reply to this email, and we’ll be in touch.

For all or any part of Sessions this year—we hope you will join us. 

The schedule for Sessions is available here.


Don’t miss out:

If you register by July 15, we’ll be able to send you a printed schedule and “navigation guide” by mail, featuring a unique artistic activity to help you prayerfully prepare for Sessions.

Register now to make sure you’re on the list!

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting Gathering, In Person, August 7, 2021, 10am-3pm

Falmouth Quarter is invited to gather at the Portland Friends Meetinghouse at 1837 Forest Avenue in Portland Maine from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, or whatever portion of this period you are able.

August 7th is the first day of the annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting. Together as a quarter we will be able to participate virtually in the opening celebration from 10 – 11:30, have a brown bag lunch and time for catching up from 11:30 – 1:00.  We can then virtually attend the plenary with Shirley Hager and gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) from 1 – 2:30.   The meeting house is well-ventilated when the windows are open, and we will be able to use the meetinghouse’s flat screen TV to connect with these events.

The meeting house is spacious enough to ensure social distancing; and the current guidelines expect Friends who gather in the meetinghouse to wear masks except when speaking.

During the period of sharing and catching up with each other, I expect we will be sharing reflections and observations of how we have changed as faith communities since we were last together.  These times have been challenging.

Please share this invitation with your meeting and let us know if you will come.

Love

Sara Sprogell

Fritz Weiss

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 20, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 20, 2021 with 13 people present.  Bob Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with quiet worship.

1.The May minutes were approved as printed in the Newsletter.

2. Handbook:  the final draft of the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook was approved, adding an additional introduction which states that “Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is a member meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.  New England Yearly Meeting has a Faith and Practice which communicates to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and to outline procedures to be followed by meetings regarding membership, organization, the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society.  This Handbook states the particular policies and procedures of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within the overall guidance of the Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

3.Trustees: Katharine Hildebrandt reported that a threshing session to consider the selling of the parsonage was held on April 25, 2021.  There were approximately 20 people in attendance, either on Zoom or in the backyard behind the meetinghouse, six feet apart and wearing masks.  A detailed report of that meeting will be attached to the minutes.  A thoughtful discussion ensued regarding this matter.    Trustees recommend that the meeting move forward with a decision on the future of the parsonage at the July monthly meeting.  We expressed our appreciation for the work of the trustees. 

4.  Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote brought a report regarding future hybrid meetings for worship.  Hope was expressed that we return to meeting in the meetinghouse in the fall, maintaining some virtual attendance, as well as continuing to have speakers from away, and keeping in mind those who cannot come to the meetinghouse.   It was noted that the CDC recommendations have changed over time, and that we ought to use the most current guidelines.  The question of requiring vaccinations was raised.  We accepted the report with appreciation and look forward to continued study of hybrid worship.  Renee Cote reported that the Meeting OWL device has been checked for use in the meetinghouse and is recommended.

            Nancy Marstaller is planning a hymn sing on August 22nd, working with Ministry and Counsel on arrangements.

            Wendy Schlotterbeck recommended that we donate the amount of $1000 to Jay O’Hara in support of his ministry with the Climate Disobedience Center. 

5.  We approved purchasing the Meeting Owl for use in the meetinghouse. 

6. We approved the donation of $1000 to Jay Ohara for the Climate Disobedience Center, using the Charity Fund.

7. Clerk’s Report: Bob Eaton reported that the May meeting laid over the report of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Seasoning Group to June.  Following Wendy’s recent resignation as Youth Minister, Christian Education Committee is reviewing this role. Since the first-year anniversary of the Meeting Care Coordinator position is nearing, meeting will want to evaluate this position as we move forward.  Therefore, the clerk recommends that an ad-hoc group composed of clerks of committees, and others who wish to volunteer, review the Christian Education Committee recommendation, and conduct a review of the MCC position to see if there is potential synergy between the two positions as we define them for the future. Also, consideration of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Group be further laid over pending the result of the review of the two positions.

8. Christian Education Committee/Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Annual Plant Sale had another successful year. Warm thanks to Kim Bolshaw and many others who donated, watered and tended the plants. So far, they  have netted $900. 

            On Children’s Day, June 6, slideshow of Durham children/youth was shared via zoom near the end of Meeting for Worship that day. A copy of the photos will be sent to attenders who did not have video access (Lyn, David, Margaret, Renee).  The Noonday Children’s Day gathering outside in the Meeting House yard was attended by 15 Durham Friends. It was a wonderful experience seeing people in-person and sharing laughter around the picnic table in the horse shed.

            On Saturday, June 12, 17 Durham Friends gathered at the Hinshaw-Sheldon’s camp on Labrador Pond in Sumner, Maine. They delighted in each other’s company, sat around the picnic table under a large shade tree, and shared food and conversation. Some made use of the kayaks and canoes and paddled the pond on the glorious, sunny day.  

            Youth Minister, Wendy Schlotterbeck, helped facilitate the evening sessions of the June NEYM Young Friends retreat June 11-13.

9. Clerk Bob Eaton wrote the following Minute of Appreciation: “Wendy Schlotterbeck joined Durham Friends Meeting in 2009 and within a year the meeting asked her to take on the responsibility of Youth Minister.  Wendy had filled this role with quiet competence ever since.  The size of the meeting’s youth group had varied over the years, but never Wendy’s careful attention to each member.  A generation of meeting children have grown in the love and concern that Wendy has shared so generously.  Wendy’s ministry to our youth reminds us of George Fox’s admonition to us: “Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.”  Wendy, you have, indeed, walked cheerfully and lightly with us as Youth Minister.  We thank you, dear friend.”

 10. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee will be focused on reparations for the summer. They will be posting readings on the website and hosting a discussion of reparations in September. They will also be encouraging you to support the federal bill HR 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act. Their fall agenda will return to issues of Indigenous Sovereignty in Maine. Shirley Hager, one of the authors of The Gatherings, will join us for Meeting for Worship and a discussion in October. The books for New Mainer children will be given to families on June 30. Cindy Wood, from the committee, will be present for the distribution, which will be in conjunction with an Art Van visit, at Brunswick Landing where many of the families live. The committee continues to work on recruiting 8 teachers for the Social Justice Enrichment Project. Elementary schools in Durham and Topsham are definitely in the program and they hope to have two other schools very soon. The committee has compiled an impressive list of books that they will use in making a selection for each teacher. You will hear more about this project in the months to come. Ingrid expressed appreciation for working with those on the committee. 

11.  Velasco Friends Meeting: Nancy Marstaller reported that contact with Cuban Friends in Velasco is sporadic due to more covid cases; more restrictions are noted.  Donations cannot be sent at present.  There will be a pot-luck lunch September 26 with Portland Friends who share a sister relationship with Velasco Friends Meeting.

12. Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell presented a draft proposal for procedures for contracting services for the meeting. They recommend that a check list be used in order to gather adequate information whenever a person is hired for contracted work or services.  This information would be included in a written contract, signed and dated by the appropriate people. This checklist will be used as a reference for committees and the monthly meeting.  This list will be attached to these minutes. It was suggested that we add a procedure for resignation or completion of service.

            Bob Eaton, Clerk, closed the meeting with quiet waiting, and anticipation for a great afternoon outside!

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Handbook of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook, March 2021

            Durham Friends Meeting is a member meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.  New England Yearly Meeting has a Faith and Practice which communicates “to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and outlines procedures to be followed by meetings regarding membership, organization, the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society.”

            This Handbook states the particular policies and procedures of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within the overall guidance of The Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

Purpose and Goals

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is a community discerning and serving the will of God.  Our understanding of God comes through corporate worship, study of the Bible and other literature, a sense of God through Jesus Christ, through continuing revelation, and in confirming experiences, many of which we share with one another.  The Meeting seeks to provide opportunities for the individual to grow in faith and in expressing that faith.  For these purposes it is important for us to attend Meeting for Worship and Monthly Meeting for Business, to support the Meeting financially, to serve on committees as time and energy allow, and to take part in opportunities provided by the Meeting for worship, study, and fellowship with others. 

The Meeting strives to be a supportive community for those in it.  Those in the Meeting should be aware of its involvement in Friends groups at many levels beyond our own community: i.e., Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Friends United Meeting, Friends General Conference, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and United Society of Friends Women International.  The Meeting is a member of the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council and the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach. 

Membership

Membership in the Society of Friends is in a Monthly Meeting.  Anyone who has faith in God and understands the precepts of the Bible, who wants to follow the life and teachings of Jesus under the guidance and authority of the Light Within, and who feels comfortable in the Meeting community is encouraged to apply for membership.  If already a member of another Friends Meeting, the person should write for a letter of transfer to be sent to the Clerk of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends.  If an individual has been a member of another faith group, that connection and an appropriate communication with that group will be discussed in the clearness process.  The Monthly Meeting acts on the recommendation of Ministry and Counsel after it has acquainted itself with the person and his/her religious/spiritual experience.

Monthly Meeting for Business

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends meets once a month for business in accordance with Friends’ custom as stated in Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (1985).  These meetings are held the third Sunday of each month after worship.  Business of the Monthly Meeting includes minutes, treasurer’s reports, Ministry and Counsel reports, reports of committees as appropriate, and consideration of other concerns as they arise.  Fund raising beyond the budget requires the approval of the Monthly Meeting. Committees, both standing and ad hoc, are appointed to help conduct and carry out the business of the Monthly Meeting.  Concerns, issues raised, and proposed actions may be assigned to appropriate committees for “seasoning” and careful consideration.  Such committees then report their recommendations back to Monthly Meeting for further action.  Committees also present to Monthly Meeting concerns that they have discerned, and proposed actions.

It is recommended that an agenda be sent out previous to Monthly Meeting; and that substantive materials (reports, proposals, etc.), from committees and individuals be sent as email attachments or made available on the website.  The Meeting will generally consider only matters that have been first considered and brought forward by a committee appointed by the Meeting.  Generally the Meeting will not make a decision the first time a matter is brought forward but rather allow it to season for a month.

Clerk

The Clerk or a Co-Clerk of the Monthly Meeting develops an agenda, presides at the Monthly Meeting for Business, and takes care of correspondence and the details of the business items unless such responsibilities are delegated to others.  The Clerk or Co-Clerks must also be members of the Monthly Meeting.

Recording Clerk

The Recording Clerk makes a record of the minutes and reports of the Monthly Meeting.  In preparation for archival storage the minutes are recorded on acid-free paper.  Periodically the minutes are bound and copies are made for Durham Monthly Meeting, the New England Yearly Meeting Archives, and the originals are deposited at the Maine Historical Society in Portland. 

Ministry and Counsel

Monthly Meeting appoints at least six members to Ministry and Counsel.  Members of Ministry and Counsel must also be members of the Meeting.  The Youth Minister, Meeting Care Coordinator, and Meeting Clerk meet with the committee.  Recorded ministers who are members of the Meeting are ex officio members of M&C.  Representatives are appointed to attend and report back on Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel sessions. 

The primary functions of Ministry and Counsel are to oversee and to nurture the spiritual life of the Meeting.  Visiting within the Meeting community, especially but not limited to those who have a particular need, shall be a high priority.  Ministry and Counsel shall encourage, nurture, and support visiting by others in the Meeting community.  Ministry and Counsel shall encourage members and attenders to develop their skills and leadings in the many facets of the mission of the Meeting. 

M&C oversees Meeting for Worship, encouraging members and attenders to share messages and care of worship.   M&C oversees the instruction of attenders and others who show an interest in the Meeting and considers applications for membership and, if favorable, recommends that the Monthly Meeting accept the applicant as a member.  M&C prepares an annual state of the society report, which is forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for its consideration by April and then sent on to the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel and Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

M&C should appoint annually one of its members to be clerk to preside at its meetings and a recording clerk to keep minutes of proceedings.  Meetings are held regularly each month.  Special meetings may be called by the clerk of M&C on request of three members of Ministry and Counsel.   

Meeting Care Coordinator

The Meeting Care Coordinator and members of M&C share responsibility for attending to individual pastoral care needs of the Meeting.  The Meeting Care Coordinator would help ensure that those needing visits or special care have their needs met, and help maintain connection with those who may seem to be drifting away.  The Meeting Care Coordinator would assist M&C or take the lead in contacting members to find message givers for each Sunday worship.  The MCC helps coordinate prayer groups and prayer partners, as needed. The MCC also maintains coordination with the Youth Minister.  The MCC provides assistance, as needed, in scheduling and communicating about these events and in coordinating with other churches or organizations with similar concerns.  The MCC would also provide follow-up with visitors to the Meeting.  Committee meetings to attend to gain clarity on the above are Clerks Committee, M&C, Monthly Meeting, and Peace and Social Concerns.

Pastor

In the past the Meeting hired pastors who have inspired, encouraged, and challenged the community.  After an extended trial period beginning in 2017, we explored the feasibility of continuing as a semi-programmed Meeting without a pastor and found that we continued to experience the life of the spirit within the Meeting, without having a paid pastor.  We have adopted this practice for now, allowing financial resources to be used in other ways as the Meeting is led.

Christian Education Committee

The Christian Education Committee provides the leadership and resources for each participant in the Meeting community to grow in the knowledge, understanding, and commitment to his/her personal faith and our shared faith tradition. 

Specific committee responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Oversight of the youth minister role as consistent with the agreement, which includes the committee’s responsibility for assessing whether the youth minister has met the expectations in the agreement.  This includes appointment and responsibility for the Youth Minister Care and Oversight committee and support for the youth minister.
  • Responsibility for Sunday School for all ages, with an appropriate planned or purchased curriculum in consultation and with support from the youth minister.  Support for Sunday school teachers, including: providing opportunities for leadership training relating to Christian Education, maintaining necessary supplies, and maintaining a directory of all the children in the Meeting.
  • Encouragement for the use of resources of the Meeting for study (library and curriculum library), different methods of instruction (flannel boards, maps, audio-visual equipment), grounds around buildings (cemetery, trails). 
  • Utilization and dissemination to the Meeting of resources from the Yearly Meeting (e.g., through its Christian Education Committee), Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting.
  • Communication with the Meeting at large regarding the Sunday School programs, special programs, providing Bibles or devotional books for each child in middle elementary school and/or graduates.
  • Study groups as the need arises.
  • Education about and opportunities for involvement in Friends work outside the local Meeting, including overseas work.

The Christian Education Committee is made up of approximately six named members and all of the Sunday school teachers.  The youth minister is an ex officio member.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Youth Minister

The Youth Minister has a flexible function within the Meeting.  Within set priorities, the youth minister may shift emphasis over time to address the varying needs of our children and changing capacity of the Meeting to address those needs.  Work is done with the Christian Education Committee, Ministry and Counsel, and interested individuals to support the children of the Meeting in their spiritual growth and connection to the Meeting.  The youth minister works on a variety of activities for children, including the Sunday School, a youth group, camp outs, participation in New England Yearly Meeting, etc., and helps others who are led to develop their ministry with children. 

The youth minister participates in Monthly Meeting and regional Meetings and workshops concerning Christian Education and youth ministry.  Reports are made to the Christian Education Committee, and support is received from a Care and Oversight Committee made up of members from Christian Education, Ministry and Counsel, and the Meeting at large.

Peace and Social Concerns Committee

The task of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee is twofold: discernment and taking action. 

The process of discernment consists of:

  • Determining what issues confronting our present social order pertain to Friends’ traditional testimonies of equality, peace and non-violence, stewardship, and civic and community responsibility.
  • Hearing the concerns of the Monthly Meeting or individual members of the Meeting and those brought by other religious, service and legislative bodies that address these issues. 

As action is considered the committee seeks to make recommendations to Monthly Meeting for supportive action in order to:

  • Educate the Meeting regarding Friends’ traditional testimonies and their application in the world, especially addressing the issues of violence, discrimination, addictions and poverty.
  • Enable the Monthly Meeting and individuals to take action regarding their concerns.
  • Support those who are suffering because of actions they have taken in support of their concerns.
  • Act in solidarity with those who are affected by our failure to achieve a society of non-violence, equality, economic justice and equal opportunity.

The committee seeks to work in cooperation with other committees of the Monthly Meeting, other Monthly Meetings and community groups that work constructively on these issues.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee oversees several forms of communication within the Meeting community and reaches out to the wider world. The Meeting has a monthly newsletter called The Best of Friends, a website, a Facebook page, a phone tree, and an email list for of-the-moment updates called Friends Notes. Committee members update the website, assemble, edit, and distribute the newsletter, post to Facebook, initiate the phone tree, and send Friends Notes when needed.

The newsletter and website both carry news of the Meeting, with a more limited amount of information shared on Facebook. The newsletter is published monthly. The website is updated regularly as information, news, messages, and articles become available. Both contain information about Sunday Meeting for Worship, other scheduled events, and outside events of interest, as well as reports from committees, personal news about members and attenders, news of the financial state of the Meeting, any applicable artwork or photographs, and any articles that members or attenders may to submit. 

Committee members each take on a role with the newsletter, the website, the Facebook page, or the phone tree. Those working with the newsletter and website solicit and collect Sunday messages, articles, news, and other information for dissemination. The newsletter is distributed in both electronic and print formats by the committee. Extra copies of the printed newsletter are available at the meetinghouse. The newsletter is also edited for personal identifying information and posted to the website. 

The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Library Committee

In 1833 Durham Friends realized the value of reading Quaker histories and biographies if a firm foundation was to be laid for continuance of Friends’ ideals.  A librarian was appointed, and a library started.

            The continued purpose of the library is to provide reading and teaching materials. The library has grown to be a well-rounded collection of Quaker-related materials as well as religious, socially concerned, children/youth and fiction books.  Books should be signed out and brought back in a timely manner.  All members and attenders should find the library a source of enrichment. All gift books and other materials should be given to the Library Committee.  The Library Committee is responsible for maintaining the library by purchasing, receiving, and processing new books, discarding worn copies as needed, and keeping the bookshelves and card catalog in order and up to date, so that specific books can be easily found.

The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

 Music Committee

The Music Committee coordinates music (choirs, etc.), accompanies hymn singing, and provides offertory music for Sunday Meeting for Worship. 

Committees for Special Purposes

The Monthly Meeting may appoint committees for special purposes.  A Clearness Committee is a unique and essential part of Quaker process, used to assist in the following of a leading or in a period of transition. Clearness Committees for membership or marriage are the responsibility of Ministry and Counsel. All other requests for a Clearness Committee can be made to Monthly Meeting or to Ministry and Counsel.

Woman’s Society of Durham Friends

All resident women members of the Monthly Meeting are members of the Woman’s Society, plus other women who choose to participate.  The Society meets once a month for worship, program, business and fellowship.  The Society seeks to provide inspiration, education, and opportunity for women to share in the mission of the Meeting.  The Society gives spiritual and financial support to a number of domestic and international programs and projects.  The Society is a part of United Society of Friends Women International.

Contact Persons to Wider Quaker Organizations

A contact person is named to be a liaison with Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends United Meeting and Friends General Conference.  This person receives information on relevant issues and updates from the respective organization and passes this information on to the members of the Meeting in ways most appropriate; e.g., posted or spoken announcements, individual contact or newsletter articles.  The contact person keeps available pamphlets and newsletters. 

Recorder

The Recorder keeps a record of each member and of all changes in membership, such as births, marriages, deaths, applications, and transfers.  Records should be kept in a form approved by New England Yearly Meeting.  No recorder’s pages are destroyed but are kept for archival purposes.  A statistical report is prepared each year for the Monthly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting.  It is recommended that the Recorder issue annually to the membership an up-to-date list of names and addresses of all members.  Once every tenth year an up-to-date list of the membership is to be attached to the Recording Clerk’s records (started in 2007).

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee makes nominations to the December Monthly Meeting for officers, committees, and others as directed by the Monthly Meeting and other nominations as necessary throughout the year.  Nominees are named on a three-year rotating basis so that not all appointments must be renewed or filled each year.  An appointee may serve two consecutive terms on a committee.  After one year off the committee, that person may be re-appointed to that committee.   

The committee members confer with proposed nominees before names are presented to the Monthly Meeting for appointment.  Any member of the Meeting may suggest changes in the nominations.  Nominees are members or regular attenders of the Monthly Meeting.  Only members may be appointed to Trustees, Ministry and Counsel, and as Clerk. 

The Nominating Committee does not remove any member with an unexpired term without approval of Monthly Meeting.

The Nominating Committee is appointed directly by the Monthly Meeting.  There are three members, one of whom is appointed each year for a three-year term.  A member may serve for a second consecutive three-year term.  Members of the Nominating Committee are chosen with regard to their discernment, seasoned judgment, and general knowledge of the membership of the Meeting.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members.  Their roster of committee members, officers and others represents the work they have accomplished for the year.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee prepares a budget for consideration and approval at the January Monthly Meeting, to be in effect for the calendar year.  The approved budget will be circulated to the members and attenders.  The committee keeps records of all financial transactions (except cemetery funds).  The treasurer, appointed by Monthly Meeting, takes direction from the Finance Committee. The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Treasurer

The Treasurer receives and disburses funds as the Meeting directs, keeps the account books of the Meeting and reports regularly to it.  These accounts are to be audited annually.  The Treasurer may pay current bills under the budget without further approval of Monthly Meeting.  All other bills are to be presented and approved by Monthly Meeting.  With the approval of the Finance Committee, the Treasurer may open and close bank accounts.  The Monthly Meeting shall appoint an alternate signer of all bank accounts.

Auditor

Books of the Treasurer and of the Trustees are audited.  The Auditor reviews the documentation and bank statements to ascertain that vouchers, checks and deposits agree with the Treasurer’s statements.  If such records are in agreement, organized and accessible, then the Auditor certifies to the Monthly Meeting for Business the correctness of the accounts.

Tax Exempt Status

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), is recognized by the IRS as exempt from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3), and is included in the group exemption ruling of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Detailed information is filed at the meetinghouse.

Durham Monthly Meeting Funds: Funds managed by the Meeting.

  • Charity Account:  Established by the Meeting by tithing 10 percent of the sale of various stocks owned by the Meeting, to be used for unique charitable requests and to support ministry or leadings within certain guidelines.  Money is added to the fund when our financial situation permits.  See below for a detailed description of guidelines.
  • Capital Account: Used to pay for major repairs and capital improvements on the meetinghouse and the parsonage.  The Monthly Meeting has authorized deposits into this account from income received beyond the budgetary needs of the Meeting.  Examples are the income from the harvesting of the woodlot, and the sale of property.
  • Bernice Douglas Fund: Established by the Douglas family to honor Bernice Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Meeting.  She also left money to the Meeting, which was deposited in this fund. The funds are not restricted or designated.  However, the Monthly Meeting has often drawn on this fund to support capital type improvements, or as loans to ourselves for such purposes, in recognition of the Douglas family’s dedication to good stewardship of our properties.
  • Woodbury Fund: Established with funds given to the Meeting by Vivian Woodbury, a long-time member of Durham Meeting. The funds are not restricted, but the Monthly Meeting has designated this fund for Youth work, a tribute to her love of and devotion to the youth in our Meeting.

New England Yearly Meeting Pooled Funds: Stock funds managed by New England Yearly Meeting of Friends:

  • Goddard Fund: Established to receive funds left to Durham Meeting by the Goddard family.  The original bequest was restricted. The amount was not clear, as the funds were distributed to Durham over time.  The principal has been established as approximately $85,000.00.
  • Douglas Fund: Established by the Douglas family to honor Bernice Douglas.  The fund is not restricted or designated by the Meeting.

Charity Account Guidelines

The Charity Account is to be administered, after careful consideration of each unique situation, for both Charitable Requests and Supported Ministry (Leadings) purposes.         

In terms of Supported Ministry (Leadings), coming from members or regular attenders, the request, with an amount included, will be brought to a standing Meeting committee first to prayerfully consider said request for funds. If the Meeting committee finds clearness in the request, the committee can then bring the request to Monthly Meeting, with the request added to an agenda that is distributed ahead of the Monthly Meeting.

            In considering proposals to support a ministry, we recommend the following criteria:

  • Alignment of the ministry with the faith and practice of Friends, including the Testimonies.
  • The character and integrity of the person or group seeking support.
  • The merit and validity of the request.  In other words, does this ministry help to deepen and promote the life, not only of the individual or group, but of the whole Meeting as well?

In terms of Charitable Requests, a request, with an amount included, will be brought to a standing Meeting committee first to prayerfully consider said request for funds. If the Meeting committee finds clearness in the request, the committee can then bring the request to Monthly Meeting, with the request added to an agenda, distributed ahead of the Monthly Meeting.

In the case of a time sensitive situation, a request for financial assistance, with an amount included, can be brought to the Monthly Meeting by a Meeting committee, where it would be tended, weighed and prayerfully decided at the next Monthly Meeting. In this case the request would be communicated to the Meeting community ahead of time.   

In the case of a true emergency, a request, with an amount included, can be brought to the clerk of the Meeting, along with the clerk of Ministry and Counsel and the clerk of Finance, who can then direct the allocation of funds from the Charity Account, and report to the next Monthly Meeting.

In general, the Charity Account will not be a source of funding for Quaker organizations and causes such as FCNL, AFSC, QUNO, NEYM, Tedford Housing, or LACO, as these are included in the annual budget as contributions.

Requests for funds will generally be no greater than $1,000.00.

Trustees

Trustees have charge of the property of the Monthly Meeting.  They are responsible for the care of the buildings and grounds, cemeteries, and any special funds for the care of the cemeteries.  The Trustees’ financial records are to be audited annually.  Periodically the Trustees review the Meeting’s insurance coverage and make recommendations to the Monthly Meeting.  The Trustees, in conjunction with the Finance Committee and Auditor, will prepare a detailed report of all assets (including invested funds, property, and cemetery funds) and present to Monthly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting at least every ten years (start in 2011). 

The Trustees plan for workdays to accomplish cleaning, outside clean up, and special projects.  They hire work done when that is necessary, asking in advance for any funds needed above budgeted amounts, except in emergencies.  They arrange to have the lawns at the meetinghouse and parsonage mowed, as well as the cemeteries, and arrange for snow to be plowed.  The Trustees contract for custodial service with continuing oversight, and perform other duties as assigned by the Monthly Meeting.

 Members of Trustees must be members of the Meeting. The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Custodian

The janitor is responsible for keeping the meetinghouse neat and ready for regular and special events, turning up the heat when needed.  The janitor may also call, from the list approved by the Trustees, for the service people to attend to emergencies. 

Guidelines for Use of Durham Friends Meetinghouse

The Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends are delegated the responsibility for the use of the meetinghouse. All meetings should be recorded on the calendar on the bulletin board at the entry to the worship room and on the Meeting Google calendar.  Regular meetings for worship and groups within the Meeting may use the meetinghouse as a meeting place without further authorization (e.g., Ministry and Counsel, Monthly Meeting, Woman’s Society, youth fellowship, and other committees of the Meeting).  A request for the use of the meetinghouse for a single occasion should be made to the Trustee(s) delegated to receive this request.  The Trustee(s) will consult the calendar and two other Trustees before permission is granted.

A request by a group outside the Meeting for use of the meetinghouse on a fairly regular basis over a period of time should be made to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting, or the delegate Trustee(s), who will bring the matter before the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting will make the decision.  For use of the building and grounds, the Trustees ask that a donation be given to a Trustee member or put in the committee depository (piano bench).  No smoking and no alcoholic beverages are permitted in buildings or on the property.

Instructions Regarding How to Leave the Meetinghouse

The meetinghouse must be left as found, replacing everything used, and cleaning, taking down all but two tables in the fellowship room.  When heat is on in cold weather, before leaving read and follow directions near the thermostats.  The children’s room thermostat should be set at 55 degrees.  Leave doors open to the children’s rooms, children’s bathroom, kitchen and hallway bathrooms.  Leave both divider curtains in the fellowship room open.  Check stove to be sure all burners are off.  And be sure all faucets are turned off and that no toilet is running.  Turn off all lights.  Emergency lights will come on automatically.  Lock back and front doors.

Lunt Memorial Cemetery of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

Single, two, and four-grave lots are available in Lunt Memorial Cemetery. For members of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, the charge is only the cost of perpetual care. For non-members who are residents of the community of the Friends Meeting and for certain other non-members under special circumstances allowed by the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, lots are available at prices shown below.

Lot Price          Perpetual Care            Total

Single grave lot (4′´10′)          $  150.00         $  200.00                     $   350.00

Double lot (10′´10′)                $  200.00         $  400.00                     $   600.00

Large lot (10′´20′)                  $  350.00         $  650.00                     $ 1,000.00

Family lot (20′´20′)                  $  600.00         $  900.00                      $ 1,500.00

A lot may be transferred from the owner to another only with the approval of the Trustee in charge of the Cemetery.  If a lot is unused and a written request to return the lot is sent to the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within ten years of purchase, all of the Perpetual Care cost and half of the purchase price (Lot Price) will be refunded.

Green Burial Lot Agreement

Single lots are available for purchase in Lunt Memorial Cemetery. Each lot measures 4′´8′, allowing room for a small marker and flowers. The charge for members of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is $200.00; the charge for non-members is $350.00.

A lot may be transferred from one owner to another, only with the approval of the Trustee in charge of the Cemetery. If a lot is unused and a written request to return the lot is sent to the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within ten years of purchase, half of the purchase price will be refunded. 

A green burial is an unencumbered burial. There is no embalming and no need for a commercial casket. The body may be wrapped in a cotton shroud or other decomposable fabric and placed directly in the ground or placed in a plain wooden box and placed in the ground. The required depth for the green burial is three feet.

Care of Lots

  • Simple stones and monuments will be in keeping with the Cemetery, and should be oriented parallel to Lunt Road.
  • Simple decorations are permissible. Decorations should be in good taste and in keeping with the Cemetery. Decorations deemed not in keeping with the Cemetery will be removed.
  • Seasonal decorations and silk/plastic flowers will be removed periodically.
  • Lot owners may bury multiple urns on a lot, with or without professional assistance.
  • Lot owners may spread ashes as they choose.
  • No woody plants may be planted on lots (existing woody plants will be handled on a case-by-case basis).
  • Plantings by owners should be in good taste and plantings of any kind that become overgrown will be removed.
  • Perpetual Care provides for six mowings per year, trimming and edging as needed and grading and seeding when necessary.  

CEMETERY LOT AGREEMENT

Lot #  ________________      Member___________            Non Member ______________

Date__________________                           

I have read the cemetery guidelines and accept the provisions of this agreement:

Signed: ______________________________________________________________________

Print Name:     __________________________________________________

On the date of _­­­_________________,           Received $ __________________________

Contact Information: 

Address_______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Phone_______________________________ email________________________________________________

Trustee Signature 

___________________________________________________________

Workshop: Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples

A two-hour workshop for New England Friends

SaturdayJuly 17, 2021, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Register here by July 11th  or go to:  https://lu.ma/seeds-of-change

In this 2-hour participatory workshop — Saturday, July 17, 4-6 PM — we will hear the story of the colonization of this land in the words of Indigenous leaders, Euro-American leaders, and Western historians. We will take part in the story through experiential exercises, and share our responses and reflections in small groups. Together, we will explore steps that we can take to build relationships with Native peoples based on truth, respect, and justice.

The workshop is appropriate for high school students and adults. It will be co-facilitated by Paula Palmer and Gail Melix, see bios below.

Pay as led. Choose the amount (sliding scale) that is right for you, including $0. When discerning the right amount to pay, we offer the following guidance:

  • $30 covers direct costs (suggested fee)
  • $60 covers your direct costs plus those of a Friend who cannot pay 
  • $15 makes a helpful contribution if budgets are tight

The last day to register is July 11, 2021.

Our team:

  • Paula Palmer co-directs Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, a program of Friends Peace Teams. She is a member of Boulder Meeting, Intermountain Yearly Meeting, and lives on Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute land. 
  • Gail Melix is a Manomet Wampanoag and a Quaker. She lives in Cotuit, Ma., the ancestral homeland of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. She is a board member of Native Land Conservancy in Mashpee, Mass., co-clerk of New England Yearly Meeting’s Earthcare Ministry Committee, and clerk of Sandwich Monthly Meeting Ministry and Counsel. She carries concerns for climate crisis and environmental justice, racism, and right relationship with indigenous peoples.
  • Annette Brickley and Gretchen Reinhardt will be technical hosts for the workshop.
  • Andy Grant, a member of Mt Toby MM, serves on the NEYM Right Relationship Resource Group and is the local organizer of this event.

This Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change event will help us prepare to acknowledge past harm and offer a sincere apology when we assemble (virtually) for NEYM sessions in August and move on a Letter of Apology to Native Americans. Go to the sessions speakers page for information about the plenary presenters, including gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Shirley Hager (Winthrop Center, ME, Friends Meeting).

What’s Next in Worship at Durham Friends Meeting?

Ministry and Counsel, June 20, 2021

For the past fifteen months, we at Durham Friends Meeting have been worshipping together each Sunday via Zoom rather than worshipping together in our Meetinghouse.  We have done this, of course, because of the risk of infecting one another with the COVID-19 virus which has taken 600,000 lives in the U.S. and 3.8 million lives across the globe.  With the recent successes of vaccination, we believe it is time to begin planning to return to worship in the Meetinghouse. 

We emphasize: time to begin planning.  We believe there are important steps to take first before we all return to worship in the Meetinghouse.  We believe if we begin taking these steps now, it will be possible to return to regular worship in the Meetinghouse in the fall. 

We believe these four considerations need to be kept foremost in our minds:

(1) safety: we need to be sure we are keeping everyone safe.

(2) access for all: we need to be sure we are providing access to worship for all, and that includes children who cannot yet be vaccinated, and any among us who cannot be vaccinated.

(3) announcement: we need to be sure we have communicated to all how we are worshipping together.

(4) messages: we need to recognize that after we return to the Meetinghouse, we will not be as able to have worship messages brought by those at a distance.

We believe Durham Friends Meeting should make preparations for a hybrid form of worship as we return to the meetinghouse.  Under this arrangement, most people would attend the Meeting in person at our meetinghouse; others would participate via Zoom.  In April, we held a threshing session in which this hybrid approach had broad support (notes attached).  In May, we tested a Meeting OWL Pro Device that proved quite satisfactory to support this hybrid form of worship (notes attached).  Using this device, especially in the meeting room itself, will require some improvements in the Meeting’s internet connection.  (Without such improvements, to use the Meeting OWL Pro for hybrid worship we would need to hold worship in the social room.)

Here are the steps we believe we should take next in approximate order:

(1) Have the Meeting authorize purchase now of a Meeting OWL Pro, approximate cost $1000. 

(2) Have Ministry and Counsel develop a plan that considers the following, and bring this to the Meeting for approval: 

(a) Explore options for improving the Meeting’s internet connection. 

(b) Think through protocols for ensuring the safety of all who come to worship.  (How about children? How about those who cannot be vaccinated? What about visitors?  What do we do about ventilation and air quality in the meetinghouse?  Etc.)

(c) Think through what it will take each Sunday to support hybrid worship, both equipment and people support. 

(d) Set a tentative date for returning to worship in the meetinghouse and communicate this to all members and attenders of Durham Friends Meeting well in advance. 

+++++

NOTES from Threshing Session on 4/11/21 about Worship Options After COVID

DCB 21.4.14

Here are some notes from our threshing session.  At the end, I’m appending three thoughtful responses that came via e-mail.

We had good participation in the threshing session: more than 20 participants.  Mostly those gathered were folks we also see fairly regularly on ZOOM worship sessions.  We may want to reach out to some of those we are not regularly seeing on Zoom. 

On the whole, there was a good deal of agreement that we should be especially attentive to the health and safety of Meeting members.  We were reminded that there are quite a number in the Meeting who would especially be at risk from a viral infection.

Several people said that they were surprised to find worship over Zoom to be better than they expected, even if they preferred to be in the meetinghouse. 

There were a number of expressions of discomfort with allowing too much technology into our worship together.

Nevertheless, these expressions of discomfort were nearly always paired with a recognition that Zoom was making possible something good, and that we probably want to be heading toward some kind of hybrid solution.  Such a hybrid solution would allow us to return to the meetinghouse and yet allow those not able to attend in person (for health or for distance reasons) to worship with us. 

People seem interested in trying the OWL device. 

Several people voiced discomfort with a large screen in the meetinghouse.

We were encouraged to see what other Quaker meetings are doing.  We can learn from them. 

We were reminded that we’ll need some protocols for addressing who can come to the meetinghouse in person:  only those vaccinated?  With masks?  What distances, etc. 

A possibility voiced for an interim step:  gathering people in small, safe groups at various locations connected via Zoom. 

A big issue to wrestle with:  how much does ‘being a Quaker meeting’ require being in one another’s presence?  If we allow the technology in the future, will we be altering the terms of ‘worshipping together’ and ‘making decisions together?’

From Sarah Sprogell

Good Morning Doug,

I won’t be at the threshing session today, but I wanted to offer my input for consideration on the topic of hybrid worship.  I think it’s good that we’re taking some time to reflect and discern on how we can come together in worship safely post-pandemic, and continue to have wider participation.

If we go to a hybrid model, I think it would be beneficial to find a way to greatly enlarge the image of zoom participants – either by investing in a very large TV screen or be devising a system to project a large image onto a blank wall.  Our sound system might need to be improved also, for best results.

Obviously, we will also need some technical expertise to get anything set up.  There may be knowledge within the Meeting, and there may also be help available through NEYM. We do not need to re-create the wheel on our own!

Let’s look at what other meetings within the Yearly Meeting are doing. 

For example, Allen’s Neck Meeting is using a screen, but it is too small to see the faces from a distance.  Some feel that the screen itself is distracting.  Thus, placement of the screen is important.  Peter Crysdale or others at that meeting can provide more insight to their experience. 

Another example is Cambridge Meeting, which has used a projector to put an enlarged image onto a blank wall.  I saw this on an Instagram post by Kathleen Wooten.  She may be a good resource for more information on this method.

Thanks for taking this input Doug, and thanks to M&C for shepherding this forward,

Sarah

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From Ingrid Chalufour

Doug,

I regret I will miss the Threshing on Sunday. Our family is visiting, and they come first. I expect you understand that. For what it is worth I would like to share my thoughts with you. I think having a hybrid option for the long term is a good idea. I realize that we do not really know how this will impact the experience in the Meetinghouse, but there are advantages to having it. First, we do not know what our future is in relation to pandemics. We don’t even know when we might be COVID safe completely. Second, we have benefited from the participation of Friends from other places, including with message giving.

Originally, I thought that we might want to start modestly to see how it goes. After a conversation with Sarah I understand that this is likely to be an inferior experience and it would not give us a good understanding of what the experience might be.

That is the extent of my thinking for the moment. Zoom certainly has been a life saver in the past year. It has given us Sunday worship and the possibility of continuing committee work.

I look forward to hearing how all of this plays out. I long to return to the Meetinghouse but have some difficulty with wearing a mask for extended times so I have to figure that out first.

Many thanks for your efforts to guide us in figuring this out.

Ingrid

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From KJ Williams

The focus seemed drawn into if hybrid makes sense to explore. We didn’t touch on where my thoughts were headed, more about when we should start gathering together again. I’ve thought a great deal about this, as I’ve been to work every day, answering screening questions, having my temperature taken, and now having Ag testing 2 times a week.  We wear masks, stay apart, meet more still on Microsoft teams. When I think of the meeting house, I think of it as a pretty open space, fairly easy to have people sit in bubbles spread out. While singing would still be limited, the chance to be together in the space should become possible in the next 1-2 months I hope. I think the healing of being together balances out some of the safety risk. Findings of less viral spread on surfaces helps much of this feel safer.  I do want people to be safe, so having the zoom option continuing is important. I am hoping that some who are more comfortable setting up zoom might help others in person.  

The Wisconsin Council of Churches have a guide they call Holding Our Plans Loosely where they offer some guidance in thinking about opening.  It might be useful as we think this through.  It includes ideas about a blend of % of population vaccinated, positivity rate, and cases per 100,000. 

I do support the hybrid model, in part given my living both in Brunswick and Oxford.  I hadn’t planned on spending so much time in Oxford when I landed in Maine, but we are finding that the better way to work things. With the hybrid, I think I can stay a committed member of Durham Friends over time. 

I was thinking about that balance of local, in person connection and distant connections.  I have been visiting my previous congregation less, shifting to being more present here. I value being part of local activities, when I have time and energy.  That is limited now, with me needing time with the community more to help me get ready for the week ahead.  I value that support. I think there can also be a way of engaging those who are part of the community farther away, finding what captures their attention, their passion and gifts. 

+++++

TO:                   Interested Folks at Durham Friends Meeting

FROM:              Doug, Ellen, Renee, Joyce, Tess, Wendy

RE:                   Test of the OWL Pro

DATE:               May 18, 2021

Today we tried a test of the OWL Pro device that New England Yearly Meeting lent us for a short while.  On the whole, it was a successful trial, but not everything we tried worked. 

Test Site: Social Room.  The OWL connects to a laptop which becomes the host computer for the ZOOM session.  We put the OWL on a table in the Social Room, plugged it in to Doug’s laptop, connected it wirelessly to the Meeting WiFi, and started up a meeting.  (Durham Meeting has its internet connection from Spectrum, via DSL.)  Doug, Ellen and Renee were present in the Social Room; Joyce, Tess and Wendy were logged in remotely.  You can see a 14-minute recording of what this looked like here

We could see and hear one another without difficulty.  The OWL always shows one speaker in the room and also a panoramic 360-degree view of everyone in the room.  Sometimes it would show a few people (separate images) in addition to the panoramic view.  We did notice that the OWL’s camera was slow to move towards a new speaker; it took perhaps three sentences before that new speaker showed on camera (there was no delay in picking up the sound). 

We did succeed in hooking up the Meeting’s TV to the laptop using a Chromecast device, but we did not figure out how to cast the Zoom session from the laptop to the TV monitor.  This is surely a solvable problem. 

Test Site:  Meeting Room.  We tried moving the whole set-up into the Meeting Room.  This was not successful because we could not pick up a WiFi signal in this location.  We tried wirelessly, first, and then tried running an ethernet cable from the cable modem/router in the kitchen across the floor of the Social Room into the Meeting Room.  This too, did not work.  The problem might be with the ethernet cable we used or with the cable modem/router.

Conclusions.  Here are some tentative conclusions:

1.  The OWL Pro (costs about $1000) could be a way to have the Meeting do hybrid worship – most people in the Meetinghouse and some logging in via Zoom.  The sound and video are good, though the camera takes a bit of time to react and turn toward a new speaker. 

2. Of course we could also use it for business meetings and committee meetings with some participants logged in from remote sites. 

3.  For starters, we would have to hold Meeting for Worship in the Social Room. 

4.  Using the OWL Pro in the Meetinghouse would require some upgrade of our internet capabilities.  This upgrade would involve a stronger signal than we now have or a dedicated (and working) ethernet cord from our cable modem/router to the computer that is hosting the OWL.  If we use ethernet, perhaps an electrician could find a way to run the connection from the kitchen to the Meeting Room via the basement. 

5.  Would we want a TV monitor in use during Meeting for Worship to see remote participants?  That is a question for discussion.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 16, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 16, 2021 with 16 people present.  Bob Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with quiet and expectant worship.

1.The April minutes were approved as printed in the Newsletter. 

