Meeting Music and Pianists, by Nancy Marstaller

            Currently there are 3 of us who take turns playing the piano during meeting for worship: Dot Hinshaw, Sue Wood, and Nancy Marstaller.

            Dot started taking lessons when she was 6 years old. She could play by ear and found it harder to learn to read music. When she was taking lessons, her teachers would remind her to play the notes on the page! She practices all the hymns in our books, concentrating on those that might be called for in the current season. She didn’t play for worship services until coming to Durham. We’re lucky to have her with her lively playing style, especially as she can transpose a piece to make it easier to sing, and add chords and flourishes to pieces with only the melody written down.

            Sue also started taking lessons as a young girl. She fell in love with the organ and started playing for churches when she was in her teens. She doesn’t practice particular hymns for meeting, and likes to work on classical pieces at home. We are fortunate to have her accompany the choir too; she plays with such feeling.

            Both Dot and Sue choose pieces to play during the offering based on what’s said or arisen in worship.

            I also started taking piano lessons at an early age. I’m glad sight-reading was one of the skills the teacher stressed. When I first started playing at Durham Meeting, mostly filling in for Mary Curtis or another pianist, the pastor picked the hymns, and I chose a piece with the same theme for the offering. Now, of course, we don’t know what will be called for. It may be a piece we really don’t know, and I’m grateful no one points out all my mistakes! I practice a few pieces with the offering in mind, and may play one of them or another that seems called for by worship. I miss playing organ/piano duets with my mom.

            We’d love to have others play, for the hymns or for the offering. Speak to any of us if you are interested.

Stamp Collecting for Friends’ Work, by Nancy Marstaller

         My mom (Clarabel) and I are still collecting stamps. In January we sent off a large envelope full of your donations, and plan to send more in May.

         A group at Indianapolis First Friends collects the stamps and prepares them for sale to collectors. Money raised goes to the Right Sharing of World Resources program. This program works with groups of women in Kenya, India, and Sierra Leone, giving loans to start and run micro-businesses. The women pay back the loans and more groups can benefit. Check out their website to learn more.

Here are the latest guidelines:

         The stamp program accepts stamps of all issue dates and countries, both used and unused stamps, sheets of stamps, albums or boxed collections of stamps. Foreign stamps (excluding Canada) may be left on the postcard or envelope, especially if the envelope has some special drawing or indication of the country. There are collectors who like to receive a whole envelope or postcard with a foreign stamp. 

         USA and Canada stamps: Cut the stamp(s) off the envelope or postcard. Leave the perforations on the stamps. Leave 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch around the stamp so the whole stamp is preserved, including the perforations. When there is more than one stamp, treat the group as a unit.

         Peelable stamps: Please leave these on the envelope paper. If you try to peel them off of the paper, they stick to other stamps, and damage both.

         Nonprofit and presorted mail stamps: All stamps are acceptable, but we want to be financially effective. If you already have a group of stamps that includes a lot of nonprofit and/or presorted stamps, just leave them and send them to us. However, as you are assembling new shipments, we recommend you leave out the nonprofit ones and the presorted ones, so you are not paying postage for something of little value.

There is a box on the library table for your stamps. Keep saving them and we’ll keep sending off what we have a few times during the year.

Thanks for your help!

Christian Education Committee Report, February 2019

Katherine Langelier reported that the committee is very grateful for Ashley Marstaller’s presence and skill in providing childcare.The Intergenerational Game Night on January 12th was very enjoyable, and the next one will be on March 9th, starting at 5pm with a potluck supper.  

The committee has cleared with Trustees adding a “menstruation station” to the bathroom. This will include personal supplies such as tampons, pads, wipes, and paper towels and a more hygienic means of collection like a small, covered, and lined container for disposal of used items.

Adult Sunday School is covering the book Waking Up White by Debbie Irving.

Durham Friends have been given the opportunity to co-sponsor an event with Friends’ School of Portland in their Parenting For Peace series, “Tell Me The Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations” between Debbie and Shay Stewart Bouley on May 1st. Christian Ed requested funds to share in the cost of co-sponsoring, and it was suggested and approved that the $100 be split equally between the budgets of Christian Education and Peace & Social Concerns. Leslie Manning volunteered to sit at a table representing Durham at the event. 

Christian Ed will be coordinating with other committees including Ministry & Counsel to plan a Homecoming Sunday on World Quaker Day, the first Sunday in October. A key feature of the day will be sharing stories from the life of the meeting in the past. The committee invites everyone to help with preparations for this special occasion.

Woman’s Society Notes, February 2019

By Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

            Eight women gathered in the home of Clarabel Marstaller on Monday evening, February 18. Appreciation was expressed for those who ventured out in the snowy weather. Devotions were read from an article Mimi Marstaller wrote in The Blueprints on unending learning and God’s faithfulness.  All shared from their own experiences further enriching the discussion. The treasurer reported that $200 was earned from the silent auction held recently at the meetinghouse.  Practicalities of the monthly Tedford meals were discussed.  (Tedford meals are meals that many in the greater community put together and take to Tedford Adult Shelter for those staying in the shelter.  If you are interested in knowing more talk to Dorothy Curtis, president of Woman’s Society.)

            After devotions and business discussions we continued sharing informally and enjoying refreshments provided by Clarabel and Nancy Marstallar.  

Library Committee Annual Report, 2018

By Ellen Bennett

We appreciate the addition of Nancy Marstaller to the committee in 2018 and look forward to the addition of Ellen Bennett in 2019.

Many Quaker books were added to the library, donated from a retired Friend, and four books were purchased from the United Society of Friends Women International reading list. We included Library News in the Durham Friends Newsletter and continue to receive Pendle Hill Pamphlets and Quaker Religious Thought pamphlets.

We will compile a list of books we would like to have in the library and ask Friends either to purchase or donate any they can. We always appreciate recommendations and look for special books that people would like to donate. A good place to look for possible additions to our library is Friends’ Journal annual book review issue.

In addition, we thinned the collection some, giving a few books to Kristna Evans for the Vintage Quaker Books collection, and selling a few, taking in $50.00.

As with last year, we are looking for a table on which to put the card catalog to make it easier to use. And we hope people will take advantage of this singular meeting resource, as well as continue to make suggestions for how we can best serve you.

Margaret Wentworth, Dorothy Hinshaw, Ellen Bennett, Nancy Marstaller, and David Dexter.

“Looking at Shame,” by Paul Miller

Message at Durham Friends Meeting, March 3, 2019

Today I would like to talk about shame.   As a counselor I deal with lots of shame in the people that I work with. Shame binds us and closes us down.

The biblical passage that comes to mind around shame is the passage in John 7.  The passage reads like this:

   Jesus went to the mount of olives.   At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again: and as all the people came to him he sat down and began to teach them.

So lets just a pause there for a moment we are talking about the Jewish temple at the time and the fact that Jesus is sitting down teaching.   He knew this could challenge the authority of the Pharisees. Yet Jesus is there and starts to teach.   So lets see what happens next.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery, and making her stand there in full view of everybody.

So rather than dealing with there frustration with Jesus teaching in the temple we now have the full display of a woman who is accused of committing adultery. What a wonderfully unhealthy way to deal with the issue of who has authority head on.

They say to Jesus, Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery and Moses has ordered us, in the law to condemn women like this to death by stoning.

What have you to say?

They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him.

So now you have the Pharisees throwing the Mosaic Law at Jesus saying so what are you going to do now buddy?  We know the right answer and if you do not agree with us you will be wrong.  Jesus if you say the wrong thing we can shame and condemn you for not following mosaic law.  But Jesus bends down and starts writing on the ground with his finger.  There is some interpretation of this that Jesus might have been writing there sins on the ground.  After they persist on this question Jesus does respond and says,

If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to cast a stone at her.   After this the bent down own the ground and continued writing and they all left one by one beginning with the eldest until Jesus was alone with the woman who remained standing there. He looked up and said where are they. Has none condemned you. No sir she replied.  Then neither do I condemn you.   Go away and don’t sin any more.

Jesus calls them on the fact that they are human and have all sinned.   With the woman he refuses to condemn her.  In essence Jesus is saying we are all human and are not perfect and need to be willing to look at ourselves.

