Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, March 17, 2019

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, March 17, 2019 with 20 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading from the 1985 New England Faith and Practice, “The Quaker Method of Making Decisions,” paragraph 2.

            1.The February 17, 2019 minutes were approved.

            2. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that they met in March to share pastoral care concerns and discuss possible changes to meeting for worship. A few new modalities will be introduced over the next few months to get a sense of what if any changes might be made.  Feel free to share concerns and responses with the committee.  The opening theme of “Leadings” will continue through March shared by the Care of Worship person at the beginning of worship in the form of a reading or prayer.  The theme for April through June will be “Attending to the Light.”  More information on this theme will be included in the Newsletter.   

            A welcoming dinner happened with Cush and Maureen Anthony and Bruce Ludders.  Other dinners will occur as needed.

            The State of Society Report was shared, and we expressed appreciation for this report.

            3.  The State of Society Report was approved with revisions; it is attached.

            4. Christian Education and Youth Minister: Katherine Langelier sent her report and reported that the committee met on March 3rd.  The intergenerational game night and potluck supper on March 9th was very enjoyable.  They thank everyone who came: 19 in attendance. Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that there will be a Ukrainian egg painting on April 6 at 2:00, and an Easter breakfast with children’s activities on April 21.

            5. Trustees: Leslie Manning reported that they met with Kim Bolshaw, our custodian and with Kitsie Hildebrandt our treasurer to get caught up on recent events at the parsonage and expressed gratitude for all the work done to handle the freeze up and problems with the pellet boiler.  The tenants are concerned about energy use and Kitsie’s son, Willis Beazley, who does this for work, has agreed to look at the parsonage with an eye toward weatherization.  Things seem stable now.  They will be looking at alternatives for the laundry pipes placement soon.

            The water filtration system in use at the Meetinghouse is 15 years old and obsolete.  The installer, who is still in the business, will come to consult and make a recommendation.  The water is safe but does contain minerals and has a brackish taste.  We are using a Brita filter and continue to use water jugs brought from home to keep us supplied.  We hope to have this all resolved later this year.

            The lock on the front door has been replaced by Dan Henton; if you need a key, please see Kim. 

            They are pleased with the repair work on the ceilings and will get an estimate from the same painter for the painting of the walls of the meeting room, which they will have done this spring, after Easter.

They appreciate that everyone is cooperating with the closing of the Meetinghouse at the end the day or meeting.  Please keep it up so that we can continue to reduce our heating costs.

They ask the Nominating Committee to name replacements for Trustee vacancies.

Everyone expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the custodial work being done by Kim Bolshaw and the plowing and sanding being done by Andy Higgins who continues to donate his services.

             6. Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell brought the year-end report for 2018: revenue income for the year, expenses listed by category totals, a breakdown of designated accounts, and a breakdown of our savings and investments.  A second page listed detailed expenses line by line for each category. We ended the year with total income of $57,047.79 and total expenses of $45,409.96.  Attached are these reports. We expressed gratitude for this detailed report.

            7. Nominating Committee:  We approved the appointment of Margaret Copeland to serve on the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach Board.

            8. Peace and Social Concerns Committee:  Brown Letham reported for the committee.  Upcoming events were announced for April:   April 27 – vigil at BWI at the christening of a destroyer; April 28 – the committee will bring the message, have a finger food potluck, and following worship a discussion on the meeting’s corporate discernment for the committee’s direction.  Brown brought a brochure regarding the call for a conversion to peacetime production at Bath Iron Works.  The committee recommends that Durham Friends be a co-sponsor of the vigil for conversion of BIW to peacetime production at the warship christening. 

            On May 10, the committee is cooperating with the Brunswick Unitarian Church to hold an event on climate change and how congregations can get involved on different levels of action.

            Details and information about these events will be included in the Newsletter.

            9.  We approved supporting the April 27 vigil at Bath Iron Works as a co-sponsor, including our meeting name on a flyer, and possibly displaying a banner. 

            10. We approved the following persons to be representatives at Falmouth Quarterly Meeting which is meeting on May 4 in conjunction with the All Maine Gathering: Sarah Sprogell, Wendy Schlotterbeck and Betsy Muench. 

            11. New England Yearly Meeting Permanent Board has asked to meet at our Durham Meeting on May 11, and we approved.  Sukie Rice will be the point person for arrangements for our hosting them.

            12. It is with sadness that we report that our member Julianna Fogg died at age 56 on February 22, 2019.

            The meeting closed with expressions of love and appreciation for our time together. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Report from Peace and Social Concerns, March 17, 2019

By Brown Letham

Upcoming events:

April               Lenten Saturday vigils at Bath Iron Works

April 27          Vigil at BIW for the christening of a destroyer          

April 28          P&SC give message, and sponsor potluck and discussion at Durham Friends Meeting

May 10           Co-sponsoring a panel discussion of climate change action at the Brunswick  Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church

May 11           New England Yearly Meeting Permanent Board will meet at Durham Meetinghouse

May 11            Game Night to follow

May 17           Peter and Annie Blood concert at Portland UU church

Ingrid Chalufour reports that she will be attending meetings of the Brunswick Interfaith Council. Cush Anthony is involved with the Maine Council of Churches.

Planning of the Friday, May 10 climate change action panel discussion: Panelists will be Sen. Brownie Carson, Rev. Sylvia Stocker, and Ann D. Burt. There might also be a Bowdoin student.  The purpose of the panel and the activity below is not to describe climate change or debate its existence but to talk about actions that people can take on an individual, legislative , and most importantly, organizational level.

Sunday April 28 Worship, potluck and discussion: The P&SC committee is generating queries to prompt thinking and discussion about corporate witness as a Meeting. A short First Day message may spring out of the queries that will be brought into worship.  Finger food potluck followed by discussion.

Peace vigils at BIW: Brown mentioned that the next destroyer christening at BIW was planned tentatively for April, as well as the remaining Saturday Lenten vigils there. He brought a pamphlet about a call for a conversion to peacetime production at BIW and asked if Durham Friends would consider endorsing/sponsoring it.

The Minute reads: “Peace and Social Concerns Committee recommends to Monthly Meeting that Durham Friends be a co-sponsor of the vigil for conversion of Bath Iron Works to peacetime production at the upcoming warship christening.”

Sponsorship would entail permission to print our name in the flyer, display the banner at the vigil, but no financial obligation.

[Editor’s note: the destroyer’s christening has been scheduled for April 27 at BIW.]

Library News for March 2019

By Dorothy Hinshaw

Hal Tucker was an ordained United Church of Christ (UCC) minister and a mentor to many students at Bangor Theological Seminary (BTS) and in the UCC tradition.  He was one of “Bee’s Boys” and learned to love our Quaker way during his years at Bowdoin College while rooming with Bernice (Bee) Douglas. He also served our meeting as a pastor while a student at BTS.  He and his wife, Bettina, have given us many valuable Quaker books from their collection. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading one of these donated books, Living in a Larger World, the Life of Murray S. Kenworthy, who grew up in the Midwest (as did I). Kenworthy became a well-loved Quaker pastor, teacher at Earlham College, and served with the American Friends Service Committee.  This book gives an insight into the development of the Quaker pastoral system and programmed meetings, and the AFSC feeding program in Russia.   His son, Leonard, was a prolific writer about Quaker subjects; several of his pamphlets are on the pamphlet shelf. 

“Check out” these valuable books and pamphlets!

Attending to the Light — Worship Theme April to June 2019

Quakers have an unusual way of talking about what we are seeking: we are seeking “the Light.” 

The Gospel of John, long a favorite of Quakers, begins by saying “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  That’s an arresting way of talking about what we are seeking, but quickly John moves to speaking of the Light.  John says the Word was “the light of all humankind.”  Moreover, “the light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  Of the coming of Jesus, John says “the true light that gives life to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1:1-9.  And later John quotes Jesus as saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. 

The early Quaker James Naylor said  “Art thou in the darkness? Mind it not, for if thou dost thee will feed it more. Stand still, act not, and wait in patience till light arises out of darkness and leads thee.”

The early Quaker theologian Robert Barclay said “That for this end God hath communicated and given unto every [person] a measure of the Light of his own Son, a measure of grace, or a measure of the Spirit.”

And in worship we often ask that we hold someone “in the Light.”

What a remarkable gift is “the light.” How can we awaken the Light within us?  How can we wait in patience till light arises out of darkness and leads us?

Worth watching is this QuakerSpeak video: 

State of Society, Durham Friends Meeting, 2018

In 2018 the State of our Society at Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends was healthy and thriving. We gather at our old brick Meetinghouse from towns north, south, east and west from Durham, forming a community grounded in a vital worship life that that both gives and receives strength from a range of other activities in the Meeting.  We are still feeling our way, but more confidently, in our second full year of proceeding without a paid pastor. 

Ministry and Counsel has accepted new responsibilities both for the worship life of the Meeting and for pastoral care of members and attenders.  We love receiving messages from one another, sometimes in linked themes across weeks, and also as each individual is led. We also have been much enriched by invited message-bringers from outside the meeting.  We continue to reserve 5th First Days in a month, when there is one one, for unprogrammed worship.  We have been adjusting our regular schedule to accommodate expressed needs for more gathered silence during Meetings for Worship. 

All of us are still not completely comfortable proceeding without a pastor, but we are finding ways to have various committees and individuals do what a pastor once did for us.  An ad hoc committee appointed in 2017 led a yearlong consideration of the issues in proceeding without a pastor.  We asked ourselves, what can we do to strengthen the Meeting?  We came to focus on three needs to which we need to be attentive:  pastoral care, outreach and coordination.  Without a pastor, each of these areas is an important function with which we may struggle if we do not fresh approaches.  An adult Sunday school meets regularly and we have been experimenting with prayer circles. 

Our membership numbers have stayed relatively constant with a few passings and a roughly equal number of new members.  Nearly every week we have visitors.  We average 30 to 40 in worship each week except in the summer when, with one and another of us scattered to other Maine pleasures, numbers are a bit lower.  We meet for business regularly and appreciate an excellent monthly newsletter. 

Ministry Counsel has taken on responsibility for pastoral care of members.  Having this as a committee responsibility rather that mostly relying on a pastor has been an important challenge.  We have developed an organized approach to seeing that we are attending to all expressed needs.  Some of us are still learning to see a visit from a fellow member rather than a pastor as pastoral care. 

We take delight in the presence of children among us and are grateful for the creativity and care of our Youth Minister.  We provide childcare every Sunday, and children’s programs on 1st and 3d Sundays.  Our Christian Education Committee continues to be a source of vitality for the whole Meeting.  It has developed an inter-generational approach to reaching out to families and provides spiritual nurture to youth through Godly Play and Young Friends seeking.  CE also arranged a series of Game Nights for children of all ages and these will continue.  Through our budget and extra efforts we arranged support for several children to attend Friends Camp.

We aim to make a difference in this world guided by the Spirit, love and our understanding of scriptures. Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee has new members and new energies for a variety of initiatives.  The Kakamega Orphan Care Center, Lisbon Area Christian Outreach’s food bank, witnessing for peace at Bath Iron Works, a quilting project to address gun violence, the American Friends Service Committee and Seeds of Peace camp all received our attention and support. Towards the end of the year, P&SC arranged a thought-provoking social justice film series. 

Our Trustees have been faithfully attentive to caring for our Meetinghouse, horse shed, parsonage burial grounds, and phone/internet service.  Each has needed and received attention.  Our Finance Committee and our Treasurer have the Meeting’s financial house in good order.  We vexed ourselves with disagreements about whether and which clock to allow in the Meeting room but we appear to have found a solution.  We share the Meetinghouse regularly with a 12-step Group and a Native American fellowship group. 

Outreach has been a question on our minds.  How can we reach out beyond ourselves to bring our message and the delights of our community to others?  We have taken this on as a challenge for all of us, as we turn to a new year. 

Approved by Monthly Meeting, March 17, 2019

Christian Education Committee Report, February 2019

Katherine Langelier reported that the committee is very grateful for Ashley Marstaller’s presence and skill in providing childcare.The Intergenerational Game Night on January 12th was very enjoyable, and the next one will be on March 9th, starting at 5pm with a potluck supper.  

The committee has cleared with Trustees adding a “menstruation station” to the bathroom. This will include personal supplies such as tampons, pads, wipes, and paper towels and a more hygienic means of collection like a small, covered, and lined container for disposal of used items.

Adult Sunday School is covering the book Waking Up White by Debbie Irving.

Durham Friends have been given the opportunity to co-sponsor an event with Friends’ School of Portland in their Parenting For Peace series, “Tell Me The Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations” between Debbie and Shay Stewart Bouley on May 1st. Christian Ed requested funds to share in the cost of co-sponsoring, and it was suggested and approved that the $100 be split equally between the budgets of Christian Education and Peace & Social Concerns. Leslie Manning volunteered to sit at a table representing Durham at the event. 

Christian Ed will be coordinating with other committees including Ministry & Counsel to plan a Homecoming Sunday on World Quaker Day, the first Sunday in October. A key feature of the day will be sharing stories from the life of the meeting in the past. The committee invites everyone to help with preparations for this special occasion.

Library Committee Annual Report, 2018

By Ellen Bennett

We appreciate the addition of Nancy Marstaller to the committee in 2018 and look forward to the addition of Ellen Bennett in 2019.

Many Quaker books were added to the library, donated from a retired Friend, and four books were purchased from the United Society of Friends Women International reading list. We included Library News in the Durham Friends Newsletter and continue to receive Pendle Hill Pamphlets and Quaker Religious Thought pamphlets.

We will compile a list of books we would like to have in the library and ask Friends either to purchase or donate any they can. We always appreciate recommendations and look for special books that people would like to donate. A good place to look for possible additions to our library is Friends’ Journal annual book review issue.

In addition, we thinned the collection some, giving a few books to Kristna Evans for the Vintage Quaker Books collection, and selling a few, taking in $50.00.

As with last year, we are looking for a table on which to put the card catalog to make it easier to use. And we hope people will take advantage of this singular meeting resource, as well as continue to make suggestions for how we can best serve you.

Margaret Wentworth, Dorothy Hinshaw, Ellen Bennett, Nancy Marstaller, and David Dexter.


Peace and Social Concerns Meeting, February 13, 2019

By Ingrid Chalufour

            The committee met with all members present, welcoming new members Bob Eaton and Cush Anthony. We discussed possible spring events and made several decisions:

  • We discussed the importance of addressing climate change, the real crisis right now.
  • We would like to put together a panel to help us move toward taking collective action.
  • We would like to collaborate with another group(s) on this and are looking for partners.

            Ingrid Chalufour has volunteered to represent the Meeting in the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council. The recently revived group meets monthly. This might be a path to finding collaborators.

            As a follow-up to the American Friends Service Committee discussion about action priorities we are planning events for April 28, the last Sunday in April. Our committee will give the message that day and facilitate an after-Meeting discussion.

            We have agreed to host a Peter and Annie Blood concert in May at the Meeting House. They have a new Pete Seeger songbook they will be using for the concert.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 17, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, February 17, 2019 with 16 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading from the 1985 New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, “The Quaker Method of Making Decisions”, p. 115.  There was no monthly meeting in January due to snow.

1. The December 16, 2018 minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel met in January and February to discuss worship, pastoral care concerns and opportunities, and new members.

            They received a letter requesting membership from Cushman Anthony who had been a member of Portland Friends Meeting in the past.  A clearness committee met with Cush and recommend that he be received into membership at Durham Friends Meeting.  Ministry and Counsel enthusiastically approved this recommendation and sent it on to monthly meeting for final consideration and approval.

            They will continue to suggest a theme for worship.  Those bringing a message may choose the theme, “Leadings” for February and March. 

            They report that Ralph and Twila Greene have found a stable home into which they moved this month.  They are thankful for those who stepped in to help resolve this concern: Nat Shed, Nancy Marstaller, and Edwin Hinshaw.

3. We enthusiastically approved welcoming Cushman Anthony as a member of Durham Friends Meeting.

4. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth and Jo-an Jacobus reported that the list of committees and officers is almost complete with a few changes and corrections.  The corrected report will be included in the Newsletter and attached to these minutes.  We expressed our thanks to the committee and to Jo-an who is leaving the committee.

5. We approved the Nominating Committee report with corrections.

6.  Trustees: Leslie Manning reported that there is no report this month; Kitsie Hildebrandt, Treasurer, reported trouble with the heating system at the parsonage which has been resolved thanks to the help of Craig Freshley.  An insurance claim has been filed.

7. Communications Committee:  The committee met on Wednesday Feb. 13, 2019. Jo-an Jacobus will be stepping down as Newsletter Editor. Her last month as Newsletter Editor will be April 2019, when she will assemble the May 2019 newsletter. The committee does not yet have a replacement. Jo-an reported that the hardest tasks of getting the newsletter out are 1) getting information from the meeting and 2) getting messages for the first page. Doug Bennett will assist in getting all the needed information from the various individuals and committees through April.

            We expressed much appreciation for the hard work that Jo-an has performed as editor of our newsletter: The Best of Friends!

8. Christian Education Committee:  Katherine Langelier reported that the committee is very grateful for Ashley Marstaller’s presence and skill in providing childcare. 

            The Game Night (afternoon) on January 12 was very enjoyable, and the next one will be March 9.  Plans are being made for an Easter celebration.  They plan to participate in an event with Portland Friends School’s Parenting for Peace series, and request funds to co-sponsor the program. Leslie Manning volunteered to sit at a Durham Friends Meeting table at the event. We endorsed the exciting plan of a World Quaker Day Homecoming Sunday on October 6.   Plans for these activities will be included in detail in the Newsletter. 

            The committee expressed appreciation for the joyful noise of small children.

            The Adult Sunday School Class has been and continues to read Waking up White by Debbie Irving.

9. We approved the expense of $50.00 each from Christian Education and Peace and Social Concerns Committees to cover the cost of co-sponsoring the Parenting for Peace event.

10.  Peace and Social Concerns: the committee welcomed new members Bob Eaton and Cush Anthony.  They reported that the film series and the Seeds of Peace events were very meaningful but not well attended.

            They discussed possible spring events and the importance of addressing climate change, the real crisis right now.  They hope to put together a panel to help move toward taking collective action.  They would like to collaborate with another group(s) on this and are looking for partners.

            Ingrid Chalufour has volunteered to represent the meeting at the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council which meets monthly.

            They are planning an event for April 28 as a follow-up to the American Friends Service Committee discussion about action priorities.  The committee will give the message that day and facilitate an after-meeting discussion.   

11.  The Library Committee gave their annual report which is attached to these minutes.

12.  A thank you letter was received from Lisbon Area Christian Outreach for $355 donation to the food pantry from the parsonage garden profits; they report that they serve between 250-300 families a month. 

13.  Leslie Manning reminded us that members are needed from our meeting to serve on the New England Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel. 

14.  Much appreciation was expressed for Andy Higgins who has been offering his services to plow and mow for us without any charge. 

            The meeting closed at 1:58 p.m. in the Spirit, in appreciation for God’s guidance. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Durham Friends Meeting 2019 Budget

Prepared by Finance Committee; approved by the Meeting, December 18, 2018.

DURHAM FRIENDS MEETING – 2019 BUDGET
OPERATING REVENUE
     Contributions 31,600.00
     Investment Income 9,215.00
     Other Sources – gifts, use of meetinghouse, etc. 300.00
     Cell Tower 2,500.00
     Rental of Parsonage (1200/mo.) 14,400.00
TOTAL OPERATING REVENUE 58,015.00
OPERATING EXPENSES          
     Committees 4,320.00
     Contributions to other organizations 6,850.00
     Meeting Expenses 4,675.00
     Meetinghouse Physical Plant 11,455.00
     Position developed with Ad Hoc Group 10,000.00
     Ministry – Youth 11,100.00
     Parsonage Physical Plant 9,400.00
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES             57,800.00

Discernment Around AFSC Program Focus

Peace & Social Concerns Requests Durham’s Discernment,

Hosting a Meeting January 6

By Bob Eaton

Monthly Meeting for Business has endorsed the Peace and Social Concerns Committee request for a special meeting to take place after regular meeting for worship on Sunday, January 6.  The meeting will be convened by Lesley Manning and Bob Eaton for a focused response to the American Friends Service Committee request for Friends’ discernment on what programs the AFSC should focus on in the next ten-year strategic plan for the organization.   Bob will prepare brief (but insightful!) background materials to be available before the meeting.

Here is a brief description of current AFSC Work that may be a useful reference.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, December 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, December 16, 2018 with 13 persons present. Clerk, Susan Rice, opened the meeting by reading a quote by Howard Brinton from the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #453 by Elizabeth Meyer: A Practical Mysticism.

  1. The November 18 minutes were approved.
  2. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that at their December meeting they discussed pastoral care concerns and reviewed meeting for worship. They will be supporting Liana Thompson Knight with her leading to offer seminars based on her training with Parker Palmer and ideas expressed in his book, Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Doug Bennett reported that M&C has prayerfully considered ways to bring greater continuity to our worship. They would like to encourage having a theme for our worship that would change every three months, using themes not as a strict rule but as encouragement and stimulus. They suggest that committees also suggest possible themes. They suggest the theme from January to March be: “Where Are We Being Led?” See the attached proposal and their suggestions in the newsletter.

Diane Dicranian will be speaking in meeting on December 30 regarding her experience on the Mexican border. See details in the Newsletter.

We expressed our gratitude to Ministry and Counsel for their thoughtful report.

  1. Finance Committee: Katharine Hildebrandt presented the proposed budget for 2019. She noted that there are added lines for Youth Minister Travel Fund, Clerks Committee, and mouse elimination. Also, is an increase to repair/maintenance lines for the meetinghouse and parsonage. They report a total revenue expected for 2019 to be $58,015 and projected expense of $57,800. The complete report is attached.
  2. The budget for 2019 was approved, with the correction that the Newsletter Committee is now the Communication Committee.
  3. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth reported that a final report will be forthcoming with additions and adjustments. The Clerks Committee will be added to the list.
  4. We approved the Nominating Committee report as presented.
  5. We approved that Susan Rice continue as Clerk, and Dorothy Hinshaw, as Recording Clerk.
  6. Christian Education Committee: Tess Hartford reported that a wonderful Christmas dinner/worship on December 15th was enjoyed by many children and adults (more children than adults!).

Katherine Langelier will begin as clerk of the committee 1n 2019. We expressed appreciation for Tess Hartford’s commitment and leadership as Christian Education Committee clerk for six years, and gratitude for the committee’s work.

They announced that a Family Game “Night” will be held January 12 at 3:00.

9   Trustees: Susan Rice reported that the parsonage is being rented to Juliana Vezina and Jamison Steele.

The ceilings are being repaired in both the kitchen and community room.

  1. We approved reimbursing Donna Hutchins for the $150 expense of a water test in the parsonage.
  2. Clerks Committee: Susan Rice, clerk, reported that the Clerks Committee is proposing to have welcome dinners for new attenders.
  3. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Bob Eaton reported that on January 6 they are planning to have an after-meeting discussion about the American Friends Service Committee. A relevant pamphlet will be distributed to aid in the discussion. Details will be included in the Newsletter.

The meeting closed in quiet worship.

Where Are We Being Led: Theme for January through March, 2019

For January-February-March 2019 the theme Ministry and Counsel proposes is “where are we being led?”

One of the Advices (number 9) from NEYM tells us

“Attend to the Spirit at work in the ordinary activities and experiences of your daily life. There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys. Be open to and alert for how the Spirit may be speaking to you in fresh ways, leading you in new directions.”

To what should we be “open and alert?” What are the new directions that the Spirit may be leading you, or leading us?

You may find useful the opening paragraph of Paul Lacey’s Pendle Hill Pamphlet Leading and Being Led.

“Leading and being led: the words are simple enough. But for Quakers they have the most profound resonance as defining religious experience. Friends speak variously of being drawn to an action, feeling under the weight of a concern, being called or led in act in specific ways. We speak of being open to the leadings of the Light, of being taught by the Spirit or the Inward Christ. Extraordinary claims lie embedded in these phrases. They say it is not only possible but essential to our nature for human beings to hear and obey the voice of God; we can be directed, daily, in what we do, the jobs we hold, the very words we say; and that our obedience may draw us to become leaders in all spheres of human life – in the professions, arts and sciences, but also in discovering the ethical, political, social and economic consequences of following the will of God.”

So, again, where are we being led?

Themes in Worship

December 12, 2018, from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Our past two years it has been rich and challenging to have Sunday messages brought by various people. This has also deepened our connections to one another. Many of us have appreciated when there have been a series of messages around a single theme or topic.  Sometimes those messages came when we had a pastor, other times when a member felt called to speak several weeks in a row.

The Meeting’s Committee on Ministry and Counsel has prayerfully considered ways to bring greater continuity to our worship.  We would like to encourage having a theme for our worship that would change every three months.

We ask that Durham Friends Meeting use these themes we propose as encouragement and stimulus, not as a straightjacket or as a discouragement of other messages that arise within the Meeting.

Messages that do not fit the theme will continue to be most welcome.

Each few months we plan to propose a theme for worship and circulate it among Meeting members. Members of Ministry and Counsel will use the theme in our care of worship activities: we will use the theme to select a reading or a reflection, for example, to open worship.

We encourage Meeting members to consider whether they have a message to offer that arises from or speaks to this theme.

We also encourage other committees of the Meeting to suggest possible themes for our worship.

November 2018 Library News

By Dorothy Hinshaw

Most of you may know that New England Yearly Meeting was the first yearly meeting organized in the Society of Friends, even established before London Yearly Meeting. For more information about NEYM, check out one of the newest additions to the Durham Friends Library (289.6): Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Beginning of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, a printed account of a gathering in celebration held at Moses Brown School, Sixth Month, 24th, 1911. Other recent additions to the library include booklets which contain NEYM minutes of sessions held in 1904, 1905, 1907, 1927, 1928, and 1944.   Fascinating reading! The early years included minutes from both the men’s and women’s meetings. Also, in those early days, not only were queries read, but answers were included regarding compliance to the queries! These minute booklets are located in a plastic bag in the Quaker section (289.6 New) of the library.

Newsletter Committee Updates, December 2018

By Liana Thompson Knight, Clerk
The Newsletter Committee has a few updates and reminders this month:

1. Newsletter Deadline: We are changing the deadline for submissions to the newsletter to 5pm on the Wednesday after Monthly Meeting.

2. Newsletter Submissions: We need your help with submitting information to the newsletter. If you have a submission (report, article, description of an upcoming event, etc.) please write it up in a way that will be able to run in the newsletter without requiring further writing. Pieces will be edited; however, we need them to arrive to us written. However, please do not include formatting (no hyperlinks, heading fonts, etc.); pieces will be formatted as part of being put into the newsletter. If possible, please send submissions in the body of an email, rather than as an attachment.

3. Durham Friends Notes: We remind Friends who have information that should go out as a Durham Friends Note please to pass that information not only to Jo-an (who sends out the emailed Notes) but also to David Dexter (207-595-3329), who initiates the phone tree for the same information. If you cannot reach David, Liana Thompson Knight (207-737-9781) will be a backup for initiating the phone tree.

Janet Douglas, Memorial Minute

Janet Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting and mother of member and former pastor Jim Douglas, passed away on September 10, 2018. A memorial service was held in the Meetinghouse to celebrate her life on November 10 with her family and members of the Meeting present. Janet was well loved and appreciated for what she taught those who knew her through her life work.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, November 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, November 18, 2018 with 15 people present. Clerk, Susan Rice, opened the meeting by reading from the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #453 by Elizabeth Meyer: A Practical Mysticism.

  1. The minutes of October 21st were approved.
  2. Newsletter Committee: Liana Thompson Knight reported that the deadline for news for the Newsletter has changed to 5:00 pm on the Wednesday after Monthly Meeting. Committee reports are to be sent to Jo-an as well as to the Recording Clerk. Persons submitting information about upcoming events should write up a blurb for the Newsletter. The Newsletter Committee is open to run articles written by Friends on topics with which they are engaged.

Due to difficulty with the meeting copier, the Newsletter will be copied at Staples. They will need an adjusted line item in the budget for this purpose.

Currently the phone tree is for those who do not have email. They ask persons who have information for a Durham Friends Note call David Dexter who initiates the phone tree. David will have a summer landline number that should be used in the summer months. Those who do have email but would like to receive a call will be invited to opt-in to the phone tree, and thus might call others as a part of the phone tree.

  1. Ministry and counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that they are reviewing, overseeing, and praying for pastoral care issues and worship experiences in the meeting.

A concern was raised about disruptions in worship occurring when the doors are opened multiple times throughout worship. M&C encourages folks entering during worship be mindful of how often they open and close doors for various reasons.

Jo-an Jacobus has offered to facilitate a Christmas Eve worship service at the meetinghouse in the same manner as last year. We greatly appreciate this opportunity.

In January, M & C plans to outline themes to be used by those responsible for Care of Worship and bring messages which will be from New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice and from the yearly meeting annual focus. This year the theme – “In Fear and Trembling, Be Bold in God’s Service” – asked us to be bold in a broken world.

A small group of Friends (Edwin Hinshaw, Nancy Marstaller, and Nat Shed) volunteered to meet with Ralph and Twila Greene, and listen to their concerns. They explored options and possibilities, and discussed workable solutions for the Greene’s housing needs. Durham Friends may contact Ed and Nancy for further information.

Appreciation was expressed for Ministry and Counsel’s on-going concern for the meeting.

  1. We approved the following minute: Janet Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting and mother of member and former pastor, James Douglas, passed away on September 10, 2018. A memorial service was held in the meetinghouse to celebrate her life on November 10th with her family and members of the meeting present. Janet was well loved and appreciated for what she taught those who knew her through her life work.
  2. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell presented a preliminary 2019 budget for the meeting. Some committees have requested an increase in their line item. The final budget will be brought to the December monthly meeting for approval. We expressed gratitude for their careful work.
  3. Christian Education Committee and Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Halloween Party was held October 26th at the Meetinghouse. The children enjoyed an outside “in the dark” scavenger hunt with prizes, a piñata, bobbing for apples and donuts on a string with a lovely spread of food. It was attended by 26 people, including 9 children. At Game Night, November 3rd, they enjoyed a hefty potluck and several hours of games, conversation and laughter.

They will have the annual Wreath Making Party on Sunday, December 2nd after a potluck meal following worship. Materials will be provided, but live greens of any kind are welcome!

The Christmas Program will be on Saturday, December 15, gathering for worship and a turkey dinner. Come at 4:00 to help prepare the meal and set up. Worship, sharing of poems, songs or personal stories will be at 5:30 with dinner to follow.

“We encourage all Durham Friends to invite neighbors and friends to our special family events at well as our regular weekly meetings.”

The committee welcomes Ashley Marstaller as our new Child Care Provider. She started November 11th and will continue to provide loving care every Sunday from 10:15am – 12:15pm. It was suggested that she remain on duty for another hour or so to facilitate the attendance of parents to monthly meeting on monthly meeting Sunday, if she is able to extend her time.

We expressed appreciation for the ongoing work of this committee and the Youth Minister.

  1. We approved the proposal that the Child Care Provider, Ashley Marstaller, extend her time on monthly meeting Sunday until 1:30 pm if possible.
  2. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that there were 10 persons who attended the showing of the film, It’s Criminal on November 16th. A meaningful discussion was led by Paul Miller.
  3. Trustees: Margaret Wentworth reported that Kim Bolshaw, a regular attender who lives near the meetinghouse, has been hired as Custodian. We are thankful that Kim is willing to do this work.
  4. Ad Hoc Working group: Joyce Gibson reported for this “committee.” Their final report was presented concerning strengthening Durham Friends Meeting regarding pastoral care, coordination, and outreach. They noted that we are a meeting in transition and reminded us that Ministry and Counsel is responsible for pastoral care, and coordination is under the care of the Clerks Committee. They recommend that the Newsletter Committee become a Communication Committee. They noted that outreach is everyone’s responsibility. An alternative approach would be to establish an Outreach Committee, and/or a part time position devoted to outreach.

They recommend revision of the Meeting Handbook to be fresh and accurate reflecting changes in the meeting. Included in their report is a summary of Ministry and Counsel’s approach to pastoral care. Their full report is attached to these minutes.

It was recommended that the Clerks’ Committee become a standing committee and take on continued discussion of these concerns. They believe the Ad Hoc “committee” has done the job that the meeting assigned to it and therefore requested that the Ad Hoc Working Group should be laid down.

  1. We approved the Newsletter Committee be renamed the Communication Committee and that it include the website and other similar activities.
  2. We approved that the Clerks’ Committee be a standing committee to meet regularly at least every other month.
  3. We approved revising and updating the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook.
  4. We approved laying down the Ad Hoc Working Group and expressed much appreciation for their work.

We closed with a period of silence.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Strengthening Durham Friends Meeting – November 2018

November 16, 2018

The final report of the Paid Position Working Group will be presented to Monthly Meeting this Sunday, November 18.  The members of the Working Group, which has focused on the larger question of Strengthening Durham Friends Meeting, are Doug Bennett, Joyce Gibson, Theresa Oleksiw, Sukie Rice, and Wendy Schlotterbeck.

A compilation of the Working Group’s earlier progress reports to the Meeting can be found here.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 21, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, October 21, 2018 with 10 people present. Clerk Susan (Sukie) Rice opened the meeting with spoken prayer, expressing gratitude.

  1. The September minutes were approved.
  2. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel continues to be available for support, encouragement and pastoral care of meeting members and attenders. One new concern is that of Ralph and Twila Greene who have serious housing and financial difficulties. Persons from New England Yearly Meeting have written a letter which is being sent to many meetings to ask for financial and prayer support for Ralph and Twila and to enable them to find alternative safe and warm housing for this winter. The letter is attached. Sarah Sprogell reported that funds have been requested from the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund to help with this need. The sense of the meeting was that funds would be used to repair their house and find temporary housing for this winter.
  3. We approved a donation from the Charity Fund for Ralph and Twila Greene, amount to be determined at the November monthly meeting.
  4. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell brought the third quarter finance report, attached to these minutes. We budgeted $52,107 for income for 2018 and have already brought in $40,408, which is 78% of the amount budgeted. The amount budgeted for expenses was $51,320 and we have expended $31,937 by the end of September. The Finance Committee agreed that Durham Meeting/ Treasurer can serve as a conduit for monies donated for the Green Fund, including a grant from the Obadiah Brown’s Benevolent Fund. Their report was accepted with gratitude.
  5. We approved the request from Peace and Social Concerns Committee to increase their budget to $200 to support their film series, dates and times announced in this Newsletter.
  6. We approved authorization for the Treasurer to send budgeted contributions to other organizations.
  7. Trustees:
    1. Member Donna Hutchins reported that indeed, she and her husband Dan Ross will be moving to Bridgeton. She will be finishing her work as Custodian for the meeting at the end of October. Volunteers will be needed until a new custodian is hired by the Trustees.
    2. Sukie Rice recommended that we have a “heat and doors” tutorial; there has been heat loss due to open doors, and heat exchanger settings. It was recommended that we purchase new secure front doors. An article will be included in the Newsletter regarding this concern.
  8. The Christian Education Committee and Youth Minister report was given by Wendy Schlotterbeck and Tess Hartford.
    1. “Media at Meeting” – Movies and videos games have shown up at the Meeting House since we have gotten the TV. We had a far-ranging discussion about electronic media and its place and our role in regulating it. When talking with parents about this concern, they support the children and youth keeping electronics off unless they are part of a purposeful plan. We will also find more discreet location for the TV/VCR to keep the temptation for its use at bay.
    2. World Quaker Day- We used the occasion of World Quaker Day on October 7 to celebrate the return of Sunday school for the youth. This is an event sponsored by FWCC to encourage a sense of community for all the Quakers in the world. Following Meeting for Worship, where Katherine Langilier brought both the youth and Meeting messages, we sang This Pretty Planet and enjoyed a potluck lunch.
    3. Children’s Stories are still being offered on first and third Sundays. On second and fourth when children are present we will sing a song.
    4. Child Care: Christine Baglieri is no longer able to care for the children at Meeting.   It was agreed that the presence of a reliable person (whose values and way with children were so in tune with our own!) was well worth the $30 per week (10:15-12:15). The sense of continuity we believe has helped bring back some of the new families who have been visiting.   We need to find a new child care provider. Please contact Wendy at wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com if you know someone who may be interested.
    5. Upcoming family events: Halloween Party- Friday Oct 26 from 5:30-8pm at the Meetinghouse. Creative costumes are encouraged.   We will have snacks, bobbing for apples, donuts on a string and pumpkin carving. A fun time for all ages! There will be a Family Game Night- Saturday, November 3 from 5-7:30 for our 3rd game night. It will be a potluck followed by games. We found in the past that no other structure is necessary. All are welcome.
    6. Outreach – We encourage all Durham Friends to invite neighbors and friends to our special family events as well as our regular weekly Meetings. Wendy has been sending e-mail and/or text invitations to people who have shown interest in being part of our community, even sporadically. If you think someone would appreciate being added to the ‘invitation list’, please let Wendy know.”
  9. Peace and Social Concerns: We were reminded of the “Social Justice Film and Discussion Series.” The dates are November 16 = Criminal Justice; December 7 = “I Am Not Your Negro”; January 4 = Seeds of Peace.
  10. Falmouth Quarterly Meeting: We approved representatives to Quarterly Meeting which meets October 27 at Windham Friends Meeting, 9:00 – 1:00: Martha Sheldon, Sarah Sprogell, and Margaret Wentworth. The Quarterly Meeting will enter into discernment on how to move forward.
  11. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth requested that Gene Boyington be added to the Nominating Committee. Another member will be requested to replace Jo-an Jacobus when she is finished in December. Please let the committee or the meeting clerk know if interested and are able to serve.
  12. We approved the appointment of Gene Boyington to serve on the Nominating Committee. He will finish this year as a member and begin a three-year term in January.
  13. New England Yearly Meeting Annual 2018 Sessions report, Castleton University in Vermont.   Sarah Sprogell gave a personal report of Sessions which is attached.

The 2018 Epistle of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is included in this newsletter as well as “Talking Points from Sessions”. Both of these documents will be attached to these minutes. Ministry and Counsel is encouraged to schedule speakers who will share these documents in meeting for worship.

  1. Ad Hoc Committee: Doug Bennett sent a report from the Ad Hoc Committee.

For nearly a year, Durham Friends Meeting has had an Ad Hoc Committee working on developing ideas for strengthening the Meeting. After input and discussion from many Meeting members, we came to focus on three areas where we might try to strengthen ourselves: pastoral care, outreach and coordination. In May, after the Ad Hoc Committee reported, Business Meeting asked that various Meeting committees discuss their current efforts and effectiveness and let the Ad Hoc Committee know how they are doing. More specifically, Ministry and Counsel was asked to consider pastoral care, Christian Education, Peace and Social Concerns, and the Newsletter Committee were asked to consider outreach, and the Clerks Group was asked to consider coordination. These committees of the Meeting were asked to give feedback to the Ad Hoc Committee by September 17, in time for a Meeting-wide discussion on September 30. We POSTPONED the September 30 discussion because we have not yet heard from all the committees to which requests were directed. So, we are renewing the request. A Meeting-wide discussion of what we learn will be scheduled on October 28. Questions? Contact Doug Bennett (dougb@earlham.edu or 207-721-9575).

The Meeting closed with a moment of silence.

                        Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Our Approach to Pastoral Care Today   

Committee on Ministry and Counsel, September 2018                      

For many decades, Durham Friends Meeting had a paid pastor who, among other responsibilities, took primary responsibility for pastoral care in the Meeting community.   The Meeting made the decision in November 2016 first on a trial basis, and then, in October 2017, to continue “for the time being,” to proceed without a paid pastor.

With this decision, the Committee on Ministry and Counsel took on the lead responsibility for pastoral care in the Meeting community.   Especially over the past year, members of Ministry and Counsel have discussed how we should carry out this responsibility. We would like to give Meeting members a summary of what we have developed as the current approach to pastoral care.

  • Members and attenders of the Meeting are encouraged to bring situations calling for pastoral care to the attention of The Meeting clerk, the clerk of Ministry and Counsel or another member of Ministry and Counsel.
  • Ministry and Counsel discusses situations calling for pastoral care at least once each month as part of its regular meeting agenda, and more frequently if pressing.   The committee maintains a list of such situations to be sure we don’t neglect any of them. We regularly review this list.
  • We ask one member of the committee to be the point person for each situation, asking that person to make visits or take other appropriate action and subsequently report back to Ministry and Counsel. In more complex situations, we convene a team to work together on the matter.
  • The Committee on Ministry and Counsel takes the need for confidentiality very seriously. We respect the confidentiality of whatever is said to us by those experiencing difficulties, and do not discuss specific pastoral care situations outside of the committee without specific permission from those affected.

We know this approach to pastoral care is a change from the past, particularly for those with long experience in the Meeting of having a paid pastor providing pastoral care.

We ask members of the Meeting community to give us feedback on how this new approach to pastoral care is working. What is going well and what is not going so well?

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading verses from the hymn, Spirit of God, Descend upon my Heart. We did not meet in August.

  1. The July minutes were approved, with one correction: in minute no. 8: “We approved the Nominating Committee recommendation that Donna Hutchins be added as a Trustee.”

2. Martha Sheldon reported for Ministry and Counsel which met Sunday, September 9th and again for their annual retreat on September 15th. In both meetings, they discussed pastoral care concerns of the meeting and determined appropriate ways to respond to the needs of meeting members and attenders. They also discussed how worship is going and how to enrich the experience of worship. Developments and possible program proposals will be forthcoming. Please contact any member of Ministry and Counsel about pastoral care and worship concerns.

3. Trustees: Lesley Manning sent a comprehensive detailed report which is attached.

a. Donna Hutchins reported that she and Dan Ross will not be moving from the parsonage. She will continue as our custodian. Trustees recommend that the current month to month rental agreement remain in effect. They are very satisfied with her care of the meetinghouse and parsonage.

b. Trustees have scheduled a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” for Friday night and Saturday, October 19 and 20. The list of chores needed are noted in their report and will be listed. All are welcome to participate.

c. Donna is working with Andy Higgins to monitor and respond to storm damage to trees in our cemeteries. Trustees authorized Andy to do the tree work in and around the meetinghouse, horse shed and parsonage.

d. The horse shed had been excavated and gravel laid. The sill and shingles in the back are rotten and will need to be replaced.

e. They recommend that Lunt Road Cemetery be mowed more often since it is visited regularly.

g. Andy Higgins will repair the column at Lunt Cemetery, remove the old basketball hoop on the horse shed and help repair the storage shed at the parsonage if needed.

h. Interior repair and painting of the meetinghouse ceilings will be done before winter; an exterminator has been hired to deal with the on-going mouse problem; and the chimneys and furnaces will be serviced.

i. The Trustees plan to get estimates for water treatment systems for both the meetinghouse and parsonage; the well pump at the meetinghouse may need to be replaced since it may be the original to the well dug when the addition was built in the 1950s.

4. Tess Hartford reported for the Christian Education Committee and Youth Ministry.

a. Concern has been expressed regarding electronic equipment used by children and youth, distracting from the worship and community atmosphere in Sunday School and other activities.  Parents will be contacted with this concern.

b. Our child care provider is unable to continue, and thus they are seeking help in this area; it involves 2 hours on Sunday morning, $15.00 an hour. An article will be included in the newsletter with this request for someone to fill this need. Contact Wendy Schlotterbeck if interested. Wendy will be the child care provider until someone is hired.

c. The World Quaker Day sponsored by Friends World Committee for Consultation (worldquakerday.org) on October 7th will replace Rally Day. There will be a pot luck lunch and activities.

d. Family Game Night will occur November 3rd with a pot luck meal.

5. The Peace and Social Concerns Committee report was given by Ingrid Chalufour. Future activities include a social justice film series, October 12, 9, 16 and December 7, and a “Seeds of Peace” activity at Curtis Library in Brunswick. Details of these events will be included in the Newsletter.

6. Ad Hoc Committee report: Doug Bennett reminded us that A Community Conversation about the Way Forward for our meeting without a pastor will be held on September 30, 2018. An article about this event will be included in the Newsletter and a Friendly Note will be sent.

7. Susan Rice reminded us that a report from the representatives to New England Yearly Meeting Sessions would be in order. It was suggested that Ministry and Counsel schedule messages related to Yearly Meeting concerns.

8. Tess Hartford expressed appreciation for attending the Arts Camp at Friends Camp in China (Maine) which included writers, visual artists, and musicians.

We adjourned in gratitude for the Spirit of the day!

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Ad Hoc Committee Continues Its Work

By Doug Bennett

The work of Durham Meeting’s ad hoc committee will be back on the agenda in September and we need your help. The most recent report of the committee (from April) is on the Meeting’s website.

At the May Monthly Meeting we agreed to these next steps:

  1. That committees currently providing pastoral care (M&C), outreach (CE, P&SC, newsletter) and coordination (clerks meeting) consider their roles and effectiveness more deeply;
  2. That these groups and committees report back to the Ad Hoc working group with their thoughts by Sept. 17;
  3. That the Ad Hoc group organize a time for A Community Conversation about the Way Forward on Sept 30 (5thSunday) 2018.

So please, if you are a member of a Meeting committee, please note what we are asking you to do, and send the ad hoc committee your thoughts by September 17. And please mark your calendars for a special discussion on Sunday, September 30.

Thank you.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 15, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 15, 2018 with 13 people present. Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting with a reading from the New England Yearly Meeting website statement, “The Quaker Way.” We did not meet in June.

  1. Sukie Rice reported that Eileen Babcock’s will states that a significant bequest will be made to the New England Yearly Meeting pooled invested funds, to benefit our meeting. These funds are unrestricted in their use.

2. Tom Frye is moving to North Carolina to be with family. A group of volunteers (Gene Boyington, Sukie Rice, and Sarah Sprogell) have been cleaning his condominium in Freeport. It will be renovated and sold. It was suggested that the Bernice Douglas fund be used to pay the costs of renovation for up to $20,000; this amount would be reimbursed by Tommie C. Frye at the closing of the sale of his property at 17 Linwood Road, Freeport, Maine. A letter from the clerk (Sukie Rice) regarding this agreement, also signed by the treasurer, Katharine Hildebrandt, will be given to Tom Frye for his signature. Gene Boyington is Tom Frye’s Power of Attorney and is managing Tom’s affairs in his absence.

3. We approved a loan from the Bernice Douglas Fund be used to renovate Tom Frye’s condominium, with an agreement as stated above.

4. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell presented the January l-June 30, 2018 finance report of Income and Expenditures   Income for this period was $25,851, and expenses were $23,591, Both figures close to 50% of the budgeted amounts. This report is attached. It was noted that the need for Friends Camp Scholarships has exceeded our budget. It was suggested that we ask for donations to meet this need.

5.  We approved fund raising for the extra amount needed for Friends Camp Scholarships. An appeal will be included in the Newsletter.

6. Youth Minister/Christian Education Report: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported about several events. “June 2nd was the Annual Yard and Plant sale which earned $750.00. June 3rd was Children’s Day when we celebrated the children and youth of our meeting and marked the close of Sunday School for kids. In addition of many adults present, we were happy to have 10 children/youth among us for the hot dog, mac and cheese and ice cream picnic. A special treat was rainbow fruit kabobs made by Katherine Langelier. We started a quilt of Durham Children’s hand prints and planted a pumpkin patch. We signed cards for 3 graduates in the Durham Family: Elliott Nagler, Andrew Wood and Hannah Wood.

The annual family campout at Betsy Muench’s home in Georgetown, June 16-17 was a great success. 25 people enjoyed the sea air, water and beach. We held meeting for worship on the beach under sunny, blue skies, giving thanks for the beautiful world God created, each other and the Muench family’s generosity sharing this treasure with us.

On Saturday July 14, seven Durham Friends attended ‘Healing Turtle Island’ at Nibezun, in Passadumkeag, Maine at the invitation of our Wabanaki friends. The 2 Durham children were entranced by the Sacred Water Ceremony and the Mother Earth Ceremony led by indigenous elders from around the world. One highlight was the song/dance circle by the children, and the Blessing of the Children Ceremony that followed. Each of the approximately 30 children was blessed by an elder gently touching their head, face, and heart with a giant eagle feather while another elder fanned a smudge pot as the rest of the gathering sang, ‘Children, this is for you.’ After a shared lunch, our youngest Durham Friend chose to sit on the front bench with the head Penobscot elder, Sherri Mitchell (wena’hamu’gwasit) during the lengthy Mother Earth Ceremony. She was taken by hand and welcomed to participate by adding tobacco to the sacred fire to close the ceremony. It was a special privilege to witness the deep spirituality of the people, spend unhurried hours praying and feel the warm welcome to share in their grief and their deepest longing to heal the earth.”

7. Leslie Manning reported for the Trustees. Donna Hutchins has informed the Trustees that she and Daniel Ross will be moving from the parsonage. She will not continue as custodian. The Trustees ask that the Nominating Committee appoint Donna as a member of Trustees. They would like another member as well. Membership in the meeting is required to be a Trustee. They will informally ask people about a new tenant and the position of custodian. They will not advertise at this time. They recommend that the current rental agreement for the parsonage continue.   They recommend a rental agreement of $1200 per month to include electric usage; renter would pay for lawn care within the fenced area, plowing, and heat. The meeting would fill the pellet furnace hopper; a new tenant would refill as needed and leave it full.

Outstanding projects:

  • Cemetery: Trustees received an estimate from Andy Higgins for mowing grass using his own equipment, and report that they will pay a salary of $15.00 per hour from the cemetery fund for all locations. Andy will also do the repair work on the columns at Lunt Cemetery. No checkbook has been located for the Cemetery Fund. Donna Hutchins and Margaret Wentworth will go to the credit union and order a new set and void the number series for the lost book. Donna will replace Eileen Babcock on the cemetery checking account which will give us two signers. The second signer is Katherine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt. Donn will serve as the Cemetery Fund bookkeeper and be the record keeper delineating cemetery plots. She will prepare the accounts for auditing.
  • Parsonage: A plumber will be asked to schedule repairs to the toilet and the outside faucet at the parsonage. The gutter on the parsonage porch will be removed.   It was recommended that a community wide discussion concerning the future of the parsonage be held, either as an item of business at monthly meeting or at a special called meeting. The clerk will schedule this discussion.
  • Meetinghouse and horse shed: basement windows will season before being painted in the fall. Andy Higgins has agreed to do work on the horse shed, along with the repair and painting of the ceilings in the meetinghouse; he will submit proof of insurance and W-9 form for payment. Andy Higgins made a trash run from the parsonage and storage shed; Wendy Schlotterbeck cleaned the horse shed. Some valued items might be listed on Craigslist or shown to an appraiser for sale. Daniel Henton has installed a system for raising and lowering banners on the south side of the meetinghouse. Many thanks to Dan.

Long Term Projects:

  • Parsonage: investigate a filtration system for water; conduct a radon test; replace storm door and door to patio; monitor pipes in laundry area (insulation, heat lamp, relocation?); clean attics in garage and house; paint porch floor and ceiling; do electrical inspection.
  • Replace shed roof.
  • Grounds: Donna Hutchins will check with the Durham Town Office and an appraiser regarding a woodlot plan and tree growth tax reduction.

Items listed in the Trustees’ report concerning the meetinghouse and horse shed will be discussed at a later date. Trustees announced a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” on October 13.

8. We approved the request that Donna Hutchins be added as a Trustee.

9.  We approved the following: a new tenant to the parsonage would pay all utilities except the CMP electricity bill, with a rent of $1200 per month.

10. We approved refunding the security deposit to the current renters of the parsonage.

11. Items listed in the Trustees’ report concerning the meetinghouse and horse shed will be discussed at a later date.

12. Trustees announced a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” on October 13.

13. Peace and Social Concerns:

a. Sukie Rice reported that proceeds from the Friends of Kakamega Dinner amounted to $1000, plus a $2000 donation with a total of $3000 for the event!

b. We approved scheduling a Seeds of Peace fundraising event, date to be determined.

14. A concern was raised concerning the presence of dogs in the meetinghouse as that might discourage persons of other faiths to feel welcome.

15. Joseph and Alexandrine Godleski have requested that their name be removed from membership as they now live in Florida and attend a local church. We approved, and the clerk will send a letter of appreciation for their active participation in our meeting and that they will be missed.

16. We approved the following persons as representatives to New England Yearly Meeting sessions: Kristna Evans (also representative to NEYM Ministry and Counsel), Sukie Rice, and Sarah Sprogell.

17. A request for financial assistance to attend New England Yearly Meeting Sessions was received and since we don’t contribute to the Equalization Fund, travel expenses in the form of gas receipts can be submitted to the treasurer. We were reminded that we “pay as led.”

18. The Treasurer, Kitsie Hildebrandt, asked Jo-an Jacobus who initially set up the phone/internet system in the meetinghouse for advice on how to lower our costs.   Jo-an researched our account with Consolidated Communications regarding phone and internet service, phone book listing, and repair of the outside line. Jo-an reported that the line will be repaired without cost. She recommends that we move to a two year plan that would cost approx. $80.00 per month (less than the $117 per month if we don’t change the plan). Our phone listing was moved back from the Lewiston phone book to Brunswick phone book. Jo-an recommends that we buy a backup power source due to power outages. Her research is attached.

19. We approved changing our phone/internet service to the two year plan at $80.00 per month and that we purchase a backup power source, not exceeding $80.00.

20. We approved May’s monthly meeting minutes, with corrections noted.

The meeting adjourned at 2:15.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Memorial Minute: Richard Reeve Wood, Jr.

January 18, 2015

Memorial Minute: Richard Reeve Wood, Jr.

March 30, 1932 – June 5, 2010

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 10.22.24 AMRichard Reeve Wood Jr. was born March 30, 1932, to Richard R. and Nancy Morris Wood in Moorestown, New Jersey. He grew up surrounded and seasoned by Philadelphia Friends. He attended Moorestown Friends School and received a B.A. in English from Haverford College while it was still an all male school. He loved playing soccer at Haverford or anywhere else he could round up a game!

Richard’s fascination with farms, farm animals and aesthetics of the land grew ever more important when he began working summers on a Quaker farm along the Delaware River. As a Conscientious Objector he served two years at the Earlham College dairy farm.

Following his stint at Earlham, Richard married Elizabeth Hoag. They bought the Goddard farm, a small farm in Brunswick, Maine, which had been bequeathed to Durham Monthly Meeting. There they had four children: Rebecca, Gilbert, Anna and Susan. They also built a Jersey herd of some note. After their divorce Richard continued to farm and provide hospitality to folks from various walks of life who were passing by. His was a compelling and welcoming presence and he connected easily with all sorts of people.

Richard loved cows and spent much of his time as he worked in the barn thinking and dreaming of the emerging contemporary small farm movement. He was ahead of his time, like Wendell Berry whose writings inspired him. Later he was given an opportunity, when hired by the Maine Department of Agriculture as coordinator for the Agriculture Viability Program, to travel and write on behalf of the small farm movement in Maine. Richard was a gifted writer and published articles in Small Farm Journal, Maine Times, Times Record. There was a memorable piece in the Boston Globe reporting on Richard’s visit to war torn Nicaragua as part of an Oxfam delegation.

Richard was a beloved and active member of Durham Friends Meeting, serving in various capacities including Monthly Meeting Clerk, Trustee, on Ministry and Counsel, and occasionally giving the message. He was Clerk of Falmouth Quarterly Meeting for a time.

One First Day at Durham Friends Meeting, Richard and Susan McIntire rose in the midst of silent worship and he declared, “Before God, my family and friends, I, Richard, take thee Susan to be my wife. With divine assistance and help from my friends, I will be unto thee a loving and faithful husband.” Susan responded in kind. The clerk read the marriage certificate aloud and invited each of us there to sign as witnesses. Those present witnessed a traditional Quaker wedding, and Richard and Susan went on to have a real Quaker marriage.

Richard and Susan eventually sold the Brunswick farm, moved to Western New York in 1990, and bought another farm. This one had Holsteins and draft horses. Here they continued raising their children Reeve and Isaac. They were assisted in this new venture by local farm folks including those in the nearby Amish community.

In 2000 Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he managed with characteristic grace and optimism. Richard and Susan returned to Maine in 2003 to be closer to family and friends.

Those of us who are privileged to have known him and listened to his deep penetrating voice, marveled at the almost effortless way he established close rapport with others. His Quaker roots and seasoning were embedded in his presence. He was profoundly steady and comfortable. Children loved him. He loved dogs. He wrote mystery stories. He loved his family. For many of us he was a compassionate listener. There are myriad tender memories of cups of tea with him at the kitchen table.

Richard Wood

No Hallmark Angels,

they asphyxiate me.

Send me one like

Richard Wood in

floppy rubber boots.

His large hands

cracked and gnarled

from washing cow’s

udders on winter days.

This cold Maine morning

The barn smells of burnt

rushes. A holstein heifer

is down dead in her stall.

He backed the old John

Deere into the barn and

dragged the carcass past

the restless herd, breath

rising like incense smoke.

He kicked a heap of snow.

“At least she’ll freeze out here

in the dooryard till I can think

of some place to put her”.

Inside we had a dirty mug of

tea and were as close as

those cows in the barn.

pbc (1995)

Approved by Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, Meeting for Business, January 18, 2015, Sarah Sprogell, Presiding Clerk.

An obituary can be seen here.  An appreciation of his life by his daughter in law, Hannah Burroughs, can be seen here.

Recommendations on Outreach, April 27, 2018

Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Strengthening Durham Meeting, presented to May Monthly Meeting

A. Framing Thoughts. Three large ideas have emerged to frame our thinking about how to strengthen outreach for Durham Friends Meeting. We should bear these in mind as we consider what specific efforts we might want to undertake.

  1. Strengthening the worship life of Durham Friends Meeting should be the main concern of our outreach efforts in the future. We believe we should focus on those outreach efforts that have promise to draw more people to worship regularly with us. (Holding events that draw new people to the Meetinghouse but that draw none of these people to come to worship with us on Sunday should not be high among our priorities.)

2. Attend to deepening community as well as outreach. We want to strengthen not just our outreach to newcomers or those who do not yet know us; we also want to strengthen the relationships among those of us who are already members or regular attenders. We want to know each other better. A fair number of us still feel relatively new.

3. Also pay attention to Pastoral Care. Though perhaps not outreach per se, as we have sought ideas for outreach, people keep mentioning the need to strengthen what we are doing with regard to pastoral care. (We do not pursue this here. The Committee on Ministry and Counsel is currently considering how to strengthen Pastoral Care at Durham Friends Meeting.)

B. Possible Initiatives. While we have considered a large number of possibilities, these seem like the most fruitful ones to pursue. We are already doing many of these things, but the suggestion is that we do more.

  1. Make more and better use of media.

a. We should try to place more articles in local print newspapers, especially the Brunswick Times Record, but also others. We might also consider placing paid advertisements in newspapers.

b. We should make greater use of electronic media, especially our website and Facebook or other social media, trying to make these work together and to reach out beyond our current members and attenders.

c. Signage out front of the Meetinghouse. We should have signs or banners outside our Meetinghouse visible to traffic that passes by.

2. Hold more regular family events. We have had good success with intergenerational game nights, and similar events. We should do more of these and more regularly. We should also work on extending invitations to these more broadly.

3. Hold more Potluck Suppers with a speaker or panel. Again, regularly, we should consider having a series of events, widely publicized, each featuring a speaker (might or might not be a member). Peace and social concerns issues might be the focus of these.

4. Pursue some special Durham-focused efforts. We should try to make ourselves better known to our immediate neighbors in Durham, where we have a declining number of members. We might do a town-wide mailing inviting them to visit. We might do an open house. We might sponsor a forum on a topic of interest to Durham residents.

5. Make a more sustained effort to follow up with new visitors. We should be sure we get contact information from visitors and be sure we follow up via phone, mail, e-mail, invitations to potlucks and the like. We should also provide more opportunities for newcomers to learn more about Quakerism, perhaps through a Seekers and Sojourners class or gatherings.

C. How to pursue these initiatives. Whichever of these initiatives we pursue, there are two broad options for how we pursue them. We can see these options as alternatives, or we could see them as complementary. We especially seek the Meeting’s advice on which way to proceed.

  1. We could see Outreach as everyone’s responsibility. Perhaps we should see outreach as something to which every part of the Meeting and everyone should contribute. On this option, we’d all try to face outward a little more. For example,

a. We could ask each regular committee of the Meeting to be sure to undertake some Outreach activities. Christian Education could do game nights, Peace and Social Concerns could hold potluck suppers with speakers, Ministry and Counsel could follow up with visitors and hold Seekers and Sojourners sessions.

b. In addition, we could expand the charge and perhaps size of the Newsletter Committee giving it responsibility for our website and Facebook page as well as print media possibilities, making it a Communications Committee.

2. We could place responsibility for Outreach in a particular place in the Meeting. On this option we focus responsibility within the Meeting.

a. We could make Outreach the focus of a regular committee – an Outreach Committee that would pursue many of the ideas sketched in section B.

b. We could have also have a paid, part-time Meeting Secretary or Coordinator who would work on communications and outreach activities, under the direction of an Outreach Committee.

Trustees Report, May 13, 2018

Trustees met on Sunday, May 13 and reviewed the list of outstanding projects, and began the planning for maintenance and repair for the next three years for the meetinghouse and grounds.  In June, we will have a similar process for the parsonage and cemeteries.

Outstanding projects:  Windows in Basement have been installed and Dan Henton will mortar up the windows that sit in the ground and cannot be replaced.

He will also refresh the water softener and replace the filter cartridge in an attempt to increase water pressure.  We have been advised by a plumber that our system is obsolete and we are considering options in our long term planning.

We are still soliciting estimated for the repair and replacement of the ceilings and since the job is “so small”, to add the painting of the walls of the meeting room to the estimate.

We are actively looking for a lawn care provider, and Donna Hutchins will follow up. Cemeteries will be mowed 3-5 times between Memorial Day and end of September, parsonage and meeting grounds more frequently to reduce tick exposure.

We discussed tick control and will research both toxic and nontoxic alternatives, with cost estimates, before next month.

We are still soliciting bids for the horse shed.

A water test conducted at the parsonage show it is within acceptable limits other than the presence of radon.

Donna will work with Margaret on the cemetery accounts and plotting, which Eileen Babcock had previously done.

We are in need of an additional member to replace Eileen and ask Nominating Committee to also consider who might serve.

We remind Friends that the lease for the parsonage will expire in June and that it will go to month to month.  Based on 2017 costs of approximately $11,800 and expected income of $14,400, we recommend that there be no increase in the rent and expressed appreciation for care our tenants show for the parsonage.

We received a request that the meetinghouse be made available to a Native American group for worship, drumming, dinners and fellowship and heartily agree to this.  We do not believe that there should be a cost for worship and recommend that a free will offering of any amount be requested but not required.

We closed in deep gratitude and with silence, and then did a walk around to look at winter damage and identify future tasks, including the hanging of banners.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 20, 2018

Draft

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 20, 2018 with 8 people present, and 2 people joining later, for a total of 10. Clerk Susan (Sukie) Rice opened the meeting with a moment of worship and a prayer from Bede the Venerable:

                         Lord God, our Creator of Light,

At the rising of your sun each morning,

Let the greatest of all Lights – Your Love – Rise,

Like the sun in my heart.

  1. The minutes from April 15, 2018 Monthly Meeting were approved with corrections and edits noted for items 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 13 and 14. Corrections will be made to the minutes currently on file.

2. Margaret Wentworth brought the Trustees Report, which was gratefully accepted. The complete report is attached. Notable items are the development of a 3-year plan for maintenance and repair of the meetinghouse and grounds, including the on-going solicitation of bids for current projects; Dan Henton will complete outstanding projects concerning basement windows that will be enclosed and mortared, as well as servicing the water softener system; Donna Ross will work with Margaret on the cemetery plots.

Friends are reminded that the lease for the parsonage will expire at the end of June, and will change to a month-by-month basis. Trustees recommend that there be no increase in the rent at this time, and expressed appreciation for the care our tenants show for the parsonage.

Trustees have received a request by two local Native American families who would like to use the meetinghouse for worship, drumming, dinners and fellowship to support and develop their cultural traditions. Trustees are still in conversation with this group, but feel a sense of hearty agreement to the request. Trustees believes, if approved, there should be no cost to use the building for worship purposes, but support a request for a free will offering.

The meeting feels united in an anticipated approval of this request, and looks forward to hearing more details as discussions progress and a final recommendation is presented.

. Sarah Sprogell presented a report from the Finance Committee, based on a request from New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) Finance Committee. NEYM is requesting that all monthly meetings consider approving a “letter of affirmation” that our meeting is affiliated with NEYM and wishes to be included in NEYM’s group exemption listing, which exists under NEYM’s 501c3 non-profit status.

This request is being made based on new IRS rules which govern aspects of non-profit organizations including churches. This status will allow to confirm to any donors that their contributions to the meeting are tax deductible, and will keep us in compliance with current IRS rules.

4. The meeting approved the writing of such a letter, as long as there would be no negative impact in doing so. Sarah will follow-up with Frederick Martin at NEYM, and draft such a letter if no negative impacts are discerned.

5. Sukie Rice reported for Ministry and Counsel regarding the receipt of a membership transfer certificate from Dover (NH) Meeting for Brown Letham, who has requested transferring his membership to Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends.

6. All present joyfully approved this request and welcome Brown into our meeting community.

7. Doug Bennett presented a report from the Ad Hoc working group examining outreach and other needs of the meeting. He reminded us that this group was formed in November 2017 to discern the possibility of developing a paid position for the meeting. The group identified 3 areas needing more strengthening: Pastoral Care, Outreach and Coordination of Information within the meeting. Ministry and Counsel is being asked to examine the area of Pastoral Care; the Clerks Group is being asked to examine its role in Coordination of Information. The Ad Hoc group agreed to look more deeply into Outreach needs and possible solutions. The full report from this group is attached.

. We gratefully accepted the good and faithful work of the Ad Hoc working group.

8. We further approved a plan for next steps moving forward, considering it would be most beneficial for the information in the report to be discussed more widely within the meeting. Therefore, we approved:

a. That committees currently providing pastoral care (M&C), outreach (CE, P&SC, newsletter) and coordination (clerks meeting) consider their roles and effectiveness more deeply;

b. That these groups and committees report back to the Ad Hoc working group with their thoughts by Sept. 17;

c. That the Ad Hoc group organize a time for A Community Conversation about the Way Forward on Sept 30 (5th Sunday) 2018.

9. Tess Hartford brought a report from Christian Education Committee. Children’s Day will be June 3, with a lunch provided by CE. The committee is aware of one (college) graduate this year. The committee is also working on updating the “hand quilt” used in the classroom, to include our current children’s names.

The report was gratefully accepted, with acknowledgement of the excellent work and care provided to the children of the meeting.

10. Margaret Wentworth reported as one of our representatives to Lisbon Area Christian Outreach (LACO) that we will be receiving a sign showing our support for the group. The sign is designed for exterior display.

11. We approved accepting the sign, and also referring its placement to the care of Trustees.

12. Sarah Sprogell reported for Falmouth Quarter, which met on April 28, 2018 at Brunswick Meeting, in Topsham ME. Margaret Wentworth and Sarah Sprogell were appointed representatives from Durham; Leslie Manning and Betsy Muench were also present. Perhaps the most significant item of business was the consideration to begin the process of laying down Lewiston Monthly Meeting; attendance has dwindled to 1 or 2 members, with an occasional visitor; no clerk has been found for the current year; and Bates College will no longer be able to host their meeting for worship. An Ad Hoc group is working with LMM on this concern, and recommends that if a worship group develops in the future, it might likely come under the care of Durham Meeting.

Other decisions were the approval of a Denominational Endorsement of a Portland Friend, Elizabeth Szatkowski, as she begins employment as a chaplain for Hospice of Southern Maine. Also approved was the appointment of Nathan Broaddus, also from Portland Meeting, to the corporate board of Beacon Hill Friends House.

13. Sarah Sprogell brought the 2017 annual statistical report (on file), noting that we approved 6 new members this year, and lost one member through death, for a total of 109 current members. 75% of our members are local residents; 75% are women; 50% are over 65 and 10% are 25 or younger. Average attendance last year was just under 40 each Sunday.

14. After a brief moment of contemplation on the value of families, we adjourned at 2pm.

Respectfully submitted by Sarah Sprogell, recording clerk pro tem

Remembering Eileen Babcock and Lavada Caton & Angelo Pane

By Sukie Rice

We need to mark the passing of three members of Durham Monthly Meeting.

It is with real sadness that we announce the passing of Eileen Babcock, who had been a member of Durham Friends Meeting for the greater part of her life.  Eileen grew up in the meeting as a part of Sunday School, vacation Bible School and then, as an adult, leading Meeting youth in these same activities.   She participated in most of the committees of the Meeting and was consistently committed to doing the best job she could for the Meeting and seeking God’s will.  She will be especially remembered as a team leader for the Tedford Shelter meals, her contributions to the Meeting’s benefit dinners for the Kakamega Orphans Care Centre, and for always being there to lend a hand in whatever was needed.   Eileen died of cancer at the age of 66 on March 20.

We also want to recognize the passing of Lavada Caton and Angelo Pane, both beloved members of the Meeting.   Angelo, who for years fixed the leaky faucets, doors and windows, pounded hammers and tended lovingly to the meetinghouse, died in September in Florida with his family close by.  Lavada passed away on April 9 in North Port, Florida where she lived with her husband, Don.  Lavada was known for her kindness, generosity, strength of spirit, and real spunk.  Durham Meeting wishes the God’s comfort and love for the Pane and Caton families.  We have no doubt that Angelo is up there with his measuring tape and plans to build a new wing on the angel’s canteen where Lavada has everyone entranced by her sweetness and stories.

Don Caton, Lavada’s husband, can be reached approximately through July at: c/o Laurie Caton-Lemos, 770 Pinkham Brook Rd, Durham, ME 04222