Jay O’Hara — Message on February 25, 2018

February 22, 2018

Jay O’Hara will be giving the message this Sunday, February 25. Jay is known among Friends and beyond for his faithful prophetic work on climate change, which has included blockading a 40,000-ton shipment of coal and helping shut down 5 tar-sands pipelines in 2016. He travels in the ministry among Friends in New England under a minute of Sandwich Monthly Meeting on Cape Cod with a “concern for the spiritual foundation that gives Life to Friends’ actions in these times of crisis.”

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Advices 4, 5 & 6 from New England Yearly Meeting

Quakers are generally wary of creeds or other statements of faith in which members are expected to believe.  Instead, Quakers use Advices and Queries.  Here are the second three Advices from the 2014 (Interim) edition of New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice. (The first three Advices are here.)

Advices

4 Make space in your daily life for communion with God and for spiritual nurture through prayer, reading, meditation, and other disciplines which open you to the Spirit.

5 No one human being or group has the full measure of the Light. Seek to understand the experience of those whose theology and practices differ from your own. Take opportunities to enter into prayer and work with the wider community of faith. Find ways to articulate your own faith so that it may be shared with others.

6 Ground your spiritual life in your own experience of the Divine. Speak and act from that experience.

New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (Interim Version, 2014) has this to say in general about Advices and Queries:

The advices and queries … help us to discern what God is asking of us in specific areas of our lives. These general advices and queries challenge us to turn to the Inward Teacher and to nurture faithfulness as a foundation for every thought and action. We seek the particular ways we might be led to serve the one common interest of which Woolman speaks, both as individuals and as meetings, “turning all we possess into the channel of universal love.”

Advices convey the wisdom gained from the inward experiences of Friends trying to live faithfully in the Light. They may reassure us, counsel us, or challenge us.

Queries are tools directing us toward the Source of guidance as we reflect on our current condition, as individuals or as meetings. They elicit responses, but not answers. The value of the queries lies in our thoughtful consideration of them, recognizing both the response that rises out of our current condition and the one that expresses our aspirations. Bringing these two responses together is a continuing challenge as we strive to live faithfully. While we may formulate queries related to particular situations, these general advices and queries can be used again and again as a spiritual tool as we grow and change.

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Intergenerational Family Game Time & Potluck, February 10

Please join us at Durham Friends Meetinghouse

for an Intergenerational Family Game Time & Potluck

4:30 – 6:30 pm, Saturday, February 10.

Bring your friends, kids, food to share &

some inside or outside games if you want.

Sponsored by the Christian Education Committee and open to all!

Contact Wendy Schlotterbeck for more information.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, January 21, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, January 21, 2018 with 30 people present. Clerk, Sukie Rice opened the meeting with a reading from the 1985 New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice on the meeting for business.

1. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported for Ministry and Counsel which met on January 14 with new and returning members present. They agreed to coordinate a meeting prayer circle and will work on how to be mindful of those in need of and requesting prayer. Also, the Pastoral Care Team will now be an integral part of Ministry and Counsel. If F/friends have concerns, questions or pastoral needs, feel free to contact members of Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, clerk, Sukie Rice, Wendy Schlotterbeck, Joyce Gibson, Doug Bennett, Kristna Evans, and Jim Douglas.

2. Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for the Christian Education Committee and included the Youth Minister’s report. The committee met January 7 and welcomed two new members with enthusiasm and gratitude. They had an energetic discussion of continuing to support families to come together with an inclusionary bent on creating intergenerational activities in the coming year. Most of the discussion centered around meeting the needs of kids and families in the following ways: continuing the richness of Godly Play; family/intergenerational activities; family field trips – with possible connections to people living sustainably including the Maine indigenous communities; a summer week long day program for children and youth, possibly in a “vacation Bible school” format; and developing opportunities for kids and families to participate in activism. Their next family/intergenerational activity will be a potluck and friendly game time on Saturday, February 10 from 4:30 – 6:30. The new members, Amy Kustra and Scott Barksdale, will be a great addition to the work of Christian Education. Their ties to Friends School of Portland will add to the committee’s connection with that community as well. Amy and Scott expressed their appreciation for the Godly Play curriculum and how it has blessed the children.

We expressed our gratitude for the work of the committee and the Youth Minister.

3. Leslie Manning sent a Trustees report, for which we expressed appreciation. The Trustees met and reviewed outstanding work, much of which was put off by weather, and one new project: the freezing of the pipes for the washer at the parsonage. The plumber has offered an estimate, not to exceed $800 to reroute the pipes. It was suggested that the appliances be moved into the house from the room off the 3 of 6

kitchen and place them in the office, tapping into the bathroom pipes. The plumber has not yet responded.

They also affirmed that green burials at the Lunt Cemetery be allowed, since it is at the discretion of the cemetery owner.

The Trustees confirmed that Donna Hutchins has been retained as custodian, since they were going to have a three-month trial to make sure that it worked out for her and for the meeting, and it does.

4. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon has transferred her membership from Wilmington (Ohio) Friends Meeting to Durham Friends Meeting and requests that her recording as a Friends minister also be transferred to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

5. The meeting enthusiastically approved this request, and will forward the recommendation to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

6. Doug Bennett reported for the Ad Hoc Working Group set up to explore a stipend position for the meeting. An outline of five possible models was read and discussion followed. This first report from the Ad Hoc committee was a basis for discussion among members and attenders of the meeting. The committee intends to bring back a single recommendation for consideration. Attached are their proposals which were sent in advance to meeting members and attenders.

7. The meeting ended with a period of silence.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

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Spiritual Journeys: 4th Sundays at 9:30

Spiritual Journeys: 4th Sundays at 9:30

The 4th Sunday of every month, we do a special Adult Sunday School.  We invite a member of the meeting to recount their spiritual journey — in whatever way they want.  The series has been interesting and enjoyable.  Here is the line-up for the first four months of 2018

January 28 — Brown Lethem

February 25 — Paul and Cindy Wood

March 25– Wendy Schlotterbeck

April 22 – Gene Boyington

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Exploring Wabanaki History: An Interactive Exercise

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Advices 1, 2 & 3 from New England Yearly Meeting

Quakers are generally wary of creeds or other statements of faith in which members are expected to believe.  Instead, Quakers use Advices and Queries.  Here are the first three Advices from the 2014 (Interim) edition of New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice.

Advices

1 Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Seek to live in affection as true Friends in your meetings, in your families, in all your dealing with others, and in your relationship with outward society.

2 Seek to lead others to Truth through love. Let us teach by being ourselves teachable. We are all humble learners in the school of Christ.

3 Do not fear periods of doubt and questions; they may lead to openings.

New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (Interim Version, 2014) has this to say in general about Advices and Queries:

The advices and queries … help us to discern what God is asking of us in specific areas of our lives. These general advices and queries challenge us to turn to the Inward Teacher and to nurture faithfulness as a foundation for every thought and action. We seek the particular ways we might be led to serve the one common interest of which Woolman speaks, both as individuals and as meetings, “turning all we possess into the channel of universal love.”

Advices convey the wisdom gained from the inward experiences of Friends trying to live faithfully in the Light. They may reassure us, counsel us, or challenge us.

Queries are tools directing us toward the Source of guidance as we reflect on our current condition, as individuals or as meetings. They elicit responses, but not answers. The value of the queries lies in our thoughtful consideration of them, recognizing both the response that rises out of our current condition and the one that expresses our aspirations. Bringing these two responses together is a continuing challenge as we strive to live faithfully. While we may formulate queries related to particular situations, these general advices and queries can be used again and again as a spiritual tool as we grow and change.

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Racism, Privilege and Quakers

Upcoming Programs at Portland Friends Meeting  1837 Forest Avenue, Portland

An Open-Hearted Inquiry into Racial Identity  Sunday 1/14/18; 12:30-2:00

Facilitators:          Julie de Sherbinin (Portland) and Susan Davies (Vassalboro)

Format:    Interactive workshop for everyone; bring your lunch if you wish

Description:         This workshop offers an entry point into the conversation about racial identity for all Friends, wherever we may be on the journey toward increased awareness, action and racial healing. Julie de Sherbinin and Susan Davies have co-led a number of sessions on inquiry into racial identity in Maine. Both are members of NEYM Permanent Board’s ad hoc Work Group Challenging White Supremacy.

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity   Sunday 1/21/18; 12:30-2:00

Facilitators:          Julie de Sherbinin

Format:                Film Clips & Discussion; bring your lunch if you wish

Description:         Shakhti Butler’s film delves into the internal components and external relationships that perpetuate the system of racial inequity. We will watch pre-selected clips and focus discussion on responses to the issues posed therein. “Cracking the Codes” is designed for dialogue and is being used at meetings around New England as a catalyst for conversation.

Voices of Color/Color Of Change   Sunday 2/11/18; 12:30-2:00

Facilitators:          Julie de Sherbinin & Dorothy Grannell

Format:     Discussion of selected text & film clips; bring your lunch if you wish

Description:         Further exposure to the heartbreak of racism and the ways it shows up in Quaker communities.  Getting comfortable with the words “white supremacy.” Readings will come from “Black Quakers”; October 2014 volume of Friends Journal (the articles are available online at Friends Journal and some copies may be available in the library)

White Fragility and Dismantling Racism  Sunday 2/25/18; 12:30-2:00

Facilitators:          Julie de Sherbinin, Melissa Brown & Maggie Nelson (Portland)

Format:     Readings/small group sharing/discussion; bring lunch if you wish

Description:         Moving from learning to action ideas on advocating for racial    justice. What holds us back? Where do we start? How do we discern future action?

Privilege Walk  Sunday 3/11/18; 12:30-2:00

Facilitators:          Sophie Szatkowski & TBA

Format:                 Experiential activity for middle school, high school, and adult ages

Description:         A Privilege Walk is a group exercise enabling participants to investigate how a range of types of privilege manifest in their lives. Possible sources of privilege and identity include social, economic, gender-based, age-based, racial, and cultural.  Participants will be invited to discuss their experiences of the Walk after the exercise.

Worship Sharing  Sunday 3/25/18; 12:30-2:00

Convener:           PFM Facilitators

Format:     Worship sharing

Description:         Join with others to both listen deeply and share as led on two key questions: “Racism, Privilege & Quakers – What have we learned personally and as a meeting? Where or what do we do next personally and as a meeting?”

Child Care will be provided as needed for those planning to attend any of the series of programs offered through Portland Friends Meeting on “Racism, Privilege & Quakers”  To ensure that your child has care, please contact Susan Grannell at grannell8@gmail.com  or call 401-413-5951.  Indicate the dates you will plan to attend, you name and the child’s (children’s) name.

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“What Were We Expecting from Christmas?” by Doug Bennett

Excerpts from a Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, January 7, 2018 by Doug Bennett

This Christmas season I found myself very struck by the passages in Isaiah where the birth of the Messiah is foretold. It was all foretold by this prophet: that’s the suggestion. Says Isaiah,

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” and “with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.”

And then there’s this: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them…. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (from Isaiah Chapters 9 and 11).

All this sounds like the coming of a king doesn’t it, a mighty ruler who will bring peace and prosperity. My goodness, what a promise. Lie back and enjoy it because here come the good times. Those good times, those peaceful and just times have been promised to us – without our ever lifting a finger.

Is that what you got for Christmas? I didn’t.

I woke up with the same President, the same Congress, and the same war in Afghanistan. I woke up with mass shootings, rampant racism, rising inequality and falling life expectancy in the U.S.

Were we cheated on Christmas day?

Maybe Isaiah was just a fool, or maybe we’re fools because we just don’t know how to understand his prophecy. But there’s a third possibility: Maybe Isaiah is on to something. He sees the possibility and he tries to tell us about it in a prophecy, but it’s so new and so surprising that he really doesn’t quite understand it. So what he says isn’t exactly right. It’s important, and we should hear it, but what he says isn’t the whole of the matter, the last and complete word.

I want to add here that I think this is more or less what happens in our worship together. Someone rises to speak out of the silence. What they say is important and truthful, but it isn’t perfect and whole. It’s a message we all need to hear, and yet it needs something added – more to be added, or greater clarity. One message adds to another.

What happens after Christmas is the real jaw-dropping part of the story. Jesus doesn’t turn out to be what we think of when we think of all-powerful, all-just rulers. He’s a carpenter’s son, an itinerant preacher/story-teller. He hangs out with low-lifes, he enrages authorities, and he ends up crucified.

In this surprising, unexpected example of Jesus, God asks to live a completely different life than what people had previously thought proper: to be humble, not proud, to be generous, to love our neighbors and to forgive.

Isaiah didn’t quite get it right in his prophecy. It won’t just happen by itself. If we are to celebrate the Prince of Peace, we must keep His memory alive and live by His example. If we are to have righteousness and peace and justice, now and forevermore, WE will have to make it so. We will have to live by this new way of living that Jesus taught.

God has no hands but ours. That’s what Isaiah didn’t tell us.

+++++

The entire message is on Doug Bennett’s blog, River View Friend.

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Living Faith Gathering – April 14, 2018

New England Year Meeting will hold its next Living Faith gathering on Saturday, April 14, 2018 in Portland, Maine—and you are invited!

Living Faith is an initiative of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (NEYM) bringing together Quakers from across our region to nourish our faith, grow our communities, and strengthen our witness.

These semiannual, day-long gatherings include large group worship, fellowship and community-building, workshops led by dynamic Friends, an integrated youth program, and opportunities to connect on shared concerns.

Our April 14th Living Faith Gathering will focus on how Friends are living—and can more fully live—our faith in the world, helping to bring about the Beloved Community for all. Through worship, workshops, small groups and more, we will be deepening our capacity to foster the relationships of healing and justice so needed at this time.

Living Faith provides child care for ages infant through 4 years, and a youth program for K through 6th-grade students. Seventh-graders through high-school students can choose to attend the youth program or participate in the adult program and workshops.

In keeping with our Quaker community’s commitment to remove barriers to participation, this is a Pay-As-Led event.

Registration will open in early March, so save the date—April 14th!

 Workshop Proposals Invited
We are looking for Friends interested in leading  workshops at the event. We hope to offer a wide range of opportunities that explore and enrich how we share and live our faith, including the social, political, economic and communal dimensions of our spiritual lives.

Interested in leading a workshop? Click here to learn more and submit a workshop proposal.

Questions? Contact a member of the planning committee at livingfaith@neym.org. We hope to see you there!  In faith and service,

the April 2018 Living Faith Planning Team – Lisa Graustein (clerk), Jay O’Hara, Sarah Cushman, Elizabeth Hacala, Hannah Zwirner Forsythe, Noah Merrill

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Falmouth Quarterly Meeting – January 27, 2018

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location:

Durham Monthly Meeting Meetinghouse

532 Quaker Meetinghouse Rd

Durham , ME

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, December 17, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, December 17, 2017 with 12 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell opened with a reading from a section on Ministry and Eldering (page 17) from the Interim Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting.

  1. This is the last month that Sarah Sprogell is presiding clerk of Durham Friends Meeting. She has been reflecting on the past five years and she is grateful that her life has allowed her to serve the meeting in this capacity. She has become especially aware of and grateful for the abundance of support and eldering in the meeting.

The meeting expressed great appreciation for Sarah’s clerking and the many ways she has dedication she has given to helping the meeting run well in in the Spirit, providing much time and loving leadership for the meeting.

