Durham Friends Summer Picnic, Saturday, August 29, 1pm

Saturday, August 29, 1pm. Raindate: Sunday, August 30, 1pm

A nice chance to visit the Meetinghouse and connect with each other, outside and properly distanced, just for fun.

In the back yard of the Meetinghouse with The Common House Band (Craig Freshley and his friends).

This is just getting organized and we are looking for help with:

1. Organizing activities

2. Establishing pandemic protection protocols

3. Set up and clean up

If you would like to take a lead or help, email Craig@Freshley.com.

“NEYM Sessions: An Apology to Native Americans,” by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 9, 2020

“Each year, hundreds of Quakers from across New England and beyond join together for worship, fellowship and seeking how God will guide us in meeting for business.  Having first gathered in 1661, in 2020 New England Yearly Meeting of Friends celebrated 360 years of journeying together as a community of faith and witness. 

Annual sessions provided many opportunities to connect with Friends old and new: vibrant youth programs, adult small groups for interpersonal connection, encouragement, and spiritual exploration, discernment of how Quakers in New England are led by the Spirit to act and serve, and guest speakers offering explorations of the Bible and sharing ministry responding to our condition and the challenges of our times.”  New England Yearly Meeting Web site.    

We gathered over zoom to share ideas, to share stories, to share an apology, to encourage breathing, to be invited, by Amanda Kemp, to move into the heart when facing racial injustices and move toward restoration, to learn of the interrelationship of ecology and theology with Cherice Bock.

Amanda is the bestselling author of ‘Stop Being Afraid! 5 Steps to Transform your Conversations about Racism’, and ‘Say the Wrong Thing’, a collection of personal essays about racial justice and compassion.  

Cherice Bock is adjunct professor of ecotheology at George Fox University and Portland Seminary, and she works as the Creation Justice Advocate at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.  A recorded Quaker minister, Bock sees environmental concerns as one of this generation’s most important social justice issues.  Her academic work focuses on nonviolent theology, Quakerism, contextual theologies, feminism, environmental justice, and ecotheology. 

There was a greater intensity this year.  There was greater intentionality.  Business meetings were devoid of the usual reports with the aim of focusing on racial justice and ecological restoration.  Another enriching element this year was the presence of a group called ‘Noticing Patterns of Oppression’.  Yearly meeting being intentional about noticing how those who have benefit from privilege may unknowingly speak and act in ways that oppress and ignore.  This was the second year for this group to offer their observations and help some become more aware of how their words can imply a sense of other, disregarding, self/cultural centrist perspectives.  Eye opening for those of us who need help in seeing, understanding how words impact others.  

Minutes and letters were presented.  Discussions engaged.  Challenges presented.  Encouragement given.  Minds opened.  Hearts softened.  Souls led. 

To do, to walk, to grow, to learn new language, to envision a world of inclusivity of the oppressed, of earth of life and health.  Two statements came out of the work of YM sessions.  NEYM Apology to Native Americans, and Call to Urgent, Loving Action for the Earth and Her Inhabitants.  Both will be sent out to Monthly Meetings to ponder and reflect upon in the coming year. 

This morning I want to share with you the apology for us to begin that process. 

In the silence that follows ponder:

  • How this letter affects my thinking, my heart, my leadings, my understanding of my journey with others. Others of the past and present. 
  • What do I know? What do I feel?  What do I think?   
  • What is my story? What is the story I want to create?  What do I need to learn? 

Do not let your guilt or defensiveness lead your response but your hope and leadings for a restorative future.

At yesterday’s last Bible half hour Cherice Bock invited us to understand ourselves as fractals of hope, embodying our part in the unfolding of Love, in relationship with and throughout Creation.  May this influence how we hear the letter. 

NEYM Apology to Native Americans 

To the Algonquian peoples of the Northeast who continue among us: the Abenaki, Mahican, Maliseet, Massachusett, Mi’kmaq, Mohegan, Narragansett. Nipmuck, Passamaquoddy, Pennaook, Penobscot, Pequot, Pocumtuc, Quinnipiac, Tunzis, and Wampanoag,

Apology

As participants in European colonization and as continuing beneficiaries of that colonization, Quakers have participated in a great and continuing injustice. For too long and in too many ways, we as a faith community have failed to honor that of God in you, the original peoples of these lands, and in doing so betrayed that of God in ourselves. We are deeply sorry for the suffering we caused in the past and continue to cause in the present. Today we acknowledge that injustice and apologize. 

We acknowledge that Quakers participated in and benefited greatly from the colonization effort which stole your land and displaced your ancestors and caused genocide and sought cultural erasure. We know that the injustice of displacement and disrespect continues. We also see the ways that we continue to benefit from broken treaties and genocidal policies. We have much work to do to attain right relationship.

We are sorry for our advocacy of the “Indian Industrial Boarding Schools,” which we now recognize was done with spiritual and cultural arrogance. Quakers were among the strongest promoters of this policy and managed over 30 schools for Indian children, mostly boarding schools, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We are deeply sorry for our part in the vast suffering caused by this system and its effects.

On behalf of New England Quakers, in particular those of us with European ancestry, we offer this apology. We commit to continuing our efforts to learn, to see more clearly the implications of settler colonialism in our own lives, and to work toward right relationship. We hold ourselves open to suggestions and to dialogue, holding no expectations of you. We will continue to pray for guidance and to seek divine assistance in the transformation we know is needed within each of us, and in the world.

A Call for Us to Act  

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends acknowledges that we have much work to do to enter into right relationship with Native Peoples and with all of Creation. To that end, we urge each of our monthly meetings to undertake the following: 

• Determine the identity of the Native occupants of the region in which their Meeting House rests and acknowledge that with a plaque. 

• Work within the meeting to raise awareness of the history of settler colonialism and our debt to Native Americans. 

• Follow the lead of Native Americans and support their efforts toward social and environmental justice, including preserving the integrity of their lands in the face of ongoing resource extraction, recognizing that theft of Native American land is not just a matter of history; it is happening today. 

• Support state and federal recognition of the status of tribes as acknowledged sovereign nations entitled to self-government and reparations. 

• Explore the implications for the meeting of restitution of lands unlawfully taken from Native Americans in violation of treaties. Once clear on what it would actually require of the meeting itself, support efforts by Native Americans to reclaim control of their sacred and culturally significant lands, including the restitution of lands unlawfully taken from them in violation of treaties.

Friends are encouraged to apply to the Legacy Gift Committee for funds to support their spiritual leadings in response to the above objectives.

“Pastoring Without a Pastor”

The most recent Friends Journal, August 2020, is organized around the theme “Pastoral Friends,” an unusual topic for Friends Journal. The articles are worth reading. Especially interesting is “Pastoring Without a Pastor,” by Kathleen Costello Malin, about the experience of Smithfield Friends Meeting, which, like Durham Friends Meeting, is part of New England Yearly Meeting. And, like Durham Friends, Smithfield is trying pastoral worship without a pastor. I recommend the whole article. Likely you’ll need a subscription to read it, but here’s a snippet or two:

We continue to try things to keep our pastoral meeting’s tradition alive. We had several volunteer “pastors” and have also tried to share the duties of presenting messages among our members. We know that we have people who come to our meeting for the programmed worship. They have alternatives that offer sermons and hymns, including a welcoming Old Catholic church that some of our members also attend. Pastoral care for the members of the meeting was certainly the hardest thing to replicate when we tried it on our own. Not everyone is suited to this type of ministry, and the duty usually falls on those most willing to help.

“After our last pastor retired, our Ministry and Counsel Committee met to explore our options. …

“[F]or several years we took turns giving messages from the lectern during our meetings for worship. We would start with a song and follow with sharing our joys and concerns of the week. After some silent worship, the volunteer would give a message, and then after another period of open worship, we ended with a song. 

Clarabel Marstaller Memorial Service — Saturday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m.

Clarabel Marstaller’s Memorial Service will be held at the meetinghouse and on Zoom on August 8, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. We look forward to celebrating her life and sharing memories with as many people as possible.

            As we are still in a pandemic and are limited in how many can physically be present at the meetinghouse, we encourage people to attend by Zoom. If you do want to attend in person, please let Nancy Marstaller at marstallern@gmail.com or 207 725-4294 know so she can make sure we are following current guidelines. Face masks will be required to enter the meetinghouse and there will be no refreshments after the service.

            To join the meeting by Zoom you may log on through the Durham Friends Meeting website: http://www.durhamfriendsmeeting.org/.

You can log on after 1 p.m. on August 8.

            The family thanks everyone for all their support.

“Six Things We Have To Offer,” By Doug Bennett

Most of us are living a closed-in, closed-down life.  We’re waiting for this strange time to pass.  And by ‘strange time’ I certainly mean the pandemic, but I mean more than that:  I mean what’s been unleashed in public life in recent years: corruption, bigotry, violence. These also can put us back on our heels, sheltered, for safety.  The pandemic requires me to stay apart from others, but the bigotry, violence and corruption can lead me to cower in a bunker, shut up in my house, waiting for it all to pass. 

Sometimes it feels like a strange dream: this is not my country; this is not my world.  But I know that it is my country and my world.  Waiting it out, cowering: these are not what I should be doing, or certainly not all that I should be doing.  It can feel like I don’t have much to offer – or that we don’t have much to offer.  It feels like I just have to wait it out – all the bad stuff.

But on second thought I think we do have things to offer.  That’s what’s on my mind this morning.  What Have We to Offer?  I’ve been making a list.  So, six things we have to offer– and I’m sure this is a partial list. 

…….

3.  Here’s a third thing we can offer: “Jesus has come to teach his people himself.”  In this community, Durham Friends Meeting, we know God will speak to us if we still ourselves and listen.  God will give us comfort.  Even more, God or Spirit will show us the way.  What an amazing thing this is that we have to offer. 

We’re not alone in the bunker.  We’re in this together, and we’re in it with God.  This idea that God speaks to us in the present: that is a very special thing that Quaker Meetings have to offer.  We should take advantage of this gift, and we do.  And we should share this gift with others – as often and loudly as we can.  We have a Teacher with us, always, to give us insight and courage, reassurance and encouragement.  So this is a third thing we have to offer.

4.  And here’s a fourth thing we have to offer, one we grasp when we truly grasp God will speak to us in the present.  We can remind ourselves that the Kingdom of Heaven is here now.  Of course it doesn‘t come automatically; it’s ours to build, this Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s not easy and not quick; it will take persistence and courage.  Still, the Kingdom of Heaven isn’t in some distant future, the Rapture or the Second Coming, something in the unknown future. 

We’re not waiting; we’re building.  We remind ourselves of this, and if we’re on our game, we tell other people this.  This understanding that the Kingdom of Heaven is really here, now, is a tremendous gift that Quakers offer the world.  If we’re really on our game, we show them this.  We join with others in building the beloved community. 

…..

We can take these offerings for granted.  They may come too easily to us.  We need to remember them when we feel like cowering or just sheltering in place.  Nevertheless, we mustn’t be shy or withdrawn.  We have things to offer – to one another, to our neighbors, to Mainers, to Americans, to the world. 

We have much to offer.  Let us be generous. 

[The full message is available on Riverview Friend.]

Durham Meeting Contemplative Prayer Group

On Monday mornings from 8:45 am through 9:45 am you are welcome to join us for prayer.  The Zoom link is the same as the one for Durham worship, found on our website (List website here).

During this period, we experience a corporate attention to God through silence, intercessory prayer, exercises of gratitude and communion with each other.  Though we are not tied to a particular order of practice, we include a brief time for greetings, prayer requests, followed by 30 minutes of waiting worship, and close with about 15 minutes of fellowship and final thoughts.

Join us!

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 19, 2020

[Draft 2]

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 19, 2020, with 19 people present.  Clerk, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, opened the meeting by quoting the late John Lewis, member of the United States House of Representatives, and civil-rights leader: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair.  Be hopeful, be optimistic.  Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.  Never, ever be afraid to make some noise. Necessary noise.”

1. The June minutes were approve.

2. Representatives to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, which meets July 25 at 10:00 a.m., Joyce Gibson and Sarah Sprogell, were approved.

3. We were saddened to learn of the death of Susan (Sukie) Rice who had been ill for some time.  Liana Knight-Thompson, Sarah Sprogell, and Tess Hartford volunteered to write a memorial minute.

4. Trustees:  Donna Hutchins sent a report.  They have an estimate for the cost of repointing the meetinghouse bricks, and we asked that they obtain a second estimate for comparison.  The kitchen has been painted. Window sills have been scraped and painted. Other plans are to refinish the front entry floor and paint the walls; refinish or replace the back hall floor and paint the walls; and paint the horse shed doors and posts. Andy Higgins will be asked to remove some trees too close to buildings, remove dead tree at the parsonage, move sand in Lunt Cemetery to make a parking lot for the green burial area, and fix damage in Lunt Cemetery.

            We discussed the usefulness of the phone land line in the meetinghouse in the era of cell phones.  Kristna Evans will consult with Katharine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt regarding alternates for a phone connection in the meetinghouse. 

5. We approved that KItsie and Kristna will follow up and use their discretion in changing to a less costly phone connection.

6. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee is planning a forum designed to deepen our understanding of the presence of racism in ourselves and our communities. Using readings as a stimulus for conversation, The committee is planning a series of discussions, each with a different focus. There will be more information about this project in the newsletter and again mid-August. The newsletter will have a list of recommended books and articles. In August they will give dates and topics for the discussions, which will begin in September. They hope many will participate in this important exploration.

            The committee has also written a Letter to the Editor for local papers.  They ask our permission to submit it to Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, and Brunswick newspapers. The letter is as follows:

            “Recent events have shed new light on the many ways racism is embedded in our society. While whites benefit from opportunities; people of color find hurdles, doors closed, and all kinds of barriers. Racism exists in health care, education, housing, policing, and voting rights.

            We recognize that our silence makes us complicit with injustice and violence. To quote Martin Luther King Jr. Nov. 17, 1957 The Trumpet of Conscience, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” We Quakers are called to better understand our complicity and to end it. We ask ourselves how we have supported racism in our communities, our state, and our country. To find the answers we must listen and learn about the experiences of others – people of color, the poor, the incarcerated, and the Native population of our state. Only with new understanding can we effect the changes we are called to make.

            Let us open our hearts and minds to the tragic effects of systemic racism, the loss of generations of black and brown leaders to unjust incarceration and the intractable poverty of the caste system we have allowed to flourish. Let’s let the protestors into our offices and boardrooms, to tell us of their hopes. Attend city/town council meetings to encourage thoughtful responses to the calls for a more just society. With new clarity we can legislate and live our ideals of justice and freedom for ALL Americans.”

            The committee also discussed posting a Black Lives Matter sign at the meetinghouse.

7. We approved sending the above letter to various newspapers, signed by the clerk representing Durham Friends Meeting.

8. We approved posting a Black Lives Matter ready-made sign at the meetinghouse.  Margaret Wentworth suggested that we read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

9.  Meeting Care Coordinator Search Committee:  A positive and interesting all-meeting virtual interview with Mey Hasbrook was held on July 5.  Mey is a Quaker from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

            The committee would like to amend the Meeting Care Coordinator job description to include oversight by a three-person committee.  Martha Sheldon, Leslie Manning, and Wendy Schlotterbeck volunteered to serve.  To further describe the tasks of the MCC, they will meet with the Communications Committee, Ministry and Counsel, the Clerks group, and others as time allows.

            The Treasurer, Katharine Hildebrandt, suggested that the Care Coordinator salary be $10,200 per year.

10. The meeting approved the amendment to the job description, a three person oversight committee consisting of Martha Sheldon, Leslie Manning, and Wendy Schlotterbeck. 

11.  The meeting approved hiring Mey Hasbrook as Meeting Care Coordinator, to begin as soon as practical arrangements can be made, with a salary of $10,200 per year.

12. Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell presented the quarterly financial report which is attached.  She reported a total income of $27,696.58, and the total expenses of $17,902. 77 as of June 31, 2020. Our weekly contributions are lower than usual, but we have done well in limiting committee expenses, and there haven’t been any large expenses for the meetinghouse and parsonage.

            We spent almost $10,000 from the capital account for improvements in both the meetinghouse and the parsonage; this doesn’t show up in our operating budget. There is a new water heater at the parsonage, a number of plumbing improvements for the meetinghouse kitchen sinks, replaced the water filter system, and painted the meeting room, kitchen, and exterior windows.

13.  Ministry and Counsel: Doug Bennett presented a report regarding our method of worshiping as a group.

            “Since March 22, Durham Friends Meeting has been conducting worship via Zoom rather than in our Meetinghouse.  We have been gratified to see good participation in Meeting during these months of physical isolation from one another. 

            We know that there are some members of the Meeting who are eager to have us return to the Meetinghouse to worship together.  At the same time, we know there are many among us for whom catching the virus could be life threatening — a risk not worth running. 

            For the foreseeable future we believe the Meeting should continue to worship primarily via Zoom. 

            At the same time, we have started experimenting with a hybrid form of worship in which we will worship via Zoom and some people will worship in the Meetinghouse using electronic devices to connect to Zoom. 

            As we move forward, we will let you know when it is possible for some to return to worship in the Meetinghouse and what you should do if and when you do come to the Meetinghouse.  Everyone who comes to the Meetinghouse will be asked to wear masks and maintain safe social distance from one another.  There will continue to be no shared refreshments. 

            We are likely to continue holding worship primarily via Zoom until a vaccine or proven anti-viral medicines are developed.  All future decisions and formats are dependent on CDC recommendations. 

            Finding ways to worship together and at the same time ensuring the safety of all of our members continue to be our two guiding stars.  We appreciate the assistance New England Yearly Meeting and others have given us as we learn the possibilities and potential pitfalls of such hybrid worship.” 

13.  We approved this plan for the for-seeable future, and thank Ministry and Counsel for their thoughtful consideration of meeting attendance.

14.  Martha Sheldon reported that Leslie Manning, Clerk of the Permanent Board, requests that the meetinghouse be used to view New England Yearly Meeting annual sessions, August 1-9.  Appropriate precautions are required.  Leslie will host many of these sessions..

15. We approved the use of the meetinghouse for viewing NEYM sessions.

16.  Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck, Youth Minister, reported that 9 persons enjoyed the Cox Pinnacle hike last Sunday, July 12th.  She announced a game night on August 15, at 6:30 via Zoom.  Please send her trivia questions. She also reminded us to register for New England Yearly Meeting. Wendy has reported that she is cutting back her hours while the pandemic is ongoing to five hours a week due to the lack of activity, to be reconsidered when social distancing is no longer necessary.

17. Clerk Martha Sheldon reminded us that the Durham Meeting Handbook needs to be updated.  Committees are encouraged and requested to update their sections.  It was suggested that the Clerks Committee tackle this project.  A friendly discussion ensued regarding our need for more Quaker faith and practice education.  Resources were suggested.

            The meeting ended with a short prayer from Clerk, Martha Sheldon.

Dorothy Hinshaw Recording Clerk

“Being at Friends Camp,” by Natalie Bornstein

A message given at Durham Friends Meeting, July 12, 2020

Good Morning. My name is Natalie Bornstein. I want to thank you for inviting me to be with you
today and to share a message on behalf of Friends Camp. I am a member of the Friends Camp
Committee and I also was a camper and a counselor as a young person.
For folks who may not know, Friends Camp is a Quaker sleepaway camp in South China, Maine
for youth ages 7-17. Friends Camp has been around since 1953 and due to the Covid-19
pandemic, this is the first summer that we have been unable to offer camp. But, before I share a
bit about the situation that Friends Camp is in today, I’d like to invite you to imagine Camp as it
usually is.
If you are comfortable, I invite you to think of yourself at around 12 years old. If that feels
uncomfortable in any way, you might imagine a 12 year-old you know and love or just listen
without any particular person in mind. For the next few minutes, you are 12 years old and you
are at Friends Camp for a two-week session with about 100 other young people. Twelve is a
great age to go to Camp. You’re young enough to fully give yourself over to silliness and
pretend and old enough to enjoy some of the independence that overnight camp allows. Once
you have your mental picture, I’d like to guide you through a day at Camp.
In the morning you wake to the sound of a bell. It is a sunny day and you are warm in your bunk
bed in Dove Cabin. You get up slowly, put on your clothes, and swing open the screen door.
The camp is awake and buzzing! There are children swinging on the log swing, playing tether
ball, reading books under the shady pine grove, and braiding each other’s hair for the day. You
take a seat at a picnic table with a couple of other kids and a counselor who is drinking coffee.
They are laughing and talking about the upcoming day.
The final bell rings at 8 and it is time for breakfast. You head into Big Bird dining hall. It’s loud
and a little chaotic, but you get to sit next to some friends from another cabin who you haven’t
seen since yesterday. It’s Tuesday at Camp which means Bagel Tuesday. There is a buffet
smorgasbord of bagels laid out for you. You like blueberry bagels with cream cheese – sweet
and sour together.
After breakfast you have some free time. You head to the tree house with a couple of friends.
You’re hoping nobody else got there first. It is one of your favorite spots at Camp – high above
the ground, quiet and private. You and your friends sit on the floor of the tree house so that no
one can see you from the ground. You talk about things at Camp and things from home, too. It
is the third day of Camp and you’re starting to feel close to them.
The bell rings again and it’s time for Meeting for Worship. The whole camp heads up to Aviary.
Aviary is a big, one-room building with a large stone fireplace. An Aviary is a home for birds and
all the cabins at Camp are named after birds. Once you’re inside Aviary you have to be silent,
and there is a cacophony of shushing as you enter the doors.
You’re not totally sure how you feel about Meeting for Worship. It can be hard to stay silent.
What are you supposed to think about? Sometimes another kid will do something silly like fart in
the middle of the silence and everyone will laugh. But, sometimes, it can feel like a moment
that’s all yours and shared with everybody else at the same time. Everyday a counselor shares
a message. They make you feel calm, like having a story read to you when you were younger.
Sometimes they make you feel small, but not in a bad way. Some kids share messages too.
You never have, you’re not sure what you would say, but maybe one morning you will.
After Meeting for Worship, it’s time for Programs. In your program, you and 7 other kids are
writing a play together. You’re going to perform it at the Variety Show at the end of camp. It’s
very silly and doesn’t totally make sense and yesterday when your Program group was together,
you laughed so hard you couldn’t catch your breath. You volunteered to create the costumes
because you learned to sew recently, but you have a role in the performance too. The counselor
who is leading the program is very cool. They are studying theater in college.
Other kids are in their own programs. Some of them are making art, some are learning how to
build a fire, some are canoeing to a nearby island, some are organizing a protest, some are
inventing new sports, and some are getting dirty just for fun.
After Programs and lunch, you and your cabin mates retire to Dove for Rest Hour. While the sun
is high and hot outside, in the cabin, it’s cool and shady. Your counselor delivers the cabin’s
mail, while reminding you to talk quietly so that they can get some rest. Talking with your
friends, you try, unsuccessfully, to keep your giggles hushed. Eventually, your counselor tells
you that they really need sleep and that the remainder of Rest Hour will be silent. You climb
back into your own bunk and stare up at the ceiling. The walls of the cabin are covered in writing
and doodles. Writing on cabin walls is encouraged at camp. There are names of kids from 20
and 30 years ago! You read their names and their jokes and their favorite bands and imagine
kids in the future reading your name. You get out your black sharpy and sign your bunk bed,
adding ‘slept here 2021.’
Soon another bell rings and it’s time for Waterfront. You change into your bathing suit, grab your
towel, your water bottle, your book, and your friendship bracelet materials. You consider your
sunscreen but disregard it. You’re working on your tan!
At Waterfront, there is a wide grassy field that leads to a small rocky beach and a long dock
extending out onto the lake. Campers sit together in circles – talking, reading, playing cards,
making friendship bracelets. Some run to the water immediately, hand in hand with their
swimming buddies. They breathlessly declare their partnership to the counselor stationed at the
buddy board and run forward, feet pounding the slippery dock. The sounds of splashing,
shouting, and the high tone of a lifeguard’s whistle travel from the beach up to the field.
Another group of children rush the Boat House. Kayaks, canoes, and a small sailboat are
marched toward the rocky boat launch. You’ve never been on a boat like that, but think you’d
like to try. Some of the kids seem like they’ve been captaining boats forever. But, you think: it’s
your third summer at camp. If not now, when?
You talk to the counselor in charge of all of Waterfront. She’s excited that you want to learn how
to use the boats! She says, maybe for today you could go out on a boat together to see if you
like it?
Out on China Lake you feel powerful and quiet at once. The Waterfront counselor steers the
kayak confidently into the wind, and it blows your hair back and ripples in your ears. The feeling
of gliding across the water, away from camp, toward the islands makes you feel free and sets
your mind to thinking about big things – bigger than camp.
Remembering the counselor captaining your craft, you suddenly feel shy and unsure of what to
say to her, but she seems happy and comfortable with the silence. Suddenly, using the oar as a
pointer, she whispers: ‘Look! On that rock – it’s a turtle!’
After returning from Waterfront, there is time to rest or enjoy an elective before dinner. And by
dinner you are tired and hungry from the day. You pile your plate with pasta, garlic bread, salad,
and Nestor Cake (a peanut buttery, chocolate frosted, Friends Camp original dessert). Once
everyone has eaten, the counselors stand up in front of Big Bird, and call names for jobs. You
cross your fingers under the table and chant: ‘Not me. Not me. Not me.’ in your head. You were
planning to meet your friends at the log swing to continue the comic you’ve been reading
together. But, it’s the third day of camp and you haven’t gotten an assignment yet. And as they
call the names for dinner wash, you hear your own and sigh: ‘At least it isn’t bathrooms.’
When jobs are done, everyone comes together for Evening Games. You are given the role of
‘seaweed’ in the game Fishy, Fishy Cross my Ocean. Campers are running, falling, laughing,
and tagging one another. Some sit on the side of the field and watch or cheer. Tired and out of
breath, you put 3 fingers up to the sky to estimate how long until sunset like the Camp Director
taught you. It’s almost time for Vespers.
As the sky becomes dusky, campers rush to change into long sleeves and pants. In a line led by
counselors holding giant, light-up stop signs, you cross the busy road to the Vespers Field. As
you enter through a clearing, everyone begins to quiet down. You find a spot at the edge of the
field and sit cross legged in the grass. From this point at the top of the hill, you can see the
brilliant orange sun touching down on China Lake. The clouds around the sun are pink, the sky
above your head holds on to blue, and the water shimmers with the day’s remaining light.
Across the field, campers and counselors are gazing at the sunset, writing in journals, or laying
on their backs and staring at the sky – waiting for the first stars to arrive. You love the quiet at
the end of the day. There is no nervousness inside you, asking what should I say? What could I
contribute? The sunset and the lake is more than enough and says everything about the day.
After the sun slips past the horizon, a counselor stands up and stretches – signaling that
Vespers has come to an end. Campers and counselors come together in hugs, handshakes,
high fives, and smiles. Welcoming each other back to the realm of talking and noise. You walk
back to camp chatting and laughing again, but a calmness remains.
In Aviary, tonight’s Evening Program is singing together. Some of the early songs are loud and
involve coordinated movements. Others are inspiring and exciting like ‘Solidarity Forever.’ The
last song is a round called ‘Sanctuary,’ and in the final verse, campers begin to leave Aviary,
group by group, singing into the night. As you pass through the doors, a counselor hands you a
bedtime snack. It is a warm, gooey cinnamon roll. This is your favorite bedtime snack.
Once everyone is in bed in Dove Cabin, your counselor says goodnight, turns off the light, and
leaves for their hour off. Almost immediately, you and your friends launch into your favorite night
time game: attempting to make it all the way around the cabin without touching the floor. You
climb from top bunk to top bunk, scurry over bureaus and shelves, and swing across the
doorway, feet on either side of the doorknob.
It isn’t long before a counselor on night patrol, comes by with their flashlight, and tells Dove
Cabin to settle down. After they leave there are lots of giggles, but soon voices lower and your
cabin mates wiggle into their sleeping bags and drift off to sleep. In the darkness and quiet, you
feel awake. Your mind wanders and you feel unexpectedly sad and wish some of your friends
were awake to keep you company. After tossing and turning for a bit, while a mosquito squeals
in your ear, you decide to get out of bed and go outside.
You find the night patrol counselor sitting on the bench under the floodlight. Above them, moths
dive in and out of the light. You tell them you’re feeling sad and don’t know why. They ask if
you’d like to go for a walk?
The night is extra dark at camp. The frogs singing in the pond are the only sound in the hot air.
All the familiar places feel different, special and secret. As you walk, you tell the counselor about
how you miss your family while you’re at camp and that there are things you’d rather not think
about while you’re here. But, at night when you’re alone in your bunk, those things tend to come
back. You stop at a swing between two trees. You swing for a bit while they sit on a stump and
watch you. They mostly listen. It is nice to not be alone.
After a while on the swing, you feel more settled. The counselor walks you back to your cabin
and says goodnight. You creep quietly back into your bunk. The mosquito seems to be gone
now. You look out at the night sky through the small window by your bed. You hear the soft
sounds of your friends snoring and rustling in their beds. As you close your eyes, you can still
feel the waves of the lake underneath the kayak in your body. The memory rocks you as you
drift off to sleep.
Thank you for listening. Much of what I shared with you is based on moments that I experienced
as either a camper or counselor. I wrote this imagination about summer at camp in the year 2021. But, it could have been set at any time in the last 40 years. That is one of the aspects of
Friends Camp that make it home for so many people. While our values and vision continue to
evolve to better support the needs of youth, the daily routine, the summer activities, and the
feeling of community and friendship are timeless. I can say from years of experience, the rhythm
of life at camp is very grounding. And I hope my words were able to convey some of that feeling.
Of course, Camp is more than swimming, and games, and singing. It is a place where youth and
young adults from all backgrounds build community together that is rooted in Quaker values.
Youth and young adult staff work together to care for both the physical environment and the
relational and spiritual needs of the community. Quaker values at Camp are more than children
attending Meeting and Vespers everyday. It is built into the uniquely accessible structure of
camp. For example, among many other scholarships opportunities, Friends Camp offers
free-of-cost camp for any child in Maine who has a parent/guardian who is incarcerated. This
option lasts for all the years a child is able to attend camp, even if their parent or guardian is
released. Friends Camp is also a participant in the Level Ground program, a scholarship that
intends to make summer camp more accessible for youth in Maine from immigrant and refugee
families. And Friends Camp has long been a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
Recently, camp began offering a ‘gender expansive’ cabin for youth who do not feel affirmed by
the limited options of ‘girls’ and ‘boys.’
I also wrote this message as a prayer that Friends Camp will be able to open in summer 2021.
The cancelation of this summer’s sessions left Friends Camp in a challenging economic
situation. In order to insure that we can hold camp next summer and for years to come, Friends
Camp staff, committee members, alumni, and families have been working together on an
initiative called the ‘Flock Together Campaign’ to raise $75,000 to sustain camp. Thanks to the
generosity of the camp community, we are 90% of the way to reaching that goal.
Members of the Camp Committee, like myself, are also visiting with Meetings throughout New
England to connect with the wider Quaker community and share our need. Friends Camp is not
only an important summer resource for youth, it is an opportunity for them to connect with
Quakerism in a way that it is fun, age appropriate, and meaningful. And we appreciate the
generosity of the wider community for helping us keep this beautiful site of youth ministry alive.
If you feel moved personally or as a Meeting to support camp you can go online to
friendscamp.org/support or reach out to me personally. Thank you for listening and for inviting
me into your worship today.

