Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 16, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 16, 2019 with 11 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading a quote from Marcus Aurelius.

1. The May minutes were approved with the following addition to minute 13 that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting will have “rotating clerks and recording clerks, as led; Marian Dalton and Sarah Sprogell will serve as co-conveners and contact persons for the quarter.”

2.  Finance Committee and Treasurer: Katherine Hildebrandt reported that the Tom Fry apartment renovation loan has been repaid to the Bernice Douglas Fund. 

   The committee is interested in donating an amount from the Charity Fund Account to Craig Freshley for his Make Shift Coffee house events, a program which brings together persons in civil discourse and sharing across political lines.

   The meeting has received an additional amount from the Janet Douglas estate.  The committee recommends that we designate this money in the same way we did the first amount: 10% to the Charity Account, and the rest into the Capital Account.

  Discussion ensued concerning our use of the Charity Fund and social concerns needs that we might more be able to support. It was decided that we would have an all meeting discussion about our priorities and the use of our funds, in consultation with the Trustees concerning the Capital Fund needs, on Sunday, October 27th.

3.  The meeting approved the amount of $2000 be granted to Craig Freshley from the Charity Fund for the Make Shift Coffee House events.

 4.  Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel met on June 9th.  They discussed meeting for worship and pastoral cares.  They will be appointing a representative to New England Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel at sessions this August.  They hope to have a ministry and counsel retreat this September.  The theme they offer for the meeting in July, August and September is “How do we get our light leadings out into the world?”

They propose the following for meeting for worship order of service slightly revised from the April monthly meeting minutes: hymns, a reading or prayer, children’s story on the first and third Sundays, message (out of waiting worship) joys and concerns, offering, announcements, visitors, final hymn, and handshake.  We accepted their report with appreciation in the experiment of a different order of service.

5.  Peace and Social Concerns:  Cindy Wood has stepped down as clerk for the time being and Ingrid Chalufour will be filling in. Ingrid reports that “we have had two meetings in the past month, making plans for upcoming events.

  After the generative discussions at Meeting on April 28, we selected the climate crisis as a focus for our work in the coming year. We have three initiatives in the planning stages at this point. 1) An interactive panel with 3 or 4 youth focused on what they think we should be doing to address the climate crisis. This will be Sunday Sept. 29, after Meeting for worship. We will be inviting other Meetings to participate. 2) Show a film, Pittsburg to Paris, that looks at local community climate activists across the country. We are going to try a “house party” format for showing this film during October and November.  3) We will have regular posts in the newsletter with information about local climate events and state legislation.

  There is another christening at BIW on June 22 and Brown will be there. We are hoping others from Meeting will join him.

  We discussed the Kakamega fundraiser that we have been organizing in recent years. We are a small committee with a lot planned and we do not feel we can add that to our agenda this year. We are hoping there might be a few others in the Meeting who can take it over.

  Finally, we are aware of the many needs of the asylum seekers who are in and coming to Portland. We are requesting Meeting make a $500.00 contribution to support the asylum seekers. The donation can be made up of contributions from friends with the remaining, up to $500.00, from the charity account.”  The meeting expressed appreciation for Wendy Schlotterbeck’s involvement in this concern.

6.  The meeting approved a donation of $500 from the Charity Fund to the City of Portland in support of the asylum seekers.  An article will be included in the newsletter regarding this concern and information on how to contribute to this need.

7.  Liana Knight sent a report from the new Communications Committee which met on May 31, 2019.  Liana Knight agreed to be clerk. Members are Doug Bennett (maintaining DFM website), Donna Hutchins (control of DFM Facebook account), David Dexter (phone tree initiator), Margaret Wentworth (mailing paper newsletters), and temporarily Sukie Rice (interim newsletter editor and copier).  They will meet at noon on the first Friday of September, November, January, March, and May.  Sukie is filling in as newsletter editor until a new newsletter editor can be found. 

  The newsletter comes together as a result of three tasks: collecting information, editing the information submitted, and distributing the newsletter (by email and on paper).  Sukie will pass along committee reports submitted by clerks to Doug and Liana. Doug has set up an email address that will forward messages to Sukie, Liana and Doug. The address is DurhamQuakerMeeting@gmail.com.

  The web site is intended to be a resource for both members and the general public to get timely information about the meeting. Doug will put any meeting-related information he receives on the website within 24 hours of receiving it. The website currently has several static pages with information, and one blog page where news and messages are posted on an ongoing basis. The communications committee believes that for information to be publicized on the website or on Facebook it should be about Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends-sponsored events.

  The committee holds a question about Durham Friends Notes, which were started by Daphne Clement, then handled by Sarah Sprogell and Doug Gwyn, and most recently handled by Jo-An Jacobus. They would like to revisit the topic of Friends Notes at Monthly Meeting and have the meeting determine who should generate a Friends Note.  Their recommendation is that as our communication improves, Durham Friends Notes would be reserved for deaths, crises, and any other information of immediacy and importance.

  Doug Bennett has also started a “This Week @ DFM” email that goes to local Friends and contains whatever information he has about who is taking on the various roles of Meeting for Worship (greeting, care of worship, message, refreshments) that week. He will also include information about events happening for that week. 

  The Communications Committee would like a 4th Sunday discussion on September 24th for the meeting to learn about the website, and solicit information from the community about what kinds of information we want in the Newsletter.

8.  The meeting approved meeting on September 24th to discuss the meeting’s communication concerns.

9.  It was approved that the clerk and Ministry and Counsel clerk serve as supervisors of appropriate Friends Notes.

10.  Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth reported that it is recommended that Brown Letham be a member of Ministry and Counsel instead of Trustees, and that Donna Hutchins be an official member of Trustees.  

11.  We approved the above recommendations of the Nominating Committee.

12.  Clerk Susan Rice has received a letter from Ellis and Merrill Bolshaw requesting funds to attend Friends Camp.  We approved that the amount in the budget of $1000 be granted to Ellis and Merrill for camp expenses.

13. Recorder Sarah Sprogell gave the 2018 statistics which are attached.  She reports that we have 106 members, gaining one member and losing 2 through resignation and 2 through death.  The attendance at worship remained steady, averaging 39 each Sunday.

14.  Auditor Sarah Sprogell reported that she has audited the records for 2018 and found them to be well organized and in good order.  The job was made easy by the good record-keeping of our treasurer!  She has begun auditing the records for 2013 and hopes to complete the additional years up to 2018. 

15.  We appointed Sarah Sprogell and Martha Sheldon to be representatives to New England Yearly Meeting sessions.

  The meeting ended in quiet worship and a thank you from the clerk. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk