Meeting Wide Discussion, October 28, Noon to 1:30 pm

After Meeting on Sunday, October 28, 2018, we will have a Meeting-Wide Discussion on Strengthening Durham Friends Meeting.

For nearly a year, Durham Friends Meeting has had an Ad Hoc Committee working on developing ideas for strengthening the Meeting.

After input and discussion from many Meeting members, we came to focus on three areas where we might try to strengthen ourselves: pastoral care, outreach and coordination.

In May, after the Ad Hoc Committee reported, Business Meeting asked that various Meeting committees discuss their current efforts and effectiveness and let the Ad Hoc Committee know how they are doing. More specifically, Ministry and Counsel was asked to consider pastoral care, Christian Education, Peace and Social Concerns, and the Newsletter Committee were asked to consider outreach, and the Clerks Group was asked to consider coordination.

On October 28 the Ad Hoc Committee will report what we have learned and invite Meeting members to consider how we want to proceed.

Questions? Contact Doug Bennett ( or 207-721-9575).

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Family Game Night, Friday November 3, 5:00 to 7:30

There will be be a Family Game Night, Saturday, November 3 from 5-7:30 at Durham Friends Meeting.  It will be a potluck followed by games.  All are welcome.

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Halloween Party, October 26, 5:30 to 8:00 pm

There will be a Halloween Party, Friday October 26 from 5:30-8pm at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse. Creative costumes are encouraged. We will have snacks, bobbing for apples, donuts on a string and pumpkin carving. A fun time for all ages!


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“Our True Colors,” by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, October 14, 2018

Driving to Meeting this morning through the reds and yellows brought on a different message than I had anticipated. “True Colors” was the phrase that rose and settled in my mind. I shelved the message I had prepared. Looking at the vibrant spectrum of colors of the fall leaves, I found myself wondering whether these are the leaves true colors? Or are the greens the true colors and these reds and yellows something odd and unusual?

We’re awash these days in occasions to wonder about a person’s true colors, especially in civic and political life. As we take in the news of elections and confrontations and scandals, we’re often left wondering what we make of this person or that one. Are they telling the truth? Are they trustworthy? What are their true colors? Do we see someone at their truest when they are relaxed or when they are under stress? Do we see their true colors in prepared remarks or when they are confronted in a Capitol Hill elevator?

In gathering to worship this morning we sang, at someone’s suggestion, “Still, Still With Me,” as one of our opening hymns. As we sang together, I noticed that the beautiful melody is by Felix Mendelssohn. He called it “Song Without Words.” And so I imagine he thought the piece’s true colors were as a melody without words. And then someone came along – that someone turned out to be Harriet Beecher Stowe – and wrote the words we sang this morning. So is this the song’s true colors?

Here in Maine we live in a place with four full seasons. We go through a long winter with the deciduous trees limbs empty of leaves. As the trees begin to leaf out in the spring, Ellen and I often quote to one another the Robert Frost poem that begins, “Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.”  In summer, the leaves turn a deep, lush green. And now in fall we have this glorious riot of colors. Which is the true color?

In my teens I came to have a deeper interest in the fall leaf turn. A good deal of my social life in high school involved working on science projects and competing in science fairs. I had a very good project in 9th grade, but I was beaten by Susie Burrell who did a project on Why Leaves Change Color. I was stunned; probably pouted a good deal. Susie was a good student and a friend, but not, I thought, the sort of person who should best me in a science fair. It especially rankled because we had the same advisor for ours projects – my Dad. How could my Dad help Susie win? I’m sure I wasn’t at my best when I lost. But the episode left me with a special interest in leaves turning color. Every fall I still think of Susie Burrell.

What’s happening as the leaves turn their colors in the fall? If we think about it, we know that the leaves are about to fall to the ground. Are the true colors only revealed when the leaves are stressed, about to die? Are the colors just a distraction, or are they a last burst of glory?

At first I learned that as the fall comes, the chlorophyll and other chemicals that make the leaves green disappears. As the green color fades, the underlying reds and oranges appear. Just this summer, Ellen and I learned something else: that it isn’t just that the chlorophyll dies off or disappears. It is that the tree withdraws the chlorophyll, to store it in readiness for the winter and to save it for the next spring and summer. If that’s what’s happening, what are the leaves true colors, the colors when the leaves are productive, or the colors when they are facing death? How about human beings?

With trees, it’s a relentless cycle, one strictly controlled by soil, light and temperature. The trees and the leaves have no choices to make. The colors simply turn from gold to green and from green to rust and red.

It is different with human beings isn’t it? We believe we have some control over our colors. We have the ability to choose when and how we show anger or frustration, joy or grief. Which are our best colors and which our truest colors?

Do we show our truest colors when we blurt something out or when we have a chance to prepare? Do we show our truest colors when our health is at its peak or when we are nearing death? Do we show our truest colors when we are challenged to do something brave or when we can calculate what’s best to our advantage? Do we show our truest colors in positions of authority or when we feel powerless?

How about our truest colors in Meeting for Worship? Do we shape our true colors in worship? If not, when is it we choose, and how? Does what we find in worship carry into our work and into our relationships with family and friends?

[also posted on River View Friend]

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Love Your Meetinghouse Day Coming October 19 & 20

Trustees have scheduled a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” for Friday night and Saturday, October 19 and 20, 2018.

The chore list includes window washing, cleaning pews and cushions, prep and painting of parsonage porch, and priming and painting the replacement windows in meetinghouse basement. All are welcome to participate.

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“Dawnland,” October 4 at Curtis Memorial Library

By Linda Muller

Peace and Social Concerns Committee wants all of Meeting to know that “Dawnland” a new film from an excellent group – Maine Wabanaki-REACH – will be shown at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick on Thursday, October 4 in the Merrill Meeting Room from 6 to 8 p.m. for free though donations will be accepted.

The film was years in the making and shares the findings and recommendations of the Maine Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up by Maine’s Legislature and funded for 2 years. The archives of this are stored at Bowdoin Library. Most of the findings focus on kidnapping and abusive treatment of native Maine children and the long-term consequences of that treatment.

The film also teaches history – 1300 to the current day – with “view from boat” and “view from the shore” perspectives. This proves to be very powerful and educational, refreshing change from the often misleading “history written by the winners” often taught in schools.

P&SC Committee highly recommends that all of us in Meeting take advantage of this free showing, leave a donation and enjoy the insightful discussion group directly after the film.


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Adult Sunday School, Fall 2018

By Martha Sheldon

Adult Sunday School will be reading “In Fear and Trembling Be Bold in God’s Service” from The Freedom & Justice Crier, a periodic newsletter from the Committee on Racial, Social & Economic Justice of New England Yearly Meeting. It was published by NEYM this past summer.

All are welcome to join us at 9:30 each Sunday morning.

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Our Approach to Pastoral Care Today   

Committee on Ministry and Counsel, September 2018                      

For many decades, Durham Friends Meeting had a paid pastor who, among other responsibilities, took primary responsibility for pastoral care in the Meeting community.   The Meeting made the decision in November 2016 first on a trial basis, and then, in October 2017, to continue “for the time being,” to proceed without a paid pastor.

With this decision, the Committee on Ministry and Counsel took on the lead responsibility for pastoral care in the Meeting community.   Especially over the past year, members of Ministry and Counsel have discussed how we should carry out this responsibility. We would like to give Meeting members a summary of what we have developed as the current approach to pastoral care.

  • Members and attenders of the Meeting are encouraged to bring situations calling for pastoral care to the attention of The Meeting clerk, the clerk of Ministry and Counsel or another member of Ministry and Counsel.
  • Ministry and Counsel discusses situations calling for pastoral care at least once each month as part of its regular meeting agenda, and more frequently if pressing.   The committee maintains a list of such situations to be sure we don’t neglect any of them. We regularly review this list.
  • We ask one member of the committee to be the point person for each situation, asking that person to make visits or take other appropriate action and subsequently report back to Ministry and Counsel. In more complex situations, we convene a team to work together on the matter.
  • The Committee on Ministry and Counsel takes the need for confidentiality very seriously. We respect the confidentiality of whatever is said to us by those experiencing difficulties, and do not discuss specific pastoral care situations outside of the committee without specific permission from those affected.

We know this approach to pastoral care is a change from the past, particularly for those with long experience in the Meeting of having a paid pastor providing pastoral care.

We ask members of the Meeting community to give us feedback on how this new approach to pastoral care is working. What is going well and what is not going so well?

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Woman’s Society Dinner, September 17. 2018

The Woman’s Society met for dinner on Monday, September 17 at the Thai’s Cuisine Restaurant in Topsham with fifteen Friends attending. The only business conducted was fellowship and enjoyment of good food with good friends. Appreciation goes out to Theresa Oleksiw for her choice of restaurant.

Jo-an Jacobus, a grateful and well-fed attender of the meeting


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“We Are Spirits Having a Human Experience,” by Donna Hutchins

A message given at Durham Friends Meeting on September 16, 2018 by Donna Hutchins

Good Morning Friends.  I heard this quote a few years back and it has stuck with me. I think of it often and I thought it would make a good message. I hope I can deliver it the way I feel it needs to be delivered.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:  My Sophomore French is very rusty…and although I You Tubed the pronunciation of his name…I’m not gonna try to do it for you…. I’m sure many of you have heard his quote:

“We are not humans having a spiritual experience; We are spirits having a human experience.”

I think some people tend to confuse spirituality with religion. I think there are times when we humans think that being religious is the same as being spiritual … For me Religion is more specific than spirituality. Some religions come with a tenet or creed, specific to their beliefs.  Christianity has the Nicene Creed, Judaism has the Shehmah prayer, Islam has the Shahada.

Different religions have different ways in which to worship. Catholicism has full mass on Sunday and a daily mass with an actively responsive congregation, Quakers meet on First Day in silent meditative worship,  or some variation of that… Judaism observes worship on shabbat which is from Friday at sundown until Saturday afternoon.  Religion also comes with a place of worship, a temple, a church, a meetinghouse, a mosque…

The definition I found online describes Religion as a particular system of faith and worship.

Spirituality is more eclectic. It has no hard set guidelines. One can be spiritual in the out of doors or in a house, with a mouse, on a boat or with a goat… you get the picture….to be spiritual one only needs to believe.

And I found this definition of spirituality on line:  “Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.”

So…….back to the quote…the first parts says: We are not humans having a spiritual experience.

For most of my life I have been searching for that spiritual experience. To have that strong faith that my mother had, to be overwhelmed with Jesus and his teachings the way my sister is…to feel that something others feel when they speak of their devotion and in the way they live their lives.

I have searched in the silent worship of Portland Friends, the semi programed meeting here in Durham, the congregational church in my hometown, the Episcopal Holy Eucharist with my Great Aunt, the Evangelical path with my born again sister, the Catholic Church with my husband.

When I was very young, I attended Portland Friends with my very patient mother. I remember it as a child, sitting in a circle, in an often cold and bare room…squirming in my chair…staring at the clock that never seemed to move…and listening to the gentleman behind me softly snore. As a child, I never understood the want or the need to be quiet.

In my teens I was allowed to venture out and explore other options. I went to the local Congregational church and joined the youth group with my high school friends where we held dances and retreats…fun but not a lot of religion.

I tried the evangelical path with my older and wiser sister. Lead by the Pastor Carl Stevens my soul would be saved. His hellfire and brimstone sermons lasted for hours and left me in such fear of God and my past that I felt the need for salvation. But…within just a few short years of that professed dedication to our Lord and Savior, I attended a sermon that spoke of the sin of vanity and self appreciation, all the while the dear pastor wore his blonde toupee. The irony was not lost on me and I never went back. Disheartened I stopped attending church for a while.

Years later, married with children, I joined the Catholic Church with my husband and drove into the faith full throttle. I took adult classes, did the Easter Eve confession…baptism …confirmation…first communion…we had our marriage blessed and I became a eucharistic minister, a sexton, and a sacristan. I went to mass every….single….day. But after years of this dedication, I left that too. Feeling underwhelmed by the ‘results’ and feeling more like one of a flock just following orders.

The second part of the quote goes: We are spirits having a human experience

At one point in my life I was living a rather solitary existence…. My husband was military and away more often than not…leaving my young son and I to live nestled deep in the woods, on the side of a mountain, just above a crystal clear lake. In my solitude, I became more interested in my surroundings, the pine and fir trees that season after season never lost their needles….standing tall and graceful through the harshest winter….. the oak and the elm that would produce the most amazing color changes for each season.. from vivid green in Spring to gold, red and orange in the Autumn….the water of the lake that provided life for the water foul, the fish and creatures of the woods…. the land that sustained me with wood for fire and shelter from the storms, the wildlife that entertained me in my solitude… all the things I felt God had placed there just for me. I would sit for hours, in total silence save for the wind in the trees, the knocking of the woodpecker on a lively oak, the coo of the mourning dove, the chatter of the chipmunks as they gathered their nuts and seeds for the winter, the cry of the coy dogs in the dark of night…All of God’s creatures stirring in the woods around me. I would walk for miles on the mountain roads or on the long forgotten cattle trails in the woods without seeing another human, totally at peace with this solitude. On rainy days I would curl up in a chair with a cup of coffee on the covered porch, listening to the steady drizzle of rain on the tin roof and watch the rivers of water pour from the eaves onto the path below. I enjoyed the randomly placed lady slippers, scattered among the wild low bush blueberries.

This wasn’t a religious experience, there was no creed, no preacher, no building, no other human with me.

At some point, in the quiet of those woods, I started to believe. And more than just believe, I felt. I felt peace, serenity and love.

Remember  Alexander Pope’s “To err is human” “To forgive divine.”? 

 As humans we are flawed. We love and we hate..we want peace and yet we wage war…we feel compassion and malice…we give birth and we take lives….. But…I believe that our spirits are inherently good. I believe that it is our spirit having a human experience that moves us to feed the poor, house the homeless, aid the sick, rally for peace and accomplish great and compassionate deeds.

If our spirits live on forever, and are truly inherently good, then our spirits need to feel the flaws of our humanness. And if spirituality is the search for the meaning of life, and life is experienced though being human, it makes sense that our spirits must have that human experience in order to develop and grow.

I believe that this quote should read

We ARE humans having a spiritual experience but we are ALSO spirits having a human experience.


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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading verses from the hymn, Spirit of God, Descend upon my Heart. We did not meet in August.

  1. The July minutes were approved, with one correction: in minute no. 8: “We approved the Nominating Committee recommendation that Donna Hutchins be added as a Trustee.”

2. Martha Sheldon reported for Ministry and Counsel which met Sunday, September 9th and again for their annual retreat on September 15th. In both meetings, they discussed pastoral care concerns of the meeting and determined appropriate ways to respond to the needs of meeting members and attenders. They also discussed how worship is going and how to enrich the experience of worship. Developments and possible program proposals will be forthcoming. Please contact any member of Ministry and Counsel about pastoral care and worship concerns.

3. Trustees: Lesley Manning sent a comprehensive detailed report which is attached.

a. Donna Hutchins reported that she and Dan Ross will not be moving from the parsonage. She will continue as our custodian. Trustees recommend that the current month to month rental agreement remain in effect. They are very satisfied with her care of the meetinghouse and parsonage.

b. Trustees have scheduled a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” for Friday night and Saturday, October 19 and 20. The list of chores needed are noted in their report and will be listed. All are welcome to participate.

c. Donna is working with Andy Higgins to monitor and respond to storm damage to trees in our cemeteries. Trustees authorized Andy to do the tree work in and around the meetinghouse, horse shed and parsonage.

d. The horse shed had been excavated and gravel laid. The sill and shingles in the back are rotten and will need to be replaced.

e. They recommend that Lunt Road Cemetery be mowed more often since it is visited regularly.

g. Andy Higgins will repair the column at Lunt Cemetery, remove the old basketball hoop on the horse shed and help repair the storage shed at the parsonage if needed.

h. Interior repair and painting of the meetinghouse ceilings will be done before winter; an exterminator has been hired to deal with the on-going mouse problem; and the chimneys and furnaces will be serviced.

i. The Trustees plan to get estimates for water treatment systems for both the meetinghouse and parsonage; the well pump at the meetinghouse may need to be replaced since it may be the original to the well dug when the addition was built in the 1950s.

4. Tess Hartford reported for the Christian Education Committee and Youth Ministry.

a. Concern has been expressed regarding electronic equipment used by children and youth, distracting from the worship and community atmosphere in Sunday School and other activities.  Parents will be contacted with this concern.

b. Our child care provider is unable to continue, and thus they are seeking help in this area; it involves 2 hours on Sunday morning, $15.00 an hour. An article will be included in the newsletter with this request for someone to fill this need. Contact Wendy Schlotterbeck if interested. Wendy will be the child care provider until someone is hired.

c. The World Quaker Day sponsored by Friends World Committee for Consultation ( on October 7th will replace Rally Day. There will be a pot luck lunch and activities.

d. Family Game Night will occur November 3rd with a pot luck meal.

5. The Peace and Social Concerns Committee report was given by Ingrid Chalufour. Future activities include a social justice film series, October 12, 9, 16 and December 7, and a “Seeds of Peace” activity at Curtis Library in Brunswick. Details of these events will be included in the Newsletter.

6. Ad Hoc Committee report: Doug Bennett reminded us that A Community Conversation about the Way Forward for our meeting without a pastor will be held on September 30, 2018. An article about this event will be included in the Newsletter and a Friendly Note will be sent.

7. Susan Rice reminded us that a report from the representatives to New England Yearly Meeting Sessions would be in order. It was suggested that Ministry and Counsel schedule messages related to Yearly Meeting concerns.

8. Tess Hartford expressed appreciation for attending the Arts Camp at Friends Camp in China (Maine) which included writers, visual artists, and musicians.

We adjourned in gratitude for the Spirit of the day!

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

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“Looking for Lake Huron,” by Doug Bennett

Taken from a message at Durham Friends Meeting, September 9, 2018, by Doug Bennett

Much of life, I think, is like driving on the Trans-Canadian Highway, or like driving on I-95 or Route 1. You can get somewhere pretty fast. You can deal with the necessities of ordinary life. You can get to work or to a store or to a friend’s house. But the majesty and mystery of life, maybe not so much. That majesty and mystery may be nearby, but the highway won’t take you there. You have to go looking for the big water, and you may not find it. Maybe you have to get into a boat or walk a rocky path. Maybe you have to go to Meeting.

There are many days I’m looking for the big water. There are many days I’m looking for the experience of the divine, the presence of God, the holy. More often than not I never quite see the big water. I might catch glimpses. I might see bits of water through some trees. I might see boats that maybe could get me there, but they aren’t my boats, and most of the ones I see aren’t being used by anyone. I keep hoping to come round a bend and see the big water open up. I keep hoping the next bend will give me the long view, maybe even the eternal view, and take my breath away. Most days my view of the holy is blocked by dozens and dozens of bits of ordinary life.

For all the talk of God in the Bible, there are only a few instances where God makes a direct appearance. Think Moses and the burning bush. But that only happens a few times. And most of those few instances are times when someone simply heard God’s voice. Think Noah, or Samuel, or Paul. Most of the time people are just trying to find out what God wants them to do without ever catching even a glimpse.

Quakers often talk of being seekers. We talk of seeking God. We talk of stilling ourselves, quieting ourselves, getting off the highway away from the buzz, hoping to hear God’s voice. We know it takes effort, practice, prayer, waiting worship.  What’s more, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes we go through spiritual dry spells. Other times the big water, the holy, takes us by surprise. But we know, don’t we, there’s no direct route there, no simple turn-off scenic vista that promises us a view of God.

You can read the whole message at River View Friend.

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Woman’s Society Eat-Out, September 17, 6pm

The Annual Eat-Out of Durham’s Woman’s Society is this coming Monday, September 17 at 6 p.m.  We will be meeting at the Thai’s Cuisine Restaurant at 6 1st Street, Topsham.  It is located behind the Topsham Town Office; 1st Street turns off Monument Drive, near the Route 201/Main Street end.

The restaurant’s website is and they can be reached by phone at 721-0103.

This is a great opportunity to come out for a nice meal, talk with people from Meeting, and find out more about Woman’s Society.  The restaurant sets no minimum on orders, so you could have a full meal, something less, or just sit and chat.

Please join us, all are invited.    

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Library News for September, 2018

By Dorothy Hinshaw

Four books on the USFWI Reading List were purchased following the suggestions of Woman’s Society members:

  • Freeman, Henry B.: Unlacing the Heart. Henry has been a fundraiser for several Quaker institutions; he shares his inspirational friendship with Henri Nouwen, and a meaningful visit to El Salvador.
  • Karon, Jan: Come Rain or Come Shine. This is a must read for those who have read her other books, but it lacks the depth of previous novels.
  • Thebarge, Sarah: The Invisible Girls. This is a memoir which shows empathy and support for a Somali family she met on a bus, her struggle with cancer, and her religious journey.
  • Walton, Mary: A Woman’s Crusade; Alice Paul and the battle for the ballet. Quaker Alice was a major leader in the woman’s suffrage movement in the States. This book is tedious but a well written historic account.

Also “check out” our renewed subscription to the pamphlet series, Quaker Religious Thought. These are short reads on Quaker theology and experience. Don’t forget that we continue to receive Pendle Hill Pamphlets on relevant topics. A gem of a recently discovered pamphlet in our collection is Friends and the Sacraments, by various Quaker leaders. Pamphlets are located on the Pamphlet Shelf!

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“Into Unknown,” by Craig Freshley

Taken from a message given August 27, 2017 by Craig Freshley

I’m a pretty good skier, I love skiing fast. Very confident in my comfort zone, I’m experienced and when I’m on the ski slope I know what’s going to happen next. I know that I can handle it; it is so fun. Sometimes I get skiing a little too fast, a little on the edge of my comfort zone, that is when it turns from fun into a religious experience. Not a religious experience like “Oh God, Help Me!” , but a religious experience like “Oh God, this is awesome!”. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I know I can handle it, because I have confidence in my ability and I have faith. It’s like this with lots of things, with music, theater, sports, where somebody knows well how to do something. Actors on the stage follow the script, they know it down pat. But it’s when they go off the script just a little, let the emotions get a little bit out of control, with true faith that it is going to be okay anyway – that’s when the magic happens.

Quakers have a history of going off the script a little bit. George Fox, many trail blazers, I might call it going from the comfort zone into the unknown zone. Don’t know what’s going to happen next, but if you have faith you know you can handle it anyway.

I’ve been doing an experiment in Maine… I want to tell you about that experiment. I want to tell you how I have gone into the unknown zone, how I’ve tried to bring people with me into the unknown zone. Before that, let me tell you a bit about my profession. I am a professional meeting facilitator. I have facilitated probably 3000 meetings over the past 15 or 20 years. Non-profit boards of directors, corporate groups, governments hire me. When there is contention, when there are high stakes decisions to be made, that’s typically when I’m contacted.

I first was called to do this by a Quaker woman. I’m a convinced Quaker and it was from a Quaker woman that I learned the principles of Quaker business practices and consensus decision making. I try to bring these practices into the main stream world. I worked in Augusta for many years and I sat through many bad meetings. I had the sense that we can do better. I set out to learn how to do things better. I really believe this, so I have written a book called The Wisdom of Group Decision. I’ve written many one-page tips. I have made over 100 videos. All of these are available on my website if you are interested. I’m not trying to be promotional, but there are resources available to you, you can Google my name and find that stuff.

At the last presidential election, I became deeply troubled at the magnitude of the political divide in our country, in our state, in many of our communities. I had a sense that the political divide was growing but the election results made that clearer to me. Like a lot of people, I wondered what I could do about that. What’s my part? Many people have activated in their own ways. My way was to try and bring people together. I had the idea to do this sitting one night in my Quaker Meetinghouse. Peter Blood and Annie Patterson – the folks who created the book Rise Up Singing – were there that night playing music and leading us in singing. I thought, if we are going to bring people together a good way to do that is to have arts or music or something. I invented the “Make Shift Coffeehouse”, rented space at the library, got the word out, made posters. I tried to bring Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives together with live music, food in a coffeehouse environment for some informal table chit chat and some formal dialogue where we simply try to understand each other.

I’ve had more than 6 of these so far in different parts of Maine and I have several more scheduled. There is a group that is very enthusiastic about this idea, they’ve formed the Friends of Make Shift Coffeehouse, trying to raise money and pushing me to take this further. They think this is really what the world needs.

It’s an opportunity for people to simply understand each other. Not persuade each other, not agree with each other, not find common ground. We are very clear about that. You are allowed to go to a Make Shift Coffeehouse and leave with exactly the same political views that you walked in with. The hope is that at least you shift a little bit of your understanding of where other people are coming from. Because I have learned from years of group dynamics experience that 90% of all conflicts are the result of misunderstanding. When we don’t understand our adversaries and where they are coming from, we make stuff up about them. We demonize them, we turn them into the bad guys, and it’s when we take the time to understand where each other is coming from, whether we agree or not, we have a much better chance of coming to a peaceful resolution.

Doing this, I’m outside my comfort zone. When I have one of these meetings, I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I know I’m going to be able to handle it, because I have faith, I have confidence in my ability and I have the tools I need on board with me. I’m asking other people to come with me into that unknown zone also. A lot of people are afraid to attend one of these makeshift coffeehouses. I went on a morning talk show and the guys were teasing me, “Oh are you going to need medical supplies on hand?” It’s that kind of thing. I organized one at a local library and the librarian called me that afternoon and asked if I thought we might need a police officer on hand, because she had heard from people and the public concerned about going to this meeting where there were going to be Democrats and Republicans in the same room talking to each other. There is some fear about this. But with faith on board we can walk through that fear, step into the unknown zone. I’m doing it, because I think it is what the world needs. I think it is what God wants me to do. And other people are doing it because they think it is what the world needs. It’s not like we don’t have any tools. Like I don’t have the tools for doing this. I’m not stepping into the unknown zone unequipped. In my Quaker meeting, someone brought this analogy… it’s like being in the dark, carrying a lantern. Imagine an oil lamp, it makes a ring of light beneath my feet and illuminates few steps ahead and after that it is dark and it’s scary to step into the dark. Here’s the thing, when I take a few steps the light moves with me.

I am here to inspire you to step outside your comfort zone a little into the unknown in the direction that you believe God wants you to step.

What is the direction that you will step in to the unknown zone with your lantern?

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Ad Hoc Committee Continues Its Work

By Doug Bennett

The work of Durham Meeting’s ad hoc committee will be back on the agenda in September and we need your help. The most recent report of the committee (from April) is on the Meeting’s website.

At the May Monthly Meeting we agreed to these next steps:

  1. That committees currently providing pastoral care (M&C), outreach (CE, P&SC, newsletter) and coordination (clerks meeting) consider their roles and effectiveness more deeply;
  2. That these groups and committees report back to the Ad Hoc working group with their thoughts by Sept. 17;
  3. That the Ad Hoc group organize a time for A Community Conversation about the Way Forward on Sept 30 (5thSunday) 2018.

So please, if you are a member of a Meeting committee, please note what we are asking you to do, and send the ad hoc committee your thoughts by September 17. And please mark your calendars for a special discussion on Sunday, September 30.

Thank you.

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Vassalboro Quarter Fall Gathering Weekend

Vassalboro Quarter Fall Gathering Weekend

Friday through Sunday, September 7-9, 2018

 The Vassalboro Quarter Fall Gathering weekend at Friends Camp will be a wonderful opportunity to have time with Friends from around Maine to share our actions, what inspires us and where we are stuck!

60 minute breakouts: Here are a few samples:

  • The Power of Enough: a continuation of discussion from Living Faith Spring retreat
  • Poor People’s Campaign/White privilege discussion, [check out Rev. Dr. William J Barber’s Address to the 2018 Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering – America Must Have a Moral Revival: ]
  • Global Day of Action for Climate Justice: review of a workshop offered at NEYM Sessions. Learn to use a Carbon Calculator to gauge your individual or Monthly Meeting carbon footprint (bring your computer so you can do it at Fall Gathering!)
  • Universal Health Care and Active Hope
  • Art as a form of spiritual expression

There will be 60 minute gatherings Friday evening and Saturday morning, with more spontaneous sharing/break outs welcomed for Saturday morning and afternoon. The preliminary schedule is below. If anyone would like to offer a 45-60 min workshop, they can contact the Fall Gathering committee below or sign up on Friday night.

Pre-registration by August 31st is appreciated to allow for meal planning and any child programing that is needed. To sign up, please go to this link: (copy and paste it in your search).

Pre-register at:

Spread the word in your meeting’s newsletters or correspondence by forwarding this or copying. Be sure everyone has the link.

Walk-ins are always welcome! Register when you arrive or at the next meal. Come for one day or stay for the full weekend.

If someone doesn’t have internet access to pre-register, or is having any problems with pre-registering, they can call the registrar, Stephen Assante, at 207-649-0619 and leave a message or email at

Youth of all ages are welcome and there is no fee for children or for parents/guardians bringing children. The VQM subsidizes all children under 18 yo.

Young Adult Friends are also meeting with us for the second year.
Their programing and Vassalboro Quarterly Friends program will be overlapping as-led! We will be gathering together Friday starting with supper. YAF should use the same link to pre-register.

Housing: There are cabins with bunkbeds, tenting areas and a few handicapped accessible cabins with a bathroom. The latter are limited and usually reserved for those who indicate at pre-registration that they need one. If you would like hospitality off campus with a local Friend, please contact Joann Austin:

Meals: All vegetarian: please let us know at pre registration about any special dietary needs.

Cost of the weekend:

Due to the generous support of Friends in the Vassalboro Quarter, this gathering is pay-as-led for participants – and children are free, as are. Please do not let cost get in the way your attendance but feel free to donate as led and able. Payment is due at registration when you arrive at Friends Camp. 0-17years: free.18-35 years: $0-$50. All parents and adults bringing children: $0-$50. All adults over 35: $0 – $100. Please indicate your total amount that you are able to contribute.

Common questions about costs: Friends Camp charges VQM based on the number of adults and children who eat each meal, stay over each night (regardless of whether they camp, use a cabin or trailer), or attend for just part of a day. Those who attend may make a contribution based on what their charges would be or what they think they can afford. This is called Pay-as-Led.

Here are costs to VQM: Meals are around $10, day rate is $7, and day with an overnight is $14. So one adult staying for the entire weekend including overnight would be 6 meals and 2 overnights or $88.

Hope to see you there!

Vassalboro Quarter Fall Gathering Weekend &
YAF Retreat

Link to the Pre-registration:

Draft Schedule

Friday (PM)

4:30–6        (VQM) Ministry & Counsel Meeting

5:00–7        Registration

6:00–8        Dinner

7:00–8        VQM and YAF: Gathering of Friends in Gratitude

8:00-9         Separate VQM and *YAF activity


Saturday (AM)

7:30–8:30    Breakfast—Grace at end of meal

8–8:30        Registration

8:45–9:30    *Program—Introduction—Centering Worship Sharing

9:45–10:45 *Small Group Session

11–12         *Small Group Session

12–1:15       Lunch

Saturday (PM)

12–12:30     Registration

1:30–3        VQM *Business Meeting

3:15–4:30    *Small Group Session

4:30–6        Free Time

6:15–7:15    Dinner

7:30–8:30    *VQM and YAFs Sharing with music, singing and dance.
YAFs and others may plan to continue longer.


Sunday (AM)

7:30–8:30    Breakfast

8:45–9:45    *Worship Sharing/Reflections on our weekend

10–11         *Meeting for Worship

12–12:45     Lunch

12:45 PM    Camp Clean-up and goodbyes!

*held in the Aviary at the top of the hill or in multiple other locations

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 15, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 15, 2018 with 13 people present. Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting with a reading from the New England Yearly Meeting website statement, “The Quaker Way.” We did not meet in June.

  1. Sukie Rice reported that Eileen Babcock’s will states that a significant bequest will be made to the New England Yearly Meeting pooled invested funds, to benefit our meeting. These funds are unrestricted in their use.

2. Tom Frye is moving to North Carolina to be with family. A group of volunteers (Gene Boyington, Sukie Rice, and Sarah Sprogell) have been cleaning his condominium in Freeport. It will be renovated and sold. It was suggested that the Bernice Douglas fund be used to pay the costs of renovation for up to $20,000; this amount would be reimbursed by Tommie C. Frye at the closing of the sale of his property at 17 Linwood Road, Freeport, Maine. A letter from the clerk (Sukie Rice) regarding this agreement, also signed by the treasurer, Katharine Hildebrandt, will be given to Tom Frye for his signature. Gene Boyington is Tom Frye’s Power of Attorney and is managing Tom’s affairs in his absence.

3. We approved a loan from the Bernice Douglas Fund be used to renovate Tom Frye’s condominium, with an agreement as stated above.

4. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell presented the January l-June 30, 2018 finance report of Income and Expenditures   Income for this period was $25,851, and expenses were $23,591, Both figures close to 50% of the budgeted amounts. This report is attached. It was noted that the need for Friends Camp Scholarships has exceeded our budget. It was suggested that we ask for donations to meet this need.

5.  We approved fund raising for the extra amount needed for Friends Camp Scholarships. An appeal will be included in the Newsletter.

6. Youth Minister/Christian Education Report: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported about several events. “June 2nd was the Annual Yard and Plant sale which earned $750.00. June 3rd was Children’s Day when we celebrated the children and youth of our meeting and marked the close of Sunday School for kids. In addition of many adults present, we were happy to have 10 children/youth among us for the hot dog, mac and cheese and ice cream picnic. A special treat was rainbow fruit kabobs made by Katherine Langelier. We started a quilt of Durham Children’s hand prints and planted a pumpkin patch. We signed cards for 3 graduates in the Durham Family: Elliott Nagler, Andrew Wood and Hannah Wood.

The annual family campout at Betsy Muench’s home in Georgetown, June 16-17 was a great success. 25 people enjoyed the sea air, water and beach. We held meeting for worship on the beach under sunny, blue skies, giving thanks for the beautiful world God created, each other and the Muench family’s generosity sharing this treasure with us.

On Saturday July 14, seven Durham Friends attended ‘Healing Turtle Island’ at Nibezun, in Passadumkeag, Maine at the invitation of our Wabanaki friends. The 2 Durham children were entranced by the Sacred Water Ceremony and the Mother Earth Ceremony led by indigenous elders from around the world. One highlight was the song/dance circle by the children, and the Blessing of the Children Ceremony that followed. Each of the approximately 30 children was blessed by an elder gently touching their head, face, and heart with a giant eagle feather while another elder fanned a smudge pot as the rest of the gathering sang, ‘Children, this is for you.’ After a shared lunch, our youngest Durham Friend chose to sit on the front bench with the head Penobscot elder, Sherri Mitchell (wena’hamu’gwasit) during the lengthy Mother Earth Ceremony. She was taken by hand and welcomed to participate by adding tobacco to the sacred fire to close the ceremony. It was a special privilege to witness the deep spirituality of the people, spend unhurried hours praying and feel the warm welcome to share in their grief and their deepest longing to heal the earth.”

7. Leslie Manning reported for the Trustees. Donna Hutchins has informed the Trustees that she and Daniel Ross will be moving from the parsonage. She will not continue as custodian. The Trustees ask that the Nominating Committee appoint Donna as a member of Trustees. They would like another member as well. Membership in the meeting is required to be a Trustee. They will informally ask people about a new tenant and the position of custodian. They will not advertise at this time. They recommend that the current rental agreement for the parsonage continue.   They recommend a rental agreement of $1200 per month to include electric usage; renter would pay for lawn care within the fenced area, plowing, and heat. The meeting would fill the pellet furnace hopper; a new tenant would refill as needed and leave it full.

Outstanding projects:

  • Cemetery: Trustees received an estimate from Andy Higgins for mowing grass using his own equipment, and report that they will pay a salary of $15.00 per hour from the cemetery fund for all locations. Andy will also do the repair work on the columns at Lunt Cemetery. No checkbook has been located for the Cemetery Fund. Donna Hutchins and Margaret Wentworth will go to the credit union and order a new set and void the number series for the lost book. Donna will replace Eileen Babcock on the cemetery checking account which will give us two signers. The second signer is Katherine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt. Donn will serve as the Cemetery Fund bookkeeper and be the record keeper delineating cemetery plots. She will prepare the accounts for auditing.
  • Parsonage: A plumber will be asked to schedule repairs to the toilet and the outside faucet at the parsonage. The gutter on the parsonage porch will be removed.   It was recommended that a community wide discussion concerning the future of the parsonage be held, either as an item of business at monthly meeting or at a special called meeting. The clerk will schedule this discussion.
  • Meetinghouse and horse shed: basement windows will season before being painted in the fall. Andy Higgins has agreed to do work on the horse shed, along with the repair and painting of the ceilings in the meetinghouse; he will submit proof of insurance and W-9 form for payment. Andy Higgins made a trash run from the parsonage and storage shed; Wendy Schlotterbeck cleaned the horse shed. Some valued items might be listed on Craigslist or shown to an appraiser for sale. Daniel Henton has installed a system for raising and lowering banners on the south side of the meetinghouse. Many thanks to Dan.

Long Term Projects:

  • Parsonage: investigate a filtration system for water; conduct a radon test; replace storm door and door to patio; monitor pipes in laundry area (insulation, heat lamp, relocation?); clean attics in garage and house; paint porch floor and ceiling; do electrical inspection.
  • Replace shed roof.
  • Grounds: Donna Hutchins will check with the Durham Town Office and an appraiser regarding a woodlot plan and tree growth tax reduction.

Items listed in the Trustees’ report concerning the meetinghouse and horse shed will be discussed at a later date. Trustees announced a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” on October 13.

8. We approved the request that Donna Hutchins be added as a Trustee.

9.  We approved the following: a new tenant to the parsonage would pay all utilities except the CMP electricity bill, with a rent of $1200 per month.

10. We approved refunding the security deposit to the current renters of the parsonage.

11. Items listed in the Trustees’ report concerning the meetinghouse and horse shed will be discussed at a later date.

12. Trustees announced a “Love Your Meetinghouse Day” on October 13.

13. Peace and Social Concerns:

a. Sukie Rice reported that proceeds from the Friends of Kakamega Dinner amounted to $1000, plus a $2000 donation with a total of $3000 for the event!

b. We approved scheduling a Seeds of Peace fundraising event, date to be determined.

14. A concern was raised concerning the presence of dogs in the meetinghouse as that might discourage persons of other faiths to feel welcome.

15. Joseph and Alexandrine Godleski have requested that their name be removed from membership as they now live in Florida and attend a local church. We approved, and the clerk will send a letter of appreciation for their active participation in our meeting and that they will be missed.

16. We approved the following persons as representatives to New England Yearly Meeting sessions: Kristna Evans (also representative to NEYM Ministry and Counsel), Sukie Rice, and Sarah Sprogell.

17. A request for financial assistance to attend New England Yearly Meeting Sessions was received and since we don’t contribute to the Equalization Fund, travel expenses in the form of gas receipts can be submitted to the treasurer. We were reminded that we “pay as led.”

18. The Treasurer, Kitsie Hildebrandt, asked Jo-an Jacobus who initially set up the phone/internet system in the meetinghouse for advice on how to lower our costs.   Jo-an researched our account with Consolidated Communications regarding phone and internet service, phone book listing, and repair of the outside line. Jo-an reported that the line will be repaired without cost. She recommends that we move to a two year plan that would cost approx. $80.00 per month (less than the $117 per month if we don’t change the plan). Our phone listing was moved back from the Lewiston phone book to Brunswick phone book. Jo-an recommends that we buy a backup power source due to power outages. Her research is attached.

19. We approved changing our phone/internet service to the two year plan at $80.00 per month and that we purchase a backup power source, not exceeding $80.00.

20. We approved May’s monthly meeting minutes, with corrections noted.

The meeting adjourned at 2:15.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

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“Joy in Unexpected Places,” by Leslie Manning

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, June 24, 2018

I want you all to see my coffee cup, which says “It’s a tough world, stay Prayed Up”. Most days, coffee and prayer get me through the day. Alright, coffee, prayer and the love of a good dog.

This cup is a gift and came from a very important Christmas tradition in my family – the Yankee Swap. I see this tradition is familiar to a lot of you. Every year, about 30 of us gather in my mother’s living room with a gift, costing no more than 20 bucks, and we wrap them up and pile them up in the middle of the floor.

Then, after drawing numbers we choose one gift for our own. If we don’t like what we have drawn, we can exercise the right to take someone else’s, until the last person has drawn, and then the first person can look them all over and choose any one they want. The Elvis Presley cookbook? Lottery tickets? A pair of Jesus socks? (Not socks that Jesus actually wore.) Wine and a couple of glasses? All yours–except the chocolate body paint. That was drawn by my then 80-year-old widowed mother–and she wouldn’t give it up. (She later said it was delicious over ice cream.)

And what, may you ask has that got to do with my studies at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine? Well, my dear friends, every day at ChIME, every monthly weekend of intense study and practice, every weekly class, is a spiritual Yankee Swap. But in our version, every one of us gets not only the present that we want, but the present that we need.

I have invited some of my classmates to join us in worship today, and I hope you get to visit with them later. They are all remarkable , ordinary people.
The kind of people who show up without being called, who speak up, who stand up and who sometimes dance. It’s called chaplaining, — who knew chaplain was a verb? And it is becoming my life’s work and the work of a lifetime.

Chaplaincy Institute of Maine is an interfaith program with the intention of turning us out into the world, as called and led, to offer hope, healing and a listening presence for people at some of the darkest and most joyful occasions in their lives; and to be available, on spiritual stand-by, for all the moments in-between.

In between, that liminal space where we find grace, sorrow and joy. Today I want to concentrate on the joy. Liminal space is occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. For example: “While doctors operate, she hangs suspended in liminal space”. In other words, G-d space.

The ChiME website says, “ChIME educates and ordains interfaith leaders who serve with integrity, spiritual presence, and prophetic voice.”

As part of our studies, we learn about the world’s religions, about our own vulnerabilities, our dark and golden shadows; we learn to listen and go deep to the source of all grace, sorrow and joy. We learn the difference between forgiveness and forgiving; to hang on and to let go; to open ourselves and allow ourselves to be opened. And we are only in the first phase of this work and calling, as we go together into the “classwomb” and are churned as we are chimed.

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Want to Stay Aware of What’s Happening in Quakerdom?

One way to stay aware of what’s happening around the Quaker world is to subscribe to Martin Kelly’s Quaker Ranter Daily, a nearly-daily blog and e-mail service.  Kelly reads dozens and dozens of blog posts by Quakers around the U.S. and beyond, and posts links to what he thinks are the most interesting ones.

Today, for example, he links to a post from Emily Provance, a member of 15th Street Meeting in New York, about Generational Strategies for Quaker Outreach.  nEmily believes we need different communication strategies for those over and those under age 45.

He also links today to a blog post from J. J. Lund, the rising clerk of Wilmington Yearly Meeting, which is experiencing a schism broadly similar to what has happened recently in Indiana Yearly Meeting and in North Carolina Yearly Meeting.  Lund closes on a hopeful note, one that I believe will resonate with members of Durham Friends Meeting:

The Wilmington Yearly Meeting that emerges will be smaller.  It will still be diverse, including a range of views on same gender marriage and Biblical authority.  It will consist of meetings that have chosen Christian fellowship over dogma, the Gospel of Love over the letter of the law.

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“Quaker Values?” by Doug Bennett

Excerpt for a message at Durham Friends Meeting on July 1, 2018

Quakers often talk about Quaker Values in terms of ‘testimonies’ many of us remember with this mnemonic SPICES: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship.

Where did the SPICES list come from?  That’s a complicated story, probably one for another day.   Let’s just note this: you won’t find this list or anything like it in any Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice before about WWII. The SPICES list is of relatively recent origin. Nevertheless, this list of Quaker Values has come to define us – or we have slipped into letting them define us.

We say, “Let Your Life Speak.” That’s a Quaker phrase I like. By it, we mean our beliefs should be active, not inert. We should live out our values, even when it is difficult – like the difficult week or year we’re having now. These Quaker Values, these Testimonies, are orientations to action.

So where did the SPICES list come from? I like to think of it this way.

Quakers believe that God speaks to each and every one of us — if we’ll still ourselves to listen. We believe there is ‘that of God’ in each and every one of us — that allows us to hear God. And thus,

  • If there is that of God in each and every one of us, then we are all fundamentally equal. No one will be better than another.
  • We are all called to community, because we hear what God is saying better in community.
  • We are called to be peaceable one with another because all lives are sacred – all having that of God within.
  • We are all called to be truthtellers and people of integrity because we carry God’s sacred hopes within us.
  • And we are called to stewardship of the earth because that too is a gift from God.

And so we have SPICES list: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship. It’s a good shorthand list – perhaps a Quaker rosary.

But — here’s the but. Are these values our values in the sense that we own them, or have a special claim on them – a claim that others don’t? Are they especially ours? Are they our brand? Is that why we call them ‘Quaker Values?’

Are these our Spices, and other people use different flavorings? Do these values make us special? Set us apart? Do they make us better? (Heaven forbid!)

If we are to let our life speak, do we think that other people’s lives should speak in different ways – upholding war or selfishness or deceit or waste? How do we expect to persuade anyone of anything if we few think we have a corner on goodness, because ours are ‘Quaker Values?’

Or are these values for everyone?

Are these values for everyone because they speak to something fundamentally right about being human, about living a good life? Some would add: Are these values for everyone who is listening to God?

Aren’t these the values of the Sermon on the Mount?

Put another way, do Quakers hold these values because they are Quaker, or do we hold them because they are the right values – right for everyone?

If they are right for everyone, and I’m pretty sure they are; if they are right for everyone because these commitments are what God expects of all us, what should we call them? Not “Quaker values,” I think.

One more question.   If we should not call these Quaker values, if we shouldn’t think that these values are what makes us distinctive, what does make us distinctive?


You can find the entire message, “Quaker Values” on Doug Bennett’s blog, River View Friend 

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Latest Library News, June 2018

By Dorothy Hinshaw

The latest addition to the meeting library is a very interesting book: “Memories of Milton Hadley” who was a Quaker pastor at meetings in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, and Florida, serving both programmed and unprogrammed meetings. His Quiet approach as a servant pastor/meeting secretary is a fine example of serving a variety of Quaker meetings. He also taught physics and coached sports teams at the Vermilion Academy (Friends Secondary School) in Illinois, 1920-1924, incidentally where Clarabel Marstaller was born.

At one time Milton Hadley was New England Yearly Meeting northern section Field Secretary and instrumental in the establishment of China Camp (Friends Camp) in China, Maine. He also served as pastor of our meeting!

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Woman’s Society Report, June 18, 2018

By Katherine Langelier

Woman’s Society met on Monday, June 18 at the home of Dorothy and Ed. After the lovely tea hosted by Dorothy H. and Martha, we began meeting shortly after 6 with discussion of a baby quilt and the card ministry.

Martha led the devotions and program on “Serving Others” by Adis Beeson. She mentioned the song “He Leadeth Me” and 1 John 2:28, Proverbs 22:6, and a poem “Loving Jesus” by Charles Wesley. How do we follow callings we feel in our lives? We never know what the future holds.

The treasurer’s report and giving opportunities were discussed. We approved giving $100 to the United Society of Friends Women International Children and Youth Projects. Nancy passed around newsletters from Kickapoo and Tedford.

We decided to switch our August dinner out to the September meeting date.

Next month’s meeting is at Helen’s home. We are experimenting with starting at 6 pm. Dorothy C. is doing devotions and Theresa is bringing the program.

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Ramallah Friends School Potluck & Presentation, June 25

On Monday, June 25, Durham Friends Meeting will be hosting a potluck and presentation about the Ramallah Friends Schools in Ramallah, Palestine.  We will be hosting Adrian Moody, the new head of Ramallah Friends Schools, and Eden Grace, the Global Ministries Director of Friends United Meeting.

Potluck will begin at 6 pm, program at 7 pm.

Adrian Moody, Director, Ramallah Friends School.  Adrian Moody comes to the Friends School with an extensive background in international education, having served in school leadership positions in Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and India. His depth of experience with the International Baccalaureate and his masters-level specialization in teacher assessment will allow him to shepherd the implementation of the RFS Board’s new strategic plan which focuses on strengthening the academic programs. His professional expertise in the management of large multi-campus schools will facilitate a thorough analysis of long-term financial and physical needs and the development of strategies for sustainability.

A committed Roman Catholic with a master’s degree in theology, Adrian feels deeply called to the particular witness of a Friends School under occupation. As he shared with the school when he visited: “I am drawn to RFS for so many reasons. It has a long history of shared communities. It has a strong academic program and is able to offer its students wonderful opportunities. But RFS is not just a school – it is much more than that. I look at RFS and I see that the grace of God is working within your community. I see God carrying us all on a journey, together through moments of success and challenges which strengthens our lives and our bonds with each other and God.”

Adrian, an Australian national, and his wife Gillian, a New Zealander, will took up residence in Ramallah at the beginning of August while their teenage daughter continues in boarding school in New Zealand.

Eden Grace, Global Ministries Director.  Eden Grace has served as FUM’s Global Ministries Director since July, 2013. From 2004 through mid-2013, Eden served as the Field Officer for FUM in the Africa Ministries Office in Kisumu, Kenya. Eden is responsible for shepherding FUM’s programmatic work in 11 countries on 4 continents. She has a passion for the holistic and transformational witness of Friends that arises from deep worship in the gathered body. She thinks of her role specifically, and that of FUM in general, as a ligament in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19).

Eden holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Certificate in International Mission and Ecumenism from the Boston Theological Institute. Her undergraduate degree is from Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, where she studied drama literature and semiotics.  In addition to Eden’s extensive involvement with Friends’ organizations, she has also served in leadership roles in the World Council of Churches and the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and carries a deep concern for Christian unity.

Eden Grace is a member of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) in New England Yearly Meeting. She and her husband Jim have two young adult sons, are the host family for a Kenyan college student, and have taken in a Richmond teen. Eden loves to travel, sing, read fiction and make quilts using African fabrics.

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“Continuing Revelation,” by Bruce Neumann

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 18, 2018, by Bruce Neumann, Rising Clerk of New England Yearly Meeting

I’ve been thinking lately about continuing revelation.

            This is one of our basic Quaker tenets, that while there is only one TRUTH, our understanding of it is incomplete. And that we expect to see a little more of that TRUTH from time to time, whether through sudden insight during meeting for worship or personal prayer, or whether dragged kicking and screaming over a period of time in business meeting. The revelation can be a relatively small or personal thing, like William Penn asking whether he needed to abandon his sword, and George saying, “wear it as long as you can.” Presumably Penn woke up one morning and felt or saw the change in himself and put the sword in the closet. I also remember marvelling at a story in “Lighting Candles in The Dark” about a Quaker who was in the English navy and came to the truth that he could no longer fight. The peace testimony seems such a basic part of Quakerism, yet it was not fully understood in the earliest days of the movement.

This reflection on continuing revelation was initiated by an activity at a recent Salem Quarter meeting. In groups of 3, we were asked to reflect on various passages. My group was given a Woolman quote. I actually don’t remember what it was, but I jumped to thinking about Woolman’s concern, not just for slaves, but also for the spiritual health of slave owners. It’s easy from the moral high ground of our current vantage to be dismissive of slave owning Quakers. Yet I know all too well that I have my own blind spots and areas of my life that I choose to not look at too closely. There is a way in which I can relate to the slave owners saying, “Wait, WHAT? You’re telling me that this essential part of my daily life is wrong?” I imagine that this was a slow process for them: coming to understand the issue, coming to terms with the effect that change would have, and living into the new personal reality, like cooking and cleaning, and less profit on their business.

The query that came to me a couple of weeks ago in that Salem Quarter workshop is “How is my spiritual life a prisoner of comfort and profit?” Or “What are the behaviours and practices in my life, which stunt my spiritual growth, keep me from greater oneness with God, and from doing all I can to build the kingdom of heaven on earth?”

There are three areas that come to mind which I feel unsettled about, where I feel in need of continuing revelation to provide some clarity.

1). My wife and I have been saving for years, hoping to have a reasonably secure and comfortable retirement, but I hear the echo of Jesus’ words whispering in my ear “where your treasure is, there is your heart.” While I can argue that we give money away every year, and do a lot of work for good causes, and say that we’re not overly attached to this retirement fund, I also know that the idea of giving it all away makes me feel incredibly anxious, so I think perhaps my heart IS where my treasure is. It seems that my faith is not strong enough to believe that God and social security will be enough.

2) Most of us are committed on some level to working for the health of our planet. And yet I suspect that we are not consistent in our approach. I drive a hybrid, but am flying to San Diego for a wedding in June – in a few hours of plane travel I will use up all the gains I made over the year with my car. And I use – most of the time – reusable shopping bags, but If I need a new phone or tablet, do I use as much thought about the impact on the earth?

3) Finally, with minimal awareness, I benefit every day from institutionalized white supremacy. I had no trouble getting college loans years ago, Pat and I had no trouble getting a mortgage for our house, or any challenge from our prospective neighbours. When I get stopped by a cop I am embarrassed, but I do not fear for my life. I am not followed if I go into a nice department store. If I was guilty of some minor crime like possession of drugs (pretty unlikely for me) I could probably avoid going to prison. While I can say the words “I’m not a racist”, and can say that I had no part in setting up these systems of oppression, is my conscience clear? Would Jesus be content with the little things I do?

And these are just three things that I can see into, if through a glass darkly. Are there other things that I have no clue about? 30 years ago many of us were only beginning to understand the impact of our behaviours on the planet. Even 10 years ago, while I understood that people of color had a hard time, I was not clued into my tacit participation in a system of oppression.

So, again, my query is:

What are the behaviours and practices in my life, which stunt my spiritual growth, keep me from greater oneness with God, and from doing all I can to build the kingdom of heaven on earth?

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Durham Friends Meeting Campout, June 16-17

You are invited!

Please come to part or all of the 24 hours (or more) we will be “camping” on the ocean   at Betsy Muench’s family paradise- 710 Bay Point Road in Georgetown

Noon Saturday,  June 16 to Afternoonish Sunday, June 17

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. Board games/ outdoor games

5. Friends! We welcome your friends.

6. Water- Please bring a jug of drinking water- they are having a few issues with their plumbing.  Some water will be available through a hose. FYI- we may be using Wendy’s lovely sawdust composting toilets

  1. Food:

Saturday lunch- bring you own

Saturday supper- something to grill and a dish to share

Saturday campfire time- Snacks, drinks to share

Sunday breakfast- Wendy will bring eggs and pancake mix, we need fruit, milk, and other breakfast yummies as desired

Sunday lunch- POTLUCK bring something to share (Wendy will bring ice cream and cones)

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Memorial Minute: Richard Reeve Wood, Jr.

January 18, 2015

Memorial Minute: Richard Reeve Wood, Jr.

March 30, 1932 – June 5, 2010

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 10.22.24 AMRichard Reeve Wood Jr. was born March 30, 1932, to Richard R. and Nancy Morris Wood in Moorestown, New Jersey. He grew up surrounded and seasoned by Philadelphia Friends. He attended Moorestown Friends School and received a B.A. in English from Haverford College while it was still an all male school. He loved playing soccer at Haverford or anywhere else he could round up a game!

Richard’s fascination with farms, farm animals and aesthetics of the land grew ever more important when he began working summers on a Quaker farm along the Delaware River. As a Conscientious Objector he served two years at the Earlham College dairy farm.

Following his stint at Earlham, Richard married Elizabeth Hoag. They bought the Goddard farm, a small farm in Brunswick, Maine, which had been bequeathed to Durham Monthly Meeting. There they had four children: Rebecca, Gilbert, Anna and Susan. They also built a Jersey herd of some note. After their divorce Richard continued to farm and provide hospitality to folks from various walks of life who were passing by. His was a compelling and welcoming presence and he connected easily with all sorts of people.

Richard loved cows and spent much of his time as he worked in the barn thinking and dreaming of the emerging contemporary small farm movement. He was ahead of his time, like Wendell Berry whose writings inspired him. Later he was given an opportunity, when hired by the Maine Department of Agriculture as coordinator for the Agriculture Viability Program, to travel and write on behalf of the small farm movement in Maine. Richard was a gifted writer and published articles in Small Farm Journal, Maine Times, Times Record. There was a memorable piece in the Boston Globe reporting on Richard’s visit to war torn Nicaragua as part of an Oxfam delegation.

