Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 18, 2020

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends virtually convened via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, October 18, 2020, with 10 people present. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon opened the meeting with a quote by Jeff Foster: Let Yourself Rest, from the Contemplative Monk blog.

1. The September minutes were approved as printed in the newsletter.

2. Sarah Sprogell announced that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting will meet on Saturday, October 24, at 10:00 a.m. on Zoom. Sarah Sprogell and Leslie Manning (upon her assent) were approved as representatives from Durham Meeting.

3. Clerks Committee: Martha Sheldon reported that the meeting Handbook revision is ongoing; Martha read a proposed revision of the section on “Pastor,” which will be edited with suggestions and approved in November.

4. Communications Committee: Liana Thompson Knight is currently serving as both clerk of the Communications Committee and interim newsletter editor. The committee asks that she be replaced as interim newsletter editor because she has a very full plate. Mey Hasbrook volunteered to lend a hand while a replacement is sought. 

Doug Bennett has been serving as the meeting’s website editor for the past three years. During this time, Mason Langelier has provided technical services. Doug requests that he now handle both the content and technical sides of the website, believing this would be smoother and more efficient. We expressed much appreciation to Mason Langelier for his efforts.   

5. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell brought the third quarter finance report, which recorded that the total operating revenue is $49,039.36, and total operating expense is $26,943.73 as of the end of September. 

6. Treasurer: Katharine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt reported that a memorial contribution for Susan Rice and Clarabel Marstaller of $1,500.00 has been received. She suggests splitting this amount in half with a donation to the Charity Fund (from Susan Rice) and the General Fund (from Clarabel Marstaller), for approval next month.

Andrew Higgins was given $1,000 from the Charity Fund to help with expenses incurred due to an accident, as reported last month.

7. Trustees: Katharine Hildebrandt suggested that ongoing work to the physical plant be funded by both the Capital Fund and the General Fund. A decision about this funding was delayed until next month.

Donna Hutchins reported that Sam Miller, Durham resident and mason, will be pointing meetinghouse bricks and replacing windows in gable and basement. 

8. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Nancy Marstaller raised a concern about our connection to Velasco, Cuba, Friends Meeting and that Portland Meeting would like to join us as a sister meeting relationship. We suggested that Nancy Marstaller and Wendy Schlotterbeck collaborate with Portland Friends Meeting members to form a committee to continue contact with Velasco Meeting. Nancy Marstaller volunteered to write an article for the newsletter regarding this new collaboration and with information about our relationship with Velasco Friends.

Ingrid Chalufour sent a report which stated that the committee is focused on the Becoming Antiracist discussion series, and hopes future activities will grow out of these discussions. They are looking for new committee members to help grow a bigger agenda for the coming months.

The committee reviewed their entry in the Handbook and agreed that it did not need any changes.

9. We approved a joint committee to collaborate with Portland Meeting regarding communication with Velasco Friends Meeting, with Nancy Marstaller and Wendy Schlotterbeck as committee members.

10. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the committee met October 8 via Zoom and spent most of the time planning the Halloween party; detailed information was in the newsletter.

The first art/music kids/youth gathering was held the afternoon of October 17.They built musical instruments (xylophones and wind chimes) using sticks, bamboo, corks, and string.

Tess, Wendy, and Kim constructed an outdoor fire pit in the meetinghouse back yard, hung the refurbished Black Lives Matter sign, and tied festive corn stalks to the porch walkway posts.

Trustees gave permission to “landscape” the area behind the horse shed to make a nature space friendly to all ages.

11. Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck continues to staff NEYM Young Friends activities. She was a resource person for the October 7-9 Young Friends Virtual Retreat and the October 16 virtual “Art Group.”

Wendy plans to have monthly gatherings for kids/youth throughout the coming year on Saturday afternoons outside the meetinghouse.

12. Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote, recording clerk of Ministry and Counsel, reported that there have been occasional problems with Zoom access for meeting for worship and the Monday morning prayer group. There have been issues with the “waiting room” and the “passcode.” Wendy Schlotterbeck, Mey Hasbrook, and Doug Bennett will work on solving Zoom problems, and see if anything needs to be changed on the website. Ministry and Counsel is considering applying to the New England Yearly Meeting Legacy Fund to support hybrid (in house) worship. NEYM has suggested a number of options. Doug Bennett will research these options to consider which setup might work for us.

They announced two forthcoming speakers: October 25, Johan Maurer, former General Secretary of Friends United Meeting, member of Eugene Friends Church, Sierra Cascades Yearly Meeting; and November15, Cai Quirk, Ithaca Friends Meeting, New York Yearly Meeting.

With sadness, we learned of the death of member Mildred P. Alexander on September 18, 2020. Her obituary is on the website. Several persons will be asked to help the clerk write a memorial minute for Mildred.

Doug Bennett took down the calendar on the website as it was not being used. Google Calendar is suggested as a possibility, if the ability to add to the calendar can be limited. This calendar would pertain to use of the meetinghouse. A first step is to set up Google Calendar just for use of the clerks of the different committees. Anyone interested and knowledgeable in helping is very welcome.

13. Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook reported that more Zoom sessions with her will be forthcoming with attenders and members; at this time, though, requests have come to a standstill. Additionally, local volunteers to bring messages are fairly silent. Speakers are scheduled for most of November. Names of speakers will be posted in the newsletter and on the website upon confirmation. She encourages Friends here at Meeting for Business to consider bringing a message in meeting. She thanks us for our discernment.

Martha Sheldon, Clerk, closed the meeting by reading a letter from former member and pastor Ralph Greene, who expressed appreciation for and support of Durham Friends Meeting.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk