“Spiritual Gifts Among Us,” by Nancy Marstaller

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, November 10, 2019

Ring the bells that still will ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

That’s a quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.”

            Last month I went to my 45th college reunion. When I was in college, I had many ideas and ideals about the world and my power to change it for the better. Since then, I’ve struggled with the fact that I haven’t lived up to what I hoped, and the condition of the world seems to be getting worse in many ways. Yet, I still have hope. Cohen reminds me I still have bells to ring, I still have “offerings” to give. I trust the Divine is still working through me in spite of my cracks, or maybe because of my cracks, and that the Light of the Divine is entering me and inspiring me. And once the light enters me, I need to share it, as Jesus told us: No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

            At one point during the reunion, we were wandering around campus looking at trees. There are some beautiful ones there and they were just moving into fall colors. Nuts and acorns littered the ground. I picked up this walnut shell, which I know you can’t really see, but you can check it out later. Meanwhile, imagine how it looks. The outside is dark brown, beat up, chewed upon, broken, and scratched- nothing to catch your attention or make you pause. But the inside! The walnut is gone, which must have been a perfect offering for some creature, but the shape of it remains, curvy and arresting. Like us as we grow and age, our outsides may not look that fresh, aren’t a perfect offering, but our insides are beautiful, have developed interesting twists and turns, and have offerings to share.

            At this past summer’s yearly meeting session, Lisa Graustein’s message about using our spiritual gifts resonated deeply with me. We Friends often speak of the gift of ministry, or spiritual gifts. When I was young I understood that to be spoken ministry, or the ministry of leading an organization or movement. Later the idea expanded: for example, my mom is recognized for her gift in organization. Jan Wood has identified many different areas of spiritual gifts, which I’ve posted, and Lisa spoke about those. I’ll share a few examples with you.

            Jan has given some of the gifts unexpected names. One is exorcism- the ability to liberate from systemic oppression. Wendy and Brown exemplify this gift, as they work to create a world not dominated by environmental degradation or militarism, but one where respect and justice for all beings and the earth is primary.

            There is the spiritual gift of translation, the ability to translate or understand languages you don’t know or the ability to understand and help others communicate across seemingly impossible divides. Craig exemplifies this with his facilitation of Makeshift Coffee houses.

            There is the spiritual gift of service: the ability and desire to meet the practical needs of people. Dorothy Curtis exemplifies this as she cooks bounteous portions when needed, leads the Woman’s Society, and helps organize memorial service refreshments. Dan as trustee and soundman and Kitsie as treasurer and trustee also exemplify this gift.

            Margaret Wentworth exemplifies the gift of trust, or faith- the deep assurance that “all is well” even when circumstances go awry.

            Paul Miller’s work as a counselor exemplifies the gift of healing- the ability to cure and restore body, mind, emotions, and/or spirit.

            With her work with the Kakamega Orphan Care Center, Sukie exemplifies the gift of shepherding or pastoring – the ability and desire to care for a group of people over time.

            I could go on and on, as many Sunday mornings I have gone around the room and thought of each person and the gifts that each one brings to this meeting and to the world. Everyone has bells they are ringing, whether or not it was the bell of their perfect offering, or the one that still rings no matter what.

            After my closing prayer, I’ll hand around a basket. Please draw a slip and look at the gift written on it. We did this at yearly meeting, then Lisa asked us these questions, which I modified slightly for our circumstance:

1. If this gift is new to you, how might you be asked to breathe life into it in the days and weeks ahead?

2. If this is a gift you currently manifest, how can you deepen and exercise this gift to a fuller extent?

3. If this gift is not for you, who do you see manifesting this gift that you can affirm and support? How can you name this gift in another, thereby empowering it to work among us?

Again, as Leonard Cohen wrote: Ring the bells that still will ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

I offer this prayer: Dear Divine Spirit, thank you for filling us with light, for giving us spiritual gifts, for accepting our imperfect offerings. Thank you for giving us the strength, courage, and wisdom to share those gifts with the world. Let our lights shine brightly and our bells ring out clearly.             Amen.

If you want to learn more about Jan Wood’s descriptions of spiritual gifts, go to https://goodnewsassoc.org/associates/jan-wood/spiritual-gifts-resources/

“Go to the Limits of Your Longing,” by Brown Lethem

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, November 3, 2019

I came across a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke that I want to read. It is from his Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.

 Go to the Limits of Your Longing

 God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
 then walks with us silently out of the night.
 
 These are the words we dimly hear:
 You, sent out beyond your recall,
 go to the limits of your longing .
 
 Embody me.
 flare up like a flame
     and make big shadows I can move in.
 Let everything happen to you:  beauty and terror.
 Just keep going.  No feeling is final.
 
 Don’t let yourself lose me.
 Nearby is the country they call life.
 You will know it by its seriousness.
 
 Give me your hand.
 
 (Book of Hours, I 59) 

Doug’s words last week on getting past the “ME land” experience in waiting worship were telling.

My experiences of Quakerism since joining in 1971 have given me an understanding of corporate worship that  is thrilling, when it happens and  keeps me coming back for that deeper sense of community. The combined energy of an aggregate of Friends in deep expectant silence can produce what Friends call, there gathered meeting. 

 It’s a powerful experience of worship the requires few words, but produces the mindfulness of being in the now.

Finding that still, small voice of God within each of us requires an emptying out of the worldly noise and the personal ego as Doug reminds us.   Bringing that level of immersion in Silence and Communion is a goal.  I don’t often achieve this, but I know it is attainable.

I want that experience of the gathered meeting because it releases love and validates my belief in Prayer as expectant waiting.  It opens in me a clearness, an opening to love that I yearn for. To the extent that prayer channels and focuses my experience of love  it is self serving.  But is that not what God wants for us?

In my art work when I am deeply involved in process I experience a similar opening and being in the now. clearness that I associate with being in touch with  loss of self and ego. An energy that makes me keep coming back for that experience of the Spirit that is a renewal.   

There is a popular refrain that goes “Only the good die young.”  Some of us sinners have to live to a ripe old age to even approach that experience of devotion to god that St.Theresa of Avila and Thomas Kelly speak of. 

Especially those who have “gone to the limits of your longing’ and have loved the world of experience. 

We need to reach out for that hand.

Sophia’s House, by Leslie Manning, Chaplain for Sophia’s House

Sophia’s House is a new residence in Lewiston scheduled to open in December 2019 for women coming out of addiction, prison or jail, and/or sex trafficking. It is a project of The Center for Wisdom’s Women, an established peer support and resource center in the “Tree Streets” area of Lewiston and will be modeled on “Thistle Farms,” a program founded by an Episcopal woman priest who is herself a survivor of sexual abuse.

Sophia’s House, at 97 Blake Street in Lewiston, will begin operations as soon as the renovations on the former convent are completed. Asbestos and lead remediation and exterior work are done, and we are now in the final phase of remodeling. The top floor will be individual apartments for the women in the program; they will be welcome to stay for up to two years.

Our underlying philosophy is to address the traumas that lead to the behaviors; until that healing happens the behaviors will persist. Love heals. Most incarcerated people have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) that lead to lifelong trauma that has not been addressed. And, it is cyclical. One of the most adverse experiences is to be the child of an incarcerated parent.

The second floor will house women from the community in market rate and subsidized units who wish to support the women in the program and they will live in a co-housing model.

The first floor will be common space and community rooms and feature a guest room, a dining room and kitchen, and the old chapel, which will be kept for programming. In addition, local Friends are invited to use it as a worship space weekly for Meeting for Worship.

We will have a “soft” opening in December, and on April 26, 2020, noted Quaker singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYAtWQB25JY) will perform at a Gala Opening at the Franco Center in Lewiston. We are current raising enough money to cover the costs of this production, so that all proceeds will go directly to Sophia’s House.

If you are interested in supporting us or volunteering as a mentor, please connect with Leslie at leslieam55@gmail.com. And, please hold us in the Light.

Library News, October 2019

NEW BOOKS (and one CD and two pamphlets) added to the library collection:

—Buckley, Paul: Primitive Quakerism revived: living as Friends in the twenty-first century, 2018.

—Canto, Francisco: The line becomes a river: dispatches from the border, 2018. Canto joined the U.S. border patrol determined to experience what was happening on the Mexican border first hand.

—Cobb, Wayne: Quakers in early Falmouth and Portland, Maine, 1740-1850, 2019.

—Dawnland (CD): a documentary about cultural survival and stolen children, 2018.

—Gulley, Philip: Unlearning God: how unbelieving helped me believe, 2018. This book is extremely readable, written with humor, and is a thoughtful study on the nature of God.

—Hockett, Eloise and John Muhanji: Lessons from cross-cultural collaboration, 2017. Quaker projects mainly in Kenya are described through the lens and perspective of an American and a

Kenyan.

—Humphries, Debbie L.: Seeds that change the world: essays on Quakerism, spirituality, faith and culture, 2017. Debbie Humphries traveled in the ministry among Friends under the care of Hartford Meeting.

—Johnson, David: The workings of the Spirit of God within (Pendle Hill Pamphlet), 2019.

—Johnson, Elizabeth A.: Creation and the Cross: the mercy of God for a planet in peril, 2018. The proper focus is not humanity but creation in its entirety.

—Jones, Rufus M.: A call to a new installment of the heroic Spirit. NEYM, 1947.

—Jones, Rufus M.: Quakers in the American Colonies, 1911.

—Muench, Elizabeth: Friendly audits, 1990.

—O’Sullivan, Elizabeth: Building bridges: four stories from the Bible (Pendle Hill Pamphlet), 2019.

—Quaker religious thought, 2019 (a periodical of modern Quaker thinking issued twice a year).

—Trueblood, Elton: While it is day: an autobiography.

—Tutu, Desmond: Made for goodness, and why this makes all the difference, 2010.

These books were gifts to the library or purchased as recommended by Friends Journal and the United Society of Friends Women International. You will find most of these books on the NEW BOOK SHELF!

“Beyond Me,” by Doug Bennett

Excerpt from a message by Doug Bennett at Durham Friends Meeting, October 27, 2019

A lot of the time I’m pretty taken with myself.  I admit that.  I know that.  Many days, maybe most days, I can float on a river of “me-ness.”  I’m in “me-land” much of the time. 

It’s my concerns I’m thinking about; my needs, my wants, my worries, my hopes, my pleasures, my pains.  Me Me Me Me Me Me Me.  There’s a lot of me in my world. 

I may be worse in this regard than most people.  I don’t really know, but maybe.  I certainly don’t think I’m better at getting away from me-land than most people. 

Still, I do notice that most other people most of the time are wondering around in me-land. 

It can be a comfortable place to be, even when I’m annoyed or unhappy about something.  I’m the most important person in me-land.  What I want is the most important thing.  My thoughts are the ones I want to hear – and often the ones I want others to hear.  My hurts, my pains are the ones that seem to most need attention. 

How about you?  Are you number one in your feelings and thoughts most of the time? Are you in Me-land much of the time? 

I don’t believe I’ll ever fully escape Me-land, but I think I’m better for getting out as often as I can. I know I’m going to wind up back in Me-land but I don’t give up trying to escape. 

Where’s the door?  Where’s the pathway out?  Where’s the secret tunnel or hidden stairway?  How do I get outside of Me-land?  How does anyone? 

Actually, I’ve come to think there may be many ways to escape.  Some work better for some people; some work better for others.  (Number 6 found a different way to try in each episode of The Prisoner.)   If you want to escape and are willing to try, you have to find the way or the ways that work for you. 

Here’s one way that works for me – one pathway:  waiting worship. 

In Meeting for Worship, I try to lay down all the Me-ness.  I try to quiet the voices in my head that I know are “me” voices.  I try to lay aside the voices that are talking about my wants, my needs, my hopes, my concerns, and see if I can hear another voice – let’s call it the voice of God. 

Is it really God’s voice?  (How do I know who or what God is? I don’t know. That’s ‘beyond me.’)  All I know is that sometimes I can find another voice, and it’s not mine.  It’s a voice ‘beyond me.’  It’s more than me. 

Making friends with that voice is important to me.  Making friends with that voice settles me, makes me more aware.  Makes me (I think) a better person. 

It’s a voice that connects me.  It connects me to ‘whoever-that-voice-is’ (call it God or Spirit or Light).  But it also connects me to other people.  It helps me know them better – and in a way that’s less colored by “me-ness.” 

Do you have someone in your life who really knows you well?  Who’s honest with you, always, but always tells you things in a really tender and loving way?  I hope so.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure you do.)

It’s great if that someone is another person: a partner, a child a friend.  That bond of knowing you well, that connection, is love. 

But there’s something else, I believe, that can know each of us really well – who loves us.  That’s the voice of God I seek in worship.  That’s the voice we seek together. 

And the connection that voice makes with us is love.  Love: that’s what’s “beyond me.”

The entire message can be found at Doug’s blog, River View Friend.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 20, 2019

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, October 20, 2019 with 10 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading a quote from Eckhart Tolle on Stillness and Wisdom.

1. The September 15th minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel will have a retreat on November 2nd to discuss a paid ministry position. 

3. It has been the intention of the meeting to have further discussion on outreach and how that might be developed, possibly with a stipend position.  Kristen Evans and Sukie Rice volunteered to participate in an ad hoc group to discuss outreach.  This was approved.

4. Finance:  Sarah Sprogell sent the Finance Committee report:

The Finance Committee convened on Sept 18, 2019 at Norway Savings Bank in Brunswick to review our accounts and consider making some changes.  Treasurer Katherine Hildebrandt, Nancy Marstaller and Sarah Sprogell were present.

 They agreed to move both the Charity Account and the Bernice Douglas Account from savings accounts to money market accounts.  This change allows our treasurer to write up to 6 checks per month from each account.  It increases the interest rate for the Charity Account from 0.03% to 0.1%; and increases the interest rate for the Bernice Douglas Account from 0.03% to 0.2%. 

 The committee considered moving the Woodbury Fund from a savings account to an 18 month CD being offered at 2.15%.  After bringing this suggestion to the Clerks Committee and hearing their approval, we followed up with the bank to make this change.  We felt this was a good opportunity to increase the value of this account.

 The committee transferred a recently acquired CD to a new 18 month CD earning 2.15%.  This CD holds a reserve of $25,000 from our checking account.  The original CD only earned 0.25% so they felt this change was a good way to increase our earnings, despite paying a small transfer penalty of $30.

 The committee reviewed our 2 remaining CDs, The Bailey Fund and the Cox Fund.  Both are currently in 5 year CDs earning 0.95% and will renew in about 15 months.  The Bailey Fund is about $1909 and currently the interest is designated (not restricted) for the support of the minister.  The Cox Fund is about $9338 and has no restrictions or designations.

The Finance Committee recommends that they move the funds from both of these accounts into the Charity Account.  This could be done as they mature, or could be done earlier resulting in a penalty of about $150.  Moving these funds would increase the Charity Account from $5,227 to about $16,320.

5. The meeting approved moving the Bailey Fund and the Cox fund into the Charity Account, at a time deemed appropriate by the Finance Committee for the transfer.

6. Christian Education:  Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for the committee. They decided to switch the time when children and youth join Meeting for Worship on days we hold Sunday School on the first and third Sundays. In response to encouraging a less interrupted waiting worship and wanting the younger friends to participate in some aspect of Meeting for Worship, Sunday School will be held from 10:30-11:15 and will join the larger meeting at 11:15.

Tess Hartford will be teaching the Godly Play class (ages 3-11) with help from Ashley Marstaller. Wendy will be teaching the middle/high school class Quaker Affirmations.

Ashley Marstaller is interested in attending Godly Play training. CE will research when/where a training is happening and provide funds for her to attend. They are also asking for other Durham Friends to consider attending Godly Play training, with the intention of possibly helping teach the Godly Play class.

World Quaker Day was celebrated at Durham Friends Meeting as Homecoming on Oct 6, 2019. Postcard invitations were mailed out to members and attenders we hadn’t seen in a while. The theme was “sustainability” and during the youth message, Wendy recounted meeting Emma Mamani, a Bolivian Friend, at New England Yearly Meeting. Wendy showed the slideshow Quaker Bolivian youth made about the water crisis in their country and how they are helping their community by constructing simple water filters from sand and gravel. Several others brought messages of gratefulness for clean water and the beauty of our state. After Meeting for Worship, most people lingered over an abundant meal including soups, salads, cornbread, apple crisps, and ice cream! We were happy to have 7 children in attendance; many shared lively reminiscing and conversations.

Wendy staffed the Young Friend’s October retreat in Framingham, Mass. and plans to continue to staff Young Friends retreats. She also plans to offer to staff Junior High Young Friends retreats.

Wendy travelled to Washington, DC Oct 15 as a religious leader to lobby for The Clean Economy bill along with 4 other religious leaders from other states.

7. Brown Lethem brought the Peace and Social Concerns Committee report. They will be meeting on Monday, October 28th to discuss how to build on the climate crisis events they had this fall, including the possibility of adding additional solar panels to the Meeting House.

They would like to recognize the energy and thoughtfulness shared with us by the three youth, Lucia Daranyi, Riley Stevenson and Ellie Douglas at the “youth speak out “in September. The budgeted committee funds for 2019 are spent, so they ask the monthly meeting to fund a $100 donation to the Changemakers Program of which both Riley and Lucia are a part. This is a leadership development program that is run by the Maine Environmental Education Association. The committee would also like to purchase (for the library) the book, A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis, in which a poem by Ellie Douglas will be published.

8. We approved sending a donation of $100.00 to the Changemakers program, and also purchase the book, A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis from the General Fund.

9. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth reported that they are nominating Katherine (Qat) Langelier to become the Newsletter Editor.  Qat will be added to the Communication Committee as an ex officio member; they also nominate Sukie Rice to serve on the Communication Committee as an advisor to the new editor.

10. We approved the nomination of Qat to become the Newsletter Editor and Sukie Rice to be a member of the Communication Committee.

11. Trustees:  Kim Bolshaw reported that the septic tanks for both the meetinghouse and parsonage have been pumped.

12. We were reminded of the discussion which will take place on October 27th concerning priorities and the use of our funds.

The meeting ended in gratitude for all and the Presence within. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Redemption Centers,” by Leslie Manning

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 25, 2019

You may have heard me tell the story about a good friend visiting me the summer after we moved to Maine.  “I never realized Maine was so religious” she observed.  “It’s not,” I replied, “Maine is the least religious state in the least religious part of the country.”
“Then why do I keep seeing all these Redemption Centers?’
Friends, I believe that every county jail and prison in Maine is a redemption center.  Our new Commissioner of the Department of Corrections says publicly “I am in the redemption business.”  Randy Liberty, yes, that is his last name, is the former warden of Maine State Prison, the former Sheriff of Kennebec County, a veteran who has PTSD and the child of a formerly incarcerated person.  He and his staff are changing the way we operate the Department of Corrections, with help and oversight from the legislative committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. 
This committee used to be comprised of former law enforcement, prosecutors and correctional professionals; now it includes social workers, defense attorneys and advocates for those incarcerated.  And we are seeing the difference.  In my work with Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, Maine Prisoners Advocacy Coalition and the new Maine Prisoners Re-entry Network, I can say after almost twenty years of doing this work, that we are seeing new possibilities in our approach to justice in the prison and court systems.  Lifetime law enforcement leaders are stating that “we cannot arrest our way” out of the opioid epidemic; addiction but no treatment centers, mental illness without adequate care and treatment.  County sheriffs will tell us that they opearte the biggest mental health facilities in the state.  And, as of last April, there were only 16 detox beds for the entire state.  So, where do most people detox? In our jails.
As part of my chaplaincy work, I am now working with people leaving incarceration and re-entering our communities.  Over 90% of the folks in our prisons and jails in Maine do return and if they do not have good employment, stable housing or community support we know they end up back where they came from, in the same circles that put them inside to begin with.
I have been working with Sophia’s House and the Maine Prisoners Re-entry Network to recruit and train community mentors who will visit, support and meet with returning citizens prior to and after their release.  It’s a program that some of us tried to initiate ten years ago, when we trained over 70 volunteers but the Department would not work with us.  That is not the case now.  I have been working with Maureen and Cush Anthony, if you are interested, please speak with one of us.

Climate Crisis; Youth Speak Out!

By Linda Muller, for PSC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is View-of-meeting-room-1024x596.jpg

At this September 29 afternoon gathering, our Meeting provided a platform for three local youth activists to share their concerns and ideas about how to move forward. After a finger food potluck, we started at 12:30pm with a moment to acknowledge our presence on Wabanaki land and to prepare ourselves to listen deeply to our youth, for the betterment of all beings. 
Presenters followed. First, Ellie Douglas started us out with her poem:

Ellie Douglas is a fourth grade student at Harpswell Community School. She loves animals and nature. She also loves to write and thought this would be a good chance to express her self.
About 26 attenders at the SPEAK OUT were asked to let these beautiful words sink into our hearts, as well as our logic and discernment. Several commented that this poem was powerful precisely because it found it’s way to our hearts so well. 

Next, Lucia Daranyi explained the teamwork needed to accomplish the resolution for the PortlandSchool District to solarize. Lucia is 17yr. and a senior at Casco Bay High School. “I am on the board of directors for SolaRISE, a nonprofit with the goal of offsetting Portland Public schools carbon foot print through the installation of solar panels as our main source of energy. We have just recently got a resolution passed that will install a solar farm that will produce 80-90% of the district’s energy! Many in her friend group are as concerned as she.WE were so encouraged about this. Congratulations to her group!

And finally, Riley Stevenson brought forward the deep need for all voices to be included in this ecological work. She is aware that some marginalized people are not being included in finding solutions, yet are often disproportionately effected by adverse harsh weather, food distribution problems, etc. She expressed concern that white people in our culture need to develop capacity to relate more warmly and personally with “ people who don’t look like us”.Riley is a junior at Lincoln Academy and lives in Waldoboro, Maine. She moved to Maine almost seven years ago and ever since has been in awe of the natural beauty of our state. She noted how precariously we are holding onto it. Since the start of this past year, Riley has joined the Maine Climate Strikes team as one of their Communications team members, the Maine Youth Environmental Association as their Event Coordinator, and has been a part of the MEEA Changemakers Gathering Planning Team. 

Two young members of the Indigenous Youth Group, convened by Heather Augustine at our Meetinghouse,were invited to share but were unable to attend. We are hoping to share The Changemakers Team information with them, as Riley related that this group has been helpful in keeping her energized and supported in this work, as she balances all this with her high school courses!

A lively discussion rounded out the event. We were so moved by the courage and determination of these youth, that our clerk and many of the members present have determined we need to bring the further solarization of our Meetinghouse forward for the whole of our Meeting community to consider and work on.

The members of Peace and Social Concerns Committee want to thank all of who helped this happen; doing clean up, bringing finger foods, making coffee, taking photos of the event, etc. It takes this kind of group effort to help our Meeting become more visible in our community, and be up to date with Climate Change efforts.

Homecoming Sunday, October 6, 10:25 a.m.

You are invited to celebrate Homecoming Sunday with our beloved Durham Friends community on Sunday, October 6, World Quaker Day 2019, joining Friends around the world. We look forward to experiencing the fullness of the many people who have been a part of Durham Meeting and for whom Durham Meeting has been an important part of their life.

As we think about our Friends at Durham and around the world from the present and the past, we encourage anyone who is unable to attend in person to send a message with your memories, stories, and even pictures.

Children will be most welcome to join us for the entire Meeting. (Childcare will be available as well.)

Following Meeting for Worship, all are invited to share a meal and conversation with us.

Hope to see you there!

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 15, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, September 15, 2019 with 10 people present. Martha Hinshaw Sheldon served as clerk in the absence of Susan Rice, reading a quote from the Journal of George Fox. We did not meet in August.

1. The July minutes were approved.

2. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for the committee and included her report as Youth Minister.

Three Durham youth attended Friends Camp this summer and reported having a great time. Thanks to Durham Meeting for your continued support through scholarships enabling these young people to attend.

Ashley Marstaller continues to staff childcare every Sunday from 10:15-12:15. She is loving and competent, and engages well with our children. Thanks so much, Ashley! She also provides care during Monthly Meeting until 1:15.

Sunday School for children and youth began the third Sunday of September, and will be held the first and third Sundays until June, except for October 6, when we will all be observing World Quaker Day with a special Homecoming celebration

This October 6 on World Quaker Day, Durham Meeting is inviting past, present, and new friends to our Homecoming celebration. Meeting for Worship begins at 10:25, followed by a meal prepared by the Christian Education committee. Please invite interested neighbors and encourage friends we haven’t seen for a while to come.

Please consider whether you may be called to teach in the Durham Friends Meeting Sunday School program.  We are looking for at least two teachers for the age 3-12 class.  Wendy will continue to teach the middle/high school class. As we begin another school year, you can find great information on the NEYM website about youth programs: https://neym.org/events/Youth%20Programs. Wendy Schlotterbeck will be staffing many of the Young Friends retreats. New England Yearly Meeting has been blessed with spiritually robust, well- attended, and fun year-round youth retreat programs, covering a span of ages from 7 to 35. A description of these retreats will be included in the newsletter.

The Permaculture Seminar at Pendle Hill scheduled for September 15-27 was unfortunately cancelled due to low enrollment.  The scholarship given to Qat Langelier to help her attend will be refunded.

3.  Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon announced that a Ministry and Counsel retreat will be held on October 13. Ministry and Counsel continue to discuss pastoral care needs and Meeting for Worship.

4.  Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee met on September 12 to continue planning for our fall activities. We will be launching our climate crisis events on September 29 with a youth panel here at the meetinghouse. We hope everyone will be able to stay after Meeting on that day. Other activities will be announced on October 6. These include Brunswick- based house parties for the film Paris to Pittsburg, which addresses the immediacy of the climate crisis and how some local communities are responding. Parties are scheduled at Ingrid Chalufour’s home on October 17 and Linda Muller’s home on November 1st. A sign-up sheet will be available on October 6. If anyone wants to host a party in another location, talk to Ingrid.

5.  Margaret Wentworth reported that the library has added several new books. A list of titles will be included in the newsletter.

6.  Communications Committee: Liana Knight reported that the Communications Committee met on September 13. Doug Bennett, Sukie Rice, and Liana Knight were present. The newsletter editor role remains unfilled. Sukie Rice is filling in temporarily, but does not plan to continue as the long-term editor. If the Meeting wants the newsletter to continue, someone needs to come forward to handle the newsletter. On Sunday, September 22, the Committee will hold a discussion about the newsletter from 12:00-12:30. We are seeking input about what parts of the newsletter are most important, and about whether or not people actually read the newsletter. Donna Hutchins asked the group to consider whether someone else could take over the Facebook page. Liana Knight agreed to take it over.

7.  The meeting approved a request by Nancy Marstaller from the Woman’s Society to hold a silent auction in November.

8.  Sarah Sprogell reported that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting will be held at Durham Friends Meeting on October 26, and the following persons were approved to be representatives: Sarah Sprogell, Margaret Wentworth, and Leslie Manning (upon her consent).

The meeting ended in record time: 12:45, after a brief silence.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Holding in the Light,” by Doug Bennett

From a message at Durham Friends Meeting, September 15, 2019

I recently had occasion to read again about a very unusual episode in the history of Friends.  It’s a story told in Elizabeth Gray Vining’s biography of Rufus Jones. 

November 9 & 10, 1938:  that was Kristalnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass.  All over Germany people broke into Jewish homes, stores and synagogues wreaking destruction and terror, and carrying many Jews off towards Concentration camps.  It seemed spontaneous but we now know it was a well-planned attack that helped the Nazis take yet greater control. 

In the wake of that horrible night, three Quakers resolved to make a visit to Germany.  Rufus Jones, Robert Yarnall and George Walton hatched a plan to travel to Germany, to speak to the highest ranking official in Germany to whom they could gain access, and to ask to be allowed to intercede.  The statement they eventually delivered in person to German officials stated they wanted “to inquire in the most friendly manner whether there is anything we can do to promote life and human welfare and to relieve suffering.”

They hoped to meet with Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and someone we now remember as a chief architect of the Holocaust.  They didn’t succeed in seeing Himmler, but they did meet with two very high-ranking members of the SS.  They made their presentation, the two men they met with left the room and went to speak with someone in higher authority, perhaps Himmler himself.  Jones and Yarnall and Walton sat in silent worship — holding the German authorities in the Light. 

In the end, they did receive permission for some Quaker relief work to go forward in the days before the Second World War broke out, and for some additional Jews to be allowed to leave Germany to safety.  But of course, they didn’t stop the Holocaust. 

In his journal, Rufus Jones described to officials with whom they met as “Hard-faced, iron-natured men.”   He didn’t think they were ‘good guys.’  They didn’t have any illusions about the character of the men they would meet.  Still, it’s hard to say what Jones and Yarnall and Walton expected.  But in her biography, Elizabeth Gray Vining said that “Rufus Jones to the end of his days believed there had been a softening and a moment of vision.”

A good deal of history looks back on this episode as an instance of profound naiveté.  A foolish gesture, one perhaps even bordering on treason. 

But weren’t they holding the SS officers in the Light? Weren’t they trying to lift up the way of love and peace, trying to lift it above the way of violence and death?  Whatever they expected, wasn’t it worth the effort?  I guess I think so. 

Reading about this desperate mission to the SS leave me wondering why we mostly “hold in the Light” those we most care about, our friends and family.  Certainly, we should hold our dear ones in the Light.  But shouldn’t we also “hold in the Light” those who trouble us most: those who seem most wrong-headed or dangerous?  Do we believe they are beyond God’s reach, beyond God’s love?  I guess I don’t think so. 

As we settle into waiting worship, I invite each of us to call to mind people we think are as bad as people can be, and hold them in the light, believing that the Light, the love, can reach them too. 

The full message can be found on Riverview Friend

Woman’s Society Notes, July 15, 2019

by Martha Sheldon

Woman’s Society met on July 15 at the home of Helen Clarkson.  Theresa Oleksiw brought us an inspiring and insightful program on her leading to improve the amount and approach to food stamp programs for those in need.  The average food stamp amount is $3.00 a day, which is an amount set back in the 1950s. With the help of a NEYM Legacy grant and Portland Friends Meeting she is working on a book of stories and experiences, and to lobby for better programs and lead awareness and support workshops.  She asked the group to reflect on what we think and believe about food stamps.  Theresa’s program was greatly appreciated by the group for the insights and awareness gained.

     In business, the minutes and treasurer’s report were read and approved, along with a discussion on our monthly Tedford meals. We ended our time together with a most delightful table of refreshments made by Helen and Joyce and lively conversations following up on the topics presented earlier.

Durham Meeting Members Participate in Vigils at Bath Iron Works

  By Renee Cote and Brown Lethem

   Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, along with over a dozen Maine organizations including Maine Veterans for Peace, has co-sponsored vigils at the “christenings” of two warships to be launched from Bath Iron Works. The USS Lyndon B. Johnson, the third and final Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer to be built at BIW, was “christened” on April 27, 2019. During that vigil, 25 people were arrested for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience. Eight weeks later, on June 22, 22 people were arrested during the “christening” of the USS Daniel Inouye, a naval destroyer. Dozens of people came out in solidarity during both events.

     Brown Lethem, along with several members of Durham Monthly Meeting, participated in both vigils, creating two pieces of banner art and being arrested during the June 22 vigil. During both vigils, witnesses for peacetime conversion of the BIW facility gathered at the entrances with banners and signs proposing the many benefits to society of a conversion to renewable green energy and the de-escalation of the military budget.   

     The Sagadahoc County District Attorney’s Office announced on May 9 that it would decline prosecution of the peace activists arrested on April 27. Those arrested on June 22 were offered bail; nine of the 22 declined bail and asked to be released on their own recognizance. The nine were later sent to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset and held over the weekend in lockup, where they witnessed in solidarity with those being held long term to the insufficient food and poor conditions in the jail.  They also reported that the majority of the prisoners supported their efforts to convert the nation to a peacetime budget that benefits human needs as well as their efforts to save the planet from the climate crisis. Eventually all nine were released without paying bail. Hearings will be held in August.

     Long-time peace activists Bruce Gagnon and Mary Beth Sullivan of Bath were among those arrested at the June 22 “christening.” Bruce described their experience at Two Bridges to Brown Lethem: “After we were released from the Two Bridges jail yesterday one of the guards came out and thanked me for my service in the military.  (I had on my VFP sweatshirt.)  I told him that we vets are not so proud of our time in the military but are actually more proud of our current work for peace and environmental sustainability.  We had a long talk and as he was going back into the jail he shook my hand and thanked me again.”
     Russell Wray, an artist and long-time environmental activist from Hancock, stated in an email to Renee Cote: “My time in Two Bridges jail made it even more clear to me how little the current system we are living under cares for those with little money or political clout, including all those other species we are supposed to be sharing this planet with. Those in power don’t even seem to be concerned with their own, or their children’s future, as has been made clear by their military and environmental policies. This insanity has to change … and hopefully it will, as more and more people are waking up to the crisis we are confronted with, and doing something about it.”

Wendy Schlotterbeck Hosts a Family of Eight from East Africa

In early August, with the many recent asylum seekers staying at the Portland Expo needing homes, a call went out for people to host families in their homes.  Wendy Schlotterbeck, Durham’s Youth Minister who has devoted a great deal of time working with the asylum seekers, offered to take a family of eight from East Africa into her home in Auburn.  Wendy says the family is settling in well and seems happy to be here.  The children are learning English and are excited that school will soon be starting.  Wendy brought the mother to a prenatal check-up where they discovered she will be having twins in November, so soon there will be ten!

     Wendy says they have many needs, listed below. Please contact Wendy right away if you can help provide something: wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com.

1. Cash or gift cards for household and personal needs

2. Soccer shin guards and mouth guards for the 13-year-old and the 14-year-old

3. Laptop insurance fees for two middle school students ($50 each) so they can bring their laptops home

4. Ear buds or earphones for computers (four sets)

5. Extra-large soup pot with lid — extremely needed!!

6. HELP assembling a play structure with slide (needs some sanding and painting)

7. HELP sorting and transporting donations

8. A towel rack (nine people and one bathroom make for a lot of wet towels!).  There is a great ladder towel rack at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $69.99.  Here is the site:

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/casual-home-decorative-twin-ladders-in white.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 21, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 21, 2019 with 10 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice read a quote by Parker Palmer from the New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice pp. 123-124.

1. The June minutes were approved.

2. Christian Education Committee:  Katherine (Qat) Langelier brought the following report submitted by Wendy Schlotterbeck: The committee met on July 7.  They reminded us that personal hygiene stations are now available in each of the adult bathrooms for anyone needing them.

    They discussed more ways to make our meetinghouse and grounds a welcoming place for newcomers, especially families with young children. They plan to contact Trustees about putting up fencing that has been donated to keep the play area safe for active children.

    The plant and yard sale netted $549.11. Special thanks to everyone who donated plants, clothes, and items, and a big shout-out to those who helped take all the extras away!! The youth will use $500 to support Cornelius, our Kakamega sponsee. The Durham Young Friends Account at Central Maine Credit Union has a balance of $1,000.31.

    The committee is planning Sunday School for the next school year, and is reaching out to invite more Durham Friends to become trained in Godly Play. They ask, “Are you being led to participate in the lives of our children in this way, occasionally if not regularly?”  If there is enough interest, the committee hopes to host a training workshop.  They are also looking for more Doorkeepers, a special role that involves meeting each child before they enter the Godly Play space and helping them to be ready for the story. The Doorkeeper also “holds” the children and story time in a similar way to those who have Care of Meeting for Worship.

    With the change in the flow of Meeting for Worship, they discussed moving the start of Sunday School to 10:30 and having the children rejoin Meeting for Worship just before Joys and Concerns around 11:20.

    The committee discussed the value of gardening for children, and the ways they might include this activity in our Sunday School/youth programming.  Qat Langelier is planning to attend the Permaculture Design Certification Course at the Pendle Hill retreat and conference center in Wallingford, PA, Sept. 15-27, 2019. This course will enable Qat to learn valuable gardening skills and be certified to teach and share those skills with Durham Friends of all ages. She has been given a scholarship of $700 from Pendle Hill, which reduces her cost to $1,450.  The Christian Education Committee is requesting that an amount of $500 be given to her from Durham Meeting to help with the cost.  Qat will also need help with childcare for some of the days while she is away. Please contact Wendy Schlotterbeck if you are willing to help with childcare.

     Wendy will be a Resource Person for the Young Friends program at NEYM Sessions August 2-8 in Castleton, Vermont.

    Sunday School for children and youth will resume on Sunday, September 15.

    World Quaker Day will be celebrated on Sunday, October 6 as Homecoming for former and current Durham Friends; it will be the official opening of Sunday School and youth programming for the 2019-2020 school year.

    Qat Langelier reported that 15 people attended the weekend on the beach at the Georgetown home of Betsy Muench.  Much appreciation was expressed for Betsy’s hospitality.

3. We approved the donation of $500 from the Charity Account as requested by the Christian Education Committee to help support Qat Langelier’s attendance at the Pendle Hill Permaculture Design Certification Course.

4. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell gave the six-month financial statement (attached) and reported that we are on target for income and expenses to date. We thanked Katharine Hildebrandt and Donna Hutchins for securing insurance coverage for parsonage damage.

5.  Margaret Wentworth reported that the Nominating Committee recommends that Katharine Hildebrandt become a Trustee, and the meeting heartily approved.

6. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Brown Lethem reported for the committee. They have three young women who will participate in the conversation about the climate crisis on September 29 at 12:30 at the meetinghouse. They hope everyone can come.

    The documentary film Paris to Pittsburgh, mentioned in last month’s minutes, was donated to the committee by Interfaith Power and Light. The film is about the climate crisis and what some local activists are doing. They will show this film in house parties during October and November. Let Ingrid Chalufour know if you would like to host a party.

    The committee requests that Durham Meeting be a sponsor of the annual Peace Fair on the Brunswick Mall on August 3.  Our meeting name would be on the Peace Fair materials, and they plan to have a handout on the fair table from 10:00 to 2:30. A thank-you letter was received for our participation in last year’s fair.

7. We approved the suggestion that we be a sponsor of the Peace Fair and that our meeting name be on the Peace Fair materials, as well as providing handouts regarding Durham Friends Meeting.

8. Craig Freshley sent a thank-you letter for our contribution and support of the Make Shift Coffee House program.  The spiritual oversight committee for Craig’s ministry includes Katharine Hildebrandt, Tess Hartford, Kristna Evans, and Wendy Schlotterbeck. 

9. Trustees: Donna Hutchins sent the report.  Trustees met on July 7. They report that the meetinghouse heat pump is not working, and Kim Bolshaw met with the installer to resolve the problem.  Daniel Henton has replaced the children’s toilet that was malfunctioning.

10.  We decided that we will not hold a monthly meeting in August and there will not be an August newsletter. 

11.  A discussion ensued regarding contributions to Quaker organizations and we were reminded that we are meeting on October 27 to discuss priorities and the use of our funds.  A follow-up discussion is suggested for the fourth Sunday in November to continue our consideration of how we use our assets to contribute and support various Quaker organizations. 

12.  Sarah Sprogell, Auditor, reported that she has completed the audit for 2013, which was a very challenging year financially.  Steps were taken to remedy the situation and a successful campaign at the end of the year helped us break even. Her report is attached.

Susan Rice, Clerk, thanked us for our presence as the meeting ended in handshakes all round.

                                                                                    Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Fall Climate Events from Peace and Social Concerns

Friday Sept. 20 12:00 noonGlobal Climate Strike — a rally at Portland City Hall coinciding with the UN Youth Climate Summit. If you would like to carpool from Brunswick or the meetinghouse, talk to Ingrid Chalufour (ichalufour@gmail.com).

Sunday Sept. 29 12:15 Youth speak out on the climate — a discussion here at the meetinghouse with young climate activists helping us identify ways to respond to the climate crisis. We hope you can all stay and participate.

October 3, 6:30 to 8:00 PMSolving the Climate Crisis — at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. Sponsored by the Bath-Brunswick Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby. Panelists will describe the science, impacts, and possible solutions of climate change. Discussion will follow.

Durham Meeting Makes Donation to the Make Shift Coffee House

At the June Monthly Meeting for Business, Durham Friends approved a $2,000 donation to the Make Shift Coffee House, founded and run by Durham Friends member Craig Freshley.  Craig began the Make Shift Coffee House gatherings about six years ago, during a time of great disagreement and friction in regard to Muslim immigrants.  The coffee house format was developed to encourage civil discourse and discussion about issues that were highly emotional, bringing together people of different perspectives and persuasions. 

The purpose of Make Shift Coffee House is to promote understanding of different political views while relaxing with light music in a coffee house atmosphere.  It’s a face-to-face place for respectful conversation.  It’s not a debate, and there’s no persuasion. It’s about listening to people with different beliefs to understand why someone believes what they believe. Make Shift Coffee House conversations help reduce conflict and gridlock so people can work together to build our communities, in spite of our political differences.  It is exactly what Quakers have tried to do on the local, national, and international levels for years.  Durham Meeting is proud of the work Craig has done to develop Make Shift Coffee House, and we decided to make a donation to the organization at this time to take advantage of a matching grant that will help the organization and Craig’s work with it grow around the state.

Overcoming Militarism and Racism, by Brown Lethem

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, July 7, 2019

Good morning friends!

I want to start off my message by quoting Meister Eckhart, the 14th century theologian and mystic who believed in a personal path to God.

Know then that God is bound to act, to pour himself out into thee as soon as ever He shall find thee ready ….Finding thee ready He is obliged to act, to overflow into thee; just as the sun must needs burst forth when the air is bright and clear, and is unable to contain itself. Forsooth it were a very grave defect in God if, finding thee so empty and so bare, He wrought no excellent work in thee nor primed thee with glorious gifts.

Thou needest not seek Him here or there, He is no further off than at the door of thy heart; there He stands lingering,, awaiting whoever is ready to open and let Him in…He longs for thee a thousandfold more urgently than thou for Him; one point the opening and the entering.”

There are many ways in which each of us can project the inner spirit of God in our every day lives. Witnessing through giving of our gifts. As Lewis Hyde explained in his marvelous book The Gift, which I highly recommend.

By walking cheerfully over the earth and treating others with kindness is one way….. In service work:…. In practical ways like helping others with a problem: ….SOME, i know do it through singing: …… some by praying or visiting the sick:

Some express this gift in making art.

But as Friends we are also urged to outwardly witness for peace….., As Faith and Practice tells us, that witness is the experience of Christian love. It is that love made visible. It is a form of active prayer.

As most of you know, my leading has focused on elimination of militarism but because of growing up in a very racist culture, a small midwestern town enveloped by fear and paranoia separating me from the experience of a vibrant American multi-culture

(Racism cripples the young)

my message touches on both militarism and racism, both having directly affected my life in negative ways.

Some of you will remember my brief message in Meeting some time ago when I asked the question “ what led Friends among others in the ninetieth century to engage in non-violent civil disobedience by participating in the underground railroad, and by breaking laws that put their own lives at risk?

This question led me to a lot of reading which gradually focused on two authors: John Woolman and James Baldwin. It also turned into the subject of a series of paintings.

In reading John Woolman I got my answer: When enough people of good faith, including Quakers, could no longer tolerate the abuses of slavery. ….. Often even in the face of extreme disapproval by their peers, economic loss, and threat of death ….. They took action.

My query that followed in our recent study of queries was: do contemporary Quakers encourage outward action of liberation from unjust laws and conditions? Or do we endorse sufferance and toleration? Do spirituality and prayer take precedence over action in the world? How can we balance the two?

It is, as Parker Palmer points out, one of those paradoxes that each of us must cope with.

Each day it becomes more clear that American democratic ideals of equal opportunity have been supplanted by a permanent underclass of Native Americans, people of color, and those living in abject poverty who in ever greater numbers go from poverty , to prison, to drugs or suicide.

Why can’t the richest nation in the world change this condition?

The underlying reason, I believe, is the economics of systemic racism and inadequate education which has stacked the deck for this segment of our population.

