Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 21, 2020 (Draft)

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 21, 2020, with 18 people present.  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, co-clerk, opened the meeting reading two Advices from the New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice.

1. The May minutes were approved.

2. Finance Committee: Kathariine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt reported that individual monthly financial giving has decreased and we are encouraged to increase our financial support of the meeting during these months when we cannot physically be present at the meetinghouse.

            The committee presented a revised recommendation for the use of the Charity Fund.  This following recommendation was approved:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Sheldon reported for the committee. Upcoming meeting speakers were announced.

            Kim Bolshaw and Tess Hartfurd are facilitating a small group of people meeting for worship in the parking lot on Sunday mornings using a media connection to the Zoom worship.  Others may decide to gather in small groups in homes in safe distances sharing technology to connect to the Zoom worship.  They are consulting with professionals to determine a viable blended form of worship to use in the future.

            A virtual prayer group sponsored by Ministry and Counsel met on June 11, and they plan to meet each Monday from 9:00 to 9:30.

            Sukie Rice delights in receiving notes from Friends/friends but requests that only one visitor visit per day.  Call ahead to schedule a visit, or write a note.  She is happy to have a green burial; For more information, contact Martha who recorded part of Sukie’s presentation on green burial a few weeks ago.

            Memorial minutes were presented for Phyllis Wetherell and Edith Whitehead.  These minutes are attached. Much appreciation was expressed for the lives of these members.

            Martha read a letter from Ingrid Chalufour requesting membership with Durham Friends Meeting. The application was received with great pleasure, and Sarah Sprogell, Tess Hartford and Joyce Gibson were appointed as a Committee to visit with Ingrid and report back to the next meeting for business.

4. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that Brown Lethem, Cindy Wood and Ingrid Chalufour met at Cindy’s house on June 11.  Cush Anthony consulted with us by email and phone. Their Meeting began with a reading of the NEYM statement A Time for Repentance and Transformation, which is on the Durham Meeting website. Two sentences resonated for them. First, “We recognize that our silence in this moment would be collusion with violence.” And, “We…are called with Divine guidance to do the work to understand that complicity and to end it.” They agreed that they would make plans to work, with meeting, to deepen our understanding of white privilege, institutionalized racism, and to examine the concept of being an antiracist.

            They discussed resurrecting the plan to write a letter-to-the-editor, using the ideas in the NEYM statement as a basis for the message. Meeting clerks have supported the idea so they plan to have a letter for review and approval at the July Monthly Meeting. It will be sent out to everyone by email a week ahead of time so they can have a review and edit process before monthly meeting.   

            Their next discussion was about planning and leading a Meeting-wide book reading. Ingrid shared a review of a book titled, How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Other books and articles were suggested. In particular they discussed The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Atlantic Monthly, June 2014). This article is on the Meeting website now. They decided that they would offer a few suggestions to participants, but the discussion would be guided by a common set of questions examining white privilege and institutional racism.  Liana Thompson-Knight has volunteered to join them in the planning of this activity. 

            Several expressed interest in a meeting-wide book reading on the subject. We thanked the committee for their report.

5. Christian Education and Youth Minister:   The Plant Salewas a great success- thanks to everyone who contributed plants, stopped by to water, and/or purchase plants. Special thanks to Kim Bolshaw for all her help! We made $650.

            On Wednesdays, they continue to hold “Storytime” between 6:30-7:15 pm using the Durham Meeting zoom login. Log in any time after 6:30 pm on Wednesdays to check in, and chat. The activities begin at 6:45. This past month they have played charades and trivia in addition to reading stories, one of which was Planting the trees of Kenya: the Story of Wangari Maatnai.

            Children and Youth Sunday took place on Sunday June 7. 13 Durham kids were invited to the meeting house horse shed to participate in a scavenger hunt created by Amy Kustra and Julien Barksdale. Prizes and seeds were donated by Dorothy Curtis and Kim Bolshaw. Wendy Schlotterbeck made prayer flags for each, and each child/youth was invited to select 2 flowers or plants to take home. A special photo tribute of Durham children/youth was played and 2020 graduates were honored. The special gifts were delivered to children who were unable to participate at the Meeting House yard.

            The faith journey sharing was postponed until fall after discussion at the clerk’s meeting on June 18,

.           The following Durham Friends graduated this spring. Congratulations to the following amazing young adults:

  • Emily Carr- Harpswell Coastal Academy
  • Cleo Carrera- Pratt Institute
  • Joey Reed- University of Maine at Orono
  • Libbey Masse´- UMO
  • Acadia Weinberg-Wellesley College
  • Emma Nagler- Clark University

             Wendy was a Resource Person (RP) for the NEYM Young Friends retreat June 12-14

            Upcoming opportunities were listed: Friends Canp, Friends General Conference gathering, New England Yearly Meeting sessions, and a game night for the entire Durham Meeting community for which  Wendy is asking for fun trivia questions from everyone.  See details in the Newsletter. 

6. Trustees:  Donna Hutchins reported for the committee. Daniel Henton has replaced front door knobs and locks at the meetinghouse and parsonage, and replaced the porch light at the parsonage.   C & Z plumbing fixed a water issue at the parsonage. Chimneys at both the parsonage and meetinghouse have been checked and cleaned.

            Andy Higgins cleared tree branches and fixed the gate at the Jones Cemetery. Andy will be moving the sand pile located in the old section of Lunt Cemetery.

            The green burial area at Lunt Cemetery has been gridded and staked, work done by Michael Lord, charging a minimal fee for the work and supply costs: $300.

            We had a lengthly discussion regarding Lunt Cemetery needs: landscaping:a section torn up by vandals, entrance pillar damage replacement, and a fence with gates. Our concerns were registered by the committee members and will have recommendations at the July monthly meeting.  Kristna Evans volunteered to meet with the Trustees with her concerns.

            Appreciation was expressed for the fine job of painting the meeting room by Tess Hartford. 

7.Meeting Care Coordinator Search Committee is made up of representatives from committees with which that the Meeting Care Coordinator would be working. Committee members are: Martha Sheldon (Ministry and Council), Dorothy Curtis (Christian Education) Ingrid Chalufour (Peace and Social Concerns), and Liana Thompson Knight (Communication).

            On May 21 Martha received a strong application for the Meeting Care Coordinator position from a Quaker who lives in Michigan and who is planning to move to Maine.   After reviewing the application the committee decided to meet and consider how (or if) to proceed. Martha, Ingrid, and Dorothy met on May 26 and decided to proceed and interview her. This decision was based on two facts. First, Martha expressed great need for someone working on ministry and council needs with her. M&C tasks are greater than most Quaker meetings due to being semi programmed without a pastor. Second, the applicant is an active Quaker who appears to have the knowledge and skills that would greatly benefit Durham Friends. On June 5 the committee interviewed the applicant via Zoom. Soon thereafter two references were called. Both the interview and the references reinforced our feeling that she would serve to strengthen the Durham Meeting in all the ways that the job asks.

            The applicant considers this job a one-year experiment, as it is a new position and the specifics are yet to be defined.  The meeting expressed a positive response and requested a Zoom interview with interested members/attenders prior to the July monthly meeting at which time we would make a decision.  Additional fund raising will be needed to support the position because that line item was removed from the budget; a suggested special plea would be in order. 

8.Communication Committee:  Thank you Liana Knight for becoming the interim Newsletter Editor.

            Martha Sheldon closed the meeting with quiet reflection; “go in peace; the Light in us is from the Light of the Spirit. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Secretary