“Driving the Difficult Driveway of Life,” by Gene Boyington

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, January 19, 2020

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Good Morning, Friends.

There are lots of ideas about guidelines for the speaking part of worship and our oral ministry to ourselves and others. Here is a specific one and a general one:

Specifically, Never give Gene the microphone.

Generally, here is a four-part one with a title like those quartets that were ubiquitous back in 1940s and 1950s popular music:

This is an old Quaker guideline for being heard and appreciated in Meeting. I call it the 4 “S”s, or Three Sues and a Syd😊 (Su, Su, Su, Sd):

  1. Stand up (to be recognized);
  2. Speak up (to be heard);
  3. Shut up (to be appreciated);
  4. Sit down (to be invited to speak again).

**This could be enough of a main message this morning, but try and stop me from telling you my:

  Backing-out-of-the-driveway story.

In this story, there will be no names mentioned to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the pretty good relationship of the two!

My driveway (pause), with which some of you are familiar, slopes slightly upward into the yard. It also bends slightly to the right as one proceeds up the incline. It’s not long enough to drive in, then turn around somewhere, then later drive out. We have to drive in and back out. Or we have to _back_ in to be able to _drive_ out. But that requires forethought and determination.  Harried from our time away, we are in a hurry to get resettled into the comfort and calm of domesticity. So, we drive in.

Later, when a new errand calls, we usually are (again) in a hurry, now to do what must be done in the bigger world, we must back out. It is easy, when backing out, to forget the slope and the bend, then wind up slightly to the north side of the driveway, or to have a midcourse correction and oversteer into a slightly southerly position toward the road end of the driveway. Straying off the northerly side of the driveway is problematic for the rock border of the flower garden – the rocks are taller than the clear space under most moving vehicles☹. [It has happened.] The southerly side usually is not much trouble, as straying off the driveway would take one only into the lilac bush. [It, too, has happened.]

The aforementioned innocent, and guilty, have survived (so far) all the trials of navigation of the driveway. They _are_ still enjoying that pretty good relationship😊.

But recently, there was a snowstorm with a lot of pretty wet snow, after which the newish snowblower broke most of its shear pins, and the replacements would take a week to arrive. So, the innocent (or the guilty, we don’t recall which) shoveled a vehicle width path in the driveway to permit traveling – in the bigger world.

Later in the day, it was time for one of those travels. The innocent (or the guilty, depending on one’s current frame of mind) cranked up the car and began to back out of the driveway in the appropriate fashion. OOPS, quite completely stuck in the un-shoveled portion on the southerly side of the driveway, not quite into the lilac bush. [innocent and guilty worked together (with help of four-wheel drive truck) to extricate the car and get the innocent (or guilty) abroad in the bigger world.

How did this happen? Whichever (guilty or innocent) had this occur under their respective drivership, the other has had hardly ever such an occurrence. How does each of them negotiate backing up – in this driveway, in other driveways, out of (or into) parking spaces? Could there be a difference that is significant?

After much introspection by innocent (or guilty), there was this thoughtful conversation by both:

When you back out of the driveway, where is your right foot?

[Long pause] On the gas.

[Long pause] Problem?

Yup. Brake, poised at the top of the brake pedal’s travel. Let the car back down by itself?

Uh-huh. Then, there is more time to watch where the vehicle is going, being ready to apply the brakes, if needed.

OK, that’s good😊

Remember the slope? If we are backing uphill, we need to apply gas; downhill, be ready to brake. The car’s automatic transmission will power it backward ever so slowly, if we are on a downslope, or it might just roll.

Reflecting on this tale of woe and resolution, one might ask oneself:

“Am I a foot-on-the-gas person?

“Or am I a foot-on-the-brake person?”

“Do I know when to steer … with my foot on the gas, when to steer … with my foot on the brake?”

“Is there more I could know, and can learn, about making conscious choices?” 

Somewhere in the Bible, there is a statement about freedom of choice. Elsewhere in the Bible is commentary and implication about what God gives us along with this life opportunity, how we use what we are given, and the responsibility we have to make good, useful, and effective choices.

Forum: The U.S. Military’s Carbon Footprint

On January 26, Peace and Social Concerns will be hosting an event after Meeting, the first in a series examining current events of concern to Friends. These discussions are designed to inform letter writing.

On the 26th we will discuss the U.S. military’s carbon footprint. Please plan to stay after meeting to join us.

Tell Congress No War With Iran!

By Hassan El-Tayyab, FCNL, January 3, 2020

From the Friends Committee on National Legislation

Last night, the Trump administration assassinated Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the military commander of Iran’s Quds Force. This is a dangerous escalation of the confrontation with Iran, one that will lead to more bloodshed, and expand conflict and instability throughout the Middle East.Stop the March to War with Iran

As a Quaker organization we hold firm to the faith that war is not the answer. Our lawmakers have repeatedly failed to stop the march to war with Iran and return our nation to the path of diplomacy. This moment calls for political courage.

The House and Senate have introduced bills, H.R. 2354 and S. 1039, that would ensure the president cannot take military action against Iran without congressional authorization – except in response to an attack on America or its armed forces.

Congress has the power to prevent war with Iran. It must exercise its constitutional authority now. Urge them to act.

Statement from FCNL: FCNL Condemns Assassination; Urges Congress to Oppose Escalation of Deadly Conflict with Iran

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, December 15, 2019

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, December 15, 2019 with 13 people present.  In the absence of Clerk Susan Rice, we approved the appointment of Sarah Sprogell to serve as clerk.  Sarah opened the meeting by reading a quote from Caroline Stephen from Light Arising, published in 1908.

1. The November minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel:  it was sadly reported that, after a brief illness, Clarabel Marstaller died peacefully on December 2nd, 2019.  Dorothy and Edwin Hinshaw who had served with the Marstallers in New England Yearly Meeting many years were approved to work with Ministry and Counsel regarding a memorial minute for Clarabel Marstaller.

             Martha Hinshaw Sheldon shared a list of speakers in meeting for worship for the next few weeks.

            An updated proposal for a Meeting Care Coordinator was presented.  It was suggested that a search committee be made up of representatives from four committees: Peace and Social Concerns, Christian Education, Ministry and Counsel, and Communications, plus the Clerk, Susan Rice.  Ministry and Counsel will ensure the formation of the committee.

3.  The meeting approved hiring a Meeting Care Coordinator as well as the formation of the search committee, which will limit its search to the New England area. 

4.  Finance committee: Sarah Sprogell presented the budget for 2020 and it is attached to these minutes. 

5. Peace and Social Concerns Committee:   Ingrid Chalufour reported that a new temporary group (Footprint Subcommittee) has formed to propose ways the carbon footprint of the meetinghouse can be lowered.  The group is made up of representatives from three committees: Sarah Sprogell (Finance), Robert Eaton (Trustees), Ingrid Chalufour (Peace and Social Concerns), and Kim Bolshaw, custodian.  They are researching a variety of ideas and proposals.

6.  Christian Education and Youth Minister:  Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that about 7 people from Durham and Portland meetings are interested in Godly Play training, tentatively planned for the weekend of April 3-5 at Durham Meeting.  Others from New England Yearly Meeting are invited at the cost of $150 per person.  Melinda Wenner Bradley, Director of Communications and Training (Faith and Play Stories, Inc., Godly Play Trainer) can offer the training.  The Quaker version of Godly Play is Faith and Play. 

            Wendy Schlotterbeck staffed the Junior High retreat at Woolman Hill the weekend of December 6-8.  A Young Friends retreat was also held the same weekend in Providence, RI.  Three young friends from Durham meeting attended retreats that weekend.

            The Christmas event on December 20th will include a labyrinth in the parking lot, soup, cider, cookies, carols and campfire, 4:30-7pm.  Parking will be across the street. 

7.  Betsy Munch announced that Brunswick Friends Meeting is losing their meeting place, and wonders if we might share our space with them.

8.  We approved the suggestion that Brunswick Friends Meeting consider using our facility for their meeting for worship on Sunday morning, suggesting a time of 9:00 to 10:15, specifics and shared financial arrangement to be further explored.

We closed in quiet reflection.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

Three Ways of Looking at the Christmas Story, by Doug Bennett

Excerpt from a message given at Durham Friends Meeting, December 15, 2019

Here’s one way of looking at it.

Take the four gospels.  Each tells a story of a life.  For the moment, put the Christmas story, the birth, to one side.   And also put to one side the stuff at the end about the end of Jesus’s life: about Jesus coming to Jerusalem where he’s arrested, crucified and resurrected.  Now without that beginning and that end, we have the story of a preacher and healer who wanders the countryside doing and saying attention-getting things.  Fresh things.  World turned upside down things.  Be humble. Be so generous as to give away your only coat.  Love your enemy no matter what.  In that big middle story, Jesus gets crosswise with the religious leaders of his time.  He heals on the sabbath, for example.  But Jesus really doesn’t encounter a soldier or a policeman.  He’s never really in danger.  He never gets a ticket or a fine.  He never spends a day in jail. 

In the middle of the story there’s no mention of the Emperor or the Romans. And they’re in control, we need to remember.  The Romans have conquered Israel and Judah and subjugated them.  Their Empire is the greatest, the mightiest ever known.  At the end of story, when Jesus comes to Jerusalem, Jesus does get in trouble with the authorities.  Crucifixion is a Roman penalty for the most serious crimes – for challenging the authority of the Emperor. 

If we remember how it ends, that puts the Christmas story in a new light.  The Christmas story announces the birth of a king: not just a mighty king, but the mightiest of all.  It announces the birth of a king who will sweep away all worldly kings, even the Roman emperor.  Born in a stable, laid in a manger.  But here is a baby to whom the wisest of kings bow down.  Here is a baby attended by angels.  Here is baby who is hunted by a wicked king, but a baby who escapes and triumphs.  And here triumphant is a new kind of king who triumphs through love not through the sword. 

“This is the Anti-Empire,” we might call this story.  This is the empire out-empired.  The story at the end is the same story told at the beginning.  Christmas and Resurrection are versions of the same story. 

[The full message can be found at River View Friend.]

Passing of Clarabel Marstaller, December 2, 2019

Accompanied by love and a deep faith, Clarabel Marstaller peacefully crossed the threshold last night.  The family thanks everyone for their prayers and says they felt uplifted throughout this last part of Clarabel’s journey.  Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later time.  Nancy Marstaller’s address is 32 Caitlin Shore Road, Harpswell ME 04079.


An obituary can be found here.

Doug Gwyn Tells His Story

Former Pastor Doug Gwyn tells the story of his faith journey and work as a Friends pastor and writer in a new book edited by Chuck Fager called Passing the Torch: When Quaker Lives Speak.

Gwyn felt the call to ministry when he was in college:

The subtle but clear call, “be a minister,” came as I sat alone in my dormitory room one evening.  It came as a seismic non sequitur that felt strangely hopeful. I understood my calling to be a Christian ministry among Friends.  But I was sure it needed to be something more prophetically Christian and more seriously Quaker than what I had received in my youth.  

The whole chapter is well worth reading. The link above is to an excerpt from Fager’s blog.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, November 17, 2019

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, November 17, 2019 with 12 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice read from the 1985 New England Faith and Practice, p. 117: “the Search for Unity.”

1. The October minutes were approved.

2. Christian Education Committee and Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck sent their report.

 Seven people from Durham and Portland Meetings are interested in Godly Play training which would involve a weekend in the spring. Please let Christian Education Committee know if interested in this training.  The committee and the Finance Committee will consult concerning the cost of this training. 

The committee made a slight change to the Sunday School plan.  Parents may drop off a child with Ashley Marstaller, our “baby sitter” at 10:30 or bring them into the meeting room for singing, then quietly go to Godly Play class which will begin around 10:40.  Children will stay in the class until meeting for worship is over.  Middle and high school age youth will meet at 10:30 in their space and return to meeting for worship at 11:15.

Wendy will be staffing the New England Yearly Meeting Junior High Retreat at Woolman Hill on the weekend of December 6-8.

Upcoming events include attending the “Day of Mourning” event on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) in Plymouth, MA; Wreath making on Dec. l; and a Christmas gathering on Dec. 20.  Details will be included in the Newsletter. 

3. Peace and Social Concerns Committee:  Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee is exploring a variety of ways that the meeting could reduce its carbon footprint. 

4. Finance Committee: Attached is the third quarter finance report.  Our current budget income and spending has continued to be healthy and stable through the end of September 2019.  Total regular income year to date was $43,968.72 which is 76% of our annual goal.  Our expenses during this period were $33,900.89 which is 59% of our annual goal, resulting in a net difference of $10,067.83.

Items that were higher than expected are fuel oil, and maintenance and supplies for the meetinghouse.  Trustees have overseen several important carpentry repairs and repainted the addition this year, and they are still within their annual budget request.  Unfortunately, the price of fuel oil is unpredictable.  These additional expenses, however, have been offset by lower spending by committees and various other meeting expenses, so on balance, we are in a good position to finish the year without needing an annual appeal.

 Sarah Sprogell completed the transfer of funds from the Bailey and Cox Funds to the Charity Account, as approved and requested by the Monthly Meeting in October.  These two funds had been in low interest CDs, and have increased the balance in the Charity Account to $16,339.21

The Finance Committee will be meeting very soon to draft a proposed budget for 2020 and encourages committees to submit their requests for 2020 as soon as possible.

5. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Sheldon reported that there will be Christmas Eve candlelight service at the meetinghouse facilitated by Jo-an Jacobus.

            At their retreat on November 2nd, they considered recommendations and suggestions from a number of members and attenders concerning adding a paid position of Meeting Care

Coordinator which would provide assistance and support to committees and volunteer activities.   They propose that it be a quarter time position to be paid $10,000 a year, supervised by a support committee. The Meeting Care Coordinator would include pastoral care, ministry, outreach and coordination of activities. Other descriptions mentioned for this position were: facilitator, encourager, and enabler.  The full proposal will be in the newsletter, and an informal discussion will occur after meeting on November 24.  Approval of the proposal will be considered at Monthly Meeting for Business in December.  We discussed ways to advertise this position.  We expressed our appreciation for the work of Ministry and Counsel, and accept their recommendation.

6. We recommended that the Finance Committee consider including charitable giving to Quaker organizations currently not included in our budget: Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Friends Committee, and Quaker United Nations Organization. 

            We closed in a centering stillness. 

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Building a Fire,” by Doug Bennett

Excerpt from a message given at Durham Friends Meeting, November 17, 2019

I’ve been thinking that Meeting for worship is a little like building a fire.  It takes at least a few of us gathered together in worship.  One person alone can hardly do it.  Even two or three doesn’t feel like quite enough, though I suppose it can be. 

When I’m here at Meeting and watching people come into the Meeting room, it fills me with gladness to see us gather.  Oh there’s that person and that person; I was hoping they’d be here.  There’s so-and-so: I wish we saw her more often.  Ah, and some folks I haven’t seen before, that’s terrific.  It takes all kinds to build a good fire, one that will catch and burn for a while. 

As we gather and seat ourselves, I can see us building a fire together. We have to leave room for God, or the Spirit.  Perhaps that’s why we ask that there be silence between spoken messages.  That silence is like the oxygen the fire needs.  Together we invite the presence of God. 

There’s magic in the fire, but we make the preparations that invite the magic. 

Britain Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice has this Advice: “We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God’s presence. We seek a gathered stillness in our meetings for worship so that all may feel the power of God’s love drawing us together and leading us.” 

“A gathered stillness:” that’s what we need.  A gathering in stillness.  If you want to put a fire out, you pull it apart; you scatter it.  Scattering chases away the magic.  Once a fire dies down, it takes effort and time to make it blaze again. For us, scattering is latecomers, the opening and closing of the doors, bustling about, people entering and leaving after we’ve gathered. 

We want to welcome and encourage everyone to come, but we want everyone to remember we are building a fire together. 

A Southeastern Yearly Meeting Advice says “Be prompt and diligent in attendance at meetings.” That discipline is what it takes for us to build a fire together: to be prompt in gathering and then to join together in stillness.” That means:  Come on time to meeting.  Once in the room, settle yourself for the hour or so.  Stay settled; Together, in stillness, we invite the presence of the Divine. 

An old hymn says,

Lord, I have shut the door, Speak now the word Which in the din and throng Could not be heard;

Hushed now my inner heart, Whisper Thy will, While I have come apart, While all is still.

Without that stillness, we may not find our way to God.

In the stillness, the fire can ignite.  God is invited to come near. 

[A copy of the full message can be found on River View Friend.]

“Spiritual Gifts Among Us,” by Nancy Marstaller

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, November 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, November 3, 2019

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

 Go to the Limits of Your Longing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need to reach out for that hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Library News, October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenyan.

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

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

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

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

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

—Muench, Elizabeth: Friendly audits, 1990.

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

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

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

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

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

“Beyond Me,” by Doug Bennett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 20, 2019

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

1. The September 15th minutes were approved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Redemption Centers,” by Leslie Manning

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 25, 2019

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

Climate Crisis; Youth Speak Out!

By Linda Muller, for PSC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 15, 2019

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

1. The July minutes were approved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Holding in the Light,” by Doug Bennett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full message can be found on Riverview Friend

Woman’s Society Notes, July 15, 2019

by Martha Sheldon

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

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

Durham Meeting Members Participate in Vigils at Bath Iron Works

  By Renee Cote and Brown Lethem

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

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

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

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

Wendy Schlotterbeck Hosts a Family of Eight from East Africa

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

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

1. Cash or gift cards for household and personal needs

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

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

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

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

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

7. HELP sorting and transporting donations

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

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