I don’t know about you but I would love to be perfect, however I keep discovering over and over again that I am human. Leaning and growing are part of the human condition and that growth and learning can at times be painful and difficult.

The reason I wanted to look at this passage today is to look at the contrast between Jesus and the Pharisees.  The Pharisees are caught up in the interpretation of the mosaic law as a way to be Holy and separate in order to justify everything and potentially anything. Jesus on the other hand refuses to condemn. Jesus refuses to cast unfavorable or adverse judgment. Jesus refuses to be at a distance and releases this woman. In another biblical story Jesus asks for a person to be unbound.

How often do we separate ourselves from the human condition?  I am so glad I am not them. Guess they made their bed and have to lay in it.

The thing we have to come back to is the fact that we are all a part of the human condition. We can insulate ourselves with objects, excuses and platitudes but we all are human and imperfect.

The reason I am bringing this forward is this is the basis of shame. If you did this “right” you would be ok in my eyes. But you did not do this right therefore, I get to throw stones at you?   I get to accuse you because now I have more power than you do.  This is what shame looks like. When we take power away from others and call them bad and demand that they justify themselves to us.  So you might say not me, I would not do that.   How often do we put ourselves above others and tell them what they need to do to be acceptable in our eyes. Our mother, father, sister, wife, husband friend, coworker.   We separate rather than deal the fact that something is uncomfortable her and we have run smack dab into the human condition. It is much easer to separate than own. It is much easier to push away than to come along side.

We are all human fall short and in some way are capable of hurting each other, what do we do with that?

The first step is to come along side rather than hover over. To recognize that we are both human. It might look something like this, I deeply respect you even though I am mad at you because you did something that is human and I got hurt. I do not condemn you, how can were work on our connection so we do not hurt each other. I am proposing here that sin is our own unwillingness to own our discomfort rather than choosing to talk about it in a way that respects the other person. This means that as I face the other person I am also facing myself and my need to justify being right.   This means I am willing to face the way that I am disconnecting from those I care about in order to be right.

My husband David will sometimes confront me on a way that I acted that is self-centered.   One of those times that I poured myself coffee and not him at breakfast. My first response is to be defensive and say that does not matter because that is a little thing and after all he could pour his own coffee. In actuality it is a big thing because our relationship is built on a deep respect of one another and acts like being of service to each other are a part of our day-to-day relationship.   I am called to see him as a sacred person that I have chose to be in relationship with and to respect what the two of us have agreed that means day to day.

He gets to call me out. He gets to say you are human and I deserve to be respected and he is right. Just as I get to call him out when I am not feeling respected.

When I start to move away from that deep respect of David begin to walk away from the human condition and say things like I am better him because I can do some things better. It is at this point I have to stop and remind myself we both have gifts that are different and I need to respect and honer his gifts just as much as he needs to respect mine.

In doing this a sacred closeness and emotional intimacy continues to develop that says, I will always respect you even when it is difficulty to do so. I am always willing to learn about the human condition from you even when it is difficult to do.   The key is asking the other person to be with us in the same place of learning rather than telling them what to do. Calling the other person to be present at the same level. Letting go of the need to be right in order to connect at a deeper level. This means listening evening when its hard to listen. This means I might be wrong and might need to look at things from another point of view. This means I am willing to learn new things about myself that I might not looking at. This means I choose to own rather than shame.   Connect rather than distance and love rather than condemn.

My mother likes to say that we live in the awkward place in history between the already and not yet. It is in this place that we are 1000% human.   In being human we are vulnerable, naked and easily hurt, yet can love each other in ways that can be immensely powerful.

So in good Quaker tradition I want to leave you with some questions.

  1. Who is the person or persons that you have committed to treat in a sacred way?   How do you show that deep respect and ask for it in return.
  2. What is the way that you tend to separate yourself from others as the them, or the other?
  3. Can you think of ways that you can treat other in your life with deep respect, listening to them, holding and honoring them and asking them to do the same even when it is difficult?

May the God who created us be honored in the sacred way that we treat each other.