When we increasingly question this crisis we are confronted by the power elite with the need for national security. In other words, fear.

And that 60 percent of our discretionary budget must go for the military.

It does become evident that power and greed benefit by our endless wars and that racism is built into that status quo. Martin Luther King pointed that out during the Vietnam War era.

What John Woolman and James Baldwin both spoke to so prophetically was the fact that oppression is equally destructive to both sides.

To eliminate the injustice frees up both: the slave owner’s terrible burden of guilt as well as the dehumanization of the slave in Woolman’s time.

Baldwin wrote in the 1960’s:

“The price of the liberation of the white people is the liberation of the blacks… And

in short, we, the Black and the White, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation. If we are really, that is, to achieve our identity, our maturity as men and women.”

Both Woolman and Baldwin envisioned the restorative justice principle basic to Christ’s message.

Can we envision a time when the violence of war will not be on the table? And when the abundant wealth of this nation will create an equal playing field for all Americans?

In practical terms, to restore justice, I believe we need to consider a program of reparation for those most damaged by racism, just as the Germans did for the victims of the holocaust. And we need to reallocate our priorities from the military to free education and health care for all.

The time has come.

Then and then only will we achieve full maturity as a nation.

James Nayler, Excerpt from a Letter to Charles II, 1660

Nayler sent this letter to Charles II, who had recently been restored to the throne of England in 1660. (His father, Charles I, had been beheaded during the English Civil War, 1641-1652.)

0 King! God hath in these Nations a People gathered by himself into his Light, who are known to himself better than to Men, and therefore have we suffered by Men under all the Powers that have risen in this Nation ever since God called us toward himself, by his Eternal Light and Spirit.

And though we receive not our Laws from Man, yet we are not without Law as to our God, but have one Law-giver, even Christ Jesus our Lord … from his Laws we may not depart. And by his Law in our Conscience, and the Power of his Spirit in our Hearts, we are ordered and guided to walk holily toward our God, and harmlessly towards Men … however they be minded towards us: and by the Virtue of the Lamb … we are made to give our Goods to the Spoil, and our bodies to the Tortures of cruel Men, rather than defile our Consciences …

[T]his hath God sealed in our Hearts, to seek the Good of all Men, Plot against none; but study peace and live quietly, and Exercise our Conscience faithfully toward whatever Government our God shall set up …

For more on Nayler, see Doug Gwyn (former DFM Pastor), “James Nayler and the Lamb’s War,” Quaker Studies: Vol. 12: Iss. 2, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/quakerstudies/vol12/iss2/2

Woman’s Society Report, June, 2019

Nine women met at the home of Dorothy and Ed Hinshaw for a delightful tea prepared by Dorothy and served by Ed. The only thing missing was a white cloth over Ed’s arm. All expressed great appreciation for the tea and fellowship.

Jo-an Jacobus brought the program reading and walked us through an article written by Pam Nafula, a Kenyan with a heart for ministry in Tanzania. The message was based on Lamentations 3 and encouraged us to move forward with faithfulness and endurance despite obstacles.

In our business meeting we signed cards to be sent out to those in need of encouragement and held two of our larger community in prayer —– John Muhanji of the African FUM office and another who has been revisited with cancer, along with Kat Langelier, who will be having cataract surgery soon.

Our work with Tedford meals was discussed and changes suggested will be discussed further next month.

Dorothy Curtis and Marian Baker shared stories on their trip last weekend to Quebec to visit with a Swahili- speaking Quaker women’s worship group. Slides from this trip will be shared at our July meeting.

Marian Baker closed our meeting with a sung prayer of thanks, hope, and blessings. Our next meeting is July 15 at Helen Clarkson’s home. All invited!

— Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 16, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 16, 2019 with 11 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading a quote from Marcus Aurelius.

1. The May minutes were approved with the following addition to minute 13 that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting will have “rotating clerks and recording clerks, as led; Marian Dalton and Sarah Sprogell will serve as co-conveners and contact persons for the quarter.”

2.  Finance Committee and Treasurer: Katherine Hildebrandt reported that the Tom Fry apartment renovation loan has been repaid to the Bernice Douglas Fund. 

   The committee is interested in donating an amount from the Charity Fund Account to Craig Freshley for his Make Shift Coffee house events, a program which brings together persons in civil discourse and sharing across political lines.

   The meeting has received an additional amount from the Janet Douglas estate.  The committee recommends that we designate this money in the same way we did the first amount: 10% to the Charity Account, and the rest into the Capital Account.

  Discussion ensued concerning our use of the Charity Fund and social concerns needs that we might more be able to support. It was decided that we would have an all meeting discussion about our priorities and the use of our funds, in consultation with the Trustees concerning the Capital Fund needs, on Sunday, October 27th.

3.  The meeting approved the amount of $2000 be granted to Craig Freshley from the Charity Fund for the Make Shift Coffee House events.

 4.  Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel met on June 9th.  They discussed meeting for worship and pastoral cares.  They will be appointing a representative to New England Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel at sessions this August.  They hope to have a ministry and counsel retreat this September.  The theme they offer for the meeting in July, August and September is “How do we get our light leadings out into the world?”

They propose the following for meeting for worship order of service slightly revised from the April monthly meeting minutes: hymns, a reading or prayer, children’s story on the first and third Sundays, message (out of waiting worship) joys and concerns, offering, announcements, visitors, final hymn, and handshake.  We accepted their report with appreciation in the experiment of a different order of service.

5.  Peace and Social Concerns:  Cindy Wood has stepped down as clerk for the time being and Ingrid Chalufour will be filling in. Ingrid reports that “we have had two meetings in the past month, making plans for upcoming events.

  After the generative discussions at Meeting on April 28, we selected the climate crisis as a focus for our work in the coming year. We have three initiatives in the planning stages at this point. 1) An interactive panel with 3 or 4 youth focused on what they think we should be doing to address the climate crisis. This will be Sunday Sept. 29, after Meeting for worship. We will be inviting other Meetings to participate. 2) Show a film, Pittsburg to Paris, that looks at local community climate activists across the country. We are going to try a “house party” format for showing this film during October and November.  3) We will have regular posts in the newsletter with information about local climate events and state legislation.

  There is another christening at BIW on June 22 and Brown will be there. We are hoping others from Meeting will join him.

  We discussed the Kakamega fundraiser that we have been organizing in recent years. We are a small committee with a lot planned and we do not feel we can add that to our agenda this year. We are hoping there might be a few others in the Meeting who can take it over.

  Finally, we are aware of the many needs of the asylum seekers who are in and coming to Portland. We are requesting Meeting make a $500.00 contribution to support the asylum seekers. The donation can be made up of contributions from friends with the remaining, up to $500.00, from the charity account.”  The meeting expressed appreciation for Wendy Schlotterbeck’s involvement in this concern.

6.  The meeting approved a donation of $500 from the Charity Fund to the City of Portland in support of the asylum seekers.  An article will be included in the newsletter regarding this concern and information on how to contribute to this need.

7.  Liana Knight sent a report from the new Communications Committee which met on May 31, 2019.  Liana Knight agreed to be clerk. Members are Doug Bennett (maintaining DFM website), Donna Hutchins (control of DFM Facebook account), David Dexter (phone tree initiator), Margaret Wentworth (mailing paper newsletters), and temporarily Sukie Rice (interim newsletter editor and copier).  They will meet at noon on the first Friday of September, November, January, March, and May.  Sukie is filling in as newsletter editor until a new newsletter editor can be found. 