  1. The Meeting approved the minutes of the November 19th Monthly Meeting for Business with an amendment to minute #10. specifying that Margaret Wentworth and David Dexter will each serve an additional three-year term on the Library Committee, and Jo-an Jacobus will serve an additional three-year term on the Nominating Committee. Also, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon will continue at this time as Interim Archivist/Recorder.
  2. The meeting approved the Nominating Committee report as attached.
  3. Sukie Rice will proceed as being Presiding Clerk, however during the first four months of 2018 she will have a co-clerk to assist with meeting for business and other matters that might arise. The people helping will be as follows: In January, Nancy Marstaller; February, Ron Turcotte; March, Kristna Evans; April: Doug Bennett (pending).
  4. Sukie Rice presented the attached proposed budget for 2018, as created by Finance Committee. We were made aware that, although this budget provides for the operating fund, it does not include moneys needed for repairs and improvements for both the parsonage and meetinghouse. It was suggested that these items be considered as a part of our budget in the future, particularly since we are beginning to rely more heavily on rental income from the parsonage.
  5. The meeting approved the Budget for 2018.
  6. Doug Bennett presented a proposal from the ad-hoc working group for a stipend position. The group has been working on a number of models for such a position.  Members of the committee have been seeking opinions for what the meeting needs from someone in this position.  They believe the meeting at large needs to consider the options of what this position should look like to best serve the meeting, and requests that we devote a major part of the January 21st monthly meeting to this discussion.  The committee will provide an outline of the possible models by emailed or direct mail prior to January 21
  7. The meeting approved designating a major portion of the January 21st meeting to discussion of the stipend position. Appreciation for the work of the committee was expressed and people look forward to reading the overview that the committee will send out prior to the meeting.
  8. Doug Bennett spoke about the work he is doing to bring the meeting website up to date, keep it current with the meeting activities and be a ready resource for us as a meeting as well as a vehicle for outreach.   Friends expressed much gratitude to Doug for the great deal of work he has put into the website. It is very impressive to see the improvements throughout the website now
  9. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported for Ministry and Counsel.
  10. a) Pastoral care team coordination will be returned to Ministry and Counsel.
  11. b) Ministry and Counsel approved that Martha Hinshaw Sheldon be its clerk for 2018.
  12. Tess Hartford and Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for the Youth and Christian Education. An intergenerational wreath-making and potluck lunch on December 3rd was a lovely time of fellowship, with increased involvement of families with the youth. The Christmas program on December 16 had a strong spiritual feeling to it, much like a meeting for worship with contributions of stories, poems and songs. The fellowship room was full and it was a warm, happy Advent time together.

The wonder of the Advent story has been brought to life by Jeanne Baker Stinson’s telling of the story through Godly Play during Sunday School.

The meeting thanks members of Christian Education and Wendy Schlotterbeck for all the planning and encouraging activities for youth, families and the meeting community.

  1. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon gave the Adult Sunday school report.
  2. Sarah Sprogell closed the meeting by appreciating the work of Sukie Rice who has served as recording clerk for many years, and will be leaving this role in January to begin serving as presiding clerk for the meeting.  Sarah affirmed the importance and value of the shared cooperation and partnership that she has felt as clerk, working together with Sukie as her recording clerk.
  3. The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 1:50, with Friends singing the Quaker round, “Dear Friends”, in appreciation for our strong, gathered community.

            Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

 

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Adult Sunday School News – January 2018

From Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

The Adult Sunday school class will be reading the book Eternal Promise by Thomas Kelly starting in January.  We will be using a study guide written by Colin Saxton.  All are welcome at 9:30.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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An After Christmas Poem by Howard Thurman

In Meeting today we did a version of Lessons and Carols, alternating carol singing with passages bout the birth of Jesus from the Bible.  The last passage read was this poem by Howard Thurman.

The Work of Christmas, by Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and the princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among brothers,

To make music in the heart.

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Our Aspirations, December 7, 2014

In the early months of 2014, we gathered as a spirit-led community to envision, name and clarify the sense of our current condition, needs and desires. The resulting vision statements are the outcomes of these gatherings

  • Durham Meeting is a circle of Friends who admire, inspire, encouragesupport, and love each other with God at the center.
  • We are a learning community of seekers, teachers, doubters, and believers. With open minds and hearts we seek truth. We support and encourage ministry among us.
  • We are a seasoned community interested in attracting new attenders of all ages because of who we are, what we believe, and how we live peacefully and joyfully in a challenging world.
  • We are a service community who makes the world better with our prayers and our individual and collective actions. We help each other in need and celebrate each other in success.
  • We are a spiritual community guided by Christian principles, Quaker testimonies, and the sense of the meeting.
  • We are a tolerant and humble community that welcomes new and different ways of understanding God blended with our traditional beliefs. We honor the light within each person.
  • We are a responsible community with high standards for financial viabilitystewardship of our land and buildings, good governance, and clear communications.
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International Welcome Dinner, January 5, 2018

By Peace and Social Concerns Committee (Linda Muller, Cindy Wood, soon to include Ingrid Chalufour and Brown Lethem)

As we all enter this upcoming new year, 2018, we want to engage all the Meeting in an International Welcome Dinner. The date is set for Friday, January 5. People are welcome to arrive between 5 and 6 pm.

We are seeing many in Durham Friends Meeting, in the wider Quaker community, and the community here in our region of Maine, connecting with folks from other cultures, other nations. For many, this is a great enriching experience and we want to build on that. We encourage all connected with Durham Meeting, hosts and exchange students to attend. Be sure to invite recent immigrants you have come to know as friends to join us.

The goal of the dinner is to relax, begin to develop some familiarity, and enjoy food from many cultures together. We are putting together a brief program to accompany this.

It will be a potluck; we ask each individual and/or group attending to bring a dish from their culture… even longtime Mainers have roots from other places. Linda’s family harkens mostly from Switzerland, as an example. Having dishes from each of our heritages will really make the evening fun.

We’ll have sign-up sheets for help with set up and clean up when time gets closer. This announcement is to help us all plan ahead for attending. Snow/blizzard date will be the same time, the next day, Saturday, January 6.

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“What to Make of the Christmas Story” by Doug Bennett

From a message by Doug Bennett, November 26, 2017

Here is something surprising about the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke, the only Gospels with Christmas stories: there is never any mention of the Jesus’s birth in the Gospels or in the rest of the New Testament for that matter. It’s as if everyone forgot about that miracle birth. No one ever says to Jesus, “Aren’t you that guy that was born under a gigantic star?” Or “aren’t you the one the Magi came and showered gifts on? Whatever became of all that gold? Do you have a trust fund?” Or even, “wow, you must be the real deal! I remember what a fuss the angels made about your birth. That was amazing!”

Not a word. If no one in the Bible remembers, why do we make such a deal out of it? The collective amnesia is all the more surprising when we remember that the Gospels are full of hints and suggestions and confusions about whether Jesus really is the Son of God. Wouldn’t this have clinched it, if someone had just said: “Remember the amazing birth, the Magi and the angels and all that?” So what’s the point of these two Christmas stories that are part of these Gospels and yet not part of them?

There were plenty of other born-of-a-God stories in the world into which Jesus was born: Achilles (in the Iliad), Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar: all claimed to have gods as parents. This Jesus that is born in glory turns out to be completely different from anyone else who has a “born-of-a-God” beginning. Those others were garden-variety heroes, strong warriors, born to rule and to dominate others. Those others become powerful. They dominated others. They had the ‘right stuff’. Now in Jesus we have something completely different. Strength is turning the other cheek. Love, not power is the major chord. Peace seeking, humility and simplicity are the order of the day.

For me, it’s not possible to understand the Christmas story without thinking about the other stories about Jesus that the Gospels tell, the stories after the Christmas story. These are stories that challenge us to live a different life.

Every so often you read a story about a guy who seemed to have everything: smarts and charm and wealth, and then it all goes bad. Everything sours. He ends up without friends, in prison, and finally he’s executed. Maybe he was guilty of something, maybe he wasn’t. But he’s forgotten soon after the news story. So sad, we say.

Jesus’s story is like that. It starts in glory and ends in execution. Only we’re not supposed to think ‘so sad’. When Jesus dies, he is ushering in something completely different; he triumphs. But he triumphs only if we follow the new way: the way of love and forgiveness. We certainly won’t see that surprising triumph if we only remember the first part of the story, the part in which he is born having it all, a good family, wealth and adoration. It’s what happens next that really matters. So stay tuned. Can we make the new way triumph?

+++

The entire message can be found at the blog River View Friend.

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“Beatitudes for the Future” By Edwin Hinshaw

From a message in November by Edwin Hinshaw

A beatitude is prophetic pronouncement of joy, hope and promise used most effectively by Jesus in his teaching. Beatitudes are not peculiar to the New Testament. They are found throughout the Bible. They are pronouncements upon the person who is righteous, who keeps his/her hand (life) from doing evil, looking forward with confidence and trust in God. Beatitudes are not eschatological in nature (such as rewards after death or the end), but promises realizable during one’s life time upon earth.

The joy and happiness expressed in the Beatitudes comes not from good fortune or reward but from the fact that action being considered reflects the nearness of God. While the Beatitudes cited by Jesus follow the general pattern of all Beatitudes, he adds a special dimension or paradox. Persons who in no way appear fortunate are those declared blessed. The special dimension comes from taking a risk in faith with justice, peace, simple living and witness to God’s love.

In addition, Beatitudes are so stated as to release us from the tension of the present into the joy of the moment. In planning for tomorrow, the next day after that, or the next year, may our goals be joyful, hopeful, risky, moral and affirmations of the nearness of God: Beatitudes for the future.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, November 19, 2017

November 19, 2017 Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, November 19, 2017 with 17 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell read a passage from the Interim New England Faith and Practice spiritual life section on “Inward Retirement.”

1. Dorothy Hinshaw substituted as Recording Clerk in the absence of Susan Rice.

2. Ron Turcotte reported for Ministry and Counsel: a clearness committee for Liana Thompson Knight has met and recommended that she apply to the “Center for Courage and Renewal” founded by Parker Palmer and others, to be trained in their “Facilitator Preparation Program.” Ministry and Counsel will write a letter of support to be included in the application.

3. The meeting approved sending a letter of support for Liana Thompson Knight’s training.

4. Tess Hartford reported for Christian Education Committee: a) Christine Bagilieri, our Child Care Provider, had surgery and Jessica Sheldon has been hired as her substitute to provide childcare whenever Christine is away. b) A wreath making activity and pot luck lunch will be held Sunday, December 3rd . c) An advent candle lighting and song will replace the youth story/song in meeting for worship in December. We will not be telling the Godly Play Advent stories as we have the past few years. d) The annual Christmas program will take place on Saturday, December 16th from 5:00 to 7:00. Soup and sandwiches will be provided after a period of worship, and various offerings of songs, poems and stories. The committee requested that an offering that evening be donated to the Lewiston Immigrant and Refugee Center. A snow date will be posted. e) Martha Sheldon reported that the Adult Sunday School Class is reviewing the Interim Faith and Practice section on Membership. A new class topic will begin in January.

5. The meeting approved that a special offering be taken during the Christmas program to be sent to the Lewiston Immigrant and Refugee Center.

6. Youth Minister Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that she continues to work with the meeting youth who are upper elementary and middle school age. Activities include special events for families, for example the upcoming Wreath and decorating party, Dec. 3. The Halloween party planned for Oct. 30 was canceled due to the storm and power outage.

7. The Durham Meeting “Paid Position” ad hoc committee led by Doug Bennett gave a progress report. They stated that their aim is to make proposals to the meeting about how we can be a better, more vibrant meeting. They developed a template showing the functions and responsibilities of the meeting and are considering which of these functions or responsibilities might be better fulfilled by the addition of a part-time position. A list of tasks/functions and groups responsible is attached. Additional responsibilities were mentioned which might be added to the list. Doug reported that this ad-hoc committee recommends a time table: January monthly meeting, present a draft of 3 or 4 alternative models for a paid position, and present a final version of the alternative models for consideration and decision by the monthly meeting in February at which time this committee will be laid down. E-mail your feedback to Doug.

8. Linda Muller reported for the Peace and Social Concerns Committee: a) Many in Durham Friends Meeting and in the wider community are connecting with folks from other cultures and nations. We are planning an International Welcome Dinner for Friday, January 5 (snow day, January 6). We encourage all connected with Durham Meeting, hosts and exchange students to attend. Invite recent immigrants you have come to know as friends to join us. There will be a sign- up sheet for those attending. b) The committee is concerned as to how they can support those in meeting who are involved in peace and social concerns activities.

9. Margaret Wentworth reported that the Newsletter Committee has reviewed the guidelines for Friendly Notes reaffirming that the Newsletter List is not public; notes should be sent only for urgent reasons, such as: notice of deaths, accidents, or serious illness within the meeting community; previously unannounced special events that will occur before the next newsletter arrives; reminders of very special events; last minute changes; and youth events which need extra publicity.

10. Jo-an Jacobus reported that the Nominating Committee recommends that Margaret Wentworth be added to the committee in the place of Sukie Rice who will be the meeting clerk. The Committee also recommends the following names be approved to be added to the list of committees and officers: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon and Doug Bennett for Ministry and Counsel; Nancy Marstaller for Finance; Nancy Marstaller for Library, Ingrid Chalufour and Brown Lethem for Peace and Social Concerns; Scott Barksdale for Christian Education; Tess Hartford to extend her term on Christian Education for one more year. They recommend that the terms of the following Friends be extended for three years on their respective committees: Margaret Wentworth, David Dexter, and Jo-an Jacobus. A complete report will be made in December.

11. The meeting approved the addition of Margaret Wentworth to the Nominating Committee. It also approved all the other recommendations made for committee appointments by the Nominating Committee. The Minutes will be approved at the December Monthly Meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 1:30. Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk, pro tem

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“How Can I Help You?” by Craig Freshley

A message by Craig Freshley on November 19, 2017.  You can listen to a recording of it here.

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“Transformation Towards Racial Justice” by Nancy Marstaller

From a message by Nancy Marstaller in October, 2017

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what God’s will is—God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Transformation was the themeof yearly meeting this year. I was blessed to be able to attend and want to share a story from that meeting that has stuck with me.

Friend Xinef Afriam retold us the familiar story about a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but added new information that I didn’t know and that gave us a whole new view of transformation- both for caterpillars and for humans. I was so intrigued, I looked up more about this when I got home.

As we know, after a time of eating and eating, a caterpillar finds a place to make a cocoon or chrysalis. Imagine the monarch butterfly caterpillar, which makes the wonderful J shape and spins its gold-decorated chrysalis around itself. But it’s not as simple as we think. There are cells, which are dormant in the caterpillar and called “imaginal cells.” It turns out that before hatching, when a caterpillar is still developing from an egg, it grows an imaginal disc for every adult body part it will need- such as eyes, wings, and so on. In some species, these imaginal discs remain dormant throughout the caterpillar’s life. In other species, the discs begin to take the shape of adult body parts even before the caterpillar forms a chrysalis or cocoon.

When the imaginal cells are awoken from dormancy, at first they operate independently as singlecelled organisms inside the caterpillar. They resonate at a different frequency so are regarded as threats and attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system, which digests some of them. But they persist, gradually multiply and grow stronger. The caterpillar’s immune system can’t keep up and the caterpillar digests itself. The imaginal cells survive, forming clusters and clumps. Because they resonate at the same frequency, they can communicate. They connect and become a multi-celled organism – a butterfly is formed!

What really struck me was that the caterpillar at first resisted this transformation, which got me pondering about how humans change.

There is a hymn we don’t sing often but did recently. The first verse is, “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side. Some great cause, some great decision, off’ring each the bloom or blight, and the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.” It terrified me as a young child. I worried that I had missed the moment, that somehow, I had chosen for evil, that I was doomed. As an older child, I felt our country had chosen for evil, that we had been slaveholders, didn’t give equal rights to all, were killing innocent civilians in Vietnam. But I also believed that there is that of God in everyone, meaning we could change, be better.

Now I realize that for most of us there is no one dramatic moment, but constant moments of choice throughout life in which we can choose right or wrong, better rather than worse. One of the ongoing discussions at yearly meeting and among many of us in our country is white supremacy. I feel like I am called to do something about overcoming it, and currently that is mostly reading. When talking with people of color at yearly meeting and hearing their stories, I was saddened and angered by the ongoing overt and structural racism that pervades our society. How one mother feared for her dark-skinned middle-schooler to go downtown in Castleton, Vermont, worrying what could happen just because of the color of his skin. Something I never even thought of as a mother of a fair-skinned boy. I am learning how privileged my life is in ways I have taken for granted – I don’t worry I will be discriminated against in any aspect of life because of my whiteness and that is SO different from the experience of many others.

So, I am praying, hoping, and visualizing that the “imaginal cells” that seek racial justice, that seek to do what is right, that seek to do God’s will, are growing within myself and within society. May we resonate at the same frequency, communicate and grow stronger, so that together we can bring more peace and justice into the world.

I’ll close with a passage from Psalm 19, to which I’ve added a line: O let the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and the transformations of my life be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.

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“Setting the Web A-Tremble” by Sukie Rice

An excerpt from a recent message by Sukie Rice in October, 2017

“Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling… As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility, toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together.” (Frederick Buechner, 1926 – )

I have pondered this quotation many times; it makes me very aware how we “tremble each other’s webs” all the time. Sometimes in large ways, sometimes small, although we rarely know when it happens. An example: I’m a total grouch early in the morning. I would drive to school each morning, grumbling about all those children I was going to have to be nice to, wishing I could just be left alone. But then, in the parking lot, a child would run up to me exclaiming, “We have music today, Ms. Rice. I can’t wait!” “That’s great, Maryann, I’ll see you soon,” I’d say, and my grumbly web would be shaken. Then two boys would come up with, “Can we help you carry the autoharps, Ms. Rice? At home I’ve been singing that song you taught about Charlie on the MTA. And my mom knows it.” By the time I’d reach the school door, I’d be feeling chipper and looking forward to being with the children. They trembled my web. They never knew it.