Richard was a beloved and active member of Durham Friends Meeting, serving in various capacities including Monthly Meeting Clerk, Trustee, on Ministry and Counsel, and occasionally giving the message. He was Clerk of Falmouth Quarterly Meeting for a time.

One First Day at Durham Friends Meeting, Richard and Susan McIntire rose in the midst of silent worship and he declared, “Before God, my family and friends, I, Richard, take thee Susan to be my wife. With divine assistance and help from my friends, I will be unto thee a loving and faithful husband.” Susan responded in kind. The clerk read the marriage certificate aloud and invited each of us there to sign as witnesses. Those present witnessed a traditional Quaker wedding, and Richard and Susan went on to have a real Quaker marriage.

Richard and Susan eventually sold the Brunswick farm, moved to Western New York in 1990, and bought another farm. This one had Holsteins and draft horses. Here they continued raising their children Reeve and Isaac. They were assisted in this new venture by local farm folks including those in the nearby Amish community.

In 2000 Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he managed with characteristic grace and optimism. Richard and Susan returned to Maine in 2003 to be closer to family and friends.

Those of us who are privileged to have known him and listened to his deep penetrating voice, marveled at the almost effortless way he established close rapport with others. His Quaker roots and seasoning were embedded in his presence. He was profoundly steady and comfortable. Children loved him. He loved dogs. He wrote mystery stories. He loved his family. For many of us he was a compassionate listener. There are myriad tender memories of cups of tea with him at the kitchen table.

Richard Wood

No Hallmark Angels,

they asphyxiate me.

Send me one like

Richard Wood in

floppy rubber boots.

His large hands

cracked and gnarled

from washing cow’s

udders on winter days.

This cold Maine morning

The barn smells of burnt

rushes. A holstein heifer

is down dead in her stall.

He backed the old John

Deere into the barn and

dragged the carcass past

the restless herd, breath

rising like incense smoke.

He kicked a heap of snow.

“At least she’ll freeze out here

in the dooryard till I can think

of some place to put her”.

Inside we had a dirty mug of

tea and were as close as

those cows in the barn.

pbc (1995)

Approved by Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, Meeting for Business, January 18, 2015, Sarah Sprogell, Presiding Clerk.

An obituary can be seen here.  An appreciation of his life by his daughter in law, Hannah Burroughs, can be seen here.

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Kakamega Orphan Care Benefit Dinner, June 30 @5:30

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Recommendations on Outreach, April 27, 2018

Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Strengthening Durham Meeting, presented to May Monthly Meeting

A. Framing Thoughts. Three large ideas have emerged to frame our thinking about how to strengthen outreach for Durham Friends Meeting. We should bear these in mind as we consider what specific efforts we might want to undertake.

  1. Strengthening the worship life of Durham Friends Meeting should be the main concern of our outreach efforts in the future. We believe we should focus on those outreach efforts that have promise to draw more people to worship regularly with us. (Holding events that draw new people to the Meetinghouse but that draw none of these people to come to worship with us on Sunday should not be high among our priorities.)

2. Attend to deepening community as well as outreach. We want to strengthen not just our outreach to newcomers or those who do not yet know us; we also want to strengthen the relationships among those of us who are already members or regular attenders. We want to know each other better. A fair number of us still feel relatively new.

3. Also pay attention to Pastoral Care. Though perhaps not outreach per se, as we have sought ideas for outreach, people keep mentioning the need to strengthen what we are doing with regard to pastoral care. (We do not pursue this here. The Committee on Ministry and Counsel is currently considering how to strengthen Pastoral Care at Durham Friends Meeting.)

B. Possible Initiatives. While we have considered a large number of possibilities, these seem like the most fruitful ones to pursue. We are already doing many of these things, but the suggestion is that we do more.

  1. Make more and better use of media.

a. We should try to place more articles in local print newspapers, especially the Brunswick Times Record, but also others. We might also consider placing paid advertisements in newspapers.

b. We should make greater use of electronic media, especially our website and Facebook or other social media, trying to make these work together and to reach out beyond our current members and attenders.

c. Signage out front of the Meetinghouse. We should have signs or banners outside our Meetinghouse visible to traffic that passes by.

2. Hold more regular family events. We have had good success with intergenerational game nights, and similar events. We should do more of these and more regularly. We should also work on extending invitations to these more broadly.

3. Hold more Potluck Suppers with a speaker or panel. Again, regularly, we should consider having a series of events, widely publicized, each featuring a speaker (might or might not be a member). Peace and social concerns issues might be the focus of these.

4. Pursue some special Durham-focused efforts. We should try to make ourselves better known to our immediate neighbors in Durham, where we have a declining number of members. We might do a town-wide mailing inviting them to visit. We might do an open house. We might sponsor a forum on a topic of interest to Durham residents.

5. Make a more sustained effort to follow up with new visitors. We should be sure we get contact information from visitors and be sure we follow up via phone, mail, e-mail, invitations to potlucks and the like. We should also provide more opportunities for newcomers to learn more about Quakerism, perhaps through a Seekers and Sojourners class or gatherings.

C. How to pursue these initiatives. Whichever of these initiatives we pursue, there are two broad options for how we pursue them. We can see these options as alternatives, or we could see them as complementary. We especially seek the Meeting’s advice on which way to proceed.

  1. We could see Outreach as everyone’s responsibility. Perhaps we should see outreach as something to which every part of the Meeting and everyone should contribute. On this option, we’d all try to face outward a little more. For example,

a. We could ask each regular committee of the Meeting to be sure to undertake some Outreach activities. Christian Education could do game nights, Peace and Social Concerns could hold potluck suppers with speakers, Ministry and Counsel could follow up with visitors and hold Seekers and Sojourners sessions.

b. In addition, we could expand the charge and perhaps size of the Newsletter Committee giving it responsibility for our website and Facebook page as well as print media possibilities, making it a Communications Committee.

2. We could place responsibility for Outreach in a particular place in the Meeting. On this option we focus responsibility within the Meeting.

a. We could make Outreach the focus of a regular committee – an Outreach Committee that would pursue many of the ideas sketched in section B.

b. We could have also have a paid, part-time Meeting Secretary or Coordinator who would work on communications and outreach activities, under the direction of an Outreach Committee.

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Trustees Report, May 13, 2018

Trustees met on Sunday, May 13 and reviewed the list of outstanding projects, and began the planning for maintenance and repair for the next three years for the meetinghouse and grounds.  In June, we will have a similar process for the parsonage and cemeteries.

Outstanding projects:  Windows in Basement have been installed and Dan Henton will mortar up the windows that sit in the ground and cannot be replaced.

He will also refresh the water softener and replace the filter cartridge in an attempt to increase water pressure.  We have been advised by a plumber that our system is obsolete and we are considering options in our long term planning.

We are still soliciting estimated for the repair and replacement of the ceilings and since the job is “so small”, to add the painting of the walls of the meeting room to the estimate.

We are actively looking for a lawn care provider, and Donna Hutchins will follow up. Cemeteries will be mowed 3-5 times between Memorial Day and end of September, parsonage and meeting grounds more frequently to reduce tick exposure.

We discussed tick control and will research both toxic and nontoxic alternatives, with cost estimates, before next month.

We are still soliciting bids for the horse shed.

A water test conducted at the parsonage show it is within acceptable limits other than the presence of radon.

Donna will work with Margaret on the cemetery accounts and plotting, which Eileen Babcock had previously done.

We are in need of an additional member to replace Eileen and ask Nominating Committee to also consider who might serve.

We remind Friends that the lease for the parsonage will expire in June and that it will go to month to month.  Based on 2017 costs of approximately $11,800 and expected income of $14,400, we recommend that there be no increase in the rent and expressed appreciation for care our tenants show for the parsonage.

We received a request that the meetinghouse be made available to a Native American group for worship, drumming, dinners and fellowship and heartily agree to this.  We do not believe that there should be a cost for worship and recommend that a free will offering of any amount be requested but not required.

We closed in deep gratitude and with silence, and then did a walk around to look at winter damage and identify future tasks, including the hanging of banners.

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