Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, November 15, 2020

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, November 15, 2020 with 15 people present. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon opened the meeting with a quote by Cai Quirk, who brought the message today in meeting: “How do we recognize that of God in all? When it shows up uniquely, how can we create a place of wholeness for all?”

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

2. Martha Sheldon presented a revised edition of the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook, which will be sent out via e-mail to members and attenders for discernment, seeking approval in December.

3. Peace and Social Concerns: Ingrid Chalufour reported that over three evenings the committee met to discuss Becoming Antiracist, and leadings to take action. A number of action ideas were generated and the committee asks for your approval to move forward on these in the name of the meeting. Below they describe three sets of actions. Each has a subcommittee interested in doing the work involved.

Supporting sovereignty of the Indigenous people of Maine: This will involve several sets of activities, including conducting research to learn more about the meeting land and its use by Wabanaki and the land currently called the 250 Anniversary Park in Brunswick. We will propose new wording for our acknowledgement of our Wabanaki land. We also seek to build stronger relationship with the Native youth group that uses the meetinghouse. Finally, we want to lobby for state and federal legislation that supports the sovereignty of Indigenous populations. To do this, we will build relationships with Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy and FCNL.

Getting social justice books to children: The committee will research where there is need, create a list of books focused on the 5- to 8-year-old age, and ask for donations to purchase the books. We are also going to donate books as holiday gifts to the 50 children in New Mainer families in Brunswick. We are asking for donations to help pay for this project.

Building stronger relationship with FCNL: We have invited Alicia McBride (FCNL staff) to attend Meeting on Jan. 24 and talk to us about their paper titled, The Theological Perspective in Quaker Lobbying. She will also share the current work of FCNL and be asked to bring a message in meeting.”

We expressed our support and approval for these actions and expressed appreciation for the committee’s work. 

4. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Halloween party on October 30 was greatly enjoyed by 20 people! Ten kids and ten adults pressed cider, tried their turn at donuts on a string, maneuvered a fun obstacle course and cooked hot dogs over our fire pit. A very special thanks goes to KJ Williams for serving the condiments, and to Kathy Williamson, who managed the cider pressing and baked some amazing homemade cookies and donuts!

There will be a wreath making party on November 28, 1-3 p.m. in the horse shed. Dress warmly! Bring greens and pruners if you have some. Other materials will be provided. 

5. Youth Minister: Wendy continues to staff NEYM Young Friends activities, and the bi-weekly Art Group. She will be a Resource Person (RP) for the December Young Friends Virtual Retreat.  She ends her reports with this statement: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  —Martin Luther King Jr.

6. Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote reported for the committee. They noted the need to be tender and inclusive with all members and attenders with different political views.

They reported that the fifth Sunday of this month (November 29), usually unprogrammed, will have a speaker who could only speak on that date. Some would prefer more unprogrammed time; others find extended silence difficult if they are Zooming on the phone. With the thought that unprogrammed meetings may encourage more vocal ministry, they will try, for three months, December through February, possibly into March, to have unprogrammed worship on the last Sunday of the month, with the Care of Meeting person offering a query on that day.

We were informed that people can now access the meeting calendar on Google. We were reminded that approval of the monthly meeting is needed for regular, weekly or monthly use of the meetinghouse as a place of gathering by outside groups, and CDC guidelines are followed. One group (Reiki) has already scheduled a meeting in November which we approved today. Research will be sought regarding outside groups using the meetinghouse.

It was noted with sadness that Jane Walters died on October 27, 2020. A Friends Note was sent regarding Bob Walters’ ongoing health issues and the need for a non-toxic environment.

7. Finance Committee: Katharine Hildebrandt requested that $25,000 be transferred from the Checking Account to the Capital Account to cover repairs and improvements to the meetinghouse. 

8. We approved the transfer of funds ($25,000) from the Checking Account to the Capital Account.

9. Treasurer: We approved splitting the $1,500 contribution in memory of Clarabel Marstaller and Susan Rice, as reported last month, in half, $750.00 donated to the Charity Account for Susan Rice, and $750.00 to the Capital Account for Clarabel Marstaller.

10. Trustees: Donna Hutchins sent a report and stated that brick pointing is finished on the east side of the meetinghouse, and a new window has been installed in the meetinghouse gable. The front drainage has been addressed. They have received recertification for tree growth until January 2030. There is ongoing work in the two entry halls.

11. Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook is seeking more interviews with members and attenders via Zoom. She is looking for future Sunday worship message bringers. 

12. The Carbon Footprint ad hoc committee reported that John Reuthe of Vassalboro Meeting, who is a volunteer with the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition environmental action group, presented a proposal for lowering the carbon footprint of the meetinghouse. They emphasize working from the basement up, reducing the entrance of cold air, and propose immediate actions and a series of future actions in three phases. These details will be shared with Trustees, and attached to these minutes. Ezra Smith volunteered to help with these projects. We expressed appreciation for the work of this committee.

13. A concern was raised regarding banners and posters displayed outside the meetinghouse and the need for monthly meeting approval. Ministry and Counsel and committees will discuss this issue, and the proper way of proceeding will be discussed in December. 

14. The Nominating Committee does not currently have a full committee, and some of the committees need new members.

            Martha Sheldon closed the meeting with the same quote she read at the beginning of these minutes, and said, “Go in peace; blessings to you.”

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk