Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 16, 2020

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, February 16, 2020, with 14 people present.  Co-Clerk, Susan (Sukie) Rice, opened the meeting with quiet waiting.

1.The January minutes were approved.

2. Sarah Sprogell reported that the balance in the Charity Account is $16.321.63; this report was requested due to projects which might use this account.

3. Katherine Hildebrandt reported that the Woman’s Society requests funds from the Charity Account to support Durham Meeting representatives to the United Society of Friends Women International triennial conference which meets in Kenya in July.  The amount requested is $600 each to cover registration, food and lodging.

4. We approved the amount of $1200 from the Charity Account ($600 each) for Martha Sheldon and Dorothy Curtis who are attending the USFWI conference.  The clerk will prepare traveling minutes for Martha and Dorothy and will plan a “prayer sendoff” late in June.

5. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell handed out the 4th quarter finance report which includes income and operating expenses for 2019. She also circulated a list of Designated Accounts,

Saving Accounts, and investments and CD figures. These reports will be attached to the minutes.

            Sarah gave a 2019 yearend report: We received a bequest of $32,352 in the early part of 2019, and approved tithing 10% ($3,235) for our Charity Account, and put the balance into our Capital Account ($29,117), based on the long-standing history of the giver’s family having encouraged and supported good stewardship and care of our buildings and property.

  In addition to tithing $3,235 to the Charity Account, the meeting also approved moving the balance of the Bailey and Cox Funds, totally about $11,000 to this account, increasing its balance to $19,000.  This increased our ability to support worthy causes brought before the meeting through committees.  Through this process we made contributions of close to $3000 in 2019.

 After the above actions were taken, we ended the year with a surplus of $20,590.15

The primary reasons for this surplus are described below:

  1. An unexpected increase of approximately $3000 in our interest income from the NEYM invested funds, due to a new formula in the distribution policy.
  2. A savings of about $2000 in committee expenses.
  3. A savings of about $700 in meeting expenses for advertising, copier expenses, and similar costs.
  4. A savings of about $1300 in youth ministry expensesfor conferences and youth activities.
  5. A savings of $10,000 in expenses which had been set aside for the possibility of hiring someone into a new ministerial type position.
  6. An insurance reimbursement of approximately $3000 for our expenses to repair damages to the parsonage from the freeze in December 2018.

 Some actions have already been taken in response to this surplus. 

  1. Most significantly, we have committed to hiring a Meeting Care Coordinator for an annual stipend of $10,000, and a search committee is already working on this. 
  2. We also committed to increasing our giving to several national Quaker organizations by about $1000 annually.
  3. With the addition of a Meeting Care Coordinator, we may find that committees and our youth minister are able to find ways to spend more of their budgets.  I think we can agree that this would be a happy occurrence!
  4. It should also be noted that some of these savings may not be repeated in coming years, in particular the $3000 insurance reimbursement. 

It is with a deep sense of gratitude for the many people who give of themselves so generously to the care of the meeting, that we find ourselves in a strong position to steward our meeting community spiritually, to provide responsible care for our buildings and property, and to engage with the broader community as advocates for “an earth restored.”

 We received these reports with gratitude.

6. Peace and Social Concerns:  Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee held a forum on January 26th to discuss the U.S. Military carbon footprint and to write letters to our legislators.  The meeting was well attended and they were encouraged to continue to conduct activities that address our outsized military and their contribution to the climate crisis, and to voice our thoughts widely.  There were several suggestions which will guide the committee’s planning for the future.

 The ad-hoc Carbon Footprint Committee brought two contractors into the meetinghouse to assess our insulation needs and gave estimates for work they recommend to lower our fuel use.  We have vermiculite insulation in the attic to be tested for asbestos; one contractor recommend its removal; the other to keep it in place.  The committee will bring a proposal to monthly meeting for the best way forward regarding our carbon footprint.

7. Margaret Wentworth reported that an ad-hoc support committee (Margaret Wentworth, Margaret Leitch Copeland, and Sukie Rice) has been formed to support Theresa Oleksiw who has felt drawn to work on issues of poverty and food insecurity in Maine and to raise the realities of this issue to law-makers with hopes of increasing the funding for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).    Theresa met with a clearness committee from Portland Friends Meeting to develop a clear picture of how to proceed, and they developed plans for the SNAP ReBoot Project that personalizes and addresses food insecurity.  She has received grants from Portland Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting, and the Lyman Foundation to fund the project through April.  She is applying for further grants to complete this project.  Because of a two-month funding gap between grants, the support committee recommends that Durham Meeting grant her $3000 for these two months, May and June.  A full report of this project is attached. 

8. The meeting approved the grant of $3000 from the Charity Fund for the SNAP ReBoot Project.  We look forward to a report from Theresa regarding this project, and a financial report of expenses.

9. Christian Education and Youth Minister:  Wendy Schlotterbeck is staffing the Young Friends Retreat at Woolman Hill this weekend and thus sent a report.  Sunday School classes are going well. The preschool

Elementary age class taught by Tess Hartford averages 3-5 children and is continuing to use Faith and Play and Godly Play stories.  Feedback from parents indicate that this curriculum is much appreciated.  The middle/high school class taught by Wendy Schlottebeck averages 2-3 youth, and uses the Quaker Affirmations curriculum from the religious Education Collaborative.  The Adult class continues to meet every Sunday at 9:30.  It is facilitated by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon and they are currently reading “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.  Martha reported having incredible, intense, and lively discussions.  “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving was the previous book the class read and discussed.  This class averages 3-5 participants.

            Upcoming events: family game night March 14; Easter breakfast April 12; and Faith and Play/

Godly Play training on May 8-10.

10: Nancy Marstaller brought a concern regarding the organ in the meeting room which unfortunately has not been used for some time; it was approved that it be sold or given away to another church. 

We closed in gratitude for the present and the past. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk