What to do with the Parsonage? Threshing Session, April 25, 2021, 12:30 pm, Meetinghouse Parking Lot

The Trustees of Durham Friends Meeting will hold a threshing session on April 25, 2021, at the Meetinghouse, outdoors in the parking lot. The topic will be what to do about the parsonage. Should we continue to own it? Or should we sell it?

Possibilities for participation in the threshing session via Zoom are currently being explored. Updates here as available.

Worship Options After COVID, Threshing Session, April 11, 2021 at noon (after Meeting for Worship)

On Sunday, April 11, 2021 at noon, Ministry and Counsel will hold a threshing session on worship options post-COVID that were presented at Monthly Meeting for Business in February. We welcome thoughts, questions, and concerns regarding how we should move forward. We plan to devote about an hour to the process. Below are questions we invite you to consider.

We are all agreed that we want to return to the meetinghouse as soon as possible, but we also want to put a priority on the health and safety of all who participate. During this past year, we have been joined by many people at a geographical distance who have been able to participate via Zoom. At the same time, some regular participants in Meeting have been absent because they do not feel comfortable with Zoom meetings. 

1.  In balancing between return to the meetinghouse and safety, should we lean more toward returning as soon as we can, or more toward ensuring safety?

2.  As we return to the meetinghouse, do we want to use some hybrid solution in which some are present at worship in the meetinghouse and others are present via Zoom? 

3.  Which should we be aiming at: (a) or (b)?

(a)  An eventual return to having worship in the way we have had it in years past, that is, worship in the meetinghouse without use of Zoom.

(b) A new form of worship (a hybrid solution) in which we have both (a) people present in the meetinghouse and (b) people present via Zoom. 

4.  If we opt for a hybrid solution, should we think of this mostly as a transitional or short-term solution, or should we be planning on using a hybrid solution long into the future as our normal way of doing meeting for worship? 

Some options presented at Monthly Meeting in February are outlined below, as well as a few words about a device that is currently being used in some other Meetings in New England. You may want to refer to these in the threshing session. 

True Hybrid – Option 1: Commit to long-term hybrid worship. Work out a tech solution: big screen, cameras (costs $$). Seating arrangements in meetinghouse. Staffing arrangements for tech on a regular basis. Move toward a situation that has Zoom primary AND some people in the meetinghouse. Then move toward meetinghouse primary AND with Zoom a nearly-as-good option

Temporary Hybrid – Option 2: For the next several months, Zoom remains primary, with option to come to the meetinghouse. Each person in the meetinghouse brings their own electronic device (a smart phone or a tablet). Later: drop the Zoom option.

Hybrid with Secondary Zoom – Option 3:. Like Option 1 but without a good Zoom option. Do a good-enough Zoom set-up but much less effort. Some weeks perhaps not available. Perhaps eventually drop the Zoom option. 

The Meeting OWL is a thousand-dollar device that has 360 degree visual and full audio capability that some New England meetings are using. About the size of a table lamp, it can swivel around (like an owl) to pick up the speaker. The device may project better going out from the meeting than for bringing speakers in. It is used via Zoom. Use of this device could be integrated into Option 3.

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, April 24, 9am to noon

Falmouth Quarter is gathering on April 24th from 9:30 to 12:00. We will be celebrating ministry and the life of the Spirit in our meetings throughout the morning in each of the concerns before us.

The ZOOM link is here (the same link that Durham Friends uses for First Day worship). .

We will hear Memorial Minutes sharing the lives and witness of Friends we have known and loved.  If there are minutes I have not yet received, please send them to me

We will hear the State of Society reports, sharing our experience of Spirit in the life of our meetings.  If there is a SoS I haven’t yet received, please send it to me.

We will hear reports and sharing about and from individuals with recognized ministries in Falmouth Quarter.

To help prepare, I am sharing the following from Carl Williams, Plainfield meeting, as one expression of Friends understanding of ministry:

Love Fritz [Fritz Weiss is Co-Clerk of Falmouth Quarter]

Living Close to the Center
Carl Williams, Plainfield (VT) Friends Meeting
My prayer time has felt a bit chaotic recently. Not uncentered, really, but there’s been a sense of swirling and disjointed divergence, seemingly with no common thread. And then during worship on Sunday—wham. I  imagine I share the experience with many Friends—the startling epiphany, that moment of clarity, when understanding is laid suddenly bare and you’re presented with a gift you didn’t even know you wanted. 

For me, this time, there was a renewed understanding, a reminder, of the depth of one of Friends’ pivotal concepts, often encased in the phrase “that of God,” or “the seed of Christ.”  I confess I use these a lot—both out loud and in my head. In their overuse, they’d become hollow and trite. I’d lost my awareness of the essential importance they carry in my day-in-day out life. 

And as I sat in virtual worship, this refreshed understanding brought me around to the practical aspect of carrying the Seed of Christ—our ministry. I know that the idea of ministry among Friends is sometimes a challenge for many of us. I think, in part, because it’s one of those terms that looks the same but whose meaning is different “in the world” than in our Friendly understanding. The world’s definition has proven only a short walk to hierarchy and exclusion, certainly antithetical to the path of Friends. 

My Quaker understanding of ministry comes (in part) from its Latin root, “to serve.” Friends ministry holds primarily an active engagement with that Divine Spark that we each carry. And as we embrace that Spark, a path of service opens. It’s not just doing things we are good at or like to do, but the things—which are sometimes hard and not infrequently inconvenient—that God calls us toward. Yes, vocal and Gospel ministry are part of it, but there are many and varied ministries, from baking to eldership, expressions of being the hands and feet, the eyes and ears and mouth of God.
Ministry is the reverberation of the “that of God” we each carry. It grows and is nurtured in community. We find it by living close to the Center. Genuine ministry involves waiting and listening as well as giving and receiving. Our ministries rise, are recognized, nurtured, and challenged within our worship communities. While it’s the role of the community to identify a Friend’s ministry and encourage it, ministry grows from the Spark, the Seed, the “that of God.” 

It’s easier said than done for me, this living into the Center. How do I step into that place? It requires surrender, it requires stepping into places I might not normally step into. It requires openness to God’s whispering call. In my seeking I join in prayer with Flursey, a 7th-century Irish monk, and his protection prayer (lorica):

May the guiding hands of God be on my shoulders,
may the presence of the Holy Spirit be on my head,
may the sign of Christ be on my forehead,
may the voice of the Holy Spirit be in my ears,
may the smell of the Holy Spirit be in my nose …
may the work of the church of God be in my hands,
may the serving of God and my neighbor be in my feet,
may God make my heart his home …

In the joy of listening to God’s call,

Carl Williams
Plainfield (VT) Friends Meeting

All-Maine Gathering of Friends, May 1, 2021, 8:30 – noon

For additional information about each of the workshops, contact the leaders below.
*Wabanaki  Sovereignty: Kay Carter  <KayCarter08@gmail.com>
*Racial Justice: Hank Washburn <washburnhank@gmail.com >
Holly Weidner <weidnerholly@gmail.com>
*Earthcare: Carole Beal <carolebeal@gmail.com>, Wendy Schlotterbeck <wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com>

Draft Schedule:

8:30 am: Gather. Each person puts name, meeting, and email in chat.

9:00 am: Welcome to all recognizing the work Friends through Monthly Meetings, NEYM and individuals have devoted to these issues. What do we hope for today? We hope to listen intently to every idea with respect: honoring imagination, creative thinking,
and remembering that today we will not be able to solve all issues, but we will focus on one step at a time.

9:05 am: Worship.

9:20 am- 10:50 am Break-Out Groups. (1 1/2 hours)

10:50 am – 11 am Everyone takes a short break.

11:00 am: Summary from each group with follow up questions. A group may offer a recommendation to the group for further action. 15 minutes each group.

11:45 am: Worship.

12:00 Noon, adjourn. Those who wish to stay and have informal conversation are invited to do so.

AFSC Corporation Sessions in April

This year, taking advantage of our recent ability to gather Friends from all corners, the American Friends Service Committee Annual Corporation Meeting will be preceded by an exciting series of afternoon/evening seminars on a number of important topics in peace and justice.  The presenters will be a mix of AFSC staff and external partners/colleagues.  AFSC does peace and justice work in your name—come learn about what they are doing.  ALL ARE WELCOME!  

If you are interested in any of these events, you can get further information and register here: https://www.afsc.org/corpprogram

Sunday, April 11, 7-8:30pm:  Quakers, AFSC, and abolition:
Then and now

Monday, April 12, 8-9:30pm: #FreeThemAll: How we are living into
the call to free folks in the context of COVID-19 and beyond

Tuesday, April 13, 8-9:30pm: Pursuing freedom for Palestine: A
campaign for Palestinian children’s rights

Wednesday, April 14, 4pm: Global migrant justice: Manifesting
the joint Quaker migration statement

Wednesday, April 14, 8-9:30pm: Restorative Justice: What does it
look like/feel like in our communities?

Thursday, April 15, 1:30-3pm: Making new worlds: Creating a
society based on care and a solidarity economy—what to divest from/what to
invest in?

Thursday, April 15, 7-9pm: KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Plenary session on Abolition with Nyle Fort

Nyle Fort is a minister, activist, and scholar based in Newark, New Jersey. He has worked in education, criminal justice, and youth development for over a decade in various capacities including: the national director of Communities Against Militarized Police; founder and co-director of the Organizing Praxis Lab at Princeton University; and lead trainer at Momentum, an activist incubator that builds large-scale social movements in the United States and around the world.

Looking Ahead to Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday worship- 10:30 am April 4. Theme/ eggs and new life.

For Easter, Kim Bolshaw will grow small containers of wheatgrass for anyone who would like one. Friends can pick up a small pot of wheatgrass on March 28 at the hike or at the Meeting house or free delivery! Contact Wendy Schlotterbeck or Kim Bolshaw if you have questions.

On Easter Sunday morning, attenders are encouraged to have an egg with them during Meeting for Worship- placing one in the wheat grass if desired- or have scrambled eggs for breakfast that day!

Cafe Corner, 7-8 pm, March 29, 2021

Cafe Corner returns! Durham Meeting’s social experiment in revelry. 

Monday, March 29th, 7-8pm.

Our theme will be “Fiber Forward!” Guests will share in a “round robin” (or salon style ) about our encounters with fiber. We might share a precious memento gifted by another or our own creation. All types of fiber experiences are welcome! This includes fabrics and plants.

Join us via Zoom link for Durham Meeting’s Sunday worship.

Earthcare, Call to Action, Empowerment and Engagement, February 27, 8:30/9:00 to Noon

Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting and Acadia Friends Monthly Meeting invites Falmouth Quarterly Meeting and NEYM Young Adult Friends to an interactive workshop via Zoom.

Earthcare, Call to Action, Empowerment and Engagement

Saturday, February 27, 2021, 9:00 a.m. — noon (8:30 a.m. to gather)

Speakers: Andy Burt, Jay O’Hara, Peter Garrett, Gray Cox

Facilitators: Margaret Marshall and MaineBob O’Connor

Maine Activist Earthcare Friends will speak about their personal journeys including moments of insight, and anecdotes of success and failure. There will also be two break-out groups (3-5 people) in which each attender will share their own journeys, and hope and intentions for 2021.

If interested, please reach out to Carole Beal (carolebeal@gmail.com) to make sure you get the Zoom link (to be sent out a few days before the event) and for a document with a personal witness prepared by each speaker, plus information about the facilitators, and queries and levels of climate concern prepared by the NEYM Earthcare Committee.

Join Zoom Meeting with this Long Link
Meeting ID: 961 0969 4747
Passcode: 207207
By Phone Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Be sure to press # after the Meeting ID and Passcode.

Information about Speakers and Facilitators and Useful Materials for the Session

*8:30 am log in, gather, request sign in of name, meeting, email address into chat for distribution
to participants only. (welcome individual by Margaret)
*9:00 Welcome by Margaret. (5 minutes.)
*9:05 Worship for 15 minutes. (15 minutes.) (Margaret)
*9:20 Gray introduces speakers by name and asks them to speak out of the silence in this order:
Jay O’Hara, Peter Garrett, Andy Burt. They share their personal journeys for 15 minutes each.
Bob will announce 1 minute left. (45 minutes plus time for silent transition between speakers.)
*10:15: Breakout groups of 3 random individuals:
“Where am I in my personal journey? What gifts do I bring?
(Gray will put in chat) (10 minutes.)
*10:25: Chat: Bob invites all to write a word or two or short phrase reflecting your journeys and
gifts in the chat and Margaret reads them as they come after a pause to give all a chance to think
about ideas.
(3-5 minutes)
*10:30: Gray invites all for10 minute break. Short music Earthcare theme (Bob). (10 minutes)
*10:40: Speaker: Gray Cox. (15 minutes)
*10:55: Breakout groups sharing out of the silence with 4-5 participants assigned randomly.
Query: What am I led to do? What might my meeting be led to do? What action do I imagine?
What is the next step? How do we remain engaged on behalf of the Earth beyond good
(Gray will enter these in Chat) (screen prompt will be provided halfway through. (20 minutes.)
*11:15 Bob invites all to write short phrases of leadings into chat out of the silence. Candle or
fireplace on screen. (5 minutes.) Chat read out loud by Margaret after a pause to give participants
and chance to contemplate ideas…
*11:20 Query: What am I led to as a next step for us? Gray invites all to take three breaths as we
enter Worship Share: things that rise up out of the silence. (40 minutes)
*12:00 Gray offers gratitude to participants with an invitation to linger with an explanation of the
breakout room options. After thoughts?
MaineBob opens up chat to private sharing. Also optional breakout rooms would be available for
people to talk in small groups for as long as they wish (one hour?). Bob will ask for titles to go
with numbered breakout rooms. 1.Pine Tree Amendment, 2.Citizens Climate Lobby 3…

Ice Skating Party, February 28, 1-2:30 pm

On Sunday, Feb. 28, the Christian Education Committee will host an ice skating party from 1-2:30 p.m. Skating will take place on a pond near the meetinghouse.

Meet at 740 Durham Road; park nearby or park at Durham Meeting and walk a half mile up the road. Please wear a mask and observe social distancing. Kid friendly!

Contact Wendy Schlotterbeck with questions.

Maine Council of Churches Faith-Based Advocacy Series: 2/23, 3/16, 4/6, 4/26

The Maine Council of Churches will is holding a four-part online series designed to inspire and equip Mainers of faith to become advocates for public policies that promote peace built with justice and justice guided by love.  Each session will include worship (led by Rev. Sara Ewing Merrill), engaging interactive discussions featuring theologians, policy experts and legislators, and opportunities to develop real-world skills and practice in speaking about policy with the voice of faith.

Cost is $10 per session or $30 for all sessions.
Churches that register 5 or more participants – $100 flat fee.
For those for whom this cost would be prohibitive, we are happy to provide scholarship assistance. To request a scholarship please call 207-772-1918. For those who are able to afford more, we would gratefully accept your donations to help us defray costs.

More information here.

Cafe Corner, February 4, 2021

Cafe Corner, an experiment in creative revelry, returns Thursday, February 4th. This week’s theme is “Beauty in Brokenness.”  The gathering is facilitated by Mey Hasbrook.

Relaxed chatting starts at 6:30pm, and a listening circle is held from 7pm to 8pm; join us at either segment.

Creativity of many expressions is welcome.

Access the Zoom link for Sunday worship to join.

Alicia McBride of FCNL to Speak January 24, 2021

On January 24 Alicia McBride from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) will join us for Meeting. She will give the message and after Meeting she will join us to discuss the FCNL publication,  A Theological Perspective on Quaker Lobbying. 

This is available for you to read here, or email Doug Bennett (dougb AT earlham DOT edu) to request a copy.

Alicia will also share FCNL current work on legislation related to Indigenous sovereignty.

Café Corner, December 30, 7-8pm, via ZOOM

Cafe Corner is an online social experiment hosted by Durham Friends. We’ll revel in fellowship and creative sharing.  The debut is Wednesday, Dec 30th, from 7pm to 8pm (Eastern Time) for a special edition, ” Holiday Cheer.” 

We’ll continue periodically on select Thursdays;  please read the newsletter and visit the web site for future listings. The Zoom link for Sunday worship will be used to join.

The gathering is facilitated by Mey Hasbrook, Meeting Care Coordinator

“Decolonizing in Everyday Life,” December 10, 7:30 to 8:45 pm

“Decolonizing in Everyday Life” is a worship-focused discussion hosted by Durham Friends Meeting on Thursday, December 10th, from 7:30pm to 8:45pm (Eastern Time). The event will use the Zoom link from Sunday worship. We especially invite local and area Friends to join us for a time of deep listening and self-examination.

The evening is a springboard from a recent series on anti-racism. A common point of reference will be Sacred Instructions: Indigneous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change by Sherri Mitchell, Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset.  A land acknowledgement and introduction will be made by Ingrid Chalufuour, clerk of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. An extended time in small groups will be offered.

Contributors are Mimi Marstaller, member of Durham Friends currently residing in Salt Lake City; and Mey Hasbrook, a Durham attender and member of Kalamazoo Friends Meeting (Michigan). Mimi will share experiences as a teacher about the “throes of labor pains” within the education community around de-centered collective action, racism, and equity. Mey will offer reflections as a person of mixed lineage (Cherokee-Irish Descent) and a traveling minister among the Religious Society of Friends.

Meetings for Healing, Thursday Evenings at 7pm

Durham Friends are invited to join an ongoing series of Meetings for Healing, hosted by Portland Friends Meeting on Thursdays at 7 p.m. From the convenors: “Meeting for Worship for Healing is an old Quaker tradition. Our goal with this meeting is to focus on the physical and spiritual illnesses of the current world. It’s not intended to be the same as a full meeting for worship but instead is meant to be focused communal prayer. We may be blessed with a time of deep silence. Messages may arise but should be de-centered from our ego.”

Meetings are held via Zoom. Because of changes to Zoom you may be in a waiting room. Don’t worry, someone will let you in soon. (https://zoom.us/j/91925135193,Meeting ID: 919 2513 5193)

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, Saturday, October 24, 10am to Noon

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting will meet on Saturday, October 24, 10am to Noon. The Meeting will take place via ZOOM. Link information:

  • Meeting Link        https://zoom.us/j/2814426094
  • Phone number     301-715-8592
  • Meeting ID           281-442-6094
  • Password            Ask your Quarterly Meeting representative or e-mail dougb AT earlham DOT edu

Maine Young Friends Meetup, Saturday, October 24th 2-5pm

Mark your calendars! Teens from Southern Maine who are Quaker or curious about the Quaker way are getting together for an afternoon of fellowship and fun in person. 

We’ll meet outside at Durham Friends Meeting and spend time playing games, going for a short hike, and enjoying meaningful discussion with a small group of youth and staff. 

RSVP here and use that form to let us know your ideas for more things we could do together.

For more information, contact Maggie Nelson, Young Friends Events Organizer, at maggie@neym.org or at 978-382-1850.

Becoming Anti-Racist, A Discussion Series

An Invitation from Peace and Social Concerns

In Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to be an Antiracist, he says, “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equality and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” Join the Peace and Social Concerns Committee in an examination of racist ideas and policies with a goal of moving our thinking and actions toward an antiracist future.

Meet with us on Zoom on the following Tuesdays at 7:00:

September 15 – Where are you in your journey toward antiracism? What are you reading and thinking about? Where do you see, through reading or lived experience, racism in our society and our communities? Have you had new insights into the way systemic racism has played out in our country?

Readings: Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic, June 2014. Nikole Hannah-Jones, What Is OwedNYTimes, June 26, 2020.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talk). Leonard Pitts, The Appraisal of How Little a Black Life Is Worth Begins at Birth

October 6 – Where do we see change happening? What do you understand about making change happen? Can attitudes and beliefs be changed or is policy the route to change? Does changed policy lead to changed attitudes and beliefs?

Readings: Zona Douthit, OK, Boomer, It’s Time To Fund ReparationsFriends Journal, September 1, 2020. Parker Palmer, The Broken Open HeartWeavings, March/April 2009.  

October 27 – Where are you feeling called to act? What is your leading at this time? Do you feel complicit? How? What would lead you being more antiracist?

Readings: Catherine Besteman and Joseph N. Jackson, Maine Voices: Want to help remedy racial inequity in Maine? Here are places to start, Portland Press Herald, June 13, 2020. Bill Brown, What Do Quakers Owe Blacks? Tools for Racial Justice, July 2002.

November 17 – Hold the date for a possible follow-up discussion

**Please prepare for the first discussion by reading one or both of the double-starred articles on the list below. Both are available on the Durham Meeting website. We recommend other readings in addition (see list below), particularly Ibram X. Kendi’s book.

  •  *How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
  • The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Cast: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
  • The Color of Law, by Richard Rothsein
  • Waking Up White, Debby Irving
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
  • **The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic Monthly 6/2014
  • **What is Owed, by Nikole Hannah-Jones in the New York Times Magazine 6/24/2020
  • America’s Enduring Cast System, in the New York Times Magazine 7/1/2020

Links to other readings are on the Peace and Social Concerns page of the Durham Friends Meeting website.)

Clarabel Marstaller Memorial Service — Saturday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m.

Clarabel Marstaller’s Memorial Service will be held at the meetinghouse and on Zoom on August 8, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. We look forward to celebrating her life and sharing memories with as many people as possible.

            As we are still in a pandemic and are limited in how many can physically be present at the meetinghouse, we encourage people to attend by Zoom. If you do want to attend in person, please let Nancy Marstaller at marstallern@gmail.com or 207 725-4294 know so she can make sure we are following current guidelines. Face masks will be required to enter the meetinghouse and there will be no refreshments after the service.

            To join the meeting by Zoom you may log on through the Durham Friends Meeting website: http://www.durhamfriendsmeeting.org/.

You can log on after 1 p.m. on August 8.

            The family thanks everyone for all their support.