Deep Dive on Reparations

Featured

Peace and Social Concerns Committee will thinking about reparations for the next few months, and we’d like to invite the wider Durham Meeting community to join us.  How can we, as a nation, as a state, as an organization begin to make amends for the tremendous injustices done by slavery and colonization?  What would we want reparations to accomplish? What form might they take? What is enough to address these injustices?

To help us think about these questions we will be posting videos and readings on the website over the next 8 weeks. In the fall we will host a conversation to share our reactions to the readings and consider how we might answer the call for reparations. We encourage you to take notes as you read, highlighting important ideas and interesting approaches.  [Posted July, 2021]

21.7.28 Catholic Order Pledges $100 Million for Reparations

21.7.28 Virginia Theological Seminary Pledges Reparations

21.7.20 Ta Nihisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

21.7.13 Anne Bailey, Revisiting reparations: Is it time for the US to pay its debt for the legacy of slavery?

21.7.13 James Varner, Reparations: Through my Black Eyes to Your White Minds

21.7.08  William Darity, How Do We Span the Racial Wealth Gap?

The Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, by Helen Howard Hebben

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, July 18, 2021

Thank you very much for inviting me.  I became a Friend in Poplar Ridge NY, a hamlet so small that it is frequently not included on maps of New York State. The Friends Meeting is located in an area of the finger lakes that many Friends settled in the early 19th century and is the only surviving one from about 7 within short distance that were active at one time.  It is semi programmed three Sundays a month and unprogrammed the last Sunday.

I will share a bit about me and why I am passionate about BQEF:  the worst day of my life was the day my younger daughter was killed in a terrible accident.  Emily was 23.  It was a year after she graduated from Hampshire College.  My Friends Meeting cared for me and gradually I began to see my way again.   A hospice grief counselor told a group of us bereft parents that we needed to find a way to take our children with us through our lives.  A Friend from my Care Committee suggested that I join the Bolivian Quaker Education Program Board and share the story in my new home in Michigan. Way opened to for me to do that, and the work has stretched me and brought me joy.

There are more than 30,000 Quakers in Bolivia, and they are all Evangelical.   Almost all of them are Ayamara, which, with Quechua are the largest groups of Indigenous people in this majority indigenous country.  You may wonder why they are Quaker.  Quaker missionaries and educators went to Bolivia in the early 20th century from the West Coast, Indiana, and Ohio.  It was illegal to educate indigenous people until 1950, but somehow Quakers built schools and taught in them.  The cultural values of the Ayamara are very similar to Quaker values, which may have made our religion attractive.

Newton Garver, a philosophy professor at the University of Buffalo, made several trips to Bolivia starting in the late 80’s. There he met and had conversations with Bernabe Yujra, a leader in the Aneala Yearly Meeting, about what Quakers in Bolivia needed.  Bernabe was clear that they wanted more connections with Friends in the North and that their young adults wanted higher education and needed some help with it.  A few were enrolled in the tuition-free public universities, but because they also had to work to pay for food and housing and transportation, it often took them 8-10 years to complete degree requirements. 

In the new organizations, it was determined that Bernabe would manage a small office in LaPaz, recruit and choose scholarship students, and pay the stipends, and support and counsel the students who are the first in their families to attend universities or other schools of their choice.  In most cases their parents are only partially literate.  In the 19 years of its existence, BQEF has graduated 220 young Bolivians!  It is a drop in the bucket of need, but it has been highly successful in bringing those young people and their families out of crushing poverty!

The US office of BQEF is modest with one part time contract employee.   We raise funds to support the program and make sure that all US laws are followed in handling funds and transfers to Bolivia.  The program is funded largely by individual Friends, monthly and yearly meetings.  We have also run study tours, the most recent having been postponed due to Covid.  We hope that may go next year.  

BQEF has sponsored graduate teaching assistants to come to the US to work in Quaker schools.  After a year in the US they take home teaching resources, and hands-on methods of teaching. Their English and leadership have greatly improved, and they are comfortable in international Quaker settings.

We have had North American and European volunteers go to Bolivian that have used their skills in a variety of ways.  Because there are very few native speakers teaching English in Bolivia those skills are always needed.

One of the ways that Friends Meetings can help is to sponsor a student, currently at $850. per year.  This has the advantage of connecting First Day Students to a real person in Bolivia, with the possibility of an ongoing relationship. Scholarship students write letters to their sponsors and we have just begun a program of connecting sponsors and students via Zoom with the assistance of a translator. 

 Zoom is an asset that Covid has brought to our attention.  We now have meetings with staff and students in Bolivia, and if you are interested, we could arrange a session with an English-speaking graduate.  In fact, on Tuesday there will be an interest group as part of NYYM annual sessions, on how Covid has affected our students and their families. 

I will be glad to answer your questions following Meeting for Worship.  Thank you for your attention.

Bolivian Quaker Education Fund Event, July 20, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm

Helen Howard Hebben spoke to Durham Friends Meeting on July 18 about the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund. She mentioned an interest group gathering as part of New York Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions. Here is further information.

“Alicia Lucasi and two scholarship medical students, Susan Ramirez Cauna and Tania Colque Chambilla will be sharing Bolivia’s experience of COVID, and their own, during the past year-and-a-half.”  Alicia is the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund staff member who works closely with the scholarship students.”

Zoom information:
Join by computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81018817596?pwd=Z2dxdTJLWndnT2lqODJvNVg0Y3Q1dz09

Join by phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 810 1881 7596
Password: 591415

Crisis in Cuba – July 2021

From Friends World Committee for Consultation:

DECLARATION OF THE YEARLY MEETING OF THE FRIENDS CHURCH (QUAKERS) IN CUBA
Peace is a desire and a necessity for all human beings. It is an essential condition for our personal and communal well-being. For the current moment in Cuba, marked by a crisis situation that affects the most sensitive areas of citizens’ lives, it is becoming something urgent.
Quakers, inspired by the teachings of Jesus, also seek to live and promote peace, through alternative ways, based on the principle of non-violence, to carry out civil justice and work within society to repair wrongs or errors.
Quakers believe in the Peace of Jesus. This Peace is not like what the world gives (John 14:27), from positions of power that exclude the voice of the least in the Kingdom. From this perspective, we Quakers know a Virtue that takes away the occasion of all war, and consequently, we do not support any way to solve conflicts that involves the use of force.
We therefore advocate for dialogue and for our authorities to recognize the tension and overwhelm of a people that feel vulnerable due to the precariousness of their economy, their health and their public services.
Likewise, we consider that the government must promote alternatives to violence in the face of other sectors of the people that, for various reasons, are fueled by positions of hatred that are encouraged from abroad and that in the current context of the crisis that we are experiencing, become breeding grounds for the emergence of violent demonstrations with unpredictable consequences.
This is the time to open spaces for dialogue in the search for an answer to dissatisfaction and a solution to our problems. Let us all seek a common path that leads us to well-being and peaceful coexistence. Conflicts, if we address them with non-violent alternatives, are opportunities to find a peace that shelters all Cubans.
From a recent newsletter from Friends United Meeting:
During last week’s FUM International Prayer Gathering, we heard a distressing report from Friends in Cuba. Jorge Luis, Clerk of Cuba Yearly Meeting, sent a message to the global community requesting prayer as Covid rates are doubling there, food is scarce, and the medical and economic systems in the country are on the verge of collapsing. This week, demonstrators are taking to the streets demanding change. While churches in the country cannot gather for worship, Jorge reminded us that the church is not closed, and their members and pastors are doing their best to care for each other and their communities during these difficult times. 
Since the US State Department designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, many of the channels Friends United Meeting has previously used to send support for Cuban Friends are now closed to us. This designation also prevents the US from sending humanitarian or medical assistance amidst this crisis.
On Tuesday, July 13, representatives of New England Yearly Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation–Section of the Americas, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and FUM met to discern how the global community of Friends can best support Cuban Friends. We ask Friends to pray for Cuban Friends. Pray that Cuban Friends will experience God’s strengthening love and courage during this time of trial. Friends United Meeting is preparing to send support to Cuban Friends through our Covid-19 Solidarity Fund. We are investigating several legal avenues for distribution. Contributions to this fund will go to support the ministries of Cuba Yearly Meeting. Friends can mail checks to the FUM office or give online at https://donorbox.org/covid-19-solidarity-fund. We encourage [U.S.] Friends to reach out to their members of Congress, urging them to lift restrictions against humanitarian and medical support for Cuba. 

A Prayer of Gratitude, by Brown Lethem

        In gratitude we come, opened and childlike Lord,
        God, source of all Life, all Beauty, and all Mystery  
        Enfold us in the water, light and air of your Goodness
        Your fertile soil
        That we, your small seeds might grow
        Worthy of your Harvest.

July 18, 2021, at Durham Friends Meeting

“A Call to Harmony Amid Harm – or ‘I am glad you are here,’” by Mey Hasbrook

Message given at Friends Meeting, July 4, 2021. Slightly edited for publication. Scripture quoted from NRSV.

—–

Friends, I am glad you are here.

Gratitude for the grace and presence of God in this exceptional time – exceptional for the planet, our home; for humanity, our species; for most of us individually as Beings who are linked to one another throughout Creation, and who are here as Quaker family.

Today’s message is an invitation to welcome new Light, what Friends also call continuing revelation. Let us take up “the new and living way” (Heb. 10:20) that is the path of Jesus – that of Love. Let us review and renew our encounter with God on this declared Day of Independence by the nation-state, the United States of America.

I’m grateful to be here with you – alive, surviving overlapping upheavals.

With respect to my mixed lineage of Cherokee Celtic-Irish Descent, I acknowledge the First Nations of this continent, Turtle Island, who are the remnant descended from those who survived genocide in successive waves over centuries, and who continue to strive to survive life-threatening conditions.*

Gratitude for this living legacy of resilience and survival that is empowered by Hope, Faith, and Beauty. It is a call to Harmony Amid Harm, a way of living that says, “I am glad you are here.”

Harmony is the journey from Unity into Right Relationship, transforming us in unexpected ways that heal one another and that brings wholeness to Creation.

I give thanks for the precious ways that we’ve shown up for one another – some visible, and many beyond naming in a public space. Let us continue showing up amid the harm that seems continuous, especially patterns of living that draw us away from Love – Love being that which draws us into Harmony.

I’m grateful for the leading to have served among Durham Friends Meeting as Meeting Care Coordinator in times such as these even amid personal losses, which also is the stuff that living is made of.

I’m grateful too for the ministry of birds, whose songs and calls have returned me to remembering God’s presence and grace amid moments of pain and frustration.

These recurring invitations are Spirit-held openings, as are difficult surprises and inevitable changes. All together, they are the stuff of which living is made.

Indeed, Friends, I am glad you are here.

~ ~ ~
What the Fourth of July carries for me personally is a memory – that of being the sole companion of my maternal grandmother, Margaret, as she transitioned from this material living onto the Otherside Camp at sunrise. That was 15 years ago.

Margaret was a retired middle-school science teacher who became a full-time volunteer, a mother of four, and a spouse to a hard-working poor farmer.

That same summer, I worked with senior refugees, most of whom did not speak English. I picked them up in a van to buy fresh produce and eat lunch at a community center. Many of them had survived adult children lost to violence.

The job ended when the funding stopped that summer, as did the vigil by my grandma’s bedside after her death. But the invitation to Love despite Loss and to seek Harmony Amid Harm persisted.

Beings of Creation, we are glad you are here.

~ ~ ~ 
“I am glad you are here, Liza,” ** she in a security uniform, me re-packing carry-ons, I looking through wet eyes to her over our masks. And she replied, “I’m glad you’re here too.”

Liza was the agent tasked to give me a second security screening after the first had a false alarm. As a survivor of violence from childhood and adulthood, and someone living with chronic PTSD, airport security can be very trying on the central nervous system.

This occasion was especially taxing, because I was told that I would be taken to a room with a closed door for another screening. Despite panic and immediate tears, I somehow stayed tuned-in to the presence of God and said, “No, I cannot go to a closed room. I’m a survivor of sexual violence. You’ll need to do this in the open.”

Liza replied that she too was such a survivor and would talk with her supervisor. You see, my request wasn’t protocol, so required approval. Permission granted, we proceeded to a calmer adjacent area.

The re-screening brought on a lot of tears. I had to remind myself to breathe. And upon completion, I began the work to re-pack my belongings. Despite wanting to be left alone to recollect my composure, Liza stayed. It was Mother’s Day this year.

Liza spoke fast. She shared that the nearby chapel and sensory room were good places to sit. And then confided her story in me, a complete stranger: surviving abuse as a child from her family, and dis-engaging with them as an adult; later surviving breast cancer, and rejecting subsequent efforts by family to reconnect.

What the presence and grace of God gifted me in that painful moment was to say, “I’m glad you’re here.” 

~ ~ ~

Friends, my Quaker family, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as our self (Matt. 22:37, 39).

We are invited to show up – regardless of pandemic, or personality, or pain – to show up for God, for one another, and in turn for ourselves.

We are challenged in order to open us up to “the new and living way” (Heb. 10:20) who is Jesus –  or the Living Path of Love.  Such is the movement of Spirit amid Harm, calling us toward Harmony.

This is the message I hear from a fresh reading of Matthew ch. 12, vs. 1-8.  As Friend Denise reads for us, let us welcome in new Light or continuing revelation:

Not long afterward Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pick heads of wheat and eat the grain. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do this on the Sabbath!” 

Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he and his men were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the bread offered to God, even though it was against the Law for them to eat it –  only the priests were allowed to eat that bread. Or have you not read in the Law of Moses that every Sabbath the priests in the Temple actually break the Sabbath law, yet they are not guilty? I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple. The scripture says, ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ If you really knew what this means, you would not condemn people who are not guilty; for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

In v. 6, Jesus says, “I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple.” Yes, just as there is someone here greater than our Meeting House, which we sorely miss. I hear the rush of Spirit’s movement – even with space between us –  that is, the presence and grace of God within each of us.

As Friends, we honor the Light carried by each Being in this beautiful Creation. In our honoring of Light – or the Divine in the Human and All – Jesus calls us to be merciful and kind. The Living Path of Love tugs us beyond routine sacrifice or elective service, even beyond how we have done things and how we expect to be doing things.

And this also is Jesus calling us to Freedom:  Truth Telling and Integrity all the way down to the Roots of Love, Liberation, and Lies; that is, to face Harm in our pursuit of Harmony.
~ ~ ~

Friends, when are we glad to be here with one another, and why? How do we say this, show it, feel it, and mean it? Just as honestly, when are we not and why?

This is the query I bring for today’s message. Let us listen for Truth, even beyond Facts or Reason or secular Common Sense. Let us seek Harmony while healing Harm. Let us open our hearts to Love, who is Jesus and is carried within each of us.

To draw this query down into our daily lives, I pair it with “The Final Appeal” by Linda Aldrich, former Maine Poet Laureate. You can find the poem on Maine Public Radio’s website <mainepublic.org>, published 29 June 2018, also with an audio version.

The poem’s last line reads, “his words closing around us like sea smoke.” May the “sea smoke” be

like the Spirit of the Living God falling afresh upon us to melt us, mold us, fill us, and use us. ***

——

* On the whole of the US population today, Native Americans are counted below 2%. One historical comparison: North American Indians have been estimated at 15 million in 1500 versus only 237,000 by 1900.  A widely used figure is that 90% of Native Americans were killed due to the onset of settler-colonialism. For a current perspective with historical context, read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s article, “Yes, Native Americans Were the Victims of Genocide” online at <truthout.org>, published 4 June 2016.

** “Liza” is a pseudonym.

*** I refer here to the lyrics of the hymn “Spirit of the Living God”. The song partly is inspired by Acts 10:44, which often is described as the Gentile Pentecost.

NEYM Annual Sessions, August 7-12, Registration Now Open


We would love to welcome you.

From August 7 to 12, we invite you to join with Friends from across the northeastern United States and beyond for Annual Sessions. Once again, Friends will gather through the use of videoconferencing technology, knowing we are connected in the Spirit.


Having first gathered in 1661, in 2021 New England Yearly Meeting of Friends celebrates 361 years of journeying together as a community of faith and witness. 

If you’re hoping to attend, registering online as soon as you’re able helps us prepare to welcome you.

Teams of Friends are hard at work daily getting ready—and knowing your plans is a great help, and an encouragement to our work. 

This year’s Sessions will include:Five Bible Half Hours with Jay O’Hara A Saturday plenary program with gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Shirley Hager (co-author of The Gatherings) in conversationA Monday plenary message with John CalviA Tuesday program with Hanifa Nayo Washington including meditation, small group sharing, and songMeeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business Memorial MeetingProgramming and opportunities for Friends of all ages”Home Groups” for small group connection, spiritual nurture, and discernment throughout the weekFurther opportunities for connection for Friends identifying as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color; as younger adults, and moreLearn more about worship and programs, view the Sessions schedule, and more on the New England Quakers website.

Have questions to help you decide if attending Sessions this year is right for you or your family? Just reply to this email, and we’ll be in touch.

For all or any part of Sessions this year—we hope you will join us. 

The schedule for Sessions is available here.


Don’t miss out:

If you register by July 15, we’ll be able to send you a printed schedule and “navigation guide” by mail, featuring a unique artistic activity to help you prayerfully prepare for Sessions.

Register now to make sure you’re on the list!

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting Gathering, In Person, August 7, 2021, 10am-3pm

Falmouth Quarter is invited to gather at the Portland Friends Meetinghouse at 1837 Forest Avenue in Portland Maine from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, or whatever portion of this period you are able.

August 7th is the first day of the annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting. Together as a quarter we will be able to participate virtually in the opening celebration from 10 – 11:30, have a brown bag lunch and time for catching up from 11:30 – 1:00.  We can then virtually attend the plenary with Shirley Hager and gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) from 1 – 2:30.   The meeting house is well-ventilated when the windows are open, and we will be able to use the meetinghouse’s flat screen TV to connect with these events.

The meeting house is spacious enough to ensure social distancing; and the current guidelines expect Friends who gather in the meetinghouse to wear masks except when speaking.

During the period of sharing and catching up with each other, I expect we will be sharing reflections and observations of how we have changed as faith communities since we were last together.  These times have been challenging.

Please share this invitation with your meeting and let us know if you will come.

Love

Sara Sprogell

Fritz Weiss

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 20, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 20, 2021 with 13 people present.  Bob Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with quiet worship.

1.The May minutes were approved as printed in the Newsletter.

2. Handbook:  the final draft of the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook was approved, adding an additional introduction which states that “Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is a member meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.  New England Yearly Meeting has a Faith and Practice which communicates to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and to outline procedures to be followed by meetings regarding membership, organization, the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society.  This Handbook states the particular policies and procedures of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within the overall guidance of the Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

3.Trustees: Katharine Hildebrandt reported that a threshing session to consider the selling of the parsonage was held on April 25, 2021.  There were approximately 20 people in attendance, either on Zoom or in the backyard behind the meetinghouse, six feet apart and wearing masks.  A detailed report of that meeting will be attached to the minutes.  A thoughtful discussion ensued regarding this matter.    Trustees recommend that the meeting move forward with a decision on the future of the parsonage at the July monthly meeting.  We expressed our appreciation for the work of the trustees. 

4.  Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote brought a report regarding future hybrid meetings for worship.  Hope was expressed that we return to meeting in the meetinghouse in the fall, maintaining some virtual attendance, as well as continuing to have speakers from away, and keeping in mind those who cannot come to the meetinghouse.   It was noted that the CDC recommendations have changed over time, and that we ought to use the most current guidelines.  The question of requiring vaccinations was raised.  We accepted the report with appreciation and look forward to continued study of hybrid worship.  Renee Cote reported that the Meeting OWL device has been checked for use in the meetinghouse and is recommended.

            Nancy Marstaller is planning a hymn sing on August 22nd, working with Ministry and Counsel on arrangements.

            Wendy Schlotterbeck recommended that we donate the amount of $1000 to Jay O’Hara in support of his ministry with the Climate Disobedience Center. 

5.  We approved purchasing the Meeting Owl for use in the meetinghouse. 

6. We approved the donation of $1000 to Jay Ohara for the Climate Disobedience Center, using the Charity Fund.

7. Clerk’s Report: Bob Eaton reported that the May meeting laid over the report of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Seasoning Group to June.  Following Wendy’s recent resignation as Youth Minister, Christian Education Committee is reviewing this role. Since the first-year anniversary of the Meeting Care Coordinator position is nearing, meeting will want to evaluate this position as we move forward.  Therefore, the clerk recommends that an ad-hoc group composed of clerks of committees, and others who wish to volunteer, review the Christian Education Committee recommendation, and conduct a review of the MCC position to see if there is potential synergy between the two positions as we define them for the future. Also, consideration of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Group be further laid over pending the result of the review of the two positions.

8. Christian Education Committee/Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Annual Plant Sale had another successful year. Warm thanks to Kim Bolshaw and many others who donated, watered and tended the plants. So far, they  have netted $900. 

            On Children’s Day, June 6, slideshow of Durham children/youth was shared via zoom near the end of Meeting for Worship that day. A copy of the photos will be sent to attenders who did not have video access (Lyn, David, Margaret, Renee).  The Noonday Children’s Day gathering outside in the Meeting House yard was attended by 15 Durham Friends. It was a wonderful experience seeing people in-person and sharing laughter around the picnic table in the horse shed.

            On Saturday, June 12, 17 Durham Friends gathered at the Hinshaw-Sheldon’s camp on Labrador Pond in Sumner, Maine. They delighted in each other’s company, sat around the picnic table under a large shade tree, and shared food and conversation. Some made use of the kayaks and canoes and paddled the pond on the glorious, sunny day.  

            Youth Minister, Wendy Schlotterbeck, helped facilitate the evening sessions of the June NEYM Young Friends retreat June 11-13.

9. Clerk Bob Eaton wrote the following Minute of Appreciation: “Wendy Schlotterbeck joined Durham Friends Meeting in 2009 and within a year the meeting asked her to take on the responsibility of Youth Minister.  Wendy had filled this role with quiet competence ever since.  The size of the meeting’s youth group had varied over the years, but never Wendy’s careful attention to each member.  A generation of meeting children have grown in the love and concern that Wendy has shared so generously.  Wendy’s ministry to our youth reminds us of George Fox’s admonition to us: “Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.”  Wendy, you have, indeed, walked cheerfully and lightly with us as Youth Minister.  We thank you, dear friend.”

 10. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee will be focused on reparations for the summer. They will be posting readings on the website and hosting a discussion of reparations in September. They will also be encouraging you to support the federal bill HR 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act. Their fall agenda will return to issues of Indigenous Sovereignty in Maine. Shirley Hager, one of the authors of The Gatherings, will join us for Meeting for Worship and a discussion in October. The books for New Mainer children will be given to families on June 30. Cindy Wood, from the committee, will be present for the distribution, which will be in conjunction with an Art Van visit, at Brunswick Landing where many of the families live. The committee continues to work on recruiting 8 teachers for the Social Justice Enrichment Project. Elementary schools in Durham and Topsham are definitely in the program and they hope to have two other schools very soon. The committee has compiled an impressive list of books that they will use in making a selection for each teacher. You will hear more about this project in the months to come. Ingrid expressed appreciation for working with those on the committee. 

11.  Velasco Friends Meeting: Nancy Marstaller reported that contact with Cuban Friends in Velasco is sporadic due to more covid cases; more restrictions are noted.  Donations cannot be sent at present.  There will be a pot-luck lunch September 26 with Portland Friends who share a sister relationship with Velasco Friends Meeting.

12. Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell presented a draft proposal for procedures for contracting services for the meeting. They recommend that a check list be used in order to gather adequate information whenever a person is hired for contracted work or services.  This information would be included in a written contract, signed and dated by the appropriate people. This checklist will be used as a reference for committees and the monthly meeting.  This list will be attached to these minutes. It was suggested that we add a procedure for resignation or completion of service.

            Bob Eaton, Clerk, closed the meeting with quiet waiting, and anticipation for a great afternoon outside!

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Handbook of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook, March 2021

            Durham Friends Meeting is a member meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.  New England Yearly Meeting has a Faith and Practice which communicates “to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and outlines procedures to be followed by meetings regarding membership, organization, the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society.”

            This Handbook states the particular policies and procedures of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within the overall guidance of The Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

Purpose and Goals

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is a community discerning and serving the will of God.  Our understanding of God comes through corporate worship, study of the Bible and other literature, a sense of God through Jesus Christ, through continuing revelation, and in confirming experiences, many of which we share with one another.  The Meeting seeks to provide opportunities for the individual to grow in faith and in expressing that faith.  For these purposes it is important for us to attend Meeting for Worship and Monthly Meeting for Business, to support the Meeting financially, to serve on committees as time and energy allow, and to take part in opportunities provided by the Meeting for worship, study, and fellowship with others. 

The Meeting strives to be a supportive community for those in it.  Those in the Meeting should be aware of its involvement in Friends groups at many levels beyond our own community: i.e., Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Friends United Meeting, Friends General Conference, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and United Society of Friends Women International.  The Meeting is a member of the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council and the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach. 

Membership

Membership in the Society of Friends is in a Monthly Meeting.  Anyone who has faith in God and understands the precepts of the Bible, who wants to follow the life and teachings of Jesus under the guidance and authority of the Light Within, and who feels comfortable in the Meeting community is encouraged to apply for membership.  If already a member of another Friends Meeting, the person should write for a letter of transfer to be sent to the Clerk of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends.  If an individual has been a member of another faith group, that connection and an appropriate communication with that group will be discussed in the clearness process.  The Monthly Meeting acts on the recommendation of Ministry and Counsel after it has acquainted itself with the person and his/her religious/spiritual experience.

Monthly Meeting for Business

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends meets once a month for business in accordance with Friends’ custom as stated in Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (1985).  These meetings are held the third Sunday of each month after worship.  Business of the Monthly Meeting includes minutes, treasurer’s reports, Ministry and Counsel reports, reports of committees as appropriate, and consideration of other concerns as they arise.  Fund raising beyond the budget requires the approval of the Monthly Meeting. Committees, both standing and ad hoc, are appointed to help conduct and carry out the business of the Monthly Meeting.  Concerns, issues raised, and proposed actions may be assigned to appropriate committees for “seasoning” and careful consideration.  Such committees then report their recommendations back to Monthly Meeting for further action.  Committees also present to Monthly Meeting concerns that they have discerned, and proposed actions.

It is recommended that an agenda be sent out previous to Monthly Meeting; and that substantive materials (reports, proposals, etc.), from committees and individuals be sent as email attachments or made available on the website.  The Meeting will generally consider only matters that have been first considered and brought forward by a committee appointed by the Meeting.  Generally the Meeting will not make a decision the first time a matter is brought forward but rather allow it to season for a month.

Clerk

The Clerk or a Co-Clerk of the Monthly Meeting develops an agenda, presides at the Monthly Meeting for Business, and takes care of correspondence and the details of the business items unless such responsibilities are delegated to others.  The Clerk or Co-Clerks must also be members of the Monthly Meeting.

Recording Clerk

The Recording Clerk makes a record of the minutes and reports of the Monthly Meeting.  In preparation for archival storage the minutes are recorded on acid-free paper.  Periodically the minutes are bound and copies are made for Durham Monthly Meeting, the New England Yearly Meeting Archives, and the originals are deposited at the Maine Historical Society in Portland. 

Ministry and Counsel

Monthly Meeting appoints at least six members to Ministry and Counsel.  Members of Ministry and Counsel must also be members of the Meeting.  The Youth Minister, Meeting Care Coordinator, and Meeting Clerk meet with the committee.  Recorded ministers who are members of the Meeting are ex officio members of M&C.  Representatives are appointed to attend and report back on Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel sessions. 

The primary functions of Ministry and Counsel are to oversee and to nurture the spiritual life of the Meeting.  Visiting within the Meeting community, especially but not limited to those who have a particular need, shall be a high priority.  Ministry and Counsel shall encourage, nurture, and support visiting by others in the Meeting community.  Ministry and Counsel shall encourage members and attenders to develop their skills and leadings in the many facets of the mission of the Meeting. 

M&C oversees Meeting for Worship, encouraging members and attenders to share messages and care of worship.   M&C oversees the instruction of attenders and others who show an interest in the Meeting and considers applications for membership and, if favorable, recommends that the Monthly Meeting accept the applicant as a member.  M&C prepares an annual state of the society report, which is forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for its consideration by April and then sent on to the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel and Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

M&C should appoint annually one of its members to be clerk to preside at its meetings and a recording clerk to keep minutes of proceedings.  Meetings are held regularly each month.  Special meetings may be called by the clerk of M&C on request of three members of Ministry and Counsel.   

Meeting Care Coordinator

The Meeting Care Coordinator and members of M&C share responsibility for attending to individual pastoral care needs of the Meeting.  The Meeting Care Coordinator would help ensure that those needing visits or special care have their needs met, and help maintain connection with those who may seem to be drifting away.  The Meeting Care Coordinator would assist M&C or take the lead in contacting members to find message givers for each Sunday worship.  The MCC helps coordinate prayer groups and prayer partners, as needed. The MCC also maintains coordination with the Youth Minister.  The MCC provides assistance, as needed, in scheduling and communicating about these events and in coordinating with other churches or organizations with similar concerns.  The MCC would also provide follow-up with visitors to the Meeting.  Committee meetings to attend to gain clarity on the above are Clerks Committee, M&C, Monthly Meeting, and Peace and Social Concerns.

Pastor

In the past the Meeting hired pastors who have inspired, encouraged, and challenged the community.  After an extended trial period beginning in 2017, we explored the feasibility of continuing as a semi-programmed Meeting without a pastor and found that we continued to experience the life of the spirit within the Meeting, without having a paid pastor.  We have adopted this practice for now, allowing financial resources to be used in other ways as the Meeting is led.

Christian Education Committee

The Christian Education Committee provides the leadership and resources for each participant in the Meeting community to grow in the knowledge, understanding, and commitment to his/her personal faith and our shared faith tradition. 

Specific committee responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Oversight of the youth minister role as consistent with the agreement, which includes the committee’s responsibility for assessing whether the youth minister has met the expectations in the agreement.  This includes appointment and responsibility for the Youth Minister Care and Oversight committee and support for the youth minister.
  • Responsibility for Sunday School for all ages, with an appropriate planned or purchased curriculum in consultation and with support from the youth minister.  Support for Sunday school teachers, including: providing opportunities for leadership training relating to Christian Education, maintaining necessary supplies, and maintaining a directory of all the children in the Meeting.
  • Encouragement for the use of resources of the Meeting for study (library and curriculum library), different methods of instruction (flannel boards, maps, audio-visual equipment), grounds around buildings (cemetery, trails). 
  • Utilization and dissemination to the Meeting of resources from the Yearly Meeting (e.g., through its Christian Education Committee), Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting.
  • Communication with the Meeting at large regarding the Sunday School programs, special programs, providing Bibles or devotional books for each child in middle elementary school and/or graduates.
  • Study groups as the need arises.
  • Education about and opportunities for involvement in Friends work outside the local Meeting, including overseas work.

The Christian Education Committee is made up of approximately six named members and all of the Sunday school teachers.  The youth minister is an ex officio member.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Youth Minister

The Youth Minister has a flexible function within the Meeting.  Within set priorities, the youth minister may shift emphasis over time to address the varying needs of our children and changing capacity of the Meeting to address those needs.  Work is done with the Christian Education Committee, Ministry and Counsel, and interested individuals to support the children of the Meeting in their spiritual growth and connection to the Meeting.  The youth minister works on a variety of activities for children, including the Sunday School, a youth group, camp outs, participation in New England Yearly Meeting, etc., and helps others who are led to develop their ministry with children. 

The youth minister participates in Monthly Meeting and regional Meetings and workshops concerning Christian Education and youth ministry.  Reports are made to the Christian Education Committee, and support is received from a Care and Oversight Committee made up of members from Christian Education, Ministry and Counsel, and the Meeting at large.

Peace and Social Concerns Committee

The task of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee is twofold: discernment and taking action. 

The process of discernment consists of:

  • Determining what issues confronting our present social order pertain to Friends’ traditional testimonies of equality, peace and non-violence, stewardship, and civic and community responsibility.
  • Hearing the concerns of the Monthly Meeting or individual members of the Meeting and those brought by other religious, service and legislative bodies that address these issues. 

As action is considered the committee seeks to make recommendations to Monthly Meeting for supportive action in order to:

  • Educate the Meeting regarding Friends’ traditional testimonies and their application in the world, especially addressing the issues of violence, discrimination, addictions and poverty.
  • Enable the Monthly Meeting and individuals to take action regarding their concerns.
  • Support those who are suffering because of actions they have taken in support of their concerns.
  • Act in solidarity with those who are affected by our failure to achieve a society of non-violence, equality, economic justice and equal opportunity.

The committee seeks to work in cooperation with other committees of the Monthly Meeting, other Monthly Meetings and community groups that work constructively on these issues.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee oversees several forms of communication within the Meeting community and reaches out to the wider world. The Meeting has a monthly newsletter called The Best of Friends, a website, a Facebook page, a phone tree, and an email list for of-the-moment updates called Friends Notes. Committee members update the website, assemble, edit, and distribute the newsletter, post to Facebook, initiate the phone tree, and send Friends Notes when needed.

The newsletter and website both carry news of the Meeting, with a more limited amount of information shared on Facebook. The newsletter is published monthly. The website is updated regularly as information, news, messages, and articles become available. Both contain information about Sunday Meeting for Worship, other scheduled events, and outside events of interest, as well as reports from committees, personal news about members and attenders, news of the financial state of the Meeting, any applicable artwork or photographs, and any articles that members or attenders may to submit. 

Committee members each take on a role with the newsletter, the website, the Facebook page, or the phone tree. Those working with the newsletter and website solicit and collect Sunday messages, articles, news, and other information for dissemination. The newsletter is distributed in both electronic and print formats by the committee. Extra copies of the printed newsletter are available at the meetinghouse. The newsletter is also edited for personal identifying information and posted to the website. 

The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Library Committee

In 1833 Durham Friends realized the value of reading Quaker histories and biographies if a firm foundation was to be laid for continuance of Friends’ ideals.  A librarian was appointed, and a library started.

            The continued purpose of the library is to provide reading and teaching materials. The library has grown to be a well-rounded collection of Quaker-related materials as well as religious, socially concerned, children/youth and fiction books.  Books should be signed out and brought back in a timely manner.  All members and attenders should find the library a source of enrichment. All gift books and other materials should be given to the Library Committee.  The Library Committee is responsible for maintaining the library by purchasing, receiving, and processing new books, discarding worn copies as needed, and keeping the bookshelves and card catalog in order and up to date, so that specific books can be easily found.

The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

 Music Committee

The Music Committee coordinates music (choirs, etc.), accompanies hymn singing, and provides offertory music for Sunday Meeting for Worship. 

Committees for Special Purposes

The Monthly Meeting may appoint committees for special purposes.  A Clearness Committee is a unique and essential part of Quaker process, used to assist in the following of a leading or in a period of transition. Clearness Committees for membership or marriage are the responsibility of Ministry and Counsel. All other requests for a Clearness Committee can be made to Monthly Meeting or to Ministry and Counsel.

Woman’s Society of Durham Friends

All resident women members of the Monthly Meeting are members of the Woman’s Society, plus other women who choose to participate.  The Society meets once a month for worship, program, business and fellowship.  The Society seeks to provide inspiration, education, and opportunity for women to share in the mission of the Meeting.  The Society gives spiritual and financial support to a number of domestic and international programs and projects.  The Society is a part of United Society of Friends Women International.

Contact Persons to Wider Quaker Organizations

A contact person is named to be a liaison with Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends United Meeting and Friends General Conference.  This person receives information on relevant issues and updates from the respective organization and passes this information on to the members of the Meeting in ways most appropriate; e.g., posted or spoken announcements, individual contact or newsletter articles.  The contact person keeps available pamphlets and newsletters. 

Recorder

The Recorder keeps a record of each member and of all changes in membership, such as births, marriages, deaths, applications, and transfers.  Records should be kept in a form approved by New England Yearly Meeting.  No recorder’s pages are destroyed but are kept for archival purposes.  A statistical report is prepared each year for the Monthly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting.  It is recommended that the Recorder issue annually to the membership an up-to-date list of names and addresses of all members.  Once every tenth year an up-to-date list of the membership is to be attached to the Recording Clerk’s records (started in 2007).

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee makes nominations to the December Monthly Meeting for officers, committees, and others as directed by the Monthly Meeting and other nominations as necessary throughout the year.  Nominees are named on a three-year rotating basis so that not all appointments must be renewed or filled each year.  An appointee may serve two consecutive terms on a committee.  After one year off the committee, that person may be re-appointed to that committee.   

The committee members confer with proposed nominees before names are presented to the Monthly Meeting for appointment.  Any member of the Meeting may suggest changes in the nominations.  Nominees are members or regular attenders of the Monthly Meeting.  Only members may be appointed to Trustees, Ministry and Counsel, and as Clerk. 

The Nominating Committee does not remove any member with an unexpired term without approval of Monthly Meeting.

The Nominating Committee is appointed directly by the Monthly Meeting.  There are three members, one of whom is appointed each year for a three-year term.  A member may serve for a second consecutive three-year term.  Members of the Nominating Committee are chosen with regard to their discernment, seasoned judgment, and general knowledge of the membership of the Meeting.  The committee choses a clerk from among its members.  Their roster of committee members, officers and others represents the work they have accomplished for the year.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee prepares a budget for consideration and approval at the January Monthly Meeting, to be in effect for the calendar year.  The approved budget will be circulated to the members and attenders.  The committee keeps records of all financial transactions (except cemetery funds).  The treasurer, appointed by Monthly Meeting, takes direction from the Finance Committee. The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Treasurer

The Treasurer receives and disburses funds as the Meeting directs, keeps the account books of the Meeting and reports regularly to it.  These accounts are to be audited annually.  The Treasurer may pay current bills under the budget without further approval of Monthly Meeting.  All other bills are to be presented and approved by Monthly Meeting.  With the approval of the Finance Committee, the Treasurer may open and close bank accounts.  The Monthly Meeting shall appoint an alternate signer of all bank accounts.

Auditor

Books of the Treasurer and of the Trustees are audited.  The Auditor reviews the documentation and bank statements to ascertain that vouchers, checks and deposits agree with the Treasurer’s statements.  If such records are in agreement, organized and accessible, then the Auditor certifies to the Monthly Meeting for Business the correctness of the accounts.

Tax Exempt Status

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), is recognized by the IRS as exempt from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3), and is included in the group exemption ruling of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Detailed information is filed at the meetinghouse.

Durham Monthly Meeting Funds: Funds managed by the Meeting.

  • Charity Account:  Established by the Meeting by tithing 10 percent of the sale of various stocks owned by the Meeting, to be used for unique charitable requests and to support ministry or leadings within certain guidelines.  Money is added to the fund when our financial situation permits.  See below for a detailed description of guidelines.
  • Capital Account: Used to pay for major repairs and capital improvements on the meetinghouse and the parsonage.  The Monthly Meeting has authorized deposits into this account from income received beyond the budgetary needs of the Meeting.  Examples are the income from the harvesting of the woodlot, and the sale of property.
  • Bernice Douglas Fund: Established by the Douglas family to honor Bernice Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Meeting.  She also left money to the Meeting, which was deposited in this fund. The funds are not restricted or designated.  However, the Monthly Meeting has often drawn on this fund to support capital type improvements, or as loans to ourselves for such purposes, in recognition of the Douglas family’s dedication to good stewardship of our properties.
  • Woodbury Fund: Established with funds given to the Meeting by Vivian Woodbury, a long-time member of Durham Meeting. The funds are not restricted, but the Monthly Meeting has designated this fund for Youth work, a tribute to her love of and devotion to the youth in our Meeting.