Now here is a story of something major that happened this summer. Friends of Kakamega decided to provide a SunKing Solar Light for every child/youth in our program. For this we needed to raise over $8,000, a hefty amount. But because clean, renewable light in a home is so important, we made this commitment. It happened!

But it wouldn’t have happened without one of the people going on our summer trip to Kakamega, a college student named Liz, researching solar lights. She discovered this unique light, specifically designed for Kenyan homes and convinced Friends of Kakamega to make the big commitment. She trembled our imagination.

Backing up the web: Liz wouldn’t have gone on the trip except she had gone to school with Mitch Newlin, who has been to the Care Centre seven times and is now a valuable member of the Friends of Kakamega board. He trembled her web with stories of the Care Centre. But Mitch never would have gone to Kenya except he attended a benefit dinner at Durham Meetinghouse when he was 12 and exclaimed to his parents he wanted to go to Kakamega Care Centre when he was old enough. When he turned 16 in 2011, he went with his dad, John, and the rest is history for Mitch. The Care Centre has trembled his web in a huge way and his whole life will be different because of it.

The trembling doesn’t stop there. Durham Meeting wouldn’t have held that benefit dinner (and all the subsequent ones) except that Dorothy Selebwa, founder of the Kakamega Orphans Care Centre came to Durham Meeting one Sunday at the end of April 2002. She trembled my web and turned my life upside down, as this project has done for so many people: children and families in Kenya, and for Americans who have visited and experienced themselves the hope and miracle of the Care Centre.

There is more. I wouldn’t have been there to meet Dorothy, but I began to visit Durham Friends Meeting in 1980 and, although it was very different from my Quaker experience before, I wanted to return again and again. I was an odd duck for Durham, but the women welcomed me. Betty White, Charlotte White, Mary Curtis,

Lydia Rollins, Margaret, Clarabel. They made me feel so welcome and I wanted to make it my home.

So, because the women of Durham meeting trembled my spirit, I was there so Dorothy could tremble my web – and that of Durham Friends. Mitch’s web was trembled. His telling Liz about the project trembled her web. She decided to go, and did research on solar lights. Her research influenced Friends of Kakamega’s determination to provide solar lights for 260 homes, which has had a terrific impact on the lives (and webs) of so many people.

“Who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt.” May we all keep trembling each other’s webs and let the trembling live on!

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, October 15, 2017 with 23 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell recalled some of the messages brought during worship this morning, which help us prepare inwardly for today’s meeting.

Sarah expressed appreciation for everyone’s presence.

1. Sarah Sprogell read minutes #1 and #2 from the July 16 Meeting for Business which presented the results from the surveys and listening session regarding the meeting’s experience as a semi-programed meeting without a pastor.

2. Ron Turcotte read the recommendation of Ministry and Counsel that Durham Meeting continue as a semi-programed meeting without a pastor, and that a committee be formed to look in the possibility of a stipend position for unmet needs. A discussion of deep sharing and consideration of important needs followed Ron’s report.

3. The meeting approved the recommendation of Ministry and Counsel to continue as a semi-programed meeting. It was approved that we continue, for the time being, without a part-time pastor as we have had in the past. It was also approved that Monthly Meeting form an ad hoc committee to develop a job description for a stipend position to address pastoral and other needs. The committee will explore alternative models to help us discern what might work best for us. The entire community is asked to hold in our hearts the concerns that we have heard for pastoral care, confidentiality, spiritual nurture and outreach. 3 of 6

4. Monthly Meeting appointed Doug Bennett, Sukie Rice, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon and Jo-an Jacobus for the ad hoc committee to develop a stipend position. Joyce Gibson will be asked if she wishes to join this group as well.

5. Reports from the Youth Minister and Christian Education were read.

a) Christian Education celebrated World Quaker Day on October 1.

b) On October 15, several youth and adults went to Passadumkeag for the Wabanaki Fall Festival to support our Maine indigenous community.

c) October 30 there will be a Harvest-Halloween party.

d) Our childcare worker will be absent during October and most of November. Others with background checks are being asked to help.

e) Christian Ed recommends Saturday, December 16 for the Christmas program. They are developing ideas for Advent and how to mark this season.

6. The Youth Minister and Christian Education reports were accepted, and approval was given for the dates of October 30th for the Harvest-Halloween party and December 16 for the Christmas program.

7. Trustees corrected the September Monthly meeting minute for Trustees. Item #7a, line 9 should read “Money received for the purchase of plots as well as for perpetual care goes into the cemetery fund held by Trustees.

8. Newsletter Committee asks that the editor be informed each month of the following:

a) Names of those bringing messages;

b) Names of those sharing spiritual journeys during the 4th Sunday adult school class;

c) When committees meet;

d) When youth and other meetings and activities occur

“This I believe” will become a featured article again, with David Dexter overseeing it.

9. The meeting approved that Woman’s Society collect donations for the Kickapoo Friends Center during the month of November.

10. Sukie Rice brought the Finance Report for January 1-September 30, 2017. Revenue for the Operating Account was $37,304 (69% of our budgeted amount for the year). Expenses were $28,892 (61% of the budgeted amount).

The balance for the General Fund is $28,414 and the balance for the Capital account is $5617.

The report was approved with much appreciation for the good financial condition we are in this year. Committees are asked to communicate with Finance Committee about their needs for the 2018 Budget.

11. The Woodbury Fund is currently in a bank CD, coming due at the end of October. The meeting approved that the money be taken out of CD when it matures and put into a new savings account. At that time Finance Committee can look into alternatives to a CD for the Woodbury Fund.

12. The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 2:50.

Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 17, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, September 17, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, September 17, 2017 with 10 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell read a quote from The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tolan on “the expansion of the heart” helping us to understand others.

1. Ron Turcotte reported for Ministry and Counsel. a) Ministry and Counsel recommends that the meeting continue without a pastor. They also recommend that we create a committee to look into a part-time stipend position to assist the meeting with its needs. They would like these two recommendations to be considered for decision at the October 15th monthly meeting. b) Ron has begun as a member of the NEYM Puente de Amigos committee and wishes a clearness committee regarding traveling to Cuba in January 2018. Recommendations for people on a clearness committee were offered. c) The application for Durham Meeting to participate in the Hope Gateway Church’s 2018 leadership program, “Growing With Hope” is due November 1. Committee clerks have been asked to reach out to their members to see who might be interested in this program.

2. The meeting approved the recommendation of Ministry and Counsel to have the October 15th monthly meeting for business designated primarily to decide the issue of continuing without a pastor and calling for an ad hoc committee to develop a job description for a stipend position. Friends will be informed about it well in advance so there can be a full attendance of people interested.

3. Tess Hartford reported for Christian Education: a) “World Quaker Day” will be observed on October 1 with a special children’s message and Godly Play. This will be followed by brunch-style refreshments after meeting, during which time Friends can view a video of how Quakers around the world worship and celebrate World Quaker Day. World Quaker Day is an activity of Friends World Committee for Consultation. b) Christian Education is working on new ways to welcome new families and children. c) The Adult Sunday school group will begin “The Freedom and Justice Crier” on racial and social justice which comes from New England Yearly Meeting. The meeting has copies available for the study group. d) Christian Education has reviewed the position of Wendy Schlotterbeck as Youth Minister. They consider the role of the Youth Minister to be very important and recommend that Wendy Schlotterbeck continue in the position.

4. The meeting approved the renewal of our employment agreement with Wendy Schlotterbeck as Youth Minister for the contract year of July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 at $800 per month for all 12 months.

5. Wendy Schlotterbeck said that with new children/families interested, a new youth group may be formed with children from 5th – 8th grade. The youth group will meet monthly with an intergenerational gathering every other month. Wendy reported there were 9 children in Sunday School today. They look forward to holding a Halloween party. Gratitude was given to Wendy and Christian Education for having such a lovely gathering of families and children in worship today.

7. Leslie Manning reported for Trustees.

a) Trustees have reviewed the price structure for the meeting’s three cemeteries. The average yearly cost to the meeting of the cemeteries for maintenance (perpetual care) is approximately $4500/year. (This includes the lawn mowing of the meetinghouse and parsonage property.) The current rates for perpetual care were last determined in 1997. Trustees recommends doubling the cost of purchasing a single plot for non-meeting members from $75 to $150 and the cost of perpetual care (for everyone) from $100 to $200, beginning in 2018. There is no cost for a plot for members. New rates for multiple plots were also assigned as follows: Plot Perpetual Care Total One 4×10 plot $150 $200 $350 Two 200 400 600 Four 350 650 1,000 People who purchase plots before 2018 will get the current rate. Money received for the purchase of a plot goes into the General Fund whereas money for perpetual care goes into the cemetery fund held by Trustees. People should see Eileen Babcock if interested.

b) There remains a significant amount of space in the Lunt Cemetery. Trustees will be walking the boundaries, and identifying plot spaces. They are also considering a memorial garden for cremation urns.

c) Trustees would like to increase the weekly payment for the meetinghouse custodian from $50 to $60. They would also like to pay overtime for emergency “call out” needs at an hourly rate of $12/hour.

d) Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends wishes to express our deep appreciation and sincere thanks to Charlotte Anne Curtis for her faithful service as our custodian and to wish her” Happy Trails” on her future journeys. Charlotte has served with faithfulness, good cheer and creativity and has made our entire meeting family, not just our beloved meetinghouse, more welcoming and inviting to all. “Thank you, Charlotte Anne. We will hold you in the Light of Love as you take your leave.”

e) Trustees recommends that Durham Meeting hire Donna Hutchins as the new custodian for October through December. f) Trustees wish to hire arborist Joel Dunham (Dunham Landscaping of Lisbon) to continue work on tree cutting that is needed right away. Joel will take stumpage wood, and will clear a number of areas for seeding grass. They have agreed on a fee of $2000 for an extensive job.

8. The meeting approved an increase of the custodian fee to $60/week. It also approved $12/hour extra emergency overtime for the trial period of October through December. Friends also approve Donna Hutchins for this position.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 17, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, July 16, 2017

 Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 12:15 with ten people present. Clerk Martha Hinshaw Sheldon opened with a mantra, “When I am at peace with what is, I am more open to what will be.”

  1. Ron Turcotte reported for Ministry and Counsel. He summarized their “Status Report on the Six-months Experiment.” From the various surveys and the open meeting, they have determined the following:

a) Approximately 30% of the current members and attenders would like to return to having a pastor and 70% would like to continue the experiment without a pastor.

b) Outreach, pastoral counseling and visitation seem to be un-met needs.

c) Various ideas for a part-time or stipend position have been made.

d) Our financial capabilities are important to consider.

Ministry and Counsel would like to give over to Monthly Meeting discernment for our decision on this matter.

2. It was decided that in the autumn we will look more carefully at how we might move forward.

3. Jo-an Jacobus gave the Nominating Committee report. Because Sarah Sprogell is ending her term as Co-Clerk in 2017, the Nominating Committee has decided to get an early start on looking for a Co-Clerk who will start in 2018. After a month of discernment, they recommend Susan (Sukie) Rice as Monthly Meeting clerk beginning in 2018. Nominating Committee also recommends learning more about the practice of two year “term” co-clerking as Portland Friends Meeting has been doing for some time.

4. Monthly Meeting approved the recommendation of Susan (Sukie) Rice as Clerk for 2018.

5. Daniel Henton gave the report for Trustees. At present, the plan is that the parsonage will be empty by September 1. They realize it will take some time for the meeting to decide about a pastor and they do not want the parsonage to be empty through the Fall and Winter. They recommend renting the parsonage to Durham Meeting member Donna Hutchins (Ross) and her husband Daniel Ross.

6. The meeting approved renting to Donna Hutchins and Daniel Ross with the specifics to be worked out between Donna and Trustees.

7. Sukie Rice brought the Finance Committee report.

a) The solar installation/heat pump project expenses were $20,616 and the income from grants was $14,500. Therefore, we need to raise $6,116 for this project.

b) Roof replacement expenses were $31,121 and income from the grant and Dwelly Fund was $19,098. Therefore, we need to raise $12,032 for this project.

c) The General Checking account balance as of June 30 was $26,331.

d) The Capital Account balance as of June 30 was $5,915.

e) The Bernice Douglas Fund is fronting the costs of the roof replacement and solar installation. $18,148 was used from this fund to cover these costs. It is to be reimbursed as the fundraising brings in money. The fund currently has a $14,210 balance. The report was accepted with gratitude.

8. It was decided that the fund-raising letter for the roof/solar projects should go out in early September.

The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 1:05.

Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 18, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting for Business, Minutes of June 18

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:15 with 10 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell opened with a reading on consensus and the sense of the meeting from New England Yearly Meeting’s “Interim Faith and Practice” (page 43).

1. Ron Turcotte reported for Ministry and Counsel.

a) Liana Thompson Knight has requested the transfer of her membership to Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends from Hartford Monthly Meeting. Ministry and Counsel has received a letter of transfer from Hartford Meeting and recommends this transfer.

b) Martha Hinshaw Sheldon has requested that her membership be transferred from Wilmington Friends in Ohio to Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends. Ministry and Counsel recommends this transfer. We have received a letter of transfer from Wilmington Friends including information that Martha was recorded as minister by Wilmington Yearly Meeting. Ministry and Counsel recommends this transfer and will look into the steps needed to transfer her status as a recorded minister.

c) Ministry and Counsel recommends a donation to the Quaker Climate Pilgrimage witness taking place July 9-16, from Portsmouth, NH to the Bow coal fired plant. Ministry and Counsel will consider appropriating money from their budget.

d) Ministry and Counsel is interested in investigating further our participation in the Growing with Hope leadership development program that is offered by Hope Gateway Church. Four to six people from Durham would be expected to participate in this program, which will take place in 2018 if we chose as a meeting to do it. There are a number of Durham Friends who have expressed an interest in participating.

2. The meeting heartily approved the transfers of Liana Thompson Knight and Martha Hinshaw Sheldon to Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends.

3. It was approved that Ministry and Counsel may ask others to contribute to the Climate Pilgrimage fund.

4. The meeting approved proceeding with the plan of participating in Growing with Hope. Ministry and Counsel will find the people to participate in it. It is requested that Finance Committee consider how the meeting will cover the $2000 fee. There will be an article in the newsletter to explain the program.

5. Tess Hartford reported for Christian Education. Children’s Day was a very joyful, special day with eight children with their families in attendance. The Yard and Plant Sale was a great success and raised $950. $500 of this will go to their 2017 sponsorship of Cornelius Magona, a high school student with the Kakamega Orphans Care Centre project.

6. Wendy Schlotterbeck, in her Youth Minister report, gave thanks to Christian Education and others for all their time and very generous contributions to the very successful Yard and Plant Sale. She will be a resource person for Young Friends at the August New England Yearly Meeting Sessions, which will have about 50 Quaker youth for the week.

7. Leslie Manning reported for Trustees.

a) Trustees reminds Friends that proof of insurance is necessary for any contractual work done for the meeting.

b) They are seeking bids for the work needing to be done on trees.

c) Margaret Wentworth will finish the 2016 cemetery books during the summer. On completion, the cemetery books will be passed over to Eileen Babcock. Trustees will be working on a 3 – 5-year plan for the cemeteries.

d) Trustees will also look at replacing the basement windows, which might be over 100 years old!

e) Gratitude was expressed to Craig Freshley for doing the many small but important jobs that Trustees has needed to have done.

f) Cleaning and floor work of the horse shed will be done during the summer.

8. Cindy Wood reported for Peace and Social Concerns. A press release will go out about the Meeting going solar. The new-comers’ dinners are continuing well. The date of the Kakamega fundraising dinner will be Saturday, September 30.

9. Sarah Sprogell reminded Friends of the $2000 donation that Rachel Carey Harper made to the meeting for us to use as we see fit. Sarah reported that the clerks meeting decided to donate the full amount to the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, run by Fatuma Hussein in Lewiston/Auburn. It will be used by the IRCM as an emergency fund for the many needs of people who come to the center.

10. Jo-an Jacobus expressed the gratitude of the 12 Step group that meets at the meetinghouse on Sunday evenings. They donated a clock for the fellowship room.

11. In keeping with our practice, it was approved that we will meet in July but we will not meet in August. 11. The minutes of Monthly Meeting were approved during the meeting.

The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 1:50.

Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 21, 2017

Durham Friends Monthly Meeting, May 21, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 12:30 with 10 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell opened by reading the opening paragraph, page 117, of ‘A Peculiar People” from the Interim Faith and Practice of NEYM.

  1. Approval given for the temporary service of Martha Hinshaw Sheldon as Recording clerk.

2. Ministry and Counsel report given by Ron Turcotte.

a) Ron reported on the May 7 Listening Session on how the Meeting community is doing in the 6 months’ discernment period to help evaluate the life of the meeting without a paid pastor.   Issues that arose from the survey are ongoing concerns about how we offer Pastoral care and outreach. A follow up survey will be distributed with 2 questions: Continue as we are or search for a pastor. A summary report and recommendations will be presented at the June Monthly Meeting.

b) A report was given on the All Maine Gathering and Falmouth Quarter May 6. New England Yearly Meeting will be looking at the functions of the Quarterly Meeting in the coming year. In today’s modern world is the Quarterly Meeting needed in the same way?

c) Approval was given to send a letter of appreciation to the leaders of the Quarterly Meeting program on white privilege.

3. The Christian Education report was given by Tess Hartford.

a) Tess shared information on the June 4th Children’s day and Meeting open house. Details and more information will be sent out soon.

b) Brambles on the trail the youth have been working on will be cleared this summer.

c) Five graduates will be honored this spring: Ketty Stinson, Hannah and M Schlotterbeck, Mitch Newlin, and Rachel Wood.

d) Preliminary information and discussion followed on having gravel or crushed stone put down in the horse barn for use in inclement weather. Bid options were presented and shared with Trustees to consider.

e) The committee will be conducting an informal evaluation of Wendy’s youth ministry in the Meeting.

f) Martha is to send an informational note on Adult Sunday School to be included in the next newsletter. The current book is ‘Le Flambeau School of Driving’ by Peggy Senger Morrison who is the founder of Freedom Friends Church in Oregon and has a blog called ‘A Silly Poor Gospel’.

4. Approval was given to a suggestion that the Meeting have a special collection to support Ugandans Safe Passage Sunday June 4th. This is a group mentioned in worship by Diane Dicranian. This group provides safe passage to LBGT Ugandans and their allies, who are under the threat of persecution.

5. Trustees report was given by Leslie Manning.

a) The committee is finalizing the solar project with the work to begin May 30th.

b) Appreciation was expressed for the work of volunteers who helped on ‘Love Your Meeting’ cleanup days May 12 and 13.

c) Further projects to be done are replacing basement window sills, cleaning black mold, painting the fellowship room ceiling, and clearing out the area behind the horse shed of brush and trash. These projects to be done this summer.

d) Work on the cemeteries (3) is another project on the Trustees list. Updating the plot map and putting the map on the Meeting web site will allow for easy access and is another form of outreach.

e) The Durham Comprehensive Plan may lead to making the trails available to the public.

f) This report accepted and approved.

6. A NEYM Friend sent a gift of $2,000 to Durham Friends and other NEYM Meetings to do with as they wish. The Clerks Committee discussed how best to use this gift, and recommend that we donate the money to a local group serving new Mainers in the Lewiston area. This recommendation was approved.

7. New Business. Ron Turcotte presented information on the Hope Gateway program for communities seeking to grow in hope. This is a yearlong program to train 4 to 5 people in a faith community in outreach and engaging the wider community. Ron will write up more information to be included in the next newsletter to allow for further discussion and threshing.

8. The meeting ended with a time of silent listening to final movements of Spirit.

Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, Recording Clerk, pro tem

 

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, April 23, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, April 23, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 12:30 with 8 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell opened with a quote from Rev. William Sloane Coffin: “Let us resolve to be patriots always, nationalists never. Let us love our country but pledge allegiance to the earth and to the flora and fauna and human life that supports it – one planet, indivisible, with clean air, soil, and water; with liberty, justice and peace for all.”

  1. Joyce Gibson reported for Ministry and Counsel.

a) There will be an open Ministry and Counsel Listening Session on May 7 to share the results of our recent survey and to hear from people in the meeting about how they consider things are going without a pastor. The session will be facilitated by Craig Freshley. There will be a “finger food” potluck that day to allow us to move more quickly to the Listening Session.

b) People bringing the message in May: Paul Miller (May 7); Carol Marshburn (May 14) ; Diane Dicranian (from Winthrop Centre Friends) May 21); Sukie Rice (May 28).

c) There was concern about political views being expressed during worship and the importance of being open to all opinions and accepting persons regardless of their political views.

2. Christian Education Committee and the Youth Minister reported together.

a) The Seder Supper (April 6) had 12 people in attendance and went very well. There were many people who attended the delicious Easter breakfast

b) Children’s Day will be Sunday, June 4.   They plan to have a Quaker Open House and invite families with children to stay for a lunch, after which there will be conversation on what families look for in a faith community.

c) Graduates this year will be Ketty Stinson (high school) and Hannah and M Schlotterbeck (from graduate school).

d) The Annual Plant and Yard Sale will be held Saturday, June 3 from 9:00-1:00.

e) The annual Family Campout in Georgetown will be June 17-18.

f) The Youth Group has been renamed to Intergenerational Youth Group. It gathered for a pot-luck on April 19 with 13 people present. They will work on building on a walking trail in the woods next to the parsonage. Big plans are ahead for this!

g) Paul Miller was the speaker as the Spiritual Journey speaker at the Adult Sunday School group on April 23.

3. Kitsie Hildebrandt, Treasurer, reported on our insurance policy with Church Mutual. Christine Baglieri (our childcare worker) is covered under our liability insurance. She is also covered by our workers compensation policy.

The March 31 First Quarter finance report was submitted.   Our income for this period was $13,112 and the Expenditures were $10,205. The checking account balance for the Operating Account is $23,326.  Friends accepted the report with thanks.

4. Trustees report that the roof replacement has been completed with Fairbanks Roofing.   Maine Solar Solutions will begin installation of the heat pump and solar panels in mid-May.

a) Trustees are considering doing some repair and tightening of the basement windows.

b) They hope to donate or sell the big copier.

c) May 12 and 13 will be “Love Your Meeting Days” for our annual clean-up.

d) Trustees will begin looking for a substitute for Charlotte Ann Curtis for when she is away during the 2017-18 winter.

5. Sukie Rice reported for Peace and Social Concerns.

a) On Sunday June 25, Bill Clark from Maine AllCare will show a film about single-payer health care and will lead a discussion. This will follow a potluck lunch.

b) The annual Kakamega benefit dinner will take place on Saturday, September 30th.

c) The committee has held a third “new friends” dinner for people in the Brunswick area. Another dinner will be planned for people in the Freeport/Durham area. If Friends wish to participate in a new friends dinner, please let Cindy Wood know.

6. For the Meeting Directory, it was approved that members and attenders will be merged so that everyone will be listed in one alphabetical order rather than separated as has been the practice. MEMBERS will continue to be listed in capital letters and attenders in non-caps.

7. The All-Maine Gathering will be held on May 6 at Vassalboro Meeting. Representatives will be Sarah Sprogell, Kristna Evans, Tess Hartford, Dorothy Hinshaw and Ed Hinshaw.

8. The minutes of Monthly Meeting were approved during the meeting.

The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 1:55.

Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

 

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, March 19, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, March 19, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, March 19, 2017, at 12:35 with 15 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell read quotes from George Fox and John Calvi from the section of Darkness and Light in the Revised New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (pages 18 and 23).

  1. Minutes of the February 19, 2017 Monthly Meeting, as printed in the newsletter, were approved with minor amendments.

2. Ron Turcotte brought the report from Ministry and Counsel.

a) An Easter sunrise service is still to be determined and an announcement will be made at the rise of meeting to see if there is interest and energy to organize this event.

b) Ministry and Counsel has distributed surveys to evaluate our current pastor-less practice. They ask that surveys be completed and returned by April 2. There is box in the vestry for completed evaluations.

There will be an open Ministry and Counsel on May 7 to discuss the survey results and gather additional input.

c) A letter to the editor, which had been approved in February, was published in the Times Record. The letter expressed our disapproval of the President Trump’s original executive order on a travel ban of refugees and immigrants.

d) The State of Society Report for 2016 was read.

e) Ministry and Counsel recommends Robert Eaton and Wendy Batson for membership.

f) “Before the Flood,” a movie on climate change will be shown on Sunday, May 28 following a pot-luck.