  The newsletter comes together as a result of three tasks: collecting information, editing the information submitted, and distributing the newsletter (by email and on paper).  Sukie will pass along committee reports submitted by clerks to Doug and Liana. Doug has set up an email address that will forward messages to Sukie, Liana and Doug. The address is DurhamQuakerMeeting@gmail.com.

  The web site is intended to be a resource for both members and the general public to get timely information about the meeting. Doug will put any meeting-related information he receives on the website within 24 hours of receiving it. The website currently has several static pages with information, and one blog page where news and messages are posted on an ongoing basis. The communications committee believes that for information to be publicized on the website or on Facebook it should be about Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends-sponsored events.

  The committee holds a question about Durham Friends Notes, which were started by Daphne Clement, then handled by Sarah Sprogell and Doug Gwyn, and most recently handled by Jo-An Jacobus. They would like to revisit the topic of Friends Notes at Monthly Meeting and have the meeting determine who should generate a Friends Note.  Their recommendation is that as our communication improves, Durham Friends Notes would be reserved for deaths, crises, and any other information of immediacy and importance.

  Doug Bennett has also started a “This Week @ DFM” email that goes to local Friends and contains whatever information he has about who is taking on the various roles of Meeting for Worship (greeting, care of worship, message, refreshments) that week. He will also include information about events happening for that week. 

  The Communications Committee would like a 4th Sunday discussion on September 24th for the meeting to learn about the website, and solicit information from the community about what kinds of information we want in the Newsletter.

8.  The meeting approved meeting on September 24th to discuss the meeting’s communication concerns.

9.  It was approved that the clerk and Ministry and Counsel clerk serve as supervisors of appropriate Friends Notes.

10.  Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth reported that it is recommended that Brown Letham be a member of Ministry and Counsel instead of Trustees, and that Donna Hutchins be an official member of Trustees.  

11.  We approved the above recommendations of the Nominating Committee.

12.  Clerk Susan Rice has received a letter from Ellis and Merrill Bolshaw requesting funds to attend Friends Camp.  We approved that the amount in the budget of $1000 be granted to Ellis and Merrill for camp expenses.

13. Recorder Sarah Sprogell gave the 2018 statistics which are attached.  She reports that we have 106 members, gaining one member and losing 2 through resignation and 2 through death.  The attendance at worship remained steady, averaging 39 each Sunday.

14.  Auditor Sarah Sprogell reported that she has audited the records for 2018 and found them to be well organized and in good order.  The job was made easy by the good record-keeping of our treasurer!  She has begun auditing the records for 2013 and hopes to complete the additional years up to 2018. 

15.  We appointed Sarah Sprogell and Martha Sheldon to be representatives to New England Yearly Meeting sessions.

  The meeting ended in quiet worship and a thank you from the clerk. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Georgetown Campout Weekend, June 15 (noon)-June 16 (afternoon)

Here is all you need to know about our upcoming weekend in Georgetown on the water!

Directions to the Holt-Muench property at 710 Bay Point Road in Georgetown:  
 
Take Rt. 127 south from where it crosses Rt. 1 in Woolwich (just across the 
river from Bath, Maine) and follow it 8.8 miles to Georgetown center.  On the 
right, after you pass the Georgetown Pottery, post office, Country Store and 
firehouse, Bay Point Road will turn off just before you start down the hill.  
After about 3 miles Bay Point Road will cross a marsh and make a fairly sharp 
bend to the left, then start watching for a white feldspar driveway on the left. 
Our mail box may or may not be out on the right.  After you turn in to the 
driveway a white sign on a tree to the left of the gate says Holt.  Follow the 
driveway down to the end and park on the feldspar circle by the house. Total 
distance is about 12 miles from Rt. 1. Phone: 371-2237.
What to bring? 
1. Bathing suit, towel and sunscreen 
2. Change of clothes, jacket for evenings and bug spray 
3. Sleeping bag, optional-tent (there are several beds and floor spaces inside) 
4. Friends! We welcome your friends

Food-  
--Saturday lunch- bring your own bagged lunch if your arrive at noon.
--Sat supper- bring something to grill and a dish to share 
--Sat campfire time- Snack to share
--Sun breakfast- Wendy will bring eggs and bread for toast, 
     still need: coffee, fruit, and other breakfast goodies you and your 
     family desire!
--Sun lunch- Potluck,  bring something to share (We have left over ice cream 
     from Children's Day; Wendy will bring cones).

 Special info:  My brother Jay had the lawns and other areas around the house sprayed with peppermint oil on Mondayto kill the ticks.

However that does not do anything against the browntail moths. We didn’t see any around the house last summer or so far this  spring but that is not true of further into the woods.  General principles: If going into the woods: cover up, wear a large brimmed hat that will keep the hairs off your head and neck.  If you see a brown tail caterpillar – KILL IT – and tell me about it. Mosquitoes  are  out in force due to the cold, wet Spring.

Also because of the Spring weather the Coast Guard has a special warning out to boaters about dangerously cold water.  I am imposing a rule this year that no one goes out in a boat floating in water deeper than their own waist without wearing a life preserver. This includes adults.  For adults judgement this means life preservers when boating if the tide is up within about a foot of the seaweed line of the white rock island. It also means that the sea breeze will be cold – bring sweaters accordingly.

Two Poems for Children’s Sunday

Two poems read by Amy Kustra on Children’s Sunday, June 2, at Durham Friends Meeting

On this day, we pray for tender compassion on all the little ones, whose souls, so fresh from the light, shine in our midst with a darling adorable brightness.  May we honor them deeply, learn from the truly, respecting the deep wisdom they carry.  Make us wise in our nurturing of then, generous in our loving, unending in our compassion, expansive in our wisdom, kind in our intelligence, and graceful with our hearts.  Let us give to them and receive from them, and let it be known among us that they are neither our projects nor our possessions, but messengers of light, illuminations of love.     – Daphne Rose Kingma from the book A Grateful Heart 

Today with Spring here finally we ought to be living outdoors with our friends. Let’s go to those strangers in the field and dance around them like bees from flower to flower building in the beehive air our true hexagonal homes.  excerpt from “The Whole Place Goes Up,” – Rumi

David Johnson to speak on the Gospel of John, June 9

Early Friends’ understanding of the Word was deeply rooted in the gospel of John. Come hear a student of both John and early Friends speak about early Friends’ understanding of the “measure” of Light given to each person and how it related to their understanding of perfection, and what their relevance are to us today.

Australian Friend David Johnson, author of A Quaker Prayer Lifeand Jesus, Christ and Servant of God: Meditations on the Gospel According to John (both published by Inner Light Books), will offer the message at meeting and a small workshop after worship at Durham on Sunday, June 9.  All are welcome.

We write this to make our[a] joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin. John 1, 4-7 NIV

New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions – August 3-8

359TH ANNUAL SESSIONS
AUGUST 3-8, 2019 
CASTLETON UNIVERSITY
CASTLETON, VERMONT

SESSIONS REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Click Here to Register

What are the “Annual Sessions” of New England Yearly Meeting?

Each August, more than 600 Friends come together for worship, fellowship and seeking how God will guide us in meeting for business. Having first gathered in 1661, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is the oldest “yearly meeting” in the Quaker world.

While this gathering is large—among the largest Quaker events in North America—there are many opportunities to connect with Friends old and new: vibrant youth programs, adult small groups, variety shows, topical interest sessions and shared meals. In recent years, Sessions has featured plenary addresses, Bible Half-Hours, a contra-dance, and coffeehouse.

CONTENTS