Sukie Rice Has Passed; Invitation to a Vigil

From her husband, Lee:

Dear Friends,

Sukie passed on at noon today. Her last hours–from early this morning forward–went quickly. Even though she was unconscious, or turned deeply inward, during much of that time, there was a determination about those hours, a focus, like that of the long-distance runner who will not stop or be stopped till the finish line is crossed.

 Her last days–there have been eighteen of them since she ceased eating and drinking–were punctuated again and again by the surprising and generous idea, the loving suggestion, the gentle imperative, and the general putting in order of virtually all things within her reach (of course, because she’s never hesitated to call upon others to lend a hand, her reach remained very long indeed). 

As most of you know, Sukie staunchly believed in the reality of a spiritual world. She did not have a fear of death, perhaps intuiting, as Walt Whitman said, 

            “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
            And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”

As I sit here writing this, I find myself convinced that some confirmation of that intuition can probably be found in the radiantly peaceful, beautiful expression on the face of her body–which, thanks to Sarah, Pat, and Joan, lies freshly washed, dressed, and at rest now under a purple Kenya cloth in the next room.

But enough. Other than to let you know that the end of her life happened today, I have no more important thing to say than this: She loved you. You enriched her life. She was profoundly grateful for that. And she wouldn’t mind my adding that (as I think some of you may already have been reminded by her) not only will she not miss you, she will be with you, now and in times to come.   — Lee

From her friend, Sarah Hyde:

Our dearest Sukie crossed the threshold today [July 17]. She took flight with such beauty and courage!  

Now we begin a three-day Vigil in which we honor her passing, her extraordinary life. We welcome you to come and visit her body in her home for the next three days. Our experience in being a part of a vigil is to visit, to come and sit at her kitchen table, laugh, cry, share your stories of Sukie and what you loved about her, Then, if you wish, go and sit with her in Silence, prayer, singing a song she loved, reciting or reading a poem or scripture… .whatever you are moved to do with her for 5-15 minutes. We consider this Vigil a period of time that helps to carry Sukie across the waters to the next world. Someone will be at her home throughout the day- the Chisholm family at night, Pat Chanterelle, Joan Mueller and I will be there during the day from 10 am-7 pm. We welcome anyone who would like to visit with Sukie.

We ask that you please wear masks and dress warmly. Though it is supposed to be quite warm this weekend, we will have the room very cold with an air conditioner to help her body and its 3-day passage. We have made a Google Doc  that you can use to sign up for a specific time slot identifying when you would like to visit. Here is the link.  Thank you all for your kind words and support of Sukie throughout the past few months. She looks beautiful and peaceful; she’s heading home.

Below is a description written by Lee with regard to a 3-day Vigil- it is beautiful. If you would like more information beyond this click on the link he offers- it is very helpful. Much Love and Reverence for Sukie and this very sacred time together, — Sarah Hyde

The Three-Day Vigil

As many of you have heard, Sukie and I all this winter, spring, and summer have been feeding—and watching—the birds. Just as each species has its own look, flight pattern, song, so too each also has its own way of eating at our bird feeder. My personal favorite is probably the chickadee. Nothing greedy there. The little fellow alights, takes one plump seed, pauses (just for a second), and springs into the air, gleefully victorious, with its prize in its beak.

That may be a helpful image—chickadee version—of a brief time that follows death. Sukie and I believe that, with the last breath, the soul detaches from the body, but it does not simultaneously or instantaneously detach from its life. Indeed, all the people, places, things, and events it has encountered during its life lie before it—or so we have come to believe– in a vast panorama.  A panorama, or tableau, that one experiences over the course of approximately three days…and from the fruits of this experience, one takes (makes, shapes, and creates as well, perhaps) a “seed.”

If all this is so (and many a cultural tradition as well as the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who founded among other things the first Waldorf School, say that it is so), these three days are very special. Vigil or no vigil, each of us who knew Sukie—who have brought to her (and I quote her last letter, “great happiness as you have traveled your journey intermingling with mine”—is clearly a part of that retrospective tableau.

And during the vigil—whether you sit for a time in the room where her physical body rests or, from a distance, picture her as you knew her in life, and think of her (or read a poem to her,  sing to her, remember something you did together with her, speak to her of what she has meant to you in your life, etc—you help her. You support her. You become as if part of the pole or perch upon which the chickadee pauses, ever so briefly (three days is not a long time where eternity is concerned), before it springs into the light-filled air with that seed in its beak.

For more on the three-day vigil from another’s perspective, check out Nancy Poer’s article from an old issue of Lilipohhere.

Durham Friends Meetinghouse Centennial and Rededication, August 31, 1929

Doug Gwyn (former pastor at Durham Friends and noted Quaker author, came upon the article below, which appeared in The American Friend, October 3, 1929, about a celebration of the centennial of the current Durham Friends Meetinghouse. He sends it along with greetings to all. The Meeting history by Hattie O. Cox, to which reference is made, is here. The Meeting as a worshipping community was founded in 1775.

“Leaning Into Invitations and Blessings,” by Lisa Steele-Maley

Notes from Message for Durham Meeting, July 5, 2020


It is a serious thing,

Just to be alive

on this fresh morning

In this broken world.

These words from Mary Oliver’s poem Invitation help me to embrace the immensity of this moment. They invite me to step into the responsibility to stretch widely enough to embrace both the despair and the hope in this moment — mine, yours, and everyone else’s. When I found this poem in early April, the invitation provided ballast for navigating the push and pull of the everchanging, uncertain landscape. I gave myself to the responsibility of showing up, naming “paying attention” as my primary commitment and trusting that the next right thing to do will emerge.

Invitation

Mary’s invitation gave me courage, energy, and strength to show up and I gave myself to it fully and wholeheartedly, until I was exhausted. In my exhaustion, I become impatient, eager to return to some action, some form of doing. Fortunately, John O’Donohue’s poem meets me there, with gentle reassurance that “empty time” is where I need to be. He encourages me to let go of “doing” and give into “being”.

For One Who is Exhausted, A Blessing

The ballast provided by giving into the exhaustion balances that of showing up. Settling in more deeply to embrace both the exhale and the inhale, the rest and the exertion, I recognize Spirit at work in me. Recognizing the accompaniment of spirit, I more easily trust that the ebb and flow of my energy and attention is natural and necessary. It is how I remain faithful. Parker Palmer wrote, “the struggle for love, truth and justice is forever. Those of us who care about it are not asked to win a final victory in our lifetimes. We are asked to remain faithful to the task…”

At this time, let us lean into the invitations and the blessings that help us to remain faithful to the task. And let us remember that “it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world” and “we must be excessively gentle with ourselves.”

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, Saturday, July 25, 10am to Noon

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting asks:  How are we being nourished?

Friends, it’s good to feel nourished, especially in times of heightened concern.  Falmouth Quarter intends to meet on Saturday July 25 for fellowship, spiritual nourishment and worship.  We will use the Zoom format and gather there from 10 to noon.

We invite each meeting to bring a reflection/meditation to share on what you have discovered in this season of virtual community and bring a query that all can respond to.  We are imagining each meeting would share their thoughts and query, followed by worship sharing, repeated six times for all six meetings.

We hope all meetings will feel led to participate in this time to gather, connect, share and worship together as a larger community.  Durham Friends who would like to be involved in any way, please reach out to Sarah Sprogell at sarahsprogell@gmail.com or 319-5077.

