Report of the Woman’s Society Meeting, December 17, 2018

By Angie Reed

Eight women met at the Meetinghouse for our December Meeting. The program was presented by Angie Reed on “How do we keep Christ in Christmas?” from the Blueprint book for 2017-2018.

The secretary and treasurer reports were presented by Nancy Marstaller and accepted.

Prayers were requested for Muna Khleifi from the Amari Play Center. The Tedford meal for November was corn chowder, shepherd’s pie, a large green salad, and a desert.

Christmas bags were prepared and distributed for delivery. The donations from the Mitten Tree were totaled. Donated were 3 scarfs, 14 hats, 3 pairs of children’s mittens, 5 pairs of adult mittens, and 15 pairs of adult gloves. The warm items for cold weather were donated to Hope Haven in Lewiston.

It was decided that we will have a silent auction prior to our January meeting on January 21. The January meeting will be held at the Meetinghouse at 6pm, more details will follow.

 

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Seeds of Peace, January 4, 7pm, Curtis Library (Brunswick)

Seeds of Peace Leadership Development

Friday, January 4th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Morrell Meeting Room, Curtis Memorial Library

The Durham Friends Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee will host an event about the Seeds of Peace Youth Leadership program. We expect to show a couple of short films from their website as well as inviting several alumni of the program to talk about their experiences with the Maine camp. We may also have a speaker from Palestine to talk about the efforts for peacebuilding there. We will have refreshments and a free-will donation can to support the Seeds of Peace camp.

ABOUT SEEDS OF PEACE:  “We inspire and cultivate new generations of global leaders in communities divided by conflict.  Our network now encompasses 7,021 alumni throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the United States who are uniquely positioned to lead change.”

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Durham Friends Meeting 2019 Budget

Prepared by Finance Committee; approved by the Meeting, December 18, 2018.

DURHAM FRIENDS MEETING – 2019 BUDGET
OPERATING REVENUE
     Contributions 31,600.00
     Investment Income 9,215.00
     Other Sources – gifts, use of meetinghouse, etc. 300.00
     Cell Tower 2,500.00
     Rental of Parsonage (1200/mo.) 14,400.00
TOTAL OPERATING REVENUE 58,015.00
OPERATING EXPENSES          
     Committees 4,320.00
     Contributions to other organizations 6,850.00
     Meeting Expenses 4,675.00
     Meetinghouse Physical Plant 11,455.00
     Position developed with Ad Hoc Group 10,000.00
     Ministry – Youth 11,100.00
     Parsonage Physical Plant 9,400.00
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES             57,800.00
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Discernment Around AFSC Program Focus

Peace & Social Concerns Requests Durham’s Discernment,

Hosting a Meeting January 6

By Bob Eaton

Monthly Meeting for Business has endorsed the Peace and Social Concerns Committee request for a special meeting to take place after regular meeting for worship on Sunday, January 6.  The meeting will be convened by Lesley Manning and Bob Eaton for a focused response to the American Friends Service Committee request for Friends’ discernment on what programs the AFSC should focus on in the next ten-year strategic plan for the organization.   Bob will prepare brief (but insightful!) background materials to be available before the meeting.

Here is a brief description of current AFSC Work that may be a useful reference.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, December 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, December 16, 2018 with 13 persons present. Clerk, Susan Rice, opened the meeting by reading a quote by Howard Brinton from the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #453 by Elizabeth Meyer: A Practical Mysticism.

  1. The November 18 minutes were approved.
  2. Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that at their December meeting they discussed pastoral care concerns and reviewed meeting for worship. They will be supporting Liana Thompson Knight with her leading to offer seminars based on her training with Parker Palmer and ideas expressed in his book, Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Doug Bennett reported that M&C has prayerfully considered ways to bring greater continuity to our worship. They would like to encourage having a theme for our worship that would change every three months, using themes not as a strict rule but as encouragement and stimulus. They suggest that committees also suggest possible themes. They suggest the theme from January to March be: “Where Are We Being Led?” See the attached proposal and their suggestions in the newsletter.

Diane Dicranian will be speaking in meeting on December 30 regarding her experience on the Mexican border. See details in the Newsletter.

We expressed our gratitude to Ministry and Counsel for their thoughtful report.

  1. Finance Committee: Katharine Hildebrandt presented the proposed budget for 2019. She noted that there are added lines for Youth Minister Travel Fund, Clerks Committee, and mouse elimination. Also, is an increase to repair/maintenance lines for the meetinghouse and parsonage. They report a total revenue expected for 2019 to be $58,015 and projected expense of $57,800. The complete report is attached.
  2. The budget for 2019 was approved, with the correction that the Newsletter Committee is now the Communication Committee.
  3. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth reported that a final report will be forthcoming with additions and adjustments. The Clerks Committee will be added to the list.
  4. We approved the Nominating Committee report as presented.
  5. We approved that Susan Rice continue as Clerk, and Dorothy Hinshaw, as Recording Clerk.
  6. Christian Education Committee: Tess Hartford reported that a wonderful Christmas dinner/worship on December 15th was enjoyed by many children and adults (more children than adults!).

Katherine Langelier will begin as clerk of the committee 1n 2019. We expressed appreciation for Tess Hartford’s commitment and leadership as Christian Education Committee clerk for six years, and gratitude for the committee’s work.

They announced that a Family Game “Night” will be held January 12 at 3:00.

9   Trustees: Susan Rice reported that the parsonage is being rented to Juliana Vezina and Jamison Steele.

The ceilings are being repaired in both the kitchen and community room.