2019 Lenten Vigil for Disarmament at Bath Iron Works

There will be a Lenten Vigil for Disarmament from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 and Saturdays March 9-April 20, at the Bath Iron Works Administration Building, 20 Washington Street. Please join us to hold the hope for resurrection, renewal, recovery as we say No! to endless war. For more information, contact Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm at 763-4062.

Event Date & Time: March 6, 2019 11:30 am until April 20, 2019 11:30 am

More information? Contact Brown Lethem:

Location: 20 Washington St Bath, Maine. Bath Iron Works Administration Building

Peace and Social Concerns Meeting, February 13, 2019

By Ingrid Chalufour

            The committee met with all members present, welcoming new members Bob Eaton and Cush Anthony. We discussed possible spring events and made several decisions:

  • We discussed the importance of addressing climate change, the real crisis right now.
  • We would like to put together a panel to help us move toward taking collective action.
  • We would like to collaborate with another group(s) on this and are looking for partners.

            Ingrid Chalufour has volunteered to represent the Meeting in the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council. The recently revived group meets monthly. This might be a path to finding collaborators.

            As a follow-up to the American Friends Service Committee discussion about action priorities we are planning events for April 28, the last Sunday in April. Our committee will give the message that day and facilitate an after-Meeting discussion.

            We have agreed to host a Peter and Annie Blood concert in May at the Meeting House. They have a new Pete Seeger songbook they will be using for the concert.


Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 17, 2019

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened in worship for the conduct of business on Sunday, February 17, 2019 with 16 people present.  Clerk Susan Rice opened the meeting by reading from the 1985 New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, “The Quaker Method of Making Decisions”, p. 115.  There was no monthly meeting in January due to snow.

1. The December 16, 2018 minutes were approved.

2. Ministry and Counsel:  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon reported that Ministry and Counsel met in January and February to discuss worship, pastoral care concerns and opportunities, and new members.

            They received a letter requesting membership from Cushman Anthony who had been a member of Portland Friends Meeting in the past.  A clearness committee met with Cush and recommend that he be received into membership at Durham Friends Meeting.  Ministry and Counsel enthusiastically approved this recommendation and sent it on to monthly meeting for final consideration and approval.

            They will continue to suggest a theme for worship.  Those bringing a message may choose the theme, “Leadings” for February and March. 

            They report that Ralph and Twila Greene have found a stable home into which they moved this month.  They are thankful for those who stepped in to help resolve this concern: Nat Shed, Nancy Marstaller, and Edwin Hinshaw.

3. We enthusiastically approved welcoming Cushman Anthony as a member of Durham Friends Meeting.

4. Nominating Committee: Margaret Wentworth and Jo-an Jacobus reported that the list of committees and officers is almost complete with a few changes and corrections.  The corrected report will be included in the Newsletter and attached to these minutes.  We expressed our thanks to the committee and to Jo-an who is leaving the committee.

5. We approved the Nominating Committee report with corrections.

6.  Trustees: Leslie Manning reported that there is no report this month; Kitsie Hildebrandt, Treasurer, reported trouble with the heating system at the parsonage which has been resolved thanks to the help of Craig Freshley.  An insurance claim has been filed.

7. Communications Committee:  The committee met on Wednesday Feb. 13, 2019. Jo-an Jacobus will be stepping down as Newsletter Editor. Her last month as Newsletter Editor will be April 2019, when she will assemble the May 2019 newsletter. The committee does not yet have a replacement. Jo-an reported that the hardest tasks of getting the newsletter out are 1) getting information from the meeting and 2) getting messages for the first page. Doug Bennett will assist in getting all the needed information from the various individuals and committees through April.

            We expressed much appreciation for the hard work that Jo-an has performed as editor of our newsletter: The Best of Friends!

8. Christian Education Committee:  Katherine Langelier reported that the committee is very grateful for Ashley Marstaller’s presence and skill in providing childcare. 

            The Game Night (afternoon) on January 12 was very enjoyable, and the next one will be March 9.  Plans are being made for an Easter celebration.  They plan to participate in an event with Portland Friends School’s Parenting for Peace series, and request funds to co-sponsor the program. Leslie Manning volunteered to sit at a Durham Friends Meeting table at the event. We endorsed the exciting plan of a World Quaker Day Homecoming Sunday on October 6.   Plans for these activities will be included in detail in the Newsletter. 

            The committee expressed appreciation for the joyful noise of small children.

            The Adult Sunday School Class has been and continues to read Waking up White by Debbie Irving.

9. We approved the expense of $50.00 each from Christian Education and Peace and Social Concerns Committees to cover the cost of co-sponsoring the Parenting for Peace event.

10.  Peace and Social Concerns: the committee welcomed new members Bob Eaton and Cush Anthony.  They reported that the film series and the Seeds of Peace events were very meaningful but not well attended.

            They discussed possible spring events and the importance of addressing climate change, the real crisis right now.  They hope to put together a panel to help move toward taking collective action.  They would like to collaborate with another group(s) on this and are looking for partners.

            Ingrid Chalufour has volunteered to represent the meeting at the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council which meets monthly.

            They are planning an event for April 28 as a follow-up to the American Friends Service Committee discussion about action priorities.  The committee will give the message that day and facilitate an after-meeting discussion.   

11.  The Library Committee gave their annual report which is attached to these minutes.

12.  A thank you letter was received from Lisbon Area Christian Outreach for $355 donation to the food pantry from the parsonage garden profits; they report that they serve between 250-300 families a month. 

13.  Leslie Manning reminded us that members are needed from our meeting to serve on the New England Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel. 

14.  Much appreciation was expressed for Andy Higgins who has been offering his services to plow and mow for us without any charge. 

            The meeting closed at 1:58 p.m. in the Spirit, in appreciation for God’s guidance. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk

“Honoring the Unknowing Between Us With Open Hearts and Open Minds,” by Lisa Steele-Maley

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, February 17, 2019

I woke up with a set of expectations this morning. I knew I would rise before the sun, do some gentle yoga, eat breakfast, drive here and spend the morning with all of you. I knew I would be nervous but grateful to share this message. And I knew that, there is always more that I don’t know than I really do know. That’s a little unnerving – but it’s also exciting.

This morning, I trusted that in my not-knowing, I would be met by your open hearts and open minds… After all, you didn’t know what to expect from me either. When people come together in mutual unknowing, as we have this morning, our limits dissolve and a new space emerges, a grace-filled space where Love has room to work amongst us. In this space, speaking meets listening, giving meets receiving, and past and future dwell fully in the present…I would like to illustrate this idea.

About six years ago, my Dad retired. His already quiet and reclusive life seemed to become increasingly isolated. He stopped visiting family members and meeting friends for golf or lunch. He began to lose weight and became nervous and tentative. He said he was happy, but he didn’t look or act like he was.

When Dad invited me to attend a routine exam that required anesthesia and a driver, I had a chance to step in a bit.Dad was so grateful for the practical support I offered on that visit that I began visiting for one extended weekend per month. Together we sorted mail that had accumulated, paid bills, did laundry, went grocery shopping, and attended appointments. We also made time for long walks, healthy meals, and plenty of laughter and conversation.

On one visit, I arrived late due to a rainstorm and Friday night traffic. I had called dad a few times to give him updates and offer a revised ETA. When I arrived, Dad was peering through the window by the door. He gruffly asked what took me so long. Exhausted from the drive and unprepared for this icy reception, I snapped back – something about traffic and calling a half-dozen times – and then caught myself. He had probably been waiting for some unknown visitor for my entire 5 hour drive. No longer able to track time, he could not possibly interpret the meaning in my phone calls. Maybe he also could not connect my voice with my face or my presence.

Dad had begun to live in the unknown all of the time. Dementia was robbing him of capacity to understand, sort and organize experiences, people, objects and events. For him, every moment was a step into an unknown.

After hitting dead—ends trying to get information and support from my Dad’s doctor, I scoured the internet and the library shelves for help. I wanted a definitive medical authority or a rule book, the equivalent of a map and compass that would tell me where on earth we were and where we were heading…And while I did find some resources that offered clues and perspective, I never found an outside authority that I could really settle into.

But, I found my Dad – obscured by his illness but patiently and persistently kind, loving and intelligent. And I found myself. Even better, I found that I was enough.

While I had been looking to the world around us for guidance, I was also just spending a lot of time with Dad. As we navigated challenging, curious, and mundane details of life together, our relationship was deepening. I was learning to dwell with him in the unknown – and in the sacred space that formed between us, there was safety, love, trust, and joy sufficient to carry us both along the challenging path that unfolded over the next few years.

As Dad became less verbal, we often walked together in silent communion. If Dad felt like making conversation, he would ask, “So, what have you been up to?” After I answered, we would often fall into silence again. Within a few minutes he would ask again, “So, what have you been up to?” He never remembered asking and remained as genuinely curious and interested on the 5th asking as he was on the first. Each asking became an opportunity for me to share a bit more deeply about my life. Though he didn’t remember my responses after a few seconds, he listened to each one with real interest and attention. I offered new responses each time he asked. “So, What have you been up to?“  It was like an invitation to peel away the layers of my life like an onion, sharing myself ever more deeply, while pulling Dad in closer.

As special as my relationship with my Dad was, it does not need to be unique. We don’t need to wait until dementia or any other life change nudges us into deep, loving relationship.

Humans are social creatures. We are meant to step in close, to walk through the peaks, valleys, and meadows of our life with others. We can practice a more intentional engagement with everyone we are in contact with – it’s as simple as a smile, an open hand, a moment of vulnerability, or an act of generosity. We will suddenly notice that there are fewer strangers around us and more friends. And we notice that the lines that separated us get a little blurry. The distance between us grows smaller and less significant.

When we honor the unknowing between us with open hearts and open minds, we create that nurturing grace-filled space where Love flows freely, speaking meets listening, giving meets receiving, and past and future meet the limitless present. We meet there in worship. Let us meet the wider world there in our words and our actions too.

“Hearing Leadings,” by Doug Bennett

From a message given at Durham Friends Meeting, February 3, 2019

In the Bible, Samuel is a boy who has been apprenticed to old Eli, the priest at Shiloh.  One night Samuel hears a voice calling him, and he goes to Eli, but Eli hadn’t called him.  It happens again, and again.  Finally Eli tells Samuel it is the Lord calling him, and Samuel says ““Speak, for your servant is listening.”

The story is presented to us in a way that says God spoke to Samuel. God did not speak to Eli or to his wicked sons.  But I’m not sure that’s how we should hear it.

Here’s another story, one especially important to Quakers.  The times are troubling.  There’s war, there is inequality, there is corruption and deceit.  Sound familiar?  A confused young man, let’s call him George, is trying to understand how to be a good person, how to know what God hopes he knows and how to do what God expects him to do.  He asks a lot of wise people (let’s call them the Elis of this world) to help him figure this out, but they don’t prove much help. 

Then one day George is out for a walk, a long walk, wondering, thinking, praying, and he hears a voice say to him “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.”  That George, of course, was George Fox.  The year was 1647; Fox was 23.  And so begins the movement, the spiritual revival we call Quakerism.  We gather here today and every first day inspired by that Leading. 

What Fox hears that day, what Fox realizes, is that God will speak to each and every one of us, if we still ourselves and listen. 

This suggests a different slant on the Samuel story, I’m thinking.  It is not that God spoke to Samuel and not to Eli and not to Eli’s wicked sons.  It’s rather that Samuel heard what God was saying, and Eli and his sons did not.  God is talking to all of us all the time.  That is what George Fox realized.  

We gather here each Sunday in that confidence, that God will speak to us if we still ourselves and listen.  The question is, will we listen? Can we hear what God is saying?

How do we hear God’s call to us?  It is clear we can miss it.  That’s the main burden of the Samuel story.  Samuel was in the best place, right there at Shiloh, but he was still confused at first. How do we prepare ourselves to hear God calling?  Eli helped Samuel hear what God was saying. 

Perhaps we can help one another. 

My friend and mentor Paul Lacey wrote a wonderful Pendle Hill pamphlet on “Leading and Being Led.”  He uses another example to understand leadings: the example of John Woolman.  Woolman was an 18th century Quaker who was among the first to call attention to the evils of slavery and to press his fellow Quakers to renounce it as well.  And Woolman made striking efforts to befriend the indigenous peoples of North America.   

But after discussing Woolman’s efforts, Paul Lacey says “his example is instructive and inspiring, but ‘be like Woolman’ may not be helpful advice to those of us still struggling to be ourselves with integrity.”

That speaks to my condition.  I am still struggling to “be myself with integrity.”

And then Lacey adds: “Perhaps more apposite advice is to be “like members of Woolman’s meeting:”

“Learn with and from one another how to listen and probe and wait ;

“Help each other to be faithful to leadings;

“Bear with one another’s confusions and shortcomings;

“Persist in expecting the best from one another;

“Practice speaking the truth in love.”

The entire message is available at Doug’s blog, River View Friend

Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting, February 2, 2019

All Friends are warmly invited to come together for Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting hosted by Midcoast Friends on February 2. The afternoon program will focus on climate change.


8:30 am          Welcome with coffee, tea, and light snacks

9:00 – 10:00   Meeting for Worship

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 11:45 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and Sharing Joys and Concerns of Our Meetings

12:00 – 1:15  Lunch: Bread and Soups will be provided, others are invited to bring salad or dessert to share.

1:30 – 3:30     ProgramHope made visible over climate change

1:30 pm: Jason Wentworth’s comic routine, Climate change is no laughing matter…or is it?”

2:00 pm: Anne D. Burt’s short solutions film, “Maine Roadtrip to the Future” released in January to all members of the Maine Legislature. (Find out more here: )

2:30 pm: Guy Marsden: Tips and tricks for improving energy efficiency of your meeting and home.

3:00 pm: Q&A and sharing of intentions.

3:30  pm: Join hands in gratitude for the day and adjourn to help clean up.

Hospitality is available at the Friends House in Bath. Contact Diane Dicranian at: Also, Guy Marsden has a guest room available. It’s listed on airbnb, but free to Friends. Call Guy at 207 443 8942 or guy@arttec.netRenewable Rural Retreat

Contact Guy Marsden: 207 443 -8942,

SAVE THE DATE – All-Maine Gathering, for Quakers from FQM, VQM (and beyond) To be hosted by Falmouth QM at Friends School of Portland on May 4, 2019 Falmouth Quarterly Meeting has begun planning for the All Maine Gathering this year on May 4. There will be time for Friends from around the State to meet together for worship, fellowship, and for a program focused on Native Maine Tribes. There will also be time for FQM and VQM to meet separately for business. Ann Dodd (Portland)-Collins and Christine Holden (Brunswick) are heading up the planning team. More information will follow. All are welcome!

Ongoing legacy of Native American Boarding Schools Friends may be interested in this opportunity to learn from Native American researchers about the history and ongoing impacts of the Indian boarding schools, through monthly webinar conversations. This website has info about these and other important resources:  (Shared by Paula Palmer, Boulder Friends Meeting. Paula has done extensive research into Quaker Indian Boarding Schools.)
~Janet Hough, clerk VQM

1782 Map Shows Durham Friends Meeting

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Portion of a 1782 map showing Quaker Meetings in New England.  Among the Meetin gs shown is Royaltown or Durham.  It is on a road 25 miles north north east of Presumpscot or Falmouth Meeting, and 17 miles west north west of Georgetown Meeting.  Just to the north of Durham Friends Meeting is Lewiston Meeting.

from Henry J. Cadbury, “A Map Of 1782 Showing Friends Meetings In New England, Recently Acquired By The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University,” Quaker History, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Spring 1963), pp. 3-5.

Men’s Meeting, January 14, 7pm

By Scott Barksdale

There will be a gathering of men on Monday, January 14 at 7 p.m.  Location: 64 Birch Point Road, Freeport (Scott’s house).  Topic: justice.  We’ll have a reading or two beforehand that we’ll be discussing, so please email Scott ( to get a copy of it.

If there are slippery conditions, we’ll be meeting at the Meetinghouse instead (we’ll decide by meeting the day before).  Thanks!


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.


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.”

Durham Friends Meeting 2019 Budget

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

     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
     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

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.