In Peace and Gratitude for our gathered communities, Sarah Sprogell and Fritz Weiss, co-conveners of Falmouth Quarter.

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass

Note: This morning (July 5, 2020), Joyce Gibson opened worship by reading excerpts from this speech by Frederick Douglass. Here is the whole speech.

Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852, Corinthian Hall, Rochester, N.Y., on invitation of the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, N.Y.

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

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He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable — and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. “Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day — cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime.

The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too — great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them!

Fully appreciating the hardship to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interest — a nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait — perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans, and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans, if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and his cause is the ever-living now.

Trust no future, however pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within, and God overhead.

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men shout — “We have Washington to our father.” — Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is.

The evil that men do, lives after them, The good is oft-interred with their bones.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. — The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mineYou may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery — the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man, (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. — There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Take the American slave-trade, which, we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year, by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states, this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government, as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words, from the high places of the nation, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade, as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the laws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our DOCTORS OF DIVINITY. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish themselves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and America religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh-jobbers, armed with pistol, whip and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field, and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-chilling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man, with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the center of your soul! The crack you heard, was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard, was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow the drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shocking gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me citizens, WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed CASH FOR NEGROES. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number have been collected here, a ship is chartered, for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains, and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horsessheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Is this the land your Fathers loved,
The freedom which they toiled to win?
Is this the earth whereon they moved?
Are these the graves they slumber in?

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason and Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the Star-Spangled Banner and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your lawmakers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, our lordsnobles, and ecclesiastics, enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there are neither law, justice, humanity, not religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side, is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe, having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise, and cumin” — abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! — And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to solicit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old Covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox, to the beautiful, but treacherous queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country, (with fractional exceptions), does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mintanise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith.”

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation — a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish slavery. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared — men, honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land have, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example or the Hebrews and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend (Rev. R. R. Raymond) on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in England towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating, and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high religious question. It was demanded, in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, and Burchells and the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable, instead of a hostile position towards that movement. Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties), is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria, and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation — a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you “hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that the right to hold and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped

To palter with us in a double sense:
And keep the word of promise to the ear,
But break it to the heart.

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest imposters that ever practiced on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape. But I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length — nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq., by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerritt Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which, the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon, as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but, interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a track of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation, for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, common-sense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the Constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the Constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tell us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic, are distinctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered fights again
Restore.

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end.
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But all to manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his prison-house, the thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive —
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.

Source: Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings, ed. Philip S. Foner (Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1999), 188-206.

Howard Thurman: “The oneness of mankind”

From Joyce Gibson’s invitation to worship, Durham Friends Meeting, June 28, 2020

“Religion has enjoyed an exclusive character for far too long,‘’ he said, “and this has fostered inequality and established the principle of separateness.  Men, instead of feeling at one with each other because of their relationship to God, are set apart from each other because of the division caused by their differing theologies.  Exclusiveness may once have been a luxury, but it can be no longer.  In human affairs, science is in process of annihilating space and time; religion can keep pace only as it annihilates boundaries.  The basis for modern life is the acknowledged oneness of mankind.” 

[Were he speaking today, Thurman would surely have spoken of “people” rather than of “men” or “mankind.”]

Quoted in Elizabeth Yates McGreal, Howard Thurman:  Portrait of a Practical Dreamer (New York: John Day Publishing, 1964), (pp. 142-143).

Phyllis May Curtis White Wetherell, Memorial Minute, June 21, 2020

Phyllis Wetherell was born in 1936 in Portland, Maine, the first child of John and Mary Curtis.  She grew up in Durham Friends Meeting and remained a member here all her life – one of our many beloved members of the family Curtis.  With many friends in both communities, she oscillated between Durham, Maine and Richmond, Indiana all her life. 

Phyllis May Curtis White Wetherell Obituary

After her first husband, Ira Donald White, and her daughter, Lisa, passed away, she married David Wetherell, the pastor of Durham Friends.  They moved to Richmond, Indiana so that David could attend the Earlham School of Religion.  After David graduated, they moved to Bar Harbor where Phyllis and David helped start Acadia Friends Meeting.  About a decade later they moved back to Richmond, Indiana.

Phyllis became receptionist/secretary at the Earlham School of Religion, a position she held for fifteen years, from 1985 to 2000.  Hers was the first face that prospective students, faculty, and staff encountered.  She welcomed them and treated them graciously and with a kindness that came from her heart.  Phyllis always believed she had “the best seat in the house” at the front desk at ESR.  She wrote,

“What an education to listen to people wrestling out loud about their beliefs or lack of beliefs, to see the profound impact a feisty professor has on someone who finally sees and feels the Light, to watch as a programmed Quaker meets head on an unprogrammed Quaker, when neither one knows anything of the other’s practices. Do you know how exciting it is to listen to folk trying to sort out their beliefs and try and figure out where those beliefs will lead them?”

David passed away in 1990.  When Phyllis retired from ESR she came again to live among us in Maine, and then returned to Friends Fellowship in Richmond, Indiana in 2013 for the last seven years of her life.  We were always glad to see her when she came back to Durham Friends.

A bright presence in all places and seasons, Phyllis will be deeply missed by all who knew her.  She is survived by her children Susan (Dale), Linda (Rick), and David John (Jennifer); her sister Charlotte, brother Johnny (Mildred), and stepdaughter Lynne. Her grandchildren that will carry on all she taught them: Hickory (Trisha), Ryder (Amanda), Rossy, Marjorie, Korey, Brandon (Jenna), Ashton (Wyatt), Nate and Genesee. So, too, her great-grandchildren:  Jack, Mason, Max, Samuel, Lumen, and (due in July), Sawyer. Those already passed on include her parents John and Mary Curtis, brother David, daughter Lisa, and the two loves of her life, husbands Donny and David.

Phyllis passed from this life, in Richmond, on April 25, 2020. 

Edie Whitehead, Memorial Minute, June 21, 2020

Edith Marie Whitehead, 1923-2020

Edith Mary Whitehead May 22,1923 – April 18, 2020
Edie Whitehead died from natural causes, Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Horizons Living and Rehab Center, just a month before her 97th birthday.

Edie Mary Lamb was born on May 22, 1923, in Dublin, Ireland, the youngest of three children. After training as a physical therapist, she came to the United States to care for a cousin. She met Macy Whitehead in Phippsburg through a mutual friend, Albert Bailey, and they were married on April 22, 1952 in the “manner of Friends” at the Quaker meeting in Westtown, in West Chester, Pa. They shared a commitment to each other, family and community for 60 wonderful years; raising four children and numerous dogs, cats and horses. Throughout their lives, they stayed rooted to the simple things.

Her husband’s various positions, as an ordained minister, took them to South Portland (1955-60), Eagle Butte, South Dakota, (1960-73) and Kent, Connecticut, (1973-78). From Connecticut, they moved to New York while Macy earned a pastoral counseling degree, and Edie supported her family by working in a hospital. In 1982 they moved to Bath, Maine.

Edie was an avid quilter and member of Kaleidoscope Quilt Guild in West Bath for many years. She and Macy started attending Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends after they moved to Maine and after several years among us, became a member in 2000. She was active in USFW and in the Durham Friends Women’s Society. We at Durham knew her as an active member and knowledgeable about Quaker History and the Bible. She had an infectious smile, a wry sense of humor, sometimes irreverent, loved to engage in conversation and was not afraid to challenge people.

Edie took hostessing very seriously, and put on a spread of food that was delicious, and also beautifully presented, with every detail attended to carefully. Her dishes, the doilies, the little knife for spreading, and of course flowers, were all perfectly arranged. She delighted in doing it and wanted people to remember her for it. She loved to quilt and shared this love of hers with the women at Durham Meeting.

She and Macy shared a family camp in Brightwater, which is a summer colony in Phippsburg, and they would hold worship time with family and friends in their summer community, which included many hymn sings. Edie is survived by her family- Deirdre, Harris, Heather (Philipand Tom; Camilla and Carla; five grandchildren Celia, Kai, Sam, Bevan and Lionel; and a large extended Irish family.

Edie was a gracious, welcoming and loving person. She was fun to be around – always full of good ideas and projects needing doing. She had a beautiful singing voice and was a creative, talented fabric artist. Her working years involved helping people in need or in creating something beautiful. Her twinkling eyes and capable hands will be sorely missed.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 21, 2020

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

1. The May minutes were approved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Secretary

Planning for an Active Prayer Group – June 18 at 8:30am

CALLING DURHAM PRAYER WARRIORS!

Conversations about an ongoing, active prayer group or practice have been happening for several months now, and it is time to act!  A meeting to discuss how we are to proceed will take place via Zoom and telephone on Thursday, June 18 at 8:30 am.  Please bring your experience, ideas and your spirit to help us launch another way for us to pray together.  

Praying has always been important to the Society of Friends and in the life of Friends in Durham Meeting.  Prayer chains, contemplative prayer groups, healing circles, for local and world needs are examples of our involvement in prayer.  Individual prayer and requests for special prayer from within the Society of Friends are ongoing ways we seek the Light.

Remember to join the meeting by Zoom on the Durham Meeting site, or by telephone.  We are looking forward to our time together. Information on how to connect is here.

Joyce Gibson

Join the Poor People’s Campaign Now and on June 20!

On June 20th, there will be the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-income people across this nation will be heard!
 
Dear Friends,
 
Hope you are staying well during these challenging times. We are at a crucial moment in history when we could go back to “business as usual” with its racism, militarism, poverty and ecological devastation or we could use this as an opportunity to build a build a new society – with justice for all, peace with the rest of the world, and living in harmony with Mother Earth. A massive peoples movement is already underway and we all have an opportunity to join in this effort. 
I am very impressed with the Poor Peoples Campaign: a National Call for a Moral Revival (PPC).  Led by Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, the PPC has organized a people power movement in 45 states to challenge what Martin Luther King called the triple evils of racism, militarism and poverty (building on MLK’s last campaign, known as the Poor Peoples Campaign, in which I had the opportunity to be involved back in 1968).   You can join the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering  by tuning in live to June2020.org at 10am EST on Saturday June 20 – or join the rebroadcast at 3pm PST ( 6pm EST) the same day or at 6pm EST on Sunday, June 21.
 