New England Yearly Meeting Pooled Funds: Stock funds managed by New England Yearly Meeting of Friends:

  • Goddard Fund: Established to receive funds left to Durham Meeting by the Goddard family.  The original bequest was restricted. The amount was not clear, as the funds were distributed to Durham over time.  The principal has been established as approximately $85,000.00.
  • Douglas Fund: Established by the Douglas family to honor Bernice Douglas.  The fund is not restricted or designated by the Meeting.

Charity Account Guidelines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trustees

Trustees have charge of the property of the Monthly Meeting.  They are responsible for the care of the buildings and grounds, cemeteries, and any special funds for the care of the cemeteries.  The Trustees’ financial records are to be audited annually.  Periodically the Trustees review the Meeting’s insurance coverage and make recommendations to the Monthly Meeting.  The Trustees, in conjunction with the Finance Committee and Auditor, will prepare a detailed report of all assets (including invested funds, property, and cemetery funds) and present to Monthly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting at least every ten years (start in 2011). 

The Trustees plan for workdays to accomplish cleaning, outside clean up, and special projects.  They hire work done when that is necessary, asking in advance for any funds needed above budgeted amounts, except in emergencies.  They arrange to have the lawns at the meetinghouse and parsonage mowed, as well as the cemeteries, and arrange for snow to be plowed.  The Trustees contract for custodial service with continuing oversight, and perform other duties as assigned by the Monthly Meeting.

 Members of Trustees must be members of the Meeting. The committee choses a clerk from among its members and prepares an annual report for the January Monthly Meeting for Business.

Custodian

The janitor is responsible for keeping the meetinghouse neat and ready for regular and special events, turning up the heat when needed.  The janitor may also call, from the list approved by the Trustees, for the service people to attend to emergencies. 

Guidelines for Use of Durham Friends Meetinghouse

The Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends are delegated the responsibility for the use of the meetinghouse. All meetings should be recorded on the calendar on the bulletin board at the entry to the worship room and on the Meeting Google calendar.  Regular meetings for worship and groups within the Meeting may use the meetinghouse as a meeting place without further authorization (e.g., Ministry and Counsel, Monthly Meeting, Woman’s Society, youth fellowship, and other committees of the Meeting).  A request for the use of the meetinghouse for a single occasion should be made to the Trustee(s) delegated to receive this request.  The Trustee(s) will consult the calendar and two other Trustees before permission is granted.

A request by a group outside the Meeting for use of the meetinghouse on a fairly regular basis over a period of time should be made to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting, or the delegate Trustee(s), who will bring the matter before the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting will make the decision.  For use of the building and grounds, the Trustees ask that a donation be given to a Trustee member or put in the committee depository (piano bench).  No smoking and no alcoholic beverages are permitted in buildings or on the property.

Instructions Regarding How to Leave the Meetinghouse

The meetinghouse must be left as found, replacing everything used, and cleaning, taking down all but two tables in the fellowship room.  When heat is on in cold weather, before leaving read and follow directions near the thermostats.  The children’s room thermostat should be set at 55 degrees.  Leave doors open to the children’s rooms, children’s bathroom, kitchen and hallway bathrooms.  Leave both divider curtains in the fellowship room open.  Check stove to be sure all burners are off.  And be sure all faucets are turned off and that no toilet is running.  Turn off all lights.  Emergency lights will come on automatically.  Lock back and front doors.

Lunt Memorial Cemetery of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

Single, two, and four-grave lots are available in Lunt Memorial Cemetery. For members of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, the charge is only the cost of perpetual care. For non-members who are residents of the community of the Friends Meeting and for certain other non-members under special circumstances allowed by the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, lots are available at prices shown below.

Lot Price          Perpetual Care            Total

Single grave lot (4′´10′)          $  150.00         $  200.00                     $   350.00

Double lot (10′´10′)                $  200.00         $  400.00                     $   600.00

Large lot (10′´20′)                  $  350.00         $  650.00                     $ 1,000.00

Family lot (20′´20′)                  $  600.00         $  900.00                      $ 1,500.00

A lot may be transferred from the owner to another only with the approval of the Trustee in charge of the Cemetery.  If a lot is unused and a written request to return the lot is sent to the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within ten years of purchase, all of the Perpetual Care cost and half of the purchase price (Lot Price) will be refunded.

Green Burial Lot Agreement

Single lots are available for purchase in Lunt Memorial Cemetery. Each lot measures 4′´8′, allowing room for a small marker and flowers. The charge for members of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is $200.00; the charge for non-members is $350.00.

A lot may be transferred from one owner to another, only with the approval of the Trustee in charge of the Cemetery. If a lot is unused and a written request to return the lot is sent to the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within ten years of purchase, half of the purchase price will be refunded. 

A green burial is an unencumbered burial. There is no embalming and no need for a commercial casket. The body may be wrapped in a cotton shroud or other decomposable fabric and placed directly in the ground or placed in a plain wooden box and placed in the ground. The required depth for the green burial is three feet.

Care of Lots

  • Simple stones and monuments will be in keeping with the Cemetery, and should be oriented parallel to Lunt Road.
  • Simple decorations are permissible. Decorations should be in good taste and in keeping with the Cemetery. Decorations deemed not in keeping with the Cemetery will be removed.
  • Seasonal decorations and silk/plastic flowers will be removed periodically.
  • Lot owners may bury multiple urns on a lot, with or without professional assistance.
  • Lot owners may spread ashes as they choose.
  • No woody plants may be planted on lots (existing woody plants will be handled on a case-by-case basis).
  • Plantings by owners should be in good taste and plantings of any kind that become overgrown will be removed.
  • Perpetual Care provides for six mowings per year, trimming and edging as needed and grading and seeding when necessary.  

CEMETERY LOT AGREEMENT

Lot #  ________________      Member___________            Non Member ______________

Date__________________                           

I have read the cemetery guidelines and accept the provisions of this agreement:

Signed: ______________________________________________________________________

Print Name:     __________________________________________________

On the date of _­­­_________________,           Received $ __________________________

Contact Information: 

Address_______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Phone_______________________________ email________________________________________________

Trustee Signature 

___________________________________________________________

Workshop: Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples

A two-hour workshop for New England Friends

SaturdayJuly 17, 2021, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Register here by July 11th  or go to:  https://lu.ma/seeds-of-change

In this 2-hour participatory workshop — Saturday, July 17, 4-6 PM — we will hear the story of the colonization of this land in the words of Indigenous leaders, Euro-American leaders, and Western historians. We will take part in the story through experiential exercises, and share our responses and reflections in small groups. Together, we will explore steps that we can take to build relationships with Native peoples based on truth, respect, and justice.

The workshop is appropriate for high school students and adults. It will be co-facilitated by Paula Palmer and Gail Melix, see bios below.

Pay as led. Choose the amount (sliding scale) that is right for you, including $0. When discerning the right amount to pay, we offer the following guidance:

  • $30 covers direct costs (suggested fee)
  • $60 covers your direct costs plus those of a Friend who cannot pay 
  • $15 makes a helpful contribution if budgets are tight

The last day to register is July 11, 2021.

Our team:

  • Paula Palmer co-directs Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, a program of Friends Peace Teams. She is a member of Boulder Meeting, Intermountain Yearly Meeting, and lives on Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute land. 
  • Gail Melix is a Manomet Wampanoag and a Quaker. She lives in Cotuit, Ma., the ancestral homeland of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. She is a board member of Native Land Conservancy in Mashpee, Mass., co-clerk of New England Yearly Meeting’s Earthcare Ministry Committee, and clerk of Sandwich Monthly Meeting Ministry and Counsel. She carries concerns for climate crisis and environmental justice, racism, and right relationship with indigenous peoples.
  • Annette Brickley and Gretchen Reinhardt will be technical hosts for the workshop.
  • Andy Grant, a member of Mt Toby MM, serves on the NEYM Right Relationship Resource Group and is the local organizer of this event.

This Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change event will help us prepare to acknowledge past harm and offer a sincere apology when we assemble (virtually) for NEYM sessions in August and move on a Letter of Apology to Native Americans. Go to the sessions speakers page for information about the plenary presenters, including gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Shirley Hager (Winthrop Center, ME, Friends Meeting).

What’s Next in Worship at Durham Friends Meeting?

Ministry and Counsel, June 20, 2021

For the past fifteen months, we at Durham Friends Meeting have been worshipping together each Sunday via Zoom rather than worshipping together in our Meetinghouse.  We have done this, of course, because of the risk of infecting one another with the COVID-19 virus which has taken 600,000 lives in the U.S. and 3.8 million lives across the globe.  With the recent successes of vaccination, we believe it is time to begin planning to return to worship in the Meetinghouse. 

We emphasize: time to begin planning.  We believe there are important steps to take first before we all return to worship in the Meetinghouse.  We believe if we begin taking these steps now, it will be possible to return to regular worship in the Meetinghouse in the fall. 

We believe these four considerations need to be kept foremost in our minds:

(1) safety: we need to be sure we are keeping everyone safe.

(2) access for all: we need to be sure we are providing access to worship for all, and that includes children who cannot yet be vaccinated, and any among us who cannot be vaccinated.

(3) announcement: we need to be sure we have communicated to all how we are worshipping together.

(4) messages: we need to recognize that after we return to the Meetinghouse, we will not be as able to have worship messages brought by those at a distance.

We believe Durham Friends Meeting should make preparations for a hybrid form of worship as we return to the meetinghouse.  Under this arrangement, most people would attend the Meeting in person at our meetinghouse; others would participate via Zoom.  In April, we held a threshing session in which this hybrid approach had broad support (notes attached).  In May, we tested a Meeting OWL Pro Device that proved quite satisfactory to support this hybrid form of worship (notes attached).  Using this device, especially in the meeting room itself, will require some improvements in the Meeting’s internet connection.  (Without such improvements, to use the Meeting OWL Pro for hybrid worship we would need to hold worship in the social room.)

Here are the steps we believe we should take next in approximate order:

(1) Have the Meeting authorize purchase now of a Meeting OWL Pro, approximate cost $1000. 

(2) Have Ministry and Counsel develop a plan that considers the following, and bring this to the Meeting for approval: 

(a) Explore options for improving the Meeting’s internet connection. 

(b) Think through protocols for ensuring the safety of all who come to worship.  (How about children? How about those who cannot be vaccinated? What about visitors?  What do we do about ventilation and air quality in the meetinghouse?  Etc.)

(c) Think through what it will take each Sunday to support hybrid worship, both equipment and people support. 

(d) Set a tentative date for returning to worship in the meetinghouse and communicate this to all members and attenders of Durham Friends Meeting well in advance. 

+++++

NOTES from Threshing Session on 4/11/21 about Worship Options After COVID

DCB 21.4.14

Here are some notes from our threshing session.  At the end, I’m appending three thoughtful responses that came via e-mail.

We had good participation in the threshing session: more than 20 participants.  Mostly those gathered were folks we also see fairly regularly on ZOOM worship sessions.  We may want to reach out to some of those we are not regularly seeing on Zoom. 

On the whole, there was a good deal of agreement that we should be especially attentive to the health and safety of Meeting members.  We were reminded that there are quite a number in the Meeting who would especially be at risk from a viral infection.

Several people said that they were surprised to find worship over Zoom to be better than they expected, even if they preferred to be in the meetinghouse. 

There were a number of expressions of discomfort with allowing too much technology into our worship together.

Nevertheless, these expressions of discomfort were nearly always paired with a recognition that Zoom was making possible something good, and that we probably want to be heading toward some kind of hybrid solution.  Such a hybrid solution would allow us to return to the meetinghouse and yet allow those not able to attend in person (for health or for distance reasons) to worship with us. 

People seem interested in trying the OWL device. 

Several people voiced discomfort with a large screen in the meetinghouse.

We were encouraged to see what other Quaker meetings are doing.  We can learn from them. 

We were reminded that we’ll need some protocols for addressing who can come to the meetinghouse in person:  only those vaccinated?  With masks?  What distances, etc. 

A possibility voiced for an interim step:  gathering people in small, safe groups at various locations connected via Zoom. 

A big issue to wrestle with:  how much does ‘being a Quaker meeting’ require being in one another’s presence?  If we allow the technology in the future, will we be altering the terms of ‘worshipping together’ and ‘making decisions together?’

From Sarah Sprogell

Good Morning Doug,

I won’t be at the threshing session today, but I wanted to offer my input for consideration on the topic of hybrid worship.  I think it’s good that we’re taking some time to reflect and discern on how we can come together in worship safely post-pandemic, and continue to have wider participation.

If we go to a hybrid model, I think it would be beneficial to find a way to greatly enlarge the image of zoom participants – either by investing in a very large TV screen or be devising a system to project a large image onto a blank wall.  Our sound system might need to be improved also, for best results.

Obviously, we will also need some technical expertise to get anything set up.  There may be knowledge within the Meeting, and there may also be help available through NEYM. We do not need to re-create the wheel on our own!

Let’s look at what other meetings within the Yearly Meeting are doing. 

For example, Allen’s Neck Meeting is using a screen, but it is too small to see the faces from a distance.  Some feel that the screen itself is distracting.  Thus, placement of the screen is important.  Peter Crysdale or others at that meeting can provide more insight to their experience. 

Another example is Cambridge Meeting, which has used a projector to put an enlarged image onto a blank wall.  I saw this on an Instagram post by Kathleen Wooten.  She may be a good resource for more information on this method.

Thanks for taking this input Doug, and thanks to M&C for shepherding this forward,

Sarah

+++

From Ingrid Chalufour

Doug,

I regret I will miss the Threshing on Sunday. Our family is visiting, and they come first. I expect you understand that. For what it is worth I would like to share my thoughts with you. I think having a hybrid option for the long term is a good idea. I realize that we do not really know how this will impact the experience in the Meetinghouse, but there are advantages to having it. First, we do not know what our future is in relation to pandemics. We don’t even know when we might be COVID safe completely. Second, we have benefited from the participation of Friends from other places, including with message giving.

Originally, I thought that we might want to start modestly to see how it goes. After a conversation with Sarah I understand that this is likely to be an inferior experience and it would not give us a good understanding of what the experience might be.

That is the extent of my thinking for the moment. Zoom certainly has been a life saver in the past year. It has given us Sunday worship and the possibility of continuing committee work.

I look forward to hearing how all of this plays out. I long to return to the Meetinghouse but have some difficulty with wearing a mask for extended times so I have to figure that out first.

Many thanks for your efforts to guide us in figuring this out.

Ingrid

+++

From KJ Williams

The focus seemed drawn into if hybrid makes sense to explore. We didn’t touch on where my thoughts were headed, more about when we should start gathering together again. I’ve thought a great deal about this, as I’ve been to work every day, answering screening questions, having my temperature taken, and now having Ag testing 2 times a week.  We wear masks, stay apart, meet more still on Microsoft teams. When I think of the meeting house, I think of it as a pretty open space, fairly easy to have people sit in bubbles spread out. While singing would still be limited, the chance to be together in the space should become possible in the next 1-2 months I hope. I think the healing of being together balances out some of the safety risk. Findings of less viral spread on surfaces helps much of this feel safer.  I do want people to be safe, so having the zoom option continuing is important. I am hoping that some who are more comfortable setting up zoom might help others in person.  

The Wisconsin Council of Churches have a guide they call Holding Our Plans Loosely where they offer some guidance in thinking about opening.  It might be useful as we think this through.  It includes ideas about a blend of % of population vaccinated, positivity rate, and cases per 100,000. 

I do support the hybrid model, in part given my living both in Brunswick and Oxford.  I hadn’t planned on spending so much time in Oxford when I landed in Maine, but we are finding that the better way to work things. With the hybrid, I think I can stay a committed member of Durham Friends over time. 

I was thinking about that balance of local, in person connection and distant connections.  I have been visiting my previous congregation less, shifting to being more present here. I value being part of local activities, when I have time and energy.  That is limited now, with me needing time with the community more to help me get ready for the week ahead.  I value that support. I think there can also be a way of engaging those who are part of the community farther away, finding what captures their attention, their passion and gifts. 

+++++

TO:                   Interested Folks at Durham Friends Meeting

FROM:              Doug, Ellen, Renee, Joyce, Tess, Wendy

RE:                   Test of the OWL Pro

DATE:               May 18, 2021

Today we tried a test of the OWL Pro device that New England Yearly Meeting lent us for a short while.  On the whole, it was a successful trial, but not everything we tried worked. 

Test Site: Social Room.  The OWL connects to a laptop which becomes the host computer for the ZOOM session.  We put the OWL on a table in the Social Room, plugged it in to Doug’s laptop, connected it wirelessly to the Meeting WiFi, and started up a meeting.  (Durham Meeting has its internet connection from Spectrum, via DSL.)  Doug, Ellen and Renee were present in the Social Room; Joyce, Tess and Wendy were logged in remotely.  You can see a 14-minute recording of what this looked like here

We could see and hear one another without difficulty.  The OWL always shows one speaker in the room and also a panoramic 360-degree view of everyone in the room.  Sometimes it would show a few people (separate images) in addition to the panoramic view.  We did notice that the OWL’s camera was slow to move towards a new speaker; it took perhaps three sentences before that new speaker showed on camera (there was no delay in picking up the sound). 

We did succeed in hooking up the Meeting’s TV to the laptop using a Chromecast device, but we did not figure out how to cast the Zoom session from the laptop to the TV monitor.  This is surely a solvable problem. 

Test Site:  Meeting Room.  We tried moving the whole set-up into the Meeting Room.  This was not successful because we could not pick up a WiFi signal in this location.  We tried wirelessly, first, and then tried running an ethernet cable from the cable modem/router in the kitchen across the floor of the Social Room into the Meeting Room.  This too, did not work.  The problem might be with the ethernet cable we used or with the cable modem/router.

Conclusions.  Here are some tentative conclusions:

1.  The OWL Pro (costs about $1000) could be a way to have the Meeting do hybrid worship – most people in the Meetinghouse and some logging in via Zoom.  The sound and video are good, though the camera takes a bit of time to react and turn toward a new speaker. 

2. Of course we could also use it for business meetings and committee meetings with some participants logged in from remote sites. 

3.  For starters, we would have to hold Meeting for Worship in the Social Room. 

4.  Using the OWL Pro in the Meetinghouse would require some upgrade of our internet capabilities.  This upgrade would involve a stronger signal than we now have or a dedicated (and working) ethernet cord from our cable modem/router to the computer that is hosting the OWL.  If we use ethernet, perhaps an electrician could find a way to run the connection from the kitchen to the Meeting Room via the basement. 

5.  Would we want a TV monitor in use during Meeting for Worship to see remote participants?  That is a question for discussion.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 16, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 16, 2021 with 16 people present.  Bob Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with quiet and expectant worship.

1.The April minutes were approved as printed in the Newsletter. 

2. Clerk Bob Eaton sadly reported that he had received a letter from Wendy Schlotterbeck submitting her resignation/retirement as Youth Minister. Her letter follows:

            “I have been the Youth Minister for Durham Friends for 12 years. I have felt honored and extremely blessed by getting to know our children and youth. And have known the support and love of the Meeting community.

            “Over the past several months I have been discerning if/when I should step aside from the Youth Minister position and allow newer, younger energy to infuse this role. Also, it will allow me to focus more of my energy in other areas important to our Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting. 

            “I am part of a “Quaker faithfulness group” that meets bi-weekly and was able to process this with them. Please accept this letter as my notice of resignation starting July 1, 2021.

            “I intend to stay on as clerk of Christian Education until the end of the calendar year, and would like to continue planning activities for children/youth/families in that capacity and of course help in the transition to a new Youth Minister. I especially want to communicate that the care of families, children and youth will continue as a high priority and that our support will remain constant during this transition.  With much care and love to all of you!  Wendy”

            We accepted her resignation and expressed our thankfulness and appreciation for her tireless work for several years in supporting and caring for the meeting’s youth.  The clerk will draw up a minute of appreciation to be included in the June minutes. 

3. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that more members are needed for the committee. They met via Zoom on May 4th.  They are waiting confirmation for participation in the Wabanaki Reach Education program.  They discussed the upcoming Annual Plant Sale beginning June 3rd at 4:00 pm, which will be ongoing until sold out.  Sales will be “self service” with donations dropped in the meeting mailbox.  They planned Children’s Day for the June 6th gatheringoutside the meetinghouse, and Family Beach Day June 12th to be held at Hinshaw’s camp on Labrador Pond.  