3. Monthly Meeting heartily approves the membership of Robert (Bob) Eaton and Wendy Batson.

4. The State of Society report was accepted and approved with appreciation.

5. Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for Christian Education and as Youth Minister.

a) Christian Education has approved hiring Christine Baglieri for the job of childcare worker during meetings for worship. However, she has injured her knee and is not able to do the full job until she heals.

b) Christian Education is planning an Easter breakfast at 8:30 with children’s activities following worship.

c) There will be a Passover dinner on Thursday, April 13 at 5:30.

d) A Family Dinner will be held in April during which time a number of activities will be discussed.

e) The youth group will hold a plant and yard sale in May. They also wish to work on a Quaker documentary.

6. Monthly Meeting approved contributing up $500 from the Charity Account for Christine Baglieri’s medical costs.

7. Daniel Henton read the Trustees Annual Report for 2016, a very busy year for Trustees. Many thanks were given for work on the new floor, the cell tower, and the research and fundraising for a new roof, heat pump and solar installation. Special appreciation was given to the many people who have contributed to the work of Trustees and the Meeting, especially Margaret Wentworth and Mildred Alexander whose example and dedication serve as inspiration not just to the committee but to the entire Durham Friends community.

8. Friends accepted with appreciation both the report as well as the work of Trustees.

9. Paul Wood brought the Trustees report on replacement of the roof. Fairbanks Roofing has reduced their bid to $20,000. However, if they need to replace the underlayment, it may go up to $26,000. Approval for this contract was given at the February Monthly Meeting.

10. Cindy Wood brought a report from Peace and Social Concerns.

a) They evaluated their January 21st participation at the Women’s March in Augusta. b) They are pleased to have held two dinners for new people this year in home settings. A third one is set for the end of March, and they will continue as new people come to the meeting.

c) P&SC approved endorsing, as a committee, the Health Care as a Human Right (HCHR) campaign of Maine AllCare.   Linda Mueller is the point-person for this.

11. The meeting accepted the report. It was recommended that P&SC hold an educational meeting so that the full meeting may learn about Health Care as a Human Right and have a discussion on it. The committee is also interested in learning what kinds of outreach work other individuals in the meeting are involved with, and what kind of unified P&SC project the meeting might be able to participate in.

12. Jo-an Jacobus reported that Nominating Committee recommends the following people to join the Newsletter Committee: David Dexter, Liana Thompson and Theresa Oleksiw.

The meeting approved adding David Dexter, Liana Thompson and Theresa Oleksiw to Newsletter Committee.

13. It was approved that Monthly Meeting will be held on April 23rd to avoid meeting on Easter.

14. The minutes of Monthly Meeting were approved during the meeting.

The meeting adjourned in the Spirit at 2:06.

Sukie Rice, Recording Clerk

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 19, 2017

Durham Friends Monthly Meeting, February 19, 2017

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 12:30 with 15 people present. Clerk Sarah Sprogell opened by reading from the Interim Faith and Practice of NEYM extracts on worship.

  1. Approval given for the temporary service of Martha Hinshaw Sheldon as Recording clerk.

2. Youth ministers report given by Wendy Schlotterbeck.

a) In consultation with families in the Meeting, Wendy, plans to create a walking trail on land around the parsonage. The trail may include meditation signs. Wendy will submit a design Trustees for approval and learn what requirements are needed for insurance purposes.

3. Nominating committee, reported by Ron Turcotte.

a) Margaret Wentworth will join the Newsletter committee.

b) The meeting approved the recommendation that Margaret Wentworth be added to the newsletter committee. She will serve primarily in an advisory capacity.

c) Concern expressed that younger members and attenders be encouraged to become active members of committees, allowing long-standing and elder members to retire gracefully.

4. Peace and Social Concerns report given by Cindy Wood.

a) Cindy shared that the Women’s march at the Maine State courthouse January 21 was a big success.

b) The committee is proceeding with dinner gatherings for new attenders and is looking for additional volunteers to host these monthly suppers.

5. Ministry and Counsel report given by Ron Turcotte.

a) Ron submitted a letter of concern regarding the recent ban on refugee resettlement to be sent to local newspapers and elected officials. Discussion, support and concerns were shared and noted. Approval given for Ron to send the letter and for the letter to be included in the Meeting newsletter.

b) Report given and discussion followed on the ‘Draft Report on Leadership of Durham Meeting from January to June 2017’. A proposal was made to approve the report with an openness for ongoing input and to include the report in the Meeting newsletter. Report attached.

c) A survey was distributed for folks to fill out regarding the 6 months’ discernment period to help evaluate the life of the meeting without a paid pastor. The survey will be in the next newsletter, announced at meeting for worship, and will be available in the fellowship room. Survey attached.

d) Expressions of appreciation were given for the labor of Ministry and Counsel and Joyce Gibson on the above report.

e) A proposal was made to have a second open session for members and attenders to express opinions and concerns. M&C suggests April for the meeting. This will be announced when a date is discerned.

f) Ministry and Counsel report was accepted.

6. The Christian Education report was given by Tess Hartford.

a) Jeannie Baker Stinson will be the Recording Clerk.

b) Tess reported that the committee is made up of a good mix of folks with good energy.

c) A candidate for the position of Child Care Provider was present Sunday morning to observe and get to know the children. She was very comfortable with the children. The interview process will continue with further interviews and securing background checks.

d) A Quaker parenting initiative was introduced. The format is an on-line Quaker parent discussion group webinar led by Harriet Heath, an expert on parenting skills and Quaker author. A flyer with information will be posted for those interested in signing up.

e) Christian Ed report was accepted.

7. Finance report given by Kitsie Hildebrandt.

a) The treasurer reviewed funding that we currently have to help pay for the 3 capital projects planned for the meetinghouse: heat pump, solar panels, and roof replacement. we have received $9000 from NEYM Legacy Fund, $5000 (promised) from FGC Meetinghouse Fund, and approximately $9,000 from our capital account. We are waiting to hear from Obadiah Brown’s Benevolent Fund in March, and hopeful of receiving up to $10,000 from this fund.

b) Given these assumptions, we will still need to raise about $17,000 to complete the projects. The Fundraising Committee will work on a campaign to raise these funds.

c) It was approved to borrow from the Bea Douglas fund if necessary, to prevent the work from being put on hold while the fundraising is progressing.

d) Approved with thanks to Kitsie and fundraisers.

8. Trustees report given by Leslie Manning.

a) Trustees will be examining how to better manage the costs for mowing in the coming year. They would also like to have information more readily available for folks wanting to find ancestral plot information.

b) Working on 3 projects: 1. Heat pump, 2. Solar panels, and 3. Roof replacement for the meetinghouse. The heat pump project was approved earlier and the Trustees are eager to get this project done. The cost is approximately $4000.

c) The solar panel project was discussed and approval given for Sam Zuckerman of Maine Solar Solutions, Durham to go forward with the work. Although our electricity use will increase with the heat pump and dehumidifier, our oil use and dependence will decrease, thus achieving a valuable investment for the future. The cost is approximately $17,000.

d) The roof project has received 4 bids and the recommendation is to accept Fairbanks of Topsham. This project needs to be done before the solar panels can be started. Approval was given for the contractor and bid. The cost is approximately $26,000.

e) Leslie encouraged CE and the Youth minister to think about what they can do to help with fundraising for this project. The fundraising committee is made up of Donna Ross, Sukie Rice. However, it will be beneficial for all members and attenders to be attentive to how they can help.

9. Statistical report for 2016 given by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon and accepted.

a) In summary, the average attendance at meeting for worship was 38; number of members as of 12/31 was 104; new members were 4; and 27 members were removed due to discontinuance or resignation. This last large number is due in part to a letter sent to a number of long-absent members. Report attached.

10. Tess Hartford submitted a letter for the Meeting to consider supporting her in an opportunity to attend a workshop on “process painting” that would broaden her use of her gifts in ministry and help participants come into peace.

a) The meeting approved using $600 from our Charitable Account to help cover costs for the workshop. The meeting further requested that Tess’s letter be shared with the meeting so folks can make earmarked donations to further help with costs. Letter attached.

11. Library committee annual report was given by Margaret Wentworth.

a) She urged all to use this valuable resource. Report accepted.

12. Reminder given for other committees to submit an annual committee report.

13. These minutes are to be approved at the March Monthly Meeting.

Monthly Meeting ended with a moment of waiting worship at 2:10 pm.

Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, interim Recording Clerk

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