More than 100 organizations will participate, along with 16 religious denominations, and national figures and celebrities including Al Gore, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Debra Messing and Jane Fonda.  But the core of the program will be the words and experiences of poor and impacted people from across the country.
 
Please invite your friends, family and your networks to join us as well. See the list of  Demands and the Moral Budget of the Poor Peoples Campaign at their website:  poorpeoplescampaign.org.
 
Warm Greeting and Peace,
David Hartsough

WHATThe Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will be the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience on June 20, 2020.The increasing urgency of a broad movement led by the poor and most impacted is more apparent every day. Now is the time to organize towards collective action to enact a moral agenda for the nation. As our ranks grow in the coming months due to COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of poverty, building a platform for the plight, fight, and insight of the poor is even more urgent.We are marshaling our collective voices to demonstrate the power of our communities. We demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.
WHENThis 2 hour program will be broadcast live on Saturday June 20th at 10:00am EST and again at 6:00pm EST.  You can also listen in on Sunday, June 21st at 6:00pm EST.   Adjust all to your time zone.
WHERE The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! We will gather from all 50 U.S. states and territories, and from across the world.  Visit June2020.org to tune in.
WHY We are gathering on June 20, 2020 to dramatize the pain and prophetic leadership of the poor and build power to enact our demands.We are waking the nation to the interlocking injustices facing 140 million poor and low-income people, 43% of the nation.But it’s not enough just to be awake. It’s not the waking, it’s the rising. On June 20, 2020, we rise together!If the rejected millions—the poor without health insurance, without living wages, without clean water, without voting protections—unite, we can move the moral and political imagination of this country and revive the heart of our democracy!
WHO The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is made up of people of all backgrounds, we are Black, Brown, White, Native, and Asian; we are old and young; we are Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim; we are people of faith and not of faith; we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; we are led by poor people and we are a cross-class movement; we are people of all abilities; and we live across this nation, from Alabama to Alaska, from Maine to California to Mississippi.
HOW We will gather online on June 20, 2020 from across the country and world.We will launch a robust accessibility campaign to ensure those of us most affected by poverty and its interlocking injustices are able to participate fully.To begin, go to www.june2020.org to let us know you will join us on June 20, 2020.Spread the word in your networks and social media.Get connected to your state’s coordinating committee. 
—David Hartsough, author of WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist,
PM press 2014. Available through Peaceworkers for $20 at 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117. 
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: 
Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Our mailing address is:
Peaceworkers721 Shrader StreetSan Francisco, CA 94117

“Holy Silence and Worldly Silence,” By Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, June 14, 2020

People of my generation (and I use that term very loosely to include many of us) may not know much of the Bible.  Unlike my parents I didn’t grow up memorizing Bible verses.  But most of us in my generation know the first eight verses of the third chapter of the 21st book in the Hebrew Testament.  That’s because some guy just took those lines (from the King James Version), set them to music, and recorded it as a song.  That was Pete Seeger; he recorded it in 1962.  When the Byrds released a version of it in 1965 as “Turn, Turn, Turn,” it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  And the song still has the distinction of being the song that reached #1 with the oldest lyrics.

Here are those first eight verses of the third chapter of the 21st book of the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes, a book that by legend, was written by King Solomon:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

It’s a song with a strong connection to an era of peace protests and civil rights demonstration, an era of insistence on doing right.  It was a call to peace and justice – and it still is. 

“A time to keep silence and a time to speak;” “a time of war and a time of peace.”  For many of us, the song came to mean that now, right now, was a time for peace and a time for speaking out.  More than a half century later, here we are again. 

How can that be?  Have we learned nothing? Have we achieved nothing?

For Quakers, for worshipping communities like us, silence is at the core of our spiritual practice.  We gather in silence for worship.  Sometimes we stay in silence for the whole of our worship time.  But this doesn’t seem like a time for silence; it seems like a time for speaking.  And more than that, it seems like a time for doing. 

I’ve been thinking that there are two kinds of silence, and they are quite different. 

One kind we might call holy silence.  We quiet ourselves to hear God.  We quiet ourselves to give attention to what God is asking of us. 

The other kind we might call worldly silence.  We’re silent because we’re lost or confused; we don’t know what to say.  We’re silent because we’re biting our tongues.  We know what to say but we aren’t strong enough or brave enough to say it. 

Worldly silence is a stay-on-the-sidelines kind of silence.  Holy silence is a getting-ready kind of silence, a getting ready to speak and a getting ready to act kind of silence. 

What is it we have to say?  It’s not good enough to say we’re against racial inequity; it’s not good enough to say we that Black Lives Matter.  We Quakers (not us, but those who came before us) were early to speak up for the abolition of slavery.  But we were largely unprepared for what would come after slavery.  We didn’t welcome African-Americans into Friends Meetings or into Quaker schools or colleges.  Fit for Freedom But Not for Friendship is the quite telling title of the book that Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye wrote about that.  We were silent, tongue-tied maybe, or worse. 

Many Quakers supported the civil rights advocacy of the 1960s that led to the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965.  But in our lifetimes, we’ve seen those weren’t enough.  And worse, we’ve seen those steps forward rolled back, gutted.  We may not have wanted that roll-back, but we didn’t speak manage to speak out strongly enough to stop that rollback

401 years since the first people were brought to these shores in chains, enslaved; 244 years since we proclaimed all people created equal; 155 years since the end of Civil War and the end of state-authorized slavery.  We still have deep and persisting racial injustice in this country. 

We see police violence.  And nothing done about it.

We see persisting gaps in achievement in our schools.

We see school expulsions and suspensions disproportionately exercised against people of color.

We see the right to vote denied to African Americans.  Polling places closed.  Voter registrations cancelled.  Gerrymandering.  Voting machines sabotaged.

We see prisons disproportionately filled with people of color.

We see neighborhoods segregated by race. 

We see deep and persisting inequalities in employment.  In income.  In wealth.

In every conceivable way we see unjustified – unjustifiable – gaps between the life experience of people simply on the basis of race and color. 

We see worse health care and worse health outcomes for people of color.  COVID 19 is hitting people of color particularly hard.  I read recently that in the last decade 1200 scientific papers were published calling attention to racial disparities in health and medical care.  Noticing isn’t enough.  Talking about it isn’t enough. 

Here in Maine we can stand a little to one side of all this – the whitest state in the union (or is it Vermont?).  But is that anything that excuses our silence, really?

In every realm of life, we see injustice.  If we don’t see it, shame on us. If we don’t speak out about it, shame on us.  If we don’t try to make it right, shame on us.

Today, we are called to see that we make good on the promise of equality.  We are called to speak out – to insist that we truly be a country that accords liberty and justice to all,

There are political currents that are working on this:  movements, organizations, campaigns. Black Lives Matter, the Poor People’s Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, many others.  These all need our support and we should give support to them. 

We should also remember where we will find our bearings.  We’re not going to find our deepest bearings in politics alone, in movements or campaigns no matter how passionate or righteous the cause.  It’s not where we should look to find them.  We need to go deeper

To be at our best, our clearest, our most courageous, we find them here in worship. 

We will find them in the holy silence we share.  We will find our bearings in the holy silence in which we listen for God’s leadings.

We will learn again and anew:  that each and every human being is a child of God.  We will learn again and anew:  that each and every human being has the capacity to know God, to hear what God has to tell us, us humans, and to share that with others.  Those others include each and every human being, whatever their race, or religion, whatever their age or their occupation – teacher or student, protestor or policeman. 

We will learn again and anew that violence and domination won’t work.  They only prepare the way for more violence in the future.  We will learn again and anew that in listening carefully to God “we can be changed—even transformed.”  We will learn again and anew that in the holy silence, “We can come to live lives reflecting the Light and Love of God” and that this will give us the clarity and courage to transform the world.  Those words, that “we can be changed—even transformed” and “we can come to live lives reflecting the Light and Love of God” are right up front on the New England Yearly Meeting website about “what we believe.” 

“A time to keep silence and a time to speak;” “a time of war and a time of peace.”  Those are words from Ecclesiastes.  In this troubled time, we need to gather in silence to see where God would direct us, and we need to be prepared to speak and to act when we leave Meeting.  In this time of hate and or war, we must prepare the way for a time of peace and of love.  We need holy silence but not worldly silence. 

Cross-posted on Riverviewfriend.

Quakers Speak Out About Racial Injustice

June 2020, with updates

New England Yearly Meeting, A Time for Repentance and Transformation, June 5, 2020

The Outgoing Epistle of the 2020 Virtual Pre-Gathering of Friends of Color and their Families, June 28, 2020.

What Is Your Right Next Step? Liz Nicholson, Quaker Voluntary Service, June 3, 2020 with updates

Overcoming Obstacles, Message at DFM by Roland Gibson, February 2018

Transformation Towards Racial Justice, Message at DFM by Nancy Marsaller, October 2017

New England Yearly Meeting Minute on Racism, 2003

Friends Committee on National Legislation: Racism and Whiteness

AFSC Condemns Police Killing of George Floyd and Police Violence Against Protesters 

Friends General Conference: Learn Ways to Take Action Against Systematic Racism

Earlham Board of Trustees Statement Against Racism

Guilford President Jane K. Fernandes and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office Denouncing Racial Injustice and Violence

Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith on Uniting Against Racial Injustice

Haverford College President Wendy Raymond on Becoming Anti-Racist

Friends Schools Respond to the Events of May, 2020

Such a Time As This: A Response to Hate and Violence (NEYM, July 18, 2017)

Quakers, Racism and the Blessed Community (QuakerSpeak Video, 10/16/2014)

Children’s and Youth Sunday – Sunday June 7

Plans are being developed to celebrate Durham Friends’ Meeting children and youth on our traditional Children’s Day on the first Sunday of June (June 7).