  1. We approved reimbursing Donna Hutchins for the $150 expense of a water test in the parsonage.
  2. Clerks Committee: Susan Rice, clerk, reported that the Clerks Committee is proposing to have welcome dinners for new attenders.
  3. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Bob Eaton reported that on January 6 they are planning to have an after-meeting discussion about the American Friends Service Committee. A relevant pamphlet will be distributed to aid in the discussion. Details will be included in the Newsletter.

The meeting closed in quiet worship.

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Family Game Night, January 12, 3 p.m.

By Tess Hartford

We will have our next Family Game “Night” on Saturday, January 12 beginning at 3 p.m. Please join us. Durham Friends of all ages have enjoyed these nights.

As part of Durham Meeting’s efforts at outreach, we encourage all Durham Friends to invite neighbors and friends to our special family events as well as our regular weekly Meetings.

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“To What Burning Issue Should I Give My Energy?” by Wendy Schlotterbeck

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, March 18, 2018

Like many of you, I wake up grateful for a new day and a desire to treat others with love and respect. The past few days I have heard birds singing despite the snow! And then I listen to the news and am saddened and angry about what is happening to the children, people of color, the immigrants, refugees, veterans, our food, the earth’s atmosphere, the animals, the list goes on and on. I wrestle with the questions: To what burning issue should I give my energy? How do I make that decision? How do I hear God’s voice? How do I structure my day-to-day activities, fit it all in, with the important work of helping our world? This is my current spiritual dilemma.

Last year, two messages helped me find balance.

Maggie Edmondson talked about the importance of breath – breathing in and breathing out – both equally important for life. We become still and centered, breathing in spiritual strength, then need to breathe out using that strength to do good work. We can’t take another breath in without emptying our lungs. We need spiritual strength to do good work. Then, we need to be out in the world to activate our spirituality.

Craig Freshley called finding balance “savor and save”. Here is this concept in my own words: We become still, savoring the lovely, the beautiful, and then have energy to attend to whatever needs saving.

One and a half years ago New England Yearly Meeting implored all of us, both individually and as Meetings, to take concrete steps focused on two issues:

  1. reducing our impact on climate disruption, and
  2.  examining the scourge of white supremacy in our Quaker culture and practices.

I have valued immensely the discernment of the people gathered to bring focus to these two problems. We have taken steps to work on this and I am grateful to be in a community that takes these issues seriously. I have found this focus helpful as I wrestle with how to decide where to put my energy.

How do we find balance in our Durham Friends community – breathing in as well as out, taking time to both savor and save?

Friends Committee on National Legislation is a lobbying organization in the public interest founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends. FCNL works for social and economic justice, peace, stewardship of the environment, and good government in the United States.

FCNL asked Meetings to discuss the content from the booklet The World We Seek.  In addition, Durham Peace and Social Concerns committee wanted us to read this as a Meeting. They asked us to consider a focus area and gather at a special meeting in March of 2018 to discern “what stirs the heart of Durham Meeting,” what issue calls to us to WORK ON TOGETHER, as a corporate concern or project.

In this booklet are 4 areas.

  1. We seek a world free from war and the threat of war
  2. We seek a society with equity and justice for all
  3. We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled
  4. We seek an earth restored

After reading the booklet, I resonated with everything mentioned… and felt totally overwhelmed by the scope of changes needed to bring about the world we seek!

So, the questions: What issue rises to the top and how do we choose where to put our energy as a Meeting and individually? How do we find balance? What’s the value in addressing an issue? What’s the harm/risk if we don’t?

I struggle with the knowledge that even having this choice is a privilege. I don’t experience the terror of war in my neighborhood or state and have never witnessed war and its aftermath. I am free to travel and work and walk through my community free of the harassment that many others feel daily. I had a good education, a good job with a spacious house and yard, and clean water to drink, good food, good health, good friends. I do not experience the impending fear that tomorrow my life may be in ruins.

I also feel two things:

I feel impelled to work for change because I see the signs that our society and world are being irreparably harmed. As those who try to base our actions from love and the belief that there is that of God in everyone, how do we answer that call?

I also feel weary, because there are so many wrongs that need to be righted. Without a focus, expending energy on all these issues is not sustainable. What is rising in your heart? How will you find balance?

I will close with the words from a song by Donovan from the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon about St Francis of Assisi. “Do few things and do them well” has become a mantra for me, a goal that is currently out of my reach,  but my hope for the future.

If you want your dream to be,

Build it slow and surely.

Small beginnings greater ends.

Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free,

Take your time go slowly.

Do few things but do them well.

Simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone,

Build your secret slowly.

Day by day, you’ll grow, too,

You’ll know heaven’s glory.

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Standing with Migrants

Diane Dicranian will speak at Durham Friends Meeting on “Walls: Why We Build Them,” December 30 during Meeting for Worship, and afterwards (with a potluck meal)
from the Brunswick Times Record, December 28, 2018

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Where Are We Being Led: Theme for January through March, 2019

For January-February-March 2019 the theme Ministry and Counsel proposes is “where are we being led?”

One of the Advices (number 9) from NEYM tells us

“Attend to the Spirit at work in the ordinary activities and experiences of your daily life. There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys. Be open to and alert for how the Spirit may be speaking to you in fresh ways, leading you in new directions.”

To what should we be “open and alert?” What are the new directions that the Spirit may be leading you, or leading us?

You may find useful the opening paragraph of Paul Lacey’s Pendle Hill Pamphlet Leading and Being Led.

“Leading and being led: the words are simple enough. But for Quakers they have the most profound resonance as defining religious experience. Friends speak variously of being drawn to an action, feeling under the weight of a concern, being called or led in act in specific ways. We speak of being open to the leadings of the Light, of being taught by the Spirit or the Inward Christ. Extraordinary claims lie embedded in these phrases. They say it is not only possible but essential to our nature for human beings to hear and obey the voice of God; we can be directed, daily, in what we do, the jobs we hold, the very words we say; and that our obedience may draw us to become leaders in all spheres of human life – in the professions, arts and sciences, but also in discovering the ethical, political, social and economic consequences of following the will of God.”

So, again, where are we being led?

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Themes in Worship

December 12, 2018, from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Our past two years it has been rich and challenging to have Sunday messages brought by various people. This has also deepened our connections to one another. Many of us have appreciated when there have been a series of messages around a single theme or topic.  Sometimes those messages came when we had a pastor, other times when a member felt called to speak several weeks in a row.

The Meeting’s Committee on Ministry and Counsel has prayerfully considered ways to bring greater continuity to our worship.  We would like to encourage having a theme for our worship that would change every three months.

We ask that Durham Friends Meeting use these themes we propose as encouragement and stimulus, not as a straightjacket or as a discouragement of other messages that arise within the Meeting.

Messages that do not fit the theme will continue to be most welcome.

Each few months we plan to propose a theme for worship and circulate it among Meeting members. Members of Ministry and Counsel will use the theme in our care of worship activities: we will use the theme to select a reading or a reflection, for example, to open worship.

We encourage Meeting members to consider whether they have a message to offer that arises from or speaks to this theme.

We also encourage other committees of the Meeting to suggest possible themes for our worship.

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Diane Dicranian to speak on “Walls: Why We Build Them,” December 30

On Sunday, December 30, Diane Dicranian (Midcoast Friends Meeting) will bring the message.  She’ll speak about “Walls: Why we build them; what they are for.”

Diane Dicranian recently spent time at the militarized border between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico in a protest organized by the American Friends Service Committee called “Love Knows No Borders – A moral call for migrant justice.” Thirty-two people were arrested in that protest.

There will be a pot-luck lunch directly following worship and a program in which Diane will share with us what she experienced and learned in her time at the U.S.-Mexico border.

She will talk about U.S. involvement in Central and South America over past decades and how that has created some of the desperate conditions that lead families to flee their homes and seek refuge in the U.S. She will also talk about the caravan of refugees that has been making its way through Mexico towards the U.S. border. Should they be greeted as we have been taught – to reach out and love the stranger, opening our doors and feeding these people?  Or should they be met (as they are) with teargas and machine guns? She’ll also challenge us to consider next steps in bringing this conversation to action.

See Kerry Kennedy (AFSC) on “Standing with Migrants,” Brunswick Times Record, December 28, 2018

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November 2018 Library News

By Dorothy Hinshaw

Most of you may know that New England Yearly Meeting was the first yearly meeting organized in the Society of Friends, even established before London Yearly Meeting. For more information about NEYM, check out one of the newest additions to the Durham Friends Library (289.6): Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Beginning of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, a printed account of a gathering in celebration held at Moses Brown School, Sixth Month, 24th, 1911. Other recent additions to the library include booklets which contain NEYM minutes of sessions held in 1904, 1905, 1907, 1927, 1928, and 1944.   Fascinating reading! The early years included minutes from both the men’s and women’s meetings. Also, in those early days, not only were queries read, but answers were included regarding compliance to the queries! These minute booklets are located in a plastic bag in the Quaker section (289.6 New) of the library.

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Woman’s Society Report, November 19, 2018

By Nancy Marstaller

Six “hardy souls” met at Dorothy Curtis’ home. We sent cards to several folk.

Dorothy Curtis led the business meeting. The November Tedford Shelter meal included chili, hot dogs, and macaroni salad. The December meal will be provided by Margaret Wentworth’s team. The treasurer’s report was read and accepted. We have $1484.85, with $1000 set aside for travel to the next Triennial. We approved sending $150 to Warm Thy Neighbor and $65 to USFW-NE for dues. We did not do a collection for the Kickapoo Friends Center this fall but will consider doing it this winter or perhaps supporting a Maine Native American group.

We agreed we would collect items for a mitten tree and for Christmas boxes. We will ask that donations be brought by Dec. 16, the day before our next meeting. We will also have a “home-made” gift exchange at that meeting.

We are asked to pray for Shawn and Katrina McConaughey of the Friends United Meeting office in Kaimosi, Kenya, and also for Getry Agizah, head of the East Africa Friends Church Peace Team, whose son recently died. We signed cards for them also.

We reviewed a proposal for a North East Region USFW. No consensus was reached.

Margaret led the program, reading from the current issue of the Advocate. She read many suggestions on ways to increase support and connections for Friends United Meeting and other Friends workers, including sending cards. That prompted us to send cards as well as prayers to the above folk.

Our December meeting will be on December 17 at the meetinghouse with Kat Langelier as hostess. Angie will lead the devotions and program. We will compile Christmas boxes and sort donations to the mitten tree, as well as have our own gift exchange.

We enjoyed Dorothy’s delicious apple crisp and other treats before heading home.

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My Experience at Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions, 2018

By Sarah Sprogell

For those who are not familiar with Summer Sessions, it is a time of year that Friends from across New England gather to attend to business, learn from each other in workshops, share meals, art, music and community; to meet new people, see old friends, have meaningful conversations, and much more. Opportunities abound for conversation, prayer and friendships to flourish. Quoted sections in the article below are taken from the Epistle written, as is our custom, at the close of Sessions. (See the October Newsletter for the complete Epistle.)

~~~~~~~~~

The theme for this year’s NEYM Sessions was “In Fear and Trembling Be Bold in God’s Service”. We gathered “on lands once cared for by Abenaki ancestors and appropriated by European settlers centuries ago….dedicated to our use for five days” from August 4 – 9, 2018 by Castleton University in Vermont. Over 600 Friends were gathered, including over 100 children, youth and their families. We gathered as “queer and straight, physically challenged and able-bodied, trans- and cis-gender, descended from the peoples of most continents of our globe, and of various income levels.” We were grateful for the opportunity to be present together in such a beautiful and gracious place.

This was my seventh year attending New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions. I arrived on Sunday in time to hear the plenary presentation by three Quaker women who have been courageously and faithfully working on social justice issues for a number of years. Each spoke movingly of their personal experiences and deep commitment to work that resonated clearly with our theme of being bold in God’s service. The Bible Half Hour sessions, presented by Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), also echoed our theme, as she spoke of how her faith plays a role in her work in the political sphere.

In the spring before Sessions, NEYM Ministry and Council had asked if I would be among a few Friends to hold the gathered body in prayer during our business meetings throughout the week, sitting as an elder in front of the clerk’s table. I was honored to be of service in this way and found it to be a unique way to experience Sessions. I have always found Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business at annual Sessions to be a profound experience in a number of ways, presenting opportunities for deep listening, careful discernment, and unexpected openings that reveal our unified truth. While fulfilling my role as a prayerful elder this year, I was able to let go of my usual practice of taking notes and following the agenda items closely. My practice this year allowed me to ride the waves of the spirit, which could range from challenging to frustrating, heart-breaking to heart-warming, energizing and uplifting to occasionally exhausting and sometimes entertaining.

This year the work of challenging white supremacy became a central feature, as patterns and language were called out and named throughout many items of business. During business sessions we witnessed our work with social justice issues, approving the formation of an Immigration Justice Working Group; endorsing the Poor People’s Campaign; affirming a minute on Criminal Justice Reform; and approving a minute supporting the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Earthcare Ministries brought forward a Carbon Calculator to determine carbon footprints, which we gratefully received. We honored our spiritual practices by receiving the work of the Faith and Practice Revision Committee’s draft chapters on Death, Dying and Bereavement, and Pastoral Care. We witnessed the movement of the spirit throughout New England, made possible by projects generously supported by our own Legacy Fund.

As always, the week was full and rich with the Life of the Spirit. Once again, I left Sessions feeling moved by the power of Quaker testimonies and actions in both the temporal and spiritual worlds.

 

 

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Donation Requests: Mittens! Legos! Christmas Boxes!

Mitten Tree!

By Nancy Marstaller

The Woman’s Society is collecting new or gently used hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves, which will be donated to local places (such as Head Start or homeless shelters) to warm those in need. Please pin your items to the mitten tree hanging in the vestry on or before December 16. Thanks for your help!

Lego Blocks!

by Wendy Schlotterbeck

Friends, do you have some Lego blocks that are looking for a good home? Some kids and youth at Durham Meeting are finding Legos to be good way of building community and would appreciate a few more!

Christmas “Boxes”

By Nancy Marstaller

The Woman’s Society is collecting items for small boxes (or bags) to give to those we especially think of this season but don’t see as often as we’d like. Please bring donations for the boxes to the Meetinghouse by December 16. Items such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dried fruit, warm socks, pens and pencils, and calendars are appreciated. Thanks for your help!

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Newsletter Committee Updates, December 2018

By Liana Thompson Knight, Clerk
The Newsletter Committee has a few updates and reminders this month:

1. Newsletter Deadline: We are changing the deadline for submissions to the newsletter to 5pm on the Wednesday after Monthly Meeting.

2. Newsletter Submissions: We need your help with submitting information to the newsletter. If you have a submission (report, article, description of an upcoming event, etc.) please write it up in a way that will be able to run in the newsletter without requiring further writing. Pieces will be edited; however, we need them to arrive to us written. However, please do not include formatting (no hyperlinks, heading fonts, etc.); pieces will be formatted as part of being put into the newsletter. If possible, please send submissions in the body of an email, rather than as an attachment.

3. Durham Friends Notes: We remind Friends who have information that should go out as a Durham Friends Note please to pass that information not only to Jo-an (who sends out the emailed Notes) but also to David Dexter (207-595-3329), who initiates the phone tree for the same information. If you cannot reach David, Liana Thompson Knight (207-737-9781) will be a backup for initiating the phone tree.

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Listening, Being Bold, and Looking for the Divine in Everyone, by Nancy Marstaller

Message at Durham Friends Meeting, November 11, 2018

I want to share some thoughts about listening, being bold, and looking for the Divine in everyone. I’ll open by reading Dwight Wilson’s psalm 13 in Modern Psalms in Search of Peace and Justice.

For most, it would be easiest

to see You perform

solo on the universal stage

while we sit in the audience, eating popcorn.

That is not the design.

We are in this love together;

You as Spirit Prodding,

we as physical beings charged

with improving unfinished work.

We seek to perfect Your creation.

With wars and terrorist attacks

all across the globe,

and hatred running rampant,

apathy is not a choice.

We must act, or close the road

to our descendants’ survival.

Through Your call to love

You bring an arsenal of compassion.

Help us sing in tune,

spiritually rising to conquer evil,

fortifying the world

with our unwavering love.

Being a better listener has been one of my life goals. I have to work really hard at it, because I know that my attention is easily distracted. If a speaker says something that reminds me of something else, my mind can go off on a tangent about that instead of staying focused on what the speaker is actually saying. If you mention birds or ducks for example, I might start thinking about the antics of our ducks or what birds I am seeing at the feeder. I have developed strategies to help me maintain focus, like taking notes or doodling or maintaining eye contact, and use these when I can.

I’ve never been a bold person. I look around and see and hear the problems and needs of the world. I worry and wish others would do something. Every year at yearly meeting sessions I hear about great work that Friends are doing, with immigrants, with prison reform, and with many other issues. It’s always very humbling. I admire people like Wendy taking action on environmental problems. Oh, I do little things that I hope help the world, but don’t step into bold action myself. So lately I’ve been praying and meditating on how I can be bolder to help this world be a better place.

A couple weeks ago I went to one of the Makeshift Coffeehouses that Craig organizes. I’d hoped to have my husband, or a friend go with me but ended up going alone. This was definitely out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t even feel I could take my doodling supplies with me. I’d have to rely on my interest and care for others to stay focused.

The theme of the coffee house was why we vote the way we do. I WAS really interested to hear what people said. I truly don’t understand why many people believe the way they do and vote the way they do. I truly wanted to know as I have been especially discouraged about this country’s heated and angry political rhetoric and how people are swayed by it- myself included. But I have been shy and hesitant to talk with others about politics if I know they are on the “other” side of the political spectrum. It’s hard for me to remember to look for the Divine in someone whose words are strident, self-righteous, or deliberately divisive.

If you know my social and political beliefs, you know that I lean liberal. Sitting at a table with a number of self-identified very conservative people was enough to keep me focused. After a time, I realized that conversations during a two-hour coffee house were only scratching the surface. It would take much longer and more effort on my part for me to truly understand any of the people at the table.

One woman, when asked why she felt she was conservative, described growing up in a way very similar to mine, then went on to state her views about one issue that were quite different than mine. She also felt she had been snubbed by neighbors because of her conservative views. As the coffee house ended, I had the urge to ask her to meet me for coffee someday to learn more. I got her attention and started talking with her, then another woman came along, and they walked away together. I didn’t try to get her attention again so never made the offer but have regretted it.

This was a powerful reminder that we need focus and boldness to listen and respond to the Divine, just as we need focus and boldness to listen and respond to each other. I need to be better not just at listening for but also at carrying out those nudges from the Divine, like asking the woman to join me for coffee.

I’m grateful to this Meeting and the wider yearly meeting of Friends for inspiring me and reminding me to listen, be bold, and continue to look for the Divine in each person.

I’ll close with a poem by a 14th century Persian poet named Hafiz.

If God invited you to a party and said,

“Everyone in the ballroom tonight will be my special guest,”

how would you then treat them when you arrived?

Indeed, indeed!

And Hafiz knows that there is no one in this world who is not standing upon God’s jeweled dance floor.

(Hafiz’s poem is from Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, translated by Daniel Ladinsky; Penguin Compass Press, 2002. Dwight Wilson’s psalm used with permission of the author.)

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Janet Douglas, Memorial Minute

Janet Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting and mother of member and former pastor Jim Douglas, passed away on September 10, 2018. A memorial service was held in the Meetinghouse to celebrate her life on November 10 with her family and members of the Meeting present. Janet was well loved and appreciated for what she taught those who knew her through her life work.

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December 2018 Family Events at Durham Meeting

By Wendy Schlotterbeck, Youth Minister

We will have our Annual Wreath Making Party on Sunday, December 2 after a potluck following worship. Materials will be provided, but live greens of any kind are welcomed!

On Saturday, December 15 we will gather for a Christmas Worship and Turkey Dinner. We have found that often the preparation is as rich as the actual event. So, come at 4:00 to help prepare the meal and set up. Worship, a sharing of poems, songs or personal stories, will be at 5:30 with dinner to follow.

As part of Durham Meeting’s efforts at outreach, we encourage all Durham Friends to invite neighbors and friends to our special family events as well as our regular weekly Meetings.

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Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, November 16, 2018

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, November 18, 2018 with 15 people present. Clerk, Susan Rice, opened the meeting by reading from the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #453 by Elizabeth Meyer: A Practical Mysticism.

  1. The minutes of October 21st were approved.
  2. Newsletter Committee: Liana Thompson Knight reported that the deadline for news for the Newsletter has changed to 5:00 pm on the Wednesday after Monthly Meeting. Committee reports are to be sent to Jo-an as well as to the Recording Clerk. Persons submitting information about upcoming events should write up a blurb for the Newsletter. The Newsletter Committee is open to run articles written by Friends on topics with which they are engaged.

Due to difficulty with the meeting copier, the Newsletter will be copied at Staples. They will need an adjusted line item in the budget for this purpose.

Currently the phone tree is for those who do not have email. They ask persons who have information for a Durham Friends Note call David Dexter who initiates the phone tree. David will have a summer landline number that should be used in the summer months. Those who do have email but would like to receive a call will be invited to opt-in to the phone tree, and thus might call others as a part of the phone tree.

  1. Ministry and counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that they are reviewing, overseeing, and praying for pastoral care issues and worship experiences in the meeting.

A concern was raised about disruptions in worship occurring when the doors are opened multiple times throughout worship. M&C encourages folks entering during worship be mindful of how often they open and close doors for various reasons.

Jo-an Jacobus has offered to facilitate a Christmas Eve worship service at the meetinghouse in the same manner as last year. We greatly appreciate this opportunity.

In January, M & C plans to outline themes to be used by those responsible for Care of Worship and bring messages which will be from New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice and from the yearly meeting annual focus. This year the theme – “In Fear and Trembling, Be Bold in God’s Service” – asked us to be bold in a broken world.

A small group of Friends (Edwin Hinshaw, Nancy Marstaller, and Nat Shed) volunteered to meet with Ralph and Twila Greene, and listen to their concerns. They explored options and possibilities, and discussed workable solutions for the Greene’s housing needs. Durham Friends may contact Ed and Nancy for further information.

Appreciation was expressed for Ministry and Counsel’s on-going concern for the meeting.

  1. We approved the following minute: Janet Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting and mother of member and former pastor, James Douglas, passed away on September 10, 2018. A memorial service was held in the meetinghouse to celebrate her life on November 10th with her family and members of the meeting present. Janet was well loved and appreciated for what she taught those who knew her through her life work.
  2. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell presented a preliminary 2019 budget for the meeting. Some committees have requested an increase in their line item. The final budget will be brought to the December monthly meeting for approval. We expressed gratitude for their careful work.
  3. Christian Education Committee and Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Halloween Party was held October 26th at the Meetinghouse. The children enjoyed an outside “in the dark” scavenger hunt with prizes, a piñata, bobbing for apples and donuts on a string with a lovely spread of food. It was attended by 26 people, including 9 children. At Game Night, November 3rd, they enjoyed a hefty potluck and several hours of games, conversation and laughter.

They will have the annual Wreath Making Party on Sunday, December 2nd after a potluck meal following worship. Materials will be provided, but live greens of any kind are welcome!

The Christmas Program will be on Saturday, December 15, gathering for worship and a turkey dinner. Come at 4:00 to help prepare the meal and set up. Worship, sharing of poems, songs or personal stories will be at 5:30 with dinner to follow.

“We encourage all Durham Friends to invite neighbors and friends to our special family events at well as our regular weekly meetings.”

The committee welcomes Ashley Marstaller as our new Child Care Provider. She started November 11th and will continue to provide loving care every Sunday from 10:15am – 12:15pm. It was suggested that she remain on duty for another hour or so to facilitate the attendance of parents to monthly meeting on monthly meeting Sunday, if she is able to extend her time.

We expressed appreciation for the ongoing work of this committee and the Youth Minister.

  1. We approved the proposal that the Child Care Provider, Ashley Marstaller, extend her time on monthly meeting Sunday until 1:30 pm if possible.
  2. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that there were 10 persons who attended the showing of the film, It’s Criminal on November 16th. A meaningful discussion was led by Paul Miller.
  3. Trustees: Margaret Wentworth reported that Kim Bolshaw, a regular attender who lives near the meetinghouse, has been hired as Custodian. We are thankful that Kim is willing to do this work.
  4. Ad Hoc Working group: Joyce Gibson reported for this “committee.” Their final report was presented concerning strengthening Durham Friends Meeting regarding pastoral care, coordination, and outreach. They noted that we are a meeting in transition and reminded us that Ministry and Counsel is responsible for pastoral care, and coordination is under the care of the Clerks Committee. They recommend that the Newsletter Committee become a Communication Committee. They noted that outreach is everyone’s responsibility. An alternative approach would be to establish an Outreach Committee, and/or a part time position devoted to outreach.

They recommend revision of the Meeting Handbook to be fresh and accurate reflecting changes in the meeting. Included in their report is a summary of Ministry and Counsel’s approach to pastoral care. Their full report is attached to these minutes.

It was recommended that the Clerks’ Committee become a standing committee and take on continued discussion of these concerns. They believe the Ad Hoc “committee” has done the job that the meeting assigned to it and therefore requested that the Ad Hoc Working Group should be laid down.

  1. We approved the Newsletter Committee be renamed the Communication Committee and that it include the website and other similar activities.
  2. We approved that the Clerks’ Committee be a standing committee to meet regularly at least every other month.
  3. We approved revising and updating the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook.
  4. We approved laying down the Ad Hoc Working Group and expressed much appreciation for their work.

We closed with a period of silence.

Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

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Christmas Program, Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Christmas Program will be on Saturday, December 15, gathering for worship and a turkey dinner.

Come at 4:00 to help prepare the meal and set up.

Worship, sharing of poems, songs or personal stories will be at 5:30 with dinner to follow.

 

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Strengthening Durham Friends Meeting – November 2018

November 16, 2018

The final report of the Paid Position Working Group will be presented to Monthly Meeting this Sunday, November 18.  The members of the Working Group, which has focused on the larger question of Strengthening Durham Friends Meeting, are Doug Bennett, Joyce Gibson, Theresa Oleksiw, Sukie Rice, and Wendy Schlotterbeck.

A compilation of the Working Group’s earlier progress reports to the Meeting can be found here.

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Talking Points from New England Yearly Meeting Sessions 2018

Please share the news and joy from NEYM Sessions 2018 with Friends at home. Consider posting these talking points and making a report to your local meeting for business.

The theme for this year’s Annual Sessions was In Fear and Trembling Be Bold in God’s Service. During the plenary session we heard ministry from Adria Gulizia (Chatham Summit, NJ-New York Yearly Meeting), Sarah Walton (Vassalboro, ME) and Meg Klepack (West Falmouth, MA) sharing experiences from their journeys of faith.

Diane Randall (Hartford, CT), Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) spoke in the Bible Half Hours each day about the role that her faith has played in her work in the political sphere, and the ways in which the practices of Friends have influenced public policy. Recordings of the Bible Half Hours and the plenary session will be available soon online at neym.org and on the NEYM YouTube channel.

Of the more than 620 people gathered, close to 15% were attending for the first time. For the third year in a row youth attendance was at a record high. We continued to celebrate strong representation from each of the New England states; from visitors including Friends from Kenya, Bolivia and El Salvador; and from several other North American yearly meetings; as well as ecumenical representatives. Though we mourned the U.S. government’s continuing denial of visas which prevents representatives of our Cuban Quaker family from being with us in body, we felt their presence with us through a series of video clips, which captured their greetings and prayers for us. They were with us in Spirit.

Throughout the week Friends gathered at Castleton University engaged in a continuing conversation about the need to identify and interrupt the patterns of seeing and doing– within each of us, and within New England Yearly Meeting–that lead to complicity in white supremacy and oppression. The need for this continued work was identified in committee reports, during several items of business, in ministry during our sessions and worship, in the writing and approval of minutes and in ongoing conversations among small and large groups of Friends. We-as individuals, in our meetings, and in our organization-must continue this conversation. We must continue to follow the Spirit wherever it leads, trusting in the Grace that is with us always.

Here’s a summary of important news from the week:

Responding to Previous Years’ Commitments:

Continuing Support for Immigrants and Refugees: Friends shared news of the responses to Sessions’ minuted commitment (Minute 2017- 42) to support the rights and dignity of all 2 of our neighbors who are threatened in this time, including especially undocumented immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. We heard about some of the myriad ways that Friends and Friends Meetings throughout New England have been responding to this commitment. Friends approved the formation of an Immigration Justice working group to bring together Quakers across New England who are under the weight of this concern, and committed the support of the yearly meeting to this group. If Friends in your meeting are engaged in ministry in support of these concerns and would like to connect with others similarly involved, please contact the Yearly Meeting office at neym@neym.org.

Continuing to Respond to the Climate Crisis: At the recommendation of the NEYM Earthcare Ministries Committee, those gathered affirmed a commitment to using the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative’s carbon calculator to calculate their carbon footprint and commit to a 10% reduction from baseline measures this fall by December 2019, and to encourage Friends throughout New England to do the same. More detailed information on support for this work will be forthcoming from the Earthcare Ministries Committee.

Consideration of Minutes brought forward from Quarterly Meetings:

Poor People’s Campaign: At the recommendation of Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting, Friends approved New England Yearly Meeting endorsing the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Sessions encourages Friends and Friends Meetings to “…unite with the Poor People’s Campaign by working to change the war on the poor to a condemnation and eradication of poverty itself, and to become involved through volunteering, organizing and/or financially supporting the coming together of many people across many different spectrums to further the witness of the Poor People’s Campaign.”

Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting brought forward a minute asking that the Yearly Meeting “…encourage Friends in New England to seek ways to support [the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons] and… inform people about it.” Friends approved sharing this minute with local and Quarterly Meetings.

Criminal Justice Reform: Salem Quarterly Meeting asked Sessions to support a minute stating their “…support [for] comprehensive criminal justice reform in Massachusetts that will promote restorative justice, support alternatives to incarceration, reform the pretrial process, and reduce the criminalization of poverty and race.” The minute further invites Friends, and meetings across New England to “join [Salem Quarterly Meeting] in the work of repairing and restoring our communities by reforming our criminal justice system.” Friends affirmed this minute as well seasoned, and asked that the Clerk share this minute with other quarters for discernment and further action.

Other Important Reports and Decisions:

Legacy Gift Funds: Friends gathered were moved by a slideshow of images of the many ways in which the Funds have been being used to support the ministry of New England Quakers in the areas of racial justice, climate change, outreach, religious education and more, coming soon to the NEYM YouTube channel. A list of recent grant recipients can be found on the NEYM website. The deadline for the next round of grants is October 1, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit neym.org/legacy-gift

Faith and Practice Revision: As part of the Yearly Meeting’s ongoing process of revising the book of Faith and Practice for Quakers in New England, Friends considered a draft paper on Membership. Important questions arose, including consideration of the effect that approving a practice of dual membership might have on our understanding of the core commitments of our tradition. Two additional draft papers were presented for comment–one on Pastoral Care and one on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Meetings are encouraged to further engage corporately with the material presented, and to share with the Faith and Practice Revision Committee what unity and wisdom they receive, trusting in the guidance of the Spirit in our midst. The draft chapter on membership is available here. For further information, or to share your meeting’s responses, contact Phebe McCosker (Hanover, NH, Friends Meeting), Clerk of Faith and Practice Revision Committee, or visit neym.org/fprevision.

Transforming our Relationship with Money: After five years of dedicated and faithful work, its charge fulfilled, we celebrated the laying down of the Ad Hoc Long Term Financial Planning Committee. The Finance Committee’s proposal of a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year–the fruit of a diligent process including both expense reductions and increased income–included a reduction of the total amount of New England Yearly Meeting’s donations to three of the organizations of which NEYM is a member (Friends United Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and Friends General Conference). This provided Friends in attendance an opportunity to engage with the dynamic tension between our responsibility for fiscal stewardship, and our responsibility and commitment to support the work of the wider Quaker movement of which we are an inextricable part. After much discernment and with a sense of God’s continual provision, Friends approved maintaining our current level of support for these three organizations, recognizing that further increases in contributions from meetings and individuals will be needed to prevent a deficit in the coming year.

Further details, video & audio recordings are posted at neym.org/sessions. Minutes of Annual Sessions will be posted soon and distributed to all local meetings.

To receive news and updates on the life and ministry of Friends across New England, subscribe to the monthly email newsletter at neym.org/mc-signup. New England Quakers also have an active and growing presence on social media through Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The next Annual Sessions will be held August 3-8, 2019 at Castleton University, in Castleton, Vermont. For questions or more information about anything mentioned in this document, contact neym@neym.org.

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Stamp Collecting for Friends’ Work

By Nancy Marstaller

My mom (Clarabel) and I are still collecting commemorative stamps. A group of Friends collects them and prepares them for sale to collectors. Money raised goes to various Friends organizations.

There is a box on the library table for your stamps. Please cut them off the envelope with about ¼ inch around the edges (unless it is a special postmark) and don’t try to soak them off the envelope.

We’ll send off what we’ve collected after the first Sunday in December: 12/2. But don’t stop saving them! We’ll keep sending off what we have a few times during the year.

Thanks for your help!

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Book Review: Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G. I. Hart

By Nancy Marstaller

For the last couple years, I’ve been reading to understand how racism has affected the attitudes and actions of myself and others. It’s been a saddening and sometimes shocking journey to learn of the experiences of many people of color, and how entrenched personal and institutional racism is. This book is well written and challenges us to understand ourselves better and pursue racial justice. I’ll donate it to the Meeting library so that others can learn from it.

Other books I’ve found helpful:

Amanda Kemp’s Say the Wrong Thing

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me

Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow

Debby Irving’s Waking Up White

Michael Dyson’s Tears We Cannot Stop

Racism and white supremacy are attitudes that affect us all, whether consciously or unconsciously, and have terrible negative effects all through society. Join me as I continue to uproot prejudice in my heart and mind and find actions to uproot racism in society.

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“Acceptance,” By Craig Freshley, October 21, 2018

A message given at Durham Friends Meeting on October 21, 2018 by Craig Freshley.

About this message, Craig Freshley says “This message is mostly a story – Acceptance was the answer – from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Craig records all the messages he gives and posts them on a website, Craig’s Quaker Messages.  You can listen to this one here.

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Kakamega Orphans Care Centre Pot Luck Dinner, November 5, 2018, 6:00p.m.

You are invited to a pot-luck dinner to join Pastor Ida, Administrator of the Kakamega Orphans Care Centre on Monday, November 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the meetinghouse.

After the meal, Ida will bring us up to date with changes happening with the Care Centre programs.  He will share personal reflections on his own work as it, and his thinking and understanding has evolved.  This will be more of a conversation with old friends, rather than a slide presentation.

Bring a favorite dish to share.  Questions: Sukie Rice, 318-8531.

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Reflections on Indigenous Peoples Day – October 8, 2018

By Linda Muller

I am glad to recognize the continuing debt we owe to the original people of our area; Casco Bay and beyond.

I am relieved not to recognize C. Columbus, who practiced severe genocide and never stepped foot on North or South America.

I am aware that Norsemen and fishermen had traded with people in our area prior to 1492. They did not invade in the 1400s but for the most part, visited and let the indigenous people be.

After I was alerted through Peace and Social Concerns Committee, I attended a workshop by Ralph Greene, publicized by New England Yearly Meeting, held at Vassalboro Meeting. He interpreted multiple bible passages and incidents from Quaker history to develop his conception of “ the lamb’s war”. To condense these 2 hours, I’ll share that this is in reference to speaking truth to power and being faithful to leadings even if risk or danger of violence or possible sacrifice is involved. Ralph lectured that Papanuhang was a man of the Mohegan people, whose tribe was decimated by settlers with rigid ideas (such as Puritans) and US government policies regarding “the Indian problem”. Despite this, he was part of a small group that left their Connecticut homeland and went to live with a related tribe in the Delaware region, the Lenape people. This was a move to survive. He was able to establish a peaceful cooperative settlement for several years and negotiated prisoner of war releases and avoidance of bloodshed on occasion. Ralph had a distant relative from the Mohegan people.

This achievement by Papanuhang is remarkable and speaks to this indigenous man’s spiritual strength, as he was already battling alcoholism and in contact with others who were too.

I attended a film and discussion sponsored by Wabanaki Reach, at the UUC in Brunswick. There are several of these groups in Maine and several local Quakers are involved. These groups are an attempt by native Maine people (collectively referring to themselves as Wabanaki) to educate all of us “ from away” or not native… another term is settlers. This was a film about the Dann sisters, two elderly women living a traditional ranching life on land they were deeded and open range ranching on land of their tribe, the Western Shoshone people. They were put out of business by annulment of the tribe’s treaty rights by, “ gradual encroachment”, sad but true. Their niece was present to be part of the discussion that followed. I saw the images of multiple open pit mines on their land and the taking of their horses and cattle, which ensued, to represent the very worst of our present culture, greed got the upper hand and the suffering was monstrous .

I am told by native Mainers (Wabanaki) that they want those of us who are not native to educate ourselves about all that has happened as our ancestors and as present-day non-native people interact with the remaining native population.

There is much to reflect on as our governor has signed an interpretation of the Maine land claim of the 1980’s, stating the Penobscot tribe has no right to monitor and protect the health and safety of the Penobscot River. This is working its way through the courts. Will the outcome be fair, will it be in the best interest of all the people of Maine? Will it uphold the treaties? Will it help to protect the quality of water in one of the major rivers here in Maine? I understand that the Penobscot people consider this river to be the lifeblood of their tribe. Much to learn, to contemplate, to discuss and act on.

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Celebration of the Life of Janet Douglas, November 10, 2018

Member Janet Douglas, the mother of Jim Douglas, a member and former pastor here at Durham, passed away on September 10. Her life will be celebrated in a memorial service at the Meetinghouse of Durham Friends on Saturday, November 10 at 11:00 a.m. All are welcome to join the Douglas family.

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Fall 2018 Social Justice Films at Durham Friends Meeting

By Cindy Wood

Social justice film and discussion series:

November 16  It’s Criminal, film with discussion led by Paul Miller.  Light refreshments.  Durham Meetinghouse 7 pm.

December 7  I Am Not Your Negro, — discussion to follow. Light refreshments.  Durham Meetinghouse 7 pm.

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