Climate Crisis; Youth Speak Out!

By Linda Muller, for PSC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 15, 2019

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

1. The July minutes were approved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Holding in the Light,” by Doug Bennett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full message can be found on Riverview Friend

Woman’s Society Notes, July 15, 2019

by Martha Sheldon

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

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

Durham Meeting Members Participate in Vigils at Bath Iron Works

  By Renee Cote and Brown Lethem

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

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

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

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

Wendy Schlotterbeck Hosts a Family of Eight from East Africa

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

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

1. Cash or gift cards for household and personal needs

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

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

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

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

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

7. HELP sorting and transporting donations

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

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

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 21, 2019

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

1. The June minutes were approved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                    Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Fall Climate Events from Peace and Social Concerns

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

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

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

Durham Meeting Makes Donation to the Make Shift Coffee House

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

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

Overcoming Militarism and Racism, by Brown Lethem

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, July 7, 2019

Good morning friends!

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

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

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

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

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

Some express this gift in making art.

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

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

(Racism cripples the young)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baldwin wrote in the 1960’s:

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

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

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

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

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

The time has come.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woman’s Society Report, June, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Poems for Children’s Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions – August 3-8

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

SESSIONS REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Click Here to Register

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

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

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

CONTENTS

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 19, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, April 19, 2019 with 11 people present. Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading from the New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice: “Meeting as a Caring Community.”

1. The April 21, 2019 minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting has sent a letter of transfer of membership from Lewiston Friends to Durham Friends Meeting for Renee Cote of

Auburn, Maine. Ministry and Counsel recommends we approve this transfer. Other business included conversations about the worship hour, pastoral care, and a support group.

3. We heartily approved the transfer of membership of Renee Cote from Lewiston Friends Meeting to Durham Friends Meeting.

4. Finance Committee: Nancy Marstaller reported that the Capital Account has been moved from a savings account to a money market account.

10% ($1810) of the Janet Douglas bequest has been put into the Charity Account, and the balance ($16,200) has been added to the Capital Account.

They agreed to move $25,000 from the checking account into an 18th mo. CD with interest of 2.l%. Someone from the committee will attend Trustees’ meetings for communication purposes.

5. Nancy Marstaller reported for the ad hoc care committee for Ralph and Twila Greene financial support. As noted in last month’s monthly meeting minutes, additional funds are required for renovation of their house. It was suggested that we give an amount from the Charity Fund, and that persons are encouraged to donate to the Charity Fund. A full report concerning this project is attached.

6. The meeting approved donating $600 from the Charity Fund to help with the Greene house renovation with the understanding that they will be able to stay there indefinitely. People who wish to personally contribute to this fund are encouraged to do so (checks made to Durham Friends Meeting).

7. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that they encourage “baby” noise in meeting for worship; it is waiting worship, not necessarily silent.

Sanitary stations were added to the bathrooms.

The Sunday School Godly Play teachers are “retiring,” and new teachers will be needed for September.

Upcoming events will be advertised in the newsletter or Friendly Notes: June 2: Children’s Day;

June 8: Yard and Plant Sale; June 15-16 Georgetown Campout; July 12-15: Wabanaki support circle.

8. Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that she participated in a racial justice event, and the climate change panel. She attended the All Maine Gathering. She is making plans for next year’s children and youth activities and Sunday School. We expressed appreciation for her work with children and youth.

9. Nominating Committee: We approved the nomination of Brown Letham and Bob Eaton to Trustees.

10. Trustees: Leslie Manning reported that Trustees met on May 5, 2019. The Cemetery Accounts were reported by Donna Hutchins to have $4.837.95 in checking, $4225.12 in savings, a CD of $22,339.92 as well as the Pratt Fund of $2,645.00. They will combine the Pratt Fund with the CD upon maturity of the CD if there is no restriction on the Pratt Fund. They recommend that the CD be renewed for a longer period of maturity.

They approved the sale of two plots in Lunt Cemetery to a new neighbor, James Holland. They viewed the standards for headstones and markers in the sale agreement.

On-going projects were listed which are included in the attached detailed report.

We were reminded that the current meetinghouse building will be 200 years old in 2029. They hope to have it in good condition for that anniversary.

Leslie Manning confirmed that she will be stepping down from Trustees. Donna Hutchins has offered to serve as clerk.

11. We expressed our appreciation for Leslie’s diligence and care as clerk of Trustees.

12. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Cushman Anthony reported briefly on past activities and Ingrid Chalufour reported that on April 27 approximately 6 people from meeting participated in the protest at the destroyer christening at Bath Iron Works. The Durham Friends Meeting banner was prominently displayed. On April 28 Linda Muller delivered the message at meeting followed by a discussion on the possibility of the meeting adopting a corporate concern. On May 10 the meeting co-sponsored an event titled “What Can We Do About Climate Change?” with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Brunswick. Approximately 100 people attended this panel discussion.

13. Falmouth Quarterly Meeting met during the All Maine Gathering of Friends held at the Friends School of Portland on May 4, 2019. Martha Sheldon reported that Falmouth Quarterly Meeting met with 26 Friends from throughout the Quarter in attendance. Co conveners were Marian Dalton and Sarah Sprogell. A proposal was presented and approved that the Quarterly Meeting:

-have business meetings twice a year; May and October for the purpose of reading state of society reports, memorials, pastoral care and other business that promotes, encourages, and supports caring and mutuality among area monthly Meetings,

-have rotating clerks and recording clerks, as led (Marian Dalton and Sarah Sprogell will serve as co-conveners and contact persons for the quarter),

-continue the present treasurer,

-notes that with fewer gatherings pastoral care can be informal with the help of Ministry and Counsels in Monthly Meetings taking on some of the concerns that arise,

-programs would occur when and if possible,

-worship would be a vital part of the Quarterly Meeting agenda.

Two letters of transfer from Lewiston Friends Meeting were read and accepted, one to Durham Friends Meeting and one to Portland Friends Meeting.

Memorial minutes, Treasurer’s and State of the Society reports were read and accepted.

The following minute regarding Lewiston Monthly Meeting of Friends was read:

“Thankful for the prayers, guidance and fellowship of Falmouth Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting, members of Lewiston Monthly Meeting attended a called Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business at The Center for Wisdom’s Women in Lewiston on 12th Day, First Month, 2019.

In sadness, but with appreciation of our many years of worshipping together, and after prayerful discernment, we agreed to dissolve Lewiston Monthly Meeting, which began in 1972 as a Worship Group under the care of Durham Monthly Meeting and became a Monthly Meeting in 1980. We further agreed that our remaining funds of just under $2,200 be allocated as follows: $1,000 to New England Yearly Meeting, whatever amount is necessary for the administrative costs of dissolution, and the remainder to Trinity Jubilee Center, Lewiston, Maine. Approved 12th Day, First Month, 2019 Christine Holden, Recording Clerk.”

Four immigrant students are asking for support to attend Friends Camp. Approval was given for Falmouth Quarterly Meeting to allocate $100 for this purpose and to encourage individual donations.

The next meeting will be October 26, 2019 at Durham Friends Meeting.

14. We approved a request brought by Kitsie Hildebrandt that two of her Muslim friends use the meetinghouse for a wedding.

15. We approved a request that the Wabanaki Youth Group utilize a portion of our meeting garden.

The meeting ended in quiet worship.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Learning Compassion,” by Leslie Manning

This past Sunday (May 26) Leslie Manning brought us a message that grew out of Hebrews 13:1-3:

13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

She invited us to settle into worship seeking the place where our compassion grows. After a time together in silence, she invited us to go out onto the grounds (as we felt led) and reflect on the passage from Hebrews.

When we returned to the Meeting room, she reflected on the difference between empathy, where the focus remains on what we ourselves are feeling, and compassion, where the focus remains on what another person is feeling or suffering. For many of us, empathy comes more easily than compassion.

To help us learn compassion, she taught us a Buddhist Metta, a meditation practice to learn compassion. In meditation, start with yourself, say inwardly ‘may I be healthy and whole, may I be strong, may I be at ease.’ When ready, move your focus to a friend or loved one, and say inwardly ‘may you be healthy and whole, may you be strong, may you be at ease.’ And then when ready, move your focus again to someone beyond your accustomed circle of family of friends and say inwardly ‘may you be healthy and whole, may you be strong, may you be at ease.’

Woman’s Society Meeting, May 20, 2019

Seven women gathered together at the home of Martha Hinshaw Sheldon on the 20th of May.  After signing cards to be sent out for encouragement and birthdays Kat Langelier brought the program.  She invited us to look at how we welcome children into our meeting.  This conversation was inspired by a concern shared from Kathleen Wooten, a traveling Friend within New England Yearly Meeting.  Kathleen had visited meetings that were discouraging to children being in Meeting for worship.  How can we be welcoming to all?  How can we creatively imagine ways to be with differing opinions about worship?  How can we be careful not to unintentionally alienate others?  How can we elder nicely? 

Business matters.  Minutes were read and approved.  Treasures report was given and accepted with appreciation.  Prayers were shared for Oscar Mmgali, a Kenyan who recently started ministry work in Belize.  Tedford meals were discussed to make sure all is well.  All officers renewed their positions for the next year:  President – Dorothy Curtis, Treasurer – Nancy Marstaller, Recording clerk – Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, Cards ministry – Margaret Wentworth and Vice President – Kitsie Hildebrandt.  The June meeting will be at Dorothy Hinshaw’s home at 5:00 with Jo-an Jacobus giving the program.  If you are interested in carpooling meet at the Meeting parking lot at around 4 to drive to Sumner. 

We closed with a poem on Kind hearts and a moment of silence. 

Humbly submitted by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, April 21, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, April 21, 2019 with 14 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading a verse from a hymn, “Christ Be Our Light.”

1.  The March 17, 2019 minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported for the committee. At their April meeting they discussed a proposal for a change in the order of worship: Hymns – Call to worship – Children’s message (1st and 3rd Sunday) – The message – Open worship – Joys and Concerns – Offering – Final Hymn – Handshake – Announcements.  They also discussed a concern shared from New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM).  More information will be posted in the Newsletter with further discussion planned in following weeks.  Pastoral care concerns were shared.  One was a report on the housing upgrades for Ralph and Twila Greene.  Nat Shed sent a second request to Obadiah Brown Fund for funds for renovations on the house the Greens moved to recently.  While it is better than the previous house it still needs a few repairs to make it more comfortable.  If you are led to help financially with this project or want to help with the renovation work, contact the team who have been working on this concern – Nat Shed, Edwin Hinshaw, Dorothy Hinshaw, and Nancy Marstaller.  There are other such pastoral care teams throughout Durham Friends Meeting who have been laboring tirelessly to share ministry and support for many who have been in need in the past few months.  “As clerk I am very appreciative of these individuals and groups as they shine the light and love of God to many in our meeting,” Martha added.  

    The meeting thanked Ministry and Counsel (M&C) for their careful consideration of our worship hour and suggested that we try their changed format during the months of May and the first two weeks of June, with further discussion on this new plan at the June Monthly Meeting.

3.  Christian Education: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that an egg hunt was held this morning for Easter Day, and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by Katherine Langelier, Dorothy Curtis, and Kim Bolshaw, with other tasty donations by attenders.  They announced that the annual yard sale will be June 1.

4.  Peace and Social Concerns:  Four members of the committee met on April 9 at Brown Letham’s apartment: Linda Muller, Cush Anthony, Brown Letham and Ingrid Chalufour.  They discussed upcoming events.  Linda and Ingrid reported that the group planning the climate panel had their third meeting at the UU church, and Ron Turcotte, the moderator of the panel, attended.  The group outlined an agenda and talked through all the details of the evening.  Brown volunteered to get a climate change banner and to be on the clean-up crew. All will distribute posters.

  Ingrid reported on her first Brunswick Area Interfaith Council meeting, where she passed out a preliminary flier about the climate panel. 

   They discussed the April 27 Bath Iron Works vigil. They will car pool from Brunswick and hope others will join them.  Brown has printed a handout showing research on the costs of war.

   Plans were made concerning the message and potluck discussion on April 28.  Linda will deliver the message planned by the group and Ingrid will organize small and large group discussions. 

5.  Trustees: Kitsie Hildebrandt reported for the Trustees. Katherine Langelier has asked that parents of home school children schedule the meetinghouse and grounds for a regular Gentle Parenting Meeting. 

    Trustees have asked Rick’s Pump Service to make recommendations to update our water system; Dan Henton will carry out a “dump run” with trash from the horse shed; and they will begin having a trash pick-up at the meetinghouse.

6.  We approved the scheduling of the Gentle Parenting Meeting group using the meeting house social room area partitioned off from the library.

7.  Finance Committee:  Kitsie Hildebrandt handed out the first quarter financial report (attached) which we accepted with gratitude.  The parsonage pellet boiler damage was repaired, and the insurance payment received.  We were reminded that the Ralph and Twila Greene fund is a project of the NEYM, but that Durham Friends Meeting is a conduit of financial contributions received for their house repair.  More information may be gained from the ad hoc “Greene Care Team” mentioned above in the M&C report.

   We are very thankful for a generous donation from Janet Douglas’ gifts and memorials. It was suggested that 10% of this fund be added to the Charity Account, and that the remainder be used for the capital account for upkeep of buildings and grounds. 

8.  We approved the above use of the Janet Douglas Fund: 10% be added to the Charity Fund account, and the rest for buildings upkeep. 

   The meeting closed with a short period of worship. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk 

“Learning to Drive” by Doug Bennett

Message at Durham Friends Meeting, May 19, 2019

We celebrated my Dad’s 100th birthday two weeks ago.  He wasn’t with us; he died in 1990.  But I made him a cake and we celebrated his good life.

He taught me a lot of things.  More things than I learned: I should have paid better attention.  One thing he taught me was how to drive.  I wanted to get my license so I did pay attention to that, and so I learned.

He was a pretty tough, demanding driving instructor.  Good enough wasn’t good enough for him, so he made sure I knew how to handle difficult situations of all kinds.  For example, this was in Rochester, New York, and he wanted to be sure I could handle icy roads.  So there was a Sunday we went down to a supermarket parking lot.  There weren’t any cars because supermarkets weren’t open on Sunday when I was a teen.  And for an hour and a half he had me get up to speed in our family sedan, slam on the brakes, and then deal with the resulting skid.  Over and over again, skid after skid.  He wanted me to be comfortable behind the wheel with the car out of control.  He wanted me to have that experience. 

We also had a little Renault that he drove to work.   It had a five speed manual transmission.  Evening after evening, after dinner, he’d take me to a dirt road on a nearby county park and make me practice with that manual gearshift. Often the road was muddy so starting up was harder.  And after I sort of got the hang of it, he had me start the car in second gear.  When I got the hang of that, he’d find a little hill and have me start the car moving in second gear on that little hill.  It all felt a little severe at the time, but I’m glad he made sure I learned to drive well. 

Learning to drive has been on my mind because now Ellen and I are teaching Robbie to drive.  He’s had his learner’s permit for several months, and his first times behind the wheel, at least legally, came in his driver’s education course.  But since he’s had his permit he drives every chance that comes his way. 

I just said “Ellen and I are teaching Robbie to drive.”  Now I know that isn’t quite right.  It’s rather: “we’re helping him learn to drive.”  There’s a big difference. 

What gets done, what gets learned, he has to do.  We’ve introduced him to a succession of challenges and he’s figured out how to handle them.  Instead of a Renault Dauphin, he’s learned to drive a stick shift in our 1987 Jetta, which has sadly just failed a basic safety check so he can’t take his driving test in that.  I’ve had him start the car up in second.  I’ve looked for muddy dirt tracks up at the Topsham Fairgrounds.  He’s dealt with starting up a stick shift on hills.    He’s handled a few skids – though no icy supermarket parking lots. 

I’m not downplaying the role of teachers when I say what we learn we have to learn ourselves.  Teachers can play a big role, but the learning is something you have to do yourself.  The learning can’t be injected with a needle or poured down your throat.  Whatever it is: learning to drive, learning geometry, learning to bake a cake – learning what’s important in life. 

Teachers can encourage, they can coach, they can challenge, they can pose tasks or problems, but they can’t do the learning for you.

As I’ve been sitting next to Robbie in the passenger seat, he’s in control and I’m not.  It’s his hands on the steering wheel; his feet on the pedals.  I make suggestions and comments. I call attention to hazards and situations.  I talk to him about other drivers; how you can’t be responsible for what they’ll do and you’d better be prepared for the worst.  I talk to him about speed limits, about conditions when even going the speed limit isn’t safe. 

I quickly realized – I already knew this, but the realization really hit me – that I can’t tell him things fast enough, even when I’m sitting right next to him.  His learning to drive has to be a matter of his having fully taken in what he needs to know to drive well.  I can’t be some voice in his head he’ll hear every time he turns on the ignition.  (“What would my Dad say about that?”) 

I can still hear my dad talking to me about driving if I really put my mind to it, but that’s not how I drive. 

Nevertheless, there are lots of occasions when I wish I could hear from my Dad.  There are lots of matters I’d love to talk over with him.  There are so many questions I never asked him, and so many others I where didn’t listen carefully the one time or two I did ask him.  Wherever I’ve gone, he’s been there before me: being a teen, falling in love, having children, working, retiring from work

All this about learning to drive and wishing I still had my Dad sitting next to me helping me learn to drive has gotten me thinking about how we learn from God – how we might learn things from God: about living the good life, about fixing the things that aren’t right in this world, about what’s worth celebrating and what’s worth mourning.  Those sorts of things.  Here I am in the driver’s seat.  Is God there next to me?  I think God is.  I think that’s something we Quakers know and maybe can teach others.

Learning life is tougher than learning to drive.  None of us ever quite learns everything we need to know.  It’s like we do need our dad, or better, our mom sitting next to us, giving us the occasional suggestion, pointing out a difficult situation ahead.  And here’s the deal, the wonderful deal.  There she is sitting beside us.  She doesn’t say much most of the time, and we don’t expect her to say much most of the time.  But she’s there sitting next to us.  She’s ready to offer advice, or simply tell us it’s all OK.  When we ask.  When we’re prepared to listen. 

Of course that’s not exactly what George Fox meant we he said “Jesus has come to teach his people himself.”  He didn’t mean Jesus would be literally sitting next to us when we’re driving.  He meant something stranger and yet more wonderful. 

He meant Jesus, or the Inward Teacher, or the Seed, or the Light was always with us, always inside us — as well as all around us.  When we need guidance, we have to be sure to ask.  We have to be ready to still ourselves and listen.  That takes some learning: how to seek, how to ask, how to still myself, how to listen.

And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 28.  What an amazing, reassuring promise. 

Today I don’t have my Dad with me in the way that I’d like.  So it’s a great comfort to me to know that I have the Inward Teacher wherever I go. 

crossposted on River View Friend

Peace Vigil at Bath Iron Works

On the morning of April 27th at 8:30 a coalition of peace groups including the Durham Meeting of Friends gathered at the Bath Iron Works to witness their opposition to the military buildup represented by the “Christening of another Zumwalt destroyer. Approximately 75 vigilers proposed the conversion of this powerful facility to peacetime production, especially on renewable energy sources and away from the wasteful and redundant defense budget. This budget represents a clear threat to the serious environmental and human resource needs of this country and the world. To address this urgency, 25 protestors were arrested for civil disobedience.

–Brown Lethem

Here is an article by one person who was involved:

For the whole article, click here.

Intergenerational Game Night, May 12, 5pm

Because New England Yearly Meeting’s Permanent Board will be at the Meetinghouse all day, this Intergenerational Game Night will begin at 5pm, with a potluck supper at 5:30 pm. These game nights have been a lot of fun for everyone whether playing games or getting a chance to hang out and visit. Hope to see you there!