We will be inviting families to come to the horse shed sometime before June 7 and while observing physical distance (if others are present) complete activities and choose some gifts including a plant or flower to plant June 7. Meeting for Worship via Zoom on June 7 will include content directed at our younger participants. Stay tuned for more information!

“Vulnerability, the Light, and a Personal Message,” by Sukie Rice

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 3, 2020

Message brought by Sukie Rice on May 3, 2020)

I have recently re-read (for the fourth time) a book called “And There Was Light.”  It is an autobiography by Jacques Lusseyran, a Frenchman born in 1924.  At the age of eight, Lusseyran had an accident that caused him to become totally blind.  Much like Helen Keller, his life was an inspiration to countless numbers of people as he made his blindness become his strongest asset.  Indeed, at age 17 he became the leader of a French resistance group that printed and distributed an underground newspaper, which he and schoolboy friends spread widely.  Within a few years the paper had a distribution of about 50,000, making it one of the most reliable sources of resistance news in the country. There was no book containing the hundreds of names and numbers of members of the group, but instead they were all kept in Lusseyran’s head. But that’s not why I’m telling you about him.

What I want to tell you about is his experience growing up without sight.  He says that from the earliest time after the accident, although he was unable to see the light of the world, much to his amazement, the light was still there.  In all its movement, shades, colors, as strong as it had been when he had had his sight.  When others said he would never see light again, what he discovered is that the Light is not in the in the outer world.  The Light dwells where life also dwells: within ourselves.

His second discovery was that this inner light was dependent on him and his soul condition. When he felt fear, sorrow, anger or envy the light decreased accordingly or became extinguished. It was when he was in a negative soul condition that he was truly blind.  The absence of love was what brought on the loss of the Light.

Needless to say, blindness became the catalyst for him to live a new way.  Each day a school chum would meet him at his door and walk him to school, looking forward to their new day.  Boys vied to give him their shoulder to hold onto as they ran down the roads and through the fields.  He didn’t miss out on play for a moment. He was an excellent student, highly respected for his ability to pay deep attention, his ability to sort out the “truth” from fiction, and his insight into the real intentions and character of others.  He says his blindness was his greatest gift as it gave him access to the real Light.

Now I’m going to shift gears, and talk a little about vulnerability.  Everyone has felt vulnerable at some time or another. People usually don’t like to feel vulnerable.  They often tend to walk away from situations that make them feel vulnerable, sometimes closing themselves off, protecting themselves, finding ways not to feel or show vulnerability.  After all, vulnerability is weakness, isn’t it?

Well, I’m going to say, “no.”  In fact, I believe feeling vulnerable is one of the most valuable things we can allow ourselves to feel.  Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, to have our hearts be broken, is what can change our lives.  You can’t fall in love without risking getting hurt.  You can’t do most anything worthwhile in life without taking chances and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

But most of all, I think that it is when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we accept our “cracks” through which the Light can enter in. Clearly Jacques Lusseyran embraced his vulnerability and, instead of being angry or sorry for himself, he opened himself and discovered a whole world of Light and a way of seeing from the inner soul.  He treasured this gift he had been given.

Now I’m going to shift gears once again.  And talk about myself and my journey with cancer and of being vulnerable, very vulnerable, as facing one’s mortality makes one become.

Most of you know that I have been dealing with cancer for over 2 ½ years. Stage 3 ovarian cancer has a poor recovery rate, and from the beginning I knew my chances of “beating it” weren’t great.  But I also knew it was a challenge from God and I needed to accept it, to embrace it and to give it my best shot and to take advantage of this disease to change and grow.  I knew God had given it to me as a gift, to crack me open, to be vulnerable and to discover new things.

 It has actually been an incredible journey with so much spiritual seeking, inner growth, and an abundance of love and connection with others.  We ARE connected, deeply connected, although it’s easy for weeks and months to go by without our realizing how powerfully true this is.  Because of my vulnerability I have become intensely conscious of these connections, and because of that, more Love and Light has been coming through the cracks, often with great tenderness.

Now I wish to bring you “up to date” with where I am and what is happening with my cancer.  A month ago I shared with Friends about this during our after-meeting Zoom fellowship and they all said, “Please share this with the rest of the Meeting,” which is why I am doing so today.

Two months ago my CT scan showed the cancer was growing and had metastasized into my lung and pleural cavity.  It was brought there by the lymph, and once the lymph starts carrying cancer cells, it can keep spreading.  The doctor said I could either try one more chemo drug that might hinder the growth of the cancer.  Or I could begin on Hospice.  I chose the chemo.

I have now had two of these chemo treatments and tomorrow I am scheduled to go in for a third.  Unlike the other chemos I have had, this one seems to be especially toxic for my system, and the side effects have been very rugged.  It means I have a great deal of fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, and just plain feel crummy.  I have to sleep sitting up to avoid pain and nausea.  Of course there are pills I take to help reduce the intensity of these side effects, and they are certainly very helpful.  But every meal becomes a challenge.  Having my brain and motivation slow down to a crawl is frustrating. 

I do get some “good days” near the end of the 21-day cycle. This past Wednesday, Friday, yesterday were good days.   I’ve chosen today to bring this message because I knew it would be a good day.  But the number of good or partial good days are far outnumbered by the difficult days and, to be honest, I don’t know how many more of the treatments I can take.

This means, my friends, that I don’t know “what’s in store” for me next.  Except that I continue to be vulnerable and face my mortality.  What has been wonderful in all of this, however, are the conversations I have had with people.  Tender.  Loving.  Deep.  Often with a wave of tears that comes over us.  Always inviting the Light to enter and give us deeper spiritual connection.  People don’t talk about dying very often.  Knowing one is going to die is a very special privilege.  It is so different from the deaths of people from the coronavirus.  To me that is absolutely terrifying.  It isn’t “natural” like heart or lung disease, or cancer or all the other illnesses that take us.  Instead, it comes out of the blue, is fast and furious, and people are separated from loved ones in the most horrific way. Most people think about the numbers and the spread, and the protections and the political differences when they talk about the coronavirus.  I think about the suffering of those people who are dying and their family members. Unlike them, I have had time with my family and friends to slowly get prepared for my passing and to grieve in small ways so that when the time comes, I hope my passing will be a gentle release into the spiritual world rather than a sudden, terrible storm of grief.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, mostly because you are my Friends, my spiritual community and we share our spiritual challenges and insights.  I want you to know that I have a very, very deep faith … an absolute conviction of God — the Divine Presence, that is within and all around.  I believe that Christ is a part of that Divine Presence and Light.  I also believe in reincarnation and karma.  I believe that each of us has a Spirit that existed before we were born, lives within each of us as our essential self during our life, which will continue after our death.  It is because of this belief that I can be so accepting of the truth that I am dying.  It is God’s will whenever it happens.  I just want to be surrounded by Love and Prayers to help carry me into my next journey.

And so, I close with this: Let yourself be vulnerable.  Let the cracks happen.  Allow pain and the Light to come in.  Talk about death and dying.  Yes, it is a mystery, but don’t let it be a taboo subject.  Make it personal because some day it will become very personal. 

I express my gratitude to all of you who allow me to share my journey with you, to talk about my final months and days.  I love my husband Lee and my sons so dearly.  And my dear, dear friends.   I believe I will be with them from the other side and will be sharing with them the Light and Joy I experience with my new “eyes.” It will be a new birth.  Let me share it with all of you as well.   (Reference: And There Was Light, by Jacques Lusseyran (New World Library, Novato, CA)

“We Cried Power” About the Poor People’s Campaign to Air May 29 at 7pm and June 3 at 7pm

The Poor Peopler’s Campaign will be hosting two facilitated discussions of We Cried Powera documentary about the PPC. The first discussion will be Friday, May 29th at 7 and the second will be Wednesday, June 3rd at 7.The PPC is committed to the structural change of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the warped moral narrative that allows these problems to continue. If you are not familiar with the PPC, please visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/
These showings/discussions will be a lead-in to a huge virtual event the PPC will be holding on June 20th and we are looking for the support of Maine people of faith. June 20th will be the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience. 

More information about the Poor People’s Campaign follows:

What is the Poor People’s Campaign?

  • The PPC is committed to the structural change of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the warped moral narrative that allows these problems to continue.
  • Learn more about PPC principles and demands at: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/about/our-principles/

Are you looking for a way to get involved in the Poor People’s Campaign?

  • Register HERE  for our nationwide  June 20th,  virtual mass meeting!
  • Follow PPC Maine social media 
    •  Like Poor People’s Campaign Maine on Facebook!
      • Faith leaders are encouraged to join the “Maine PPC Faith Groups” Facebook group, where we will be posting more info on getting involved 
    • maineppcampaign on Instagram
    • @MainePPCampaign on Twitter
  • Join the Selfie Campaign!
    • Send a selfie video explaining why you signed up for June 20th to Hannah Smith-Erb, Maine PPC student fellow, at hsmith21@colby.edu. The video will be reposted on PPC social media.
    • Post the video on your personal social media. Use #PoorPeoplesCampaign and #PPCMainers. See examples on our social media.
  • Join us for a discussion of “We Cried Power”, a documentary about the PPC
    • View on your own with discussion on Friday, May 29th at 7 and Wednesday, June 3rd at 7
    • RSVP at hsmith21@colby.edu. Hannah will send you the link to the documentary and the zoom link for the discussion. 
  • To be added to our email list, please visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/ or email hsmith21@colby.edu 
  • Sign the petition

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 24, 2020

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened via zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 24, 2020, with 17 people present in their own homes.  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, co-clerk, opened the meeting with a quote from New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice on corporate discernment.

1.The April minutes were approved.

2. Finance Committee:   Sarah Sprogell reported that the attached budget has a highlighted column reflecting the reduced expenses that were approved at last month’s business meeting.  Total income for the quarter was $16,338.07.

            We received $2000 in “end of year giving” from 2019, which made up for a reduction in weekly giving in March and will help in future months.  Our quarterly disbursement from NEYM pooled funds was received at its expected level of about $3500.  Overall we have met 26% of our projected annual income as of March 31st.

            Total expenses for the quarter were $9,881.49.  Most areas were under-budget as we hoped, with the exception of fuel oil.  Overall we have paid 16% of our projected annual expenses as of March 31st.  This figure is in keeping with our 30% reduction in expenditures, based on the expected impact of Covid19 restrictions.

             Treasurer, Katharine Hildebrandt, reported that expenses for April were $5035 and our income was $6200.

3. Peace and Social concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reminded us to visit the meeting web site for information on upcoming events of the committee. 

4. Charity Account ad-hoc Committee:  Katharine Hildebrandt reported for the committee and presented proposed guidelines concerning the uses and criteria for the Charity Account:

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

            In terms of Supported Ministry (Leadings), coming from members and regular attenders, the request will be brought to a standing meeting committee first to prayerfully consider said request for funds. The meeting committee will then bring the request to monthly meeting, with the request added to an agenda that is distributed ahead of the monthly meeting.

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

  • Alignment of the ministry with the faith and practice of Friends, including the testimonies. 
  • The character and integrity of the person or group seeking support.
  • The likely effectiveness (not just good intentions) of the effort.

In other words, does this ministry help to deepen and promote the life, not only of the individual or group, but the life of the whole meeting as well? 

            In terms of Charitable Requests, the request will be brought to a standing meeting committee first to prayerfully consider said request for funds. The meeting committee will then bring the request to monthly meeting, with the request added to an agenda, distributed ahead of the monthly meeting.

            In the case of emergencies, a request for financial assistance could be brought to the monthly meeting by a meeting committee, where it would be tended, weighed and prayerfully decided on by that monthly meeting. In this case the request would be communicated to the meeting community ahead of time.    

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

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

              A thoughtful discussion ensued with suggestions for revisions; the result was that final approval of these guidelines will be made at the June monthly meeting.

5. Trustees:  Donna Hutchins sent a report which stated that they are looking into developing a green burial space at the Lund Road Cemetery.  Tess Hartford is currently painting the meeting worship room. Katharine Hildebrandt reported that Andy Higgins has been hired to do some grounds maintanence.

6. Christian Education Committee and Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that Storytimes are being held each Wednesday evening via Zoom.  Books read so far are: The Wolf’s Chicken Stew, Malala’s Magic Pencil, Moon watchers, and The Tree House.  A Plant Sale will be held June 5th through June 8.  Children and Youth Sunday will be June 7th when meeting for worship via zoom will include content directed at our younger participants.  The committee will sponsor the popular Faith Journey sharing on the second and fourth Sunday mornings, 9:30-10:15.

            Fridays from 5-6pm Wendy is on zoom with New England Yearly Meeting Young Friends during their weekly affinity group check-ins.

            Wendy will be clerking the Committee for this year.

7. Snap Re-Boot project: Although the Charity Fund guidelines are yet to be approved, we reconsidered the request for funds to support this project, which are still needed.  The meeting discussed donating the amount of $1000, with appreciation for the two committees that have recommended support of the project.

8.  We approved the amount of $1000 for the Snap Re-Boot project, with two members standing aside, noting their hesitation to approve the project at this time.

9. Carbon Footprint Ad Hoc Committee: Kim Bolshaw, Katharine Hildebrandt, and Ingrid Chalfour attended a web-based workshop focused on greening meetinghouses, sponsored by New England Yearly Meeting Finance Committee.  John Reuthe from Vassalboro Meeting made the presentation.  John suggested that we, as a meeting, discuss what we mean by greening our meetinghouse.  In the absence of an opportunity to have this discussion, the committee is working on the assumption that our goal is to lower use of carbon fuel.  John’s presentation has influenced our development of a three-phase plan for our meetinghouse regarding insulation, cold air from the basement, and window inserts for the winter.

10. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw reported that at their next meeting they will look at how to safely return to gathering in the meetinghouse.

            The meeting recently received the sad news that member Phyllis White Wetherell died on April 25, in Richmond, Indiana where she had retired at Friends Fellowship Retirement Home.  Ministry and Counsel is preparing a draft memorial minute to be approved in June.

            Martha Hinshaw closed the meeting with the admonition: Go in Peace! 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Can You Gather With God Over Zoom?

The New York Times asks the question, and shows that Quakers can and do. Photographs and Text by Bianca Giaever. (May be subject to paywall.)

The subtitle: “Quakerism goes virtual, offering an intimate window into silent worship.” Durham Friends Meeting isn’t mentioned; the focus is on Meetings in Brooklyn, Middlebury (Vt.) and Portland (Maine).

Annual DFM Plant Sale, June 5 to June 8, 2020

Annual Plant Sale! Durham Friends Meeting will be holding a safe, self-serve (no contact) plant sale from Thursday June 4 through Monday, June 8 or until all plants are sold.

Please bring plants to the Meetinghouse horse shed by Wednesday June 4. 

We ask that donations include a tag with as many details as possible (see list below). Extra pots and tags are available in the horse shed. Ask Wendy for any help with tags! There will be clear signs and a locked cash box for cash or check donations. Members of CE may be inside the Meetinghouse to oversee the sale from the window. 

The proceeds will be used to support the Durham Young Friends Kakamega sponsee, Cornelius.,

  1. Name of plant
  2. Sun or shade requirements
  3. Annual or perennial
  4. Height
  5. Color of blooms
  6. Any special instructions
  7. Suggested donation amount

“Faith, Understanding and God’s Availability,” by Brown Lethem

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, April 19, 2020

Good Morning Friends,      

In Brooklyn Meeting where I attended for many years, we had a young man who quite often fell asleep in meeting for worship. which was one thing, but being stout, he also snored rather heavily.  As you can imagine, Friends felt some consternation.   

Those worshiping near him questioned, should we wake him with a gentle poke in the ribs, or should we incorporate the snores into our worship as we did the more gentle noises of the children, the coughs and the ticking of the clock.    Since his Faith brought him regularly to worship and into his profound experience of silence, perhaps our faith, that God might speak to him in dreams, would happen, as it often did with the prophets of the Old Testament.

Today in the visual world and with the mute button, we are not faced with that dilemma!

As in my previous messages I am most comfortable speaking out of my personal journey. It was George Fox who cautioned, Speak from experience.  I have spoken in meeting when moved, but briefly, I have never preached. My way in life, has been as artist, carpenter, art teacher… so what I have to say, is simply, personal testimony. And, if I ramble, forgive me. I hope it will come together.

These past weeks have been solitary.  After the first week of this enforced retreat, this Query came to me: God and Nature in Her silent knowing, have plunged us into the mystery of life … and death. Can we decipher it?   Is it leading us towards desired goals of ending wars, healing our environment and right sharing of the world’s resources?  And how might I be a part of that consciousness change? Wow! some query.

Faith must come before understanding.  This piece of meditational wisdom has gotten my attention more than once, most recently, I believe in Richard Rohr’s daily meditations.  The quote immediately rang a bell for me since at age 30 I had experienced a revelatory vision that put to rest the question of God’s presence in my life. That brief epiphany, an experience of pure faith, based on grace, and, in time of desperate need, was indelible.  At that moment GOD was the only reality.                       

That awareness stayed within me, as a lodestone but in seed form.  My active life of work and marriage … and kids took precedence.

 Despite my Christian upbringing, my resistance to the miraculous aspects of the New Testament Gospel persisted.  My university education and low-keyed protestant experience prepared me for the Prophet of Love, not the God incarnate. My intellect and understanding kept getting in the way of the extension of my Faith, however it did bring me to Quakers.

When I became a Friend, I embraced the mystery of God’s presence in all persons.  Something I had intuited often… Also, I embraced the truth of ongoing revelation. In both my life and in the world at large.

Larry Floyd was an older Quaker in Brooklyn Monthly Meeting who hired me to do some carpentry work on his house in the mid 80’s.  On a break one day we talked about our faith and my lack of understanding of the mysteries surrounding Christ.   At one point he said casually, you might think about the Christ Within.  Despite my long struggle after that with the misuse of Christ or Christianity in fundamentalist religion, he had planted a slow growing seed.  I have grown to accept that idea. It refused to abandon me. If as I believed as a Quaker, “There was that of God in every person, that could mean that in each of us there is a transubstantiated seed of Christ, That “still small voice,” “The Christ Within,” a beautiful and inspiring metaphor.

The human body and mind, in all its complexity is truly a miracle.  Craig made that point so well last week! The birth of my three children remains a miraculous experience.

AND … Though questions remain, the seed expands, as my own limitations become clear.  New levels of transformation surface.  We are a work in process.  The seed becomes a bridge.  Along that life bridge the seed of Christ’s essential role in my acceptance of God’s will emerges.  I believe God awaits our acceptance and resolution of the material world with the Spiritual world of God.  That process illuminating and incorporating our lives into the body of God must proceed in stages. The first stage available to human understanding is opening to the seed, The Christ Within.                     

Is this not the beautiful message of Jesus in the New Testament?

                        The journey of the seed,

                                    The seed within the Light of On-Going Revelation        

                         journeys to Union with God,

                                    Through The Christ WithIn. 

When I joined Durham Meeting, Sukie gave me a large print copy of the New Testament. I see that as symbolic of a new acceptance of love and opening to community, embodied in this Meeting.