4. Bob Eaton, as clerk, brought forward a report from an ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Seasoning Group he had appointed.  Members are Joyce Gibson, Linda Muller, Renee Cote, and Leslie Manning.  After considerable discussion focusing on how recently the report had been made available to members of the meeting, all matters put forward in the report (contractual agreements, the composition of a support group, and the question of an oversight committee) were held over for consideration at the June monthly meeting for business.

            Before the next meeting for business, the MCC will meet with the MCC Support Committee, and the clerk suggested that the Oversight Seasoning Group might meet to further develop a proposal to bring to meeting in light of the meeting of the MCC Support Committee.

5. Meeting Care Coordinator Mey Hasbrook read a quote from the book, Broken for life by Jocelyn Burnell which speaks to her condition.  In order to focus on her relationship with Durham Friends Meeting as a sojourning member, she plans to transition out of the MCC job.  Tender and trying experiences emerging amid the MCC work since mid-March, including impact personally/relationally, have played an important part in her discernment.  A “meeting for healing” is scheduled for May 24th.  She will continue to explore a future for Café Corners during a brown-bag lunch on May 23rd

6. Liana Knight reported for the Communication Committee:  The phone tree has faded away over the past year(s) and they will be working to identify who still needs to be on a phone tree and who the contact person at the ‘top’ of the tree should be. If you or someone you know needs to be on the phone tree, please let Liana know (207-737-9781).

            They discussed the parameters of what should go on the Meeting website, particularly regarding events. Given that the website is a public-facing platform that is accessible to anyone, they agreed on three parameters for posting events on the Meeting website. We should post events that are: (a) sponsored or lifted up by Durham Meeting or a Durham Meeting committee (e.g. Ministry and Counsel or Peace and Social Concerns), (b) sponsored by a Quaker organization that the Meeting supports or recognizes (e.g. NEYM, FCNL), or (c) sponsored by a neighboring Quaker Meeting in Maine. They wish to encourage Friends to seek committee support for events and programs with which they are  connected  if they wish to have these on the Meeting website.

            They discussed the parameters of what should go in the newsletter, and agreed that the newsletter editor(s) will have a good deal of latitude for exercising judgment about what can and should go in the Newsletter.

            They discussed the Meeting Facebook page, and expressed gratitude for Mey’s excellent tending of that space. We are holding a question around what the parameters for sharing events should be via the Facebook page—whether it should be handled similarly to the website or similarly to the Newsletter, or somewhere in-between. A concern was raised regarding the simple existence of a Facebook page for Durham Friends given Facebook’s policies and management. They think that at some point the Meeting should consider whether we want to continue to maintain a presence on Facebook as a Meeting.

7. The Handbook revision was mentioned and folks are urged to read the edited copy on our web site, to be considered for approval in June.

8. Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote reported that Jay O’Hara has sent a letter providing information about his work with the Climate Disobedience Center which is involved in a campaign to close coal-fired plants in New England.  Three persons of deep faith have created the center.  The center had covered all costs for those involved in civil disobedience in this area.   The report and the request for funds will be on the June meeting’s agenda.  Kitsie Hildebrandt, Treasurer, reminded us of the Charity Account guidelines.

            Doug Bennett has received the meeting OWL from New England Yearly Meeting, and they plan to try it as soon as possible.  

            Pastoral care: Sarah Sprogell and Gene Boyington have reported that they are thankful that many have answered the call to help Tom Frye.

            Message bringers are scheduled into July.

            They are considering rules regarding vaccination status when we begin meeting in person.  

            Clerk, Bob Eaton closed the meeting with quiet waiting, and thankfulness. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Timely Announcements from the Meeting Care Coordinator

Support for Tom Frye: ongoing
Thanks to Friends who have been a presence with Tom Frye in Brunswick, as his caregiver Jeri Kemple seeks occasional respite. A visitor is being sought the afternoon of Sunday June 13th, for fellowship, lunch, and medication. Also,for Tom’s fuller care routine on Sunday mornings from June 20th and onward. Please reach out about offers and/or questions.

Reflections with MCC: June 14th
As I prepare “wrap-up” materials about my work as Durham Friends Meeting’s first MCC, I’m inviting reflections in conversation by Zoom on Mon. June 14th: from 9:40am – 10:40am, 2pm – 3pm, and also 7pm – 8pm. We may discuss your recollections and/or questions. Please give me a call or send an email, if you would like to reserve a spot at one of these sessions.

BYO Lunch: Cafe Corner: late June
A second lunch with in-person, outdoor fellowship is a possibility in late June. The tentative date is Sun. the 27th, following worship: 12pm BYO lunch, with fellowship from 12:30pm. We’ll continue conversation about possibilities for Cafe Corner. Please confirm with me at your earliest if this time meets your availability, so the date may be confirmed.

Mey Hasbrook * (313) 389-6866 * meymdh@gmail.com

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, April 18, 2021

Durham Monthly Meeting Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, April 18, 2021 with 21 people present. Robert (Bob) Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with a short period of silence expressing gratitude for those present.

  1. The March minutes were approved, with a small correction: the Christian Education Children’s Day will be June 6 (minute # 8).

2. Clerk’s Report: Bob Eaton raised the question of term limits for the Clerk. It was approved that Bob Eaton be Clerk for this calendar year, i.e., April through December 2021. The clerk reported that he will ask the Communications Committee to review the guidance regarding posting on the meeting website and report back to meeting. He will ask the Finance Committee to review current practice and to propose to meeting a general procedure on contracting services for the meeting.

3. Ministry and Counsel: The State of Society Report was presented with much thanks to Doug Bennett who composed the report. This report will be attached and included in the Newsletter. We especially thank Katharine Hildebrandt for her poem at the end of the report.

Renee Cote submitted a written report for Ministry and Counsel on their discussion about the Threshing Session held April 11th regarding our hybrid worship options. Participants expressed the advantages of Zoom, especially for those with physical limitations; the realization that there may not be a post-pandemic; the meaning of corporate worship as a physical gathering; the opportunity to see our membership grow; and the value of the simple, non-electronic physical space of the meetinghouse. They considered non-vaccinated individuals and offering small group worship for those unable to be present, either over Zoom or in the meetinghouse. When establishing small groups for in-person worship, they will focus on keeping everyone as part of the “real” meeting. It was suggested that we try the “Meeting Owl,” which New England Yearly Meeting has available to facilitate both “in house” and remote worship. 

4. We Approved the State of Society Report, which will be presented to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

5. We approved using the “Meeting Owl” when it becomes available.

6. Christian Education Committee/Youth Minister: Wendy reported that the Durham Friends hike on the paved Papermill Trail in Lisbon on Sunday, March 28 was attended by hearty souls, 4 adults and 2 youth. They had a lovely time and were pleased that the rain forecasted held out until the very end. Some of the Easter grass grown by Kim Bolshaw and treats were distributed.

The Youth Minister delivered Easter packages of candy and wheat grass to the homes of 11 families with children and several adults. In addition, several coloring packets were mailed to families with younger children.

The collaboration (as mentioned in the March minutes) with Central Maine SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice) participating in a Wabanaki Reach Educational program led by Heather Augustine plans to meet June 5 or 12 from 3-5 p.m. Peace and Social Concern and the Christian Education Committees will contribute $100 each to help cover the cost of $500.

Tess Hartford brought a Godly Play message to meeting for worship on Easter Sunday and explained a little about this curriculum that Durham Friends had been using until last March when we switched to virtual meeting. Ellis Noetzel sang a lovely version of Adore You by Harry Styles, which was a special treat for all.

Upcoming events include the Annual Plant Sale, beginning June 4, and Children’s Day, June 6.

7. Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook reported that Jeri Kemple is asking for relief persons in her full-time care of Tom Frye. Her plan is to take some camping trips and she needs volunteers to substitute for her when she is on vacation. Please email her with offers.

The Café Corner series began in December as a “social experiment in revelry.” Six gatherings offered varied formats and altering weeknights. Participants explored creative themes with informal conversation. The final session of this first phase invited community guests. Reflections from participants are welcome as the next phase is being planned.

Mey reported that she will be out-of-state April 19 to May 4 at a residence without access.  She can be reached by e-mail. Phone communications should focus on urgent matters, likely to be returned with a lag. 

8. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: The Social Justice Curriculum Sub-committee has purchased the books for the New Mainer children and plans to give them to the children at the end of the school year. They have begun to plan the project that will give social justice books to early elementary school teachers. They have the draft of a one-page introduction to the project and are in the process of recruiting four teaching teams to help launch the project.

The ad-hoc committee (Sarah Sprogell, Ingrid Chalufour, Katharine Hildebrandt, and Bob Eaton) working to lower the carbon footprint of the meetinghouse has placed the meeting on the Window/Dressers list to make window inserts for the worship room next fall. These inserts will decrease the air leaking into the room from the windows.

9. The Nominating Committee reports that they have yet to replace the Recording Clerk who has consented to continue until a replacement is found. The meeting thanks the Recording Clerk for continuing.

10. Handbook revision report: Martha Sheldon and others are working on this project and are almost ready to submit a final draft; they have postponed approval until our May monthly meeting. Margaret Wentworth made several suggestions and corrections to be added to the document. They reminded us that it is a “living” document and not cast in stone. 

11. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell reported that for the first quarter, our income is $14,102.77, and expenses are $9,668.85, which reflects that our finances are in good condition. The weekly offering is down by about half of what we projected; the bank interest is high because it includes interest from all of our locally held accounts, not just our checking accounts. We received a designated donation of $1,000 for replacement of the pillars at the Lunt Cemetery. The full report is attached.

12. Nancy Marstaller sent a report on our Sister Meeting relationships with Velasco, Cuba. We share this relationship with Portland Meeting. The report will be included in the Newsletter, and attached to these minutes.

We ended monthly meeting with a period of silence. Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Making Things Right: Apologies and Reparations,” by Cush Anthony

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 9, 2021

Despite our best efforts, all of us make mistakes from time to time, and sometimes they come at the expense of others. When that happens, we try our best to apologize in a meaningful way.

            All good apologies include a statement such as “I am sorry for what I did.” Or perhaps you simply say, “I was wrong,” or “I made a mistake.” A true apology focuses on your own actions, and never on the other person’s response. And it never includes a phrase which to you justifies what you did. Never should you say “I’m sorry, but…”  That is not a true apology.

            Is saying you are sorry enough? A good apology should also include efforts on your part to make things right. Making amends. Doing an action to repair the damage you have done. In other words, some reparations are called for.

            We should apply those same principles when considering a wrong done by our society to someone or some group of people. When the dominant culture in this country harms another group of Americans, reparations should be a part of an apology.

One of the most shameful moments in American history was establishing internment camps for Americans of Japanese ancestry, during World War Two. Innocent people were made to live in prison like conditions, solely because of their ancestry. After the war was over and when Americans came to recognize that the country had done wrong to those people, a bill was passed by Congress that gave some cash reparations payments to those who had suffered at our hands. This is an example of commendable governmental action in granting reparations when offering an apology for mistakes made by our society.

Alas, we have not done that in regard to the harm done to former slaves and other black and brown Americans. It is time we did so. There is in fact a bill in Congress that calls for just that. HR 40 is an act to establish the commission to study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans. It was first introduced by Representative John Conyers in 1989 and has been reintroduced each year since then. The current version recently cleared a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and is headed for markup and then to the floor of the House. It seeks to provide money payments to repair the harm done both by slavery and by the Jim Crow laws that followed. It deserves our support.

Also note the excellent Friends Journal recent article by Harold Weaver of Wellesley Friends Meeting entitled, A Proposed Plan of Retrospective Justice. It is well worth reading.

We should also examine government treatment of indigenous people. Congressional proclamations have expressed apology for our treatment of Native Americans generally, but including no reparations have been proposed.

Here in Maine, we are currently doing something similar to offering reparations. A series of bills pending in the legislature will give the Wabanaki greater sovereignty. While not true reparations, enacting these measures will constitute a form of making things right after not doing so for many years. Unfortunately, the bills were recently tabled and will be acted on in the next legislative session, in 2022. The Peace and Social Concerns committee encourages lobbying for them both now and when they come up next year.

In summary, making things right should always be part of the apologies we offer when we have made a mistake, both as individuals and collectively.

[You may also be interested in a Pendle Hill Pamphlet (#465, October 2020) by Hal Weaver, Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice: An African American Quaker Scholar-Activist Challenges Conventional Narratives.]

Support Urged for Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

Peace and Social Concerns Committee urges support of this bill

April 26, 2021

To:       Senator Carney, Representative Harnett, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary

From: Shirley Hager, 129 Chesterville Hill Road, Chesterville, ME 04938, Member, Friends (Quaker) Committee on Maine Public Policy (FCMPP), and Clerk, Committee on Tribal-State Relations of FCMPP

Re:       Support for LD 1568 and LD 1626, Acts to Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

Senator Carney, Representative Harnett, and members of the Judiciary Committee, my name is

Shirley Hager and I am speaking on behalf of the Friends (Quaker) Committee on Maine Public Policy, Committee on Tribal-State Relations.  One of our primary goals is right relationship between the State of Maine and our Wabanaki neighbors, and their fair and equitable treatment. I am therefore testifying in support of both LD 1568 and LD 1626.

We in Maine have before us a historic opportunity to right 40 years of wrongs done to Wabanaki tribal communities. The terms in the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act have proven disastrous for the tribes, and these bills are designed to address those wrongs.

Since 1980, Wabanaki tribes in Maine have been prevented from benefiting from over 150 federal laws designed to assist and support tribal health, safety, well-being, and self-determination. Wabanaki tribes here also contend with restrictions and complicated regulations imposed by the Implementing Act that are not experienced by the 570 federally-recognized tribes residing outside of Maine. As a result, tribes in Maine suffer from disadvantages not found in any other state.  The vast majority of states where tribes are located abide by federal Indian law, which these bills propose. Through provisions and even requirements contained in federal Indian law, many of these states enjoy and celebrate productive relationships that benefit the tribes, the surrounding non-Native communities, and the state. Time and again, it has been shown that when the tribes are prosperous, surrounding rural communities are prosperous. This is our opportunity to create this reality for Wabanaki communities, for our rural areas, and for Maine as a whole.

The current situation imposed by the State of Maine on Wabanaki peoples is morally and ethically wrong. Because of the restrictive and onerous terms of the settlement acts, Maine was the subject of a 2013 United Nations investigation that described inequities as rising to the level of human rights violations. Tribal communities only want what tribes in other states enjoy—greater freedom to control their own destiny and to thrive. We have in both LD 1568 and LD 1626 the means to make this possible. Let’s be able to say that this year Maine took this honorable and meaningful step toward greater prosperity for our Wabanaki neighbors, for rural communities and for our State. FCMPP Committee on Tribal-State Relations supports the passage of either LD 1568 or LD 1626.  Thank you.

shirley.hager@maine.edu; 207-491-0982

Velsasco Friends Meeting Report, February 2021

Velasco, Durham and Portland Sister Meeting Committee February 2021 Report 

In the fall of 2020 Portland Friends Meeting and Durham Friends Meeting approved Portland joining in the sister relationship with Velasco Friends Meeting in Cuba and the formation of a joint committee to care for and nurture the relationship. The new committee meets monthly. Nancy Marstaller and Fritz Weiss are co-clerks. 

Durham has noted and appreciated that there is new energy in the relationship with Velasco. Our two meetings in Maine are building a stronger relationship. Committee members are now receiving newsletters from both meetings and recognize that the first experience of intervisitation may well be Durham and Portland visiting each other. 

An invitation to Friends in Portland and Durham is to hold Velasco in Prayer as they gather. Velasco meets

  • on Sunday at 9:00 AM and
  • on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm for a service of prayer and preaching,
  • on Thursdays at 8:00 pm for house worship,
  • on Fridays at 7:30 pm the ladies meet,
  • on Saturdays at 8:30 pm the youth.

They are in the same time zone as we are. We can hold them in prayer at those times.

Communication with Velasco Meeting is via facebook messenger with Yadira Cruz Pena (Pastor) and email with Zoe Lazara (Clerk).  Nancy Marstaller and Wendy Schlotterback from Durham and Hannah Colbert and Sydney McDowell from Portland are able to send messages; if you have messages you might like to send, please share with them. 

Our meetings are open, if you are interested in being involved, please contact one of the co-clerks.

Con amor, Nancy Marstaller, Wendy Schlotterback, Hannah Colbert, Doug Malcom, Ann Dodd-Collins, Sydney MacDowell, Fritz Weiss

Velasco Friends Meeting (Cuba), September 2020

Velasco Friend Meeting Report, March-April 2021

March/April 2021

News about Our Sister Meeting in Velasco, Cuba, and all Cuban Friends Meetings – from Nancy Marstaller

The Puente des Amigos Committee of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends recently sent this information regarding Velasco and all Cuban Friends Churches:

Cuba Yearly Meeting (CYM) has asked for our prayers and support as they struggle to find funds to pay their pastors and church workers a government mandated five fold salary increase. CYM supports 12 pastoral workers and 3 retired pastors.  We cannot corporately send funds to Cuba or funds which support salary costs without violating US treasury regulations, but individuals can make donations.  

The Cuban Quakers also have a long history of sharing resources, medical supplies, filtered water and other necessities with their neighbors.  During the pandemic, the need has been greater and the Meetings are struggling to continue to support their communities.

Marcos Longoria, clerk of Miami Friends Church and son of Ramon Longoria – long time secretary and clerk of CYM who died this past summer- is collecting funds from individuals to support pastors and to help pay for personal hygiene supplies for CYM. Donations may be sent to:

Marcos Longoria, Clerk, Miami Friends Church// 330 SW 79 Ct., Miami FL  33144

Checks should be made out to the Miami Friends Church with a note in the memo line indicating “pastors fund” or “personal hygiene”. 

Thank you for your consideration of this opportunity. If you have questions, please speak to Nancy Marstaller

“Beacon of Light,” by Linda Muller

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, April 18, 2021

Reflecting back on our rather unique winter, I am reminded how our neighbor down the street did a great service for our neighborhood. During the dark of winter he added light — white lights all up and down the great reaching branches of a large maple tree in his front yard — beautiful and encouraging. On the night of the winter solstice we made note of it — walked down to its base and paused — in appreciation. We paused in appreciation of that beautiful light, and for all that the solstice and Christmas symbolize…. the return of the light.

And so, all along through the rising numbers of the pandemic, the January shocks emanating from Washington, D.C., and diminished opportunities to be with friends and family, that tree — that light — was a beautiful, faithful reminder of hope. The way forward towards light.

And now, Friends, I will turn my attention to that hope.

How have I kindled and rekindled hope and light to envision my way forward? Will the joy of rebirth, as spring comes on, open me to more creativity and sharing? More prayerful listening? Is this the way we each empower the light?

Beyond that, how have I helped my family and household to keep hope and serve our neighbors?

And, of course, as our Meeting envisions our way forward, we will want to consider:

  • How can we as a Meeting be a beacon of light to our local and wider community?
  • What changes will come when we are able to gather in person?
  • Can we help the many people grieving losses (of loved ones, jobs, and homes)?
  • Are we a community that appreciates and supports creativity? With this in mind, do we want to grow the Cafe Corner that Mey has begun?
  • Are we a community that provides material assistance — a play group? a music and poetry night?
  • Are we a community that provides a place for listening and sharing — a support group, or perhaps a safe space for reflection and contemplation?
  • Do we want to create a productive organic vegetable garden? then share the produce?
  • Are we willing to share a place to take a walk in the woods, perhaps with benches to rest, perhaps a place for children to develop a relationship with the land?

Of course, Friends, I speak of the community outside of our Meeting, to provide a service. I hope we will all give some consideration to these and other ideas, because these are just a starting point. If we want to, we can be a beacon of light to our local community.

As a final reminder, friends, a quote from the young inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to BE it.”

Thank you, Friends, for your attention. Blessings be with you as you continue with your day.