2. Clerk Bob Eaton sadly reported that he had received a letter from Wendy Schlotterbeck submitting her resignation/retirement as Youth Minister. Her letter follows:

            “I have been the Youth Minister for Durham Friends for 12 years. I have felt honored and extremely blessed by getting to know our children and youth. And have known the support and love of the Meeting community.

            “Over the past several months I have been discerning if/when I should step aside from the Youth Minister position and allow newer, younger energy to infuse this role. Also, it will allow me to focus more of my energy in other areas important to our Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting. 

            “I am part of a “Quaker faithfulness group” that meets bi-weekly and was able to process this with them. Please accept this letter as my notice of resignation starting July 1, 2021.

            “I intend to stay on as clerk of Christian Education until the end of the calendar year, and would like to continue planning activities for children/youth/families in that capacity and of course help in the transition to a new Youth Minister. I especially want to communicate that the care of families, children and youth will continue as a high priority and that our support will remain constant during this transition.  With much care and love to all of you!  Wendy”

            We accepted her resignation and expressed our thankfulness and appreciation for her tireless work for several years in supporting and caring for the meeting’s youth.  The clerk will draw up a minute of appreciation to be included in the June minutes. 

3. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that more members are needed for the committee. They met via Zoom on May 4th.  They are waiting confirmation for participation in the Wabanaki Reach Education program.  They discussed the upcoming Annual Plant Sale beginning June 3rd at 4:00 pm, which will be ongoing until sold out.  Sales will be “self service” with donations dropped in the meeting mailbox.  They planned Children’s Day for the June 6th gatheringoutside the meetinghouse, and Family Beach Day June 12th to be held at Hinshaw’s camp on Labrador Pond.  

4. Bob Eaton, as clerk, brought forward a report from an ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Seasoning Group he had appointed.  Members are Joyce Gibson, Linda Muller, Renee Cote, and Leslie Manning.  After considerable discussion focusing on how recently the report had been made available to members of the meeting, all matters put forward in the report (contractual agreements, the composition of a support group, and the question of an oversight committee) were held over for consideration at the June monthly meeting for business.

            Before the next meeting for business, the MCC will meet with the MCC Support Committee, and the clerk suggested that the Oversight Seasoning Group might meet to further develop a proposal to bring to meeting in light of the meeting of the MCC Support Committee.

5. Meeting Care Coordinator Mey Hasbrook read a quote from the book, Broken for life by Jocelyn Burnell which speaks to her condition.  In order to focus on her relationship with Durham Friends Meeting as a sojourning member, she plans to transition out of the MCC job.  Tender and trying experiences emerging amid the MCC work since mid-March, including impact personally/relationally, have played an important part in her discernment.  A “meeting for healing” is scheduled for May 24th.  She will continue to explore a future for Café Corners during a brown-bag lunch on May 23rd

6. Liana Knight reported for the Communication Committee:  The phone tree has faded away over the past year(s) and they will be working to identify who still needs to be on a phone tree and who the contact person at the ‘top’ of the tree should be. If you or someone you know needs to be on the phone tree, please let Liana know (207-737-9781).

            They discussed the parameters of what should go on the Meeting website, particularly regarding events. Given that the website is a public-facing platform that is accessible to anyone, they agreed on three parameters for posting events on the Meeting website. We should post events that are: (a) sponsored or lifted up by Durham Meeting or a Durham Meeting committee (e.g. Ministry and Counsel or Peace and Social Concerns), (b) sponsored by a Quaker organization that the Meeting supports or recognizes (e.g. NEYM, FCNL), or (c) sponsored by a neighboring Quaker Meeting in Maine. They wish to encourage Friends to seek committee support for events and programs with which they are  connected  if they wish to have these on the Meeting website.

            They discussed the parameters of what should go in the newsletter, and agreed that the newsletter editor(s) will have a good deal of latitude for exercising judgment about what can and should go in the Newsletter.

            They discussed the Meeting Facebook page, and expressed gratitude for Mey’s excellent tending of that space. We are holding a question around what the parameters for sharing events should be via the Facebook page—whether it should be handled similarly to the website or similarly to the Newsletter, or somewhere in-between. A concern was raised regarding the simple existence of a Facebook page for Durham Friends given Facebook’s policies and management. They think that at some point the Meeting should consider whether we want to continue to maintain a presence on Facebook as a Meeting.

7. The Handbook revision was mentioned and folks are urged to read the edited copy on our web site, to be considered for approval in June.

8. Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote reported that Jay O’Hara has sent a letter providing information about his work with the Climate Disobedience Center which is involved in a campaign to close coal-fired plants in New England.  Three persons of deep faith have created the center.  The center had covered all costs for those involved in civil disobedience in this area.   The report and the request for funds will be on the June meeting’s agenda.  Kitsie Hildebrandt, Treasurer, reminded us of the Charity Account guidelines.

            Doug Bennett has received the meeting OWL from New England Yearly Meeting, and they plan to try it as soon as possible.  

            Pastoral care: Sarah Sprogell and Gene Boyington have reported that they are thankful that many have answered the call to help Tom Frye.

            Message bringers are scheduled into July.

            They are considering rules regarding vaccination status when we begin meeting in person.  

            Clerk, Bob Eaton closed the meeting with quiet waiting, and thankfulness. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Timely Announcements from the Meeting Care Coordinator

Support for Tom Frye: ongoing
Thanks to Friends who have been a presence with Tom Frye in Brunswick, as his caregiver Jeri Kemple seeks occasional respite. A visitor is being sought the afternoon of Sunday June 13th, for fellowship, lunch, and medication. Also,for Tom’s fuller care routine on Sunday mornings from June 20th and onward. Please reach out about offers and/or questions.

Reflections with MCC: June 14th
As I prepare “wrap-up” materials about my work as Durham Friends Meeting’s first MCC, I’m inviting reflections in conversation by Zoom on Mon. June 14th: from 9:40am – 10:40am, 2pm – 3pm, and also 7pm – 8pm. We may discuss your recollections and/or questions. Please give me a call or send an email, if you would like to reserve a spot at one of these sessions.

BYO Lunch: Cafe Corner: late June
A second lunch with in-person, outdoor fellowship is a possibility in late June. The tentative date is Sun. the 27th, following worship: 12pm BYO lunch, with fellowship from 12:30pm. We’ll continue conversation about possibilities for Cafe Corner. Please confirm with me at your earliest if this time meets your availability, so the date may be confirmed.

Mey Hasbrook * (313) 389-6866 * meymdh@gmail.com