Our longtime member Mildred Alexander passed from this life on September 18, 2020. Below is an obituary and notice of her services.
Mildred P. Alexander 89, a longtime resident of Pinkham Brook Rd. Durham died Friday September 18, at Mid Coast Senior Health, with her family at her side. She was born in Lisbon Falls a daughter of the late Louis and Annette (Boultbee) Dumas. She was educated in local schools.
Mildred married Andrew Alexander in January of 1949, and they spent many happy years together until he passed in 2009.
Mildred enjoyed her jigsaw puzzles her cats and most of all enjoyed time spent with her great grandchildren.
She is survived by her sister Laurette Chapman of Lewiston, four grandchildren: Thomas St.Germain of Durham, Carrie St.Germain of Lewiston, Angela Loucka of Tampa, FL and Johnell Ramos of Costa Rica, four great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren. She was predeceased a daughter Pauline (Alexander) Harvey in 2006 and three sisters, Annette Tibbets, Beverly Craig and Bernice Curtis.
The family would like to send a very big thank you to the entire staff at Mid Coast Senior Health for the exceptional care given to Mildred, especially in her last days.
You are invited to offer condolences and pay tribute to Mildred’s life by visiting her guest book at www.crosmanfuneralhome.com
Visitation Crosman Funeral Home Thursday 9/24 from 10-11:30 am, with a graveside service to follow at Pleasant View Cemetery at 12 Noon. Those wishing to make memorial donations in her memory may do so to Midcoast Humane Society 30 Range Rd, Brunswick, ME 04011.
Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends virtually convened via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, September 20, 2020 with 18 people present. Clerk, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon opened the meeting with two quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice who recently passed away:
“Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
- The August minutes were approved.
- Ministry and Counsel: Martha Sheldon reported that Amelia Mae Marstaller (Mimi), who has been a junior member of the meeting, was recommended by the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel for adult membership. Friends enthusiastically approved the change to adult membership and look forward to seeing her via Zoom and in person in the future.
- Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook reported that she has been meeting with her support committee, Clerks Committee, and Ministry and Counsel. She now has the task of finding speakers. She has been meeting members and attenders via Zoom in small groups. She has been especially busy with the transition to Maine and we expressed our support and understanding as she and her family make the move.
- Christian Education Committee: Wendy reported that the committee met September 9 via zoom. They decided to continue nurturing relationships and connections with the Maine Native American history and community. They hope to collaborate with Heather Augustine’s Native American youth group.
Family game nights are on hold for now. They discussed spiritual connections for the children and youth of our meeting. Virtual meetings have not been working for most of the families. Starting in October they will be organizing 2 events per month- both outside, wearing masks and keeping social distance. One will be focused on art and nature, the other including drums and music. Children and youth will be invited according to interest with mixed ages encouraged.
Halloween party: since masks are a natural part they will be having an outdoor Halloween Party at the meetinghouse with masks and social distance on FRIDAY, OCT 30. Everyone is invited- safe, social distance games will be available. And, a special incentive: each child or youth will be asked their favorite candy so they can make individual “COVID- safe” treat bags. Stay tuned for the time- likely late afternoon.
5. Youth Minister: Wendy reported that she will continue checking in with Durham Friends families to get a sense of their needs.
She will continue to participate in the Young Friends program of NEYM and will continue to help staff/offer help with upcoming Young Friends retreats. The next Young Friends retreat will be the weekend of Oct 2-4. Durham Young Friends are encouraged to participate!! See link- https://neym.org/online-retreat-registration.
Wendy will be researching and building a safe outdoor space at the Meeting House for gatherings including a fire pit, with approval from Trustees.
6. Treasurer: Katharine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt expressed appreciation for financial support of the meeting (checks are being received) during this time of our virtual meetings.
Kitsie reported that the current contract that she negotiated with Consolidated Communications for the phone and internet is a better rate than for the internet alone.
7. The Trustees have been busy with many projects regarding the meeting property previously mentioned in the minutes, i.e., paint, hallway floors, and horse shed repairs. Thank you, Tess for washing the fleece blankets in the meeting room, and airing bench cushions. Contact Trustees for a detailed list of completed work and future projects.
The Trustees recommended a donation of $1000 from the Charity Fund to Andrew Higgins who has suffered injuries from a serious accident.
8. We approved a donation of $1000 to Andrew Higgins from the Charity Fund.
9. Jo-an Jacobus thanked the meeting for the use of the meetinghouse for the Sunday night 12 step group as they resume meeting together when it is safe to physically gather.
10. Peace and Social Concerns Committee launched a discussion series on Becoming Antiracist on Sept. 15. Twelve attenders participated in a thoughtful discussion. The next discussion is on Oct. 6 and you can attend even if you did not attend the first one. If you have any feedback on the first discussion please share it with Ingrid.
Ingrid has begun attending the Bath Brunswick Hub meetings of the Poor Peoples Campaign. She will cautiously look for ways Durham Meeting can be involved. The goals of the campaign are very aligned with Quaker values. If you are interested in learning more about the campaign there is a link to information on the Meeting website.
The committee is losing Brown (Richard Lethem) as a member due to his moving away. He has been an active member for several years. They are looking for two new members to help take on the many peace and social concerns we all share.
11. Carbon footprint: Kitsie Hildebrandt and Ingrid Chalufour reported that they are consulting with John Ruthe from Vassalboro Meeting regarding our effort to reduce our carbon footprint.
12. The Clerks Committee is working on updating our Handbook and will present a draft of their suggestions next month.
Martha Sheldon closed the meeting expressing appreciation for those who have assumed various responsibilities. She repeated the quote: “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time,” and said that as a community, we are taking steps toward change as we follow the Spirit’s guide.
Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk
From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:
The Poor People’s Campaign is now launching a Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America: The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform. This platform proclaims that moral policy is also economically sound policy, because the 140 million are not only the hope of the poor. The least of these, who are, in actuality, most of us, can lead this country out of the pain we have been suffering. The rejected are leading a moral and economic revival to save the heart and soul of this nation. Forward together, not one step back!
The Platform is grounded in five principles:
- We need a moral revolution of values to repair the breach in our society. This platform abides by our deepest Constitutional and moral commitments to justice. Where harm has been done, it must be acknowledged and undone.
- Everybody in, nobody out. Too many people are hurting and we can’t be silent anymore. Everybody is deserving of our nation’s abundance.
- When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises. Instead of “trickle-down,” we start with the bottom up.
- Prioritize the leadership of the poor, low-income and most impacted. Those who are on the frontlines of these crises must also be in the lead in identifying their solutions.
- Debts that cannot be paid must be relieved. We demand freedom from servicing the debts we cannot pay.
For more on the Jubilee Platform, go here.
By Twila Greene, August 2, 2020
It’s been a lonely season and I hunger for my friends,
And I find my thoughts reverting to the past.
For last night I took a journey, that gave my soul delight,
As I walked across an old familiar path.
Elated, I surveyed the scene that was in front of me,
For all my Friends were gathered there in peaceful harmony.
All the women of the group were gathered in the Meeting,
Together for our fellowship, with pleasure in our greeting.
Bee was sitting by the bookcase, with Margaret in the loop,
Sue Wood suggested one to use for our discussion group.
She had read it and it touched her heart,
It would benefit all if we read it from the start.
Lida, Eileen and Sylvia were putting out the dishes,
With lots of festive goodies that all looked so delicious.
Dorothy, Mary and Charlotte Ann were in the kitchen with the food.
Something from the oven was smelling mighty good.
Dotty, Susan and Norma were in the Nursery Extension,
Reading to some little ones too numerous to mention.
This was the winter of ’88 with lots of little tots,
To love and teach and sing to them the joyous Meeting thoughts.
Nancy, Linda and Charlotte were decorating the tree,
With homemade socks and mittens for those who were in need.
Clarabel was trying to peacefully end a squabble
Syretha and Tess vied for the privilege to hang the treetop bauble.
Kitsie and Muriel were leading in devotions,
Giving us things to ponder and asking for our notions.
Elizabeth and Mabel were engaging in a chat,
Remembering all the old times and discussing this and that.
Dorothy Henton and Ruth Graham and also Del Weed,
Were inviting Helen Clarkson to join them for the feed.
Mildred had come early to make coffee and fruit punch,
Such were the events that made our Christmas lunch.
Everyone was gathered in contentment and accord,
Lunch was ready and everyone paused to thank the Lord.
Dorothy, from the Henton House, insisted on saying grace,
And a happy smile was seen to come on to Gracie’s face.
After gifts were open and we all had had our fill,
Sukie had a gift for us which was our closing thrill.
She had brought her harp with her, we all joined voice in song
I’m sure the angels joined with us in singing right along.
Such a pleasant time I spent with all the women there,
I woke up then refreshed and joyous music filled the ‘air,’
What a joy and gift I found in reliving that delight,
All was so realistic as I pondered on that night.
That was such a pleasure, a joy that was all mine,
Such a glorious meeting, such a glimpse of Love divine.
What I wouldn’t give if I could visit just once more,
And share that joy of entering through that meeting door.
I sure do miss those days and all the women that were once involved. Wish we lived closer, so I could continue in worship and get to know the newer members. When this pandemic is over I hope to visit. Durham is my heart’s home. Love to all, Twila
Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends virtually convened via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 19, 2020, with 14 people present. Martha Sheldon shared a quote from Howard Thurman: “There is something in every one of you that wants and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.”
1. The July minutes were approved with one correction: the title of Angie Thomas’s book should read, The Hate U Give in minute no. 6.
2. Sarah Sprogell reported that the Clearness Committee for Ingrid Chalufour’s request for membership felt united in recommending approval of her request.
3. We enthusiastically approved the membership of Ingrid Chalufour and welcomed her as an official member of Durham Friends Meeting.
4. Sarah Sprogell reported for Falmouth Quarterly Meeting which met on July 25, 2020. “Sixteen Friends met by Zoom to share and reflect on experiences of caring for our communities during this time of pandemic restrictions. We found the spirit moving among us as we listened and joined in worship sharing, as each monthly meeting spoke to its condition. We intend to meet again on October 24 for business and a review of our budget.
“As a follow-up, a small group of Friends agreed to serve on a Care Committee for Windham Meeting, and will convene on August 18 to begin listening and discerning with Windham Friends regarding their concerns for their future as their numbers grow smaller.”
We are asked to hold Windham Friends Meeting members in prayer as they consider the future of the meeting.
5. Sarah Sprogell, auditor, reported that the audit for 2019 is complete, and that significant financial events for the meeting in 2019 were: the receipt of a bequest of approximately $32,000 from the estate of long-time member Janet Douglas (ten percent of the bequest was placed in our Charity Account and the balance was placed in our Capital Account); completed the management and final distribution of funds to support the Greene family, which we carried out on behalf of New England Yearly Meeting; and we received reimbursement for reserve funds that had been approved to help renovate a member’s condo in preparation for its sale.
In June we transferred our Charity, Capital and Bernice Douglas Funds from savings type accounts to money market accounts which earn more interest and have check-writing capabilities. We also moved the Woodbury Fund and our operational reserve account to two 18-month CD accounts at a promotional interest rate. In October the meeting approved transferring the balances from the Cox and Bailey Funds into the Charity Account; both of these funds were unrestricted and had been unused for a number of years.
A new hot water heater was purchased for the parsonage in December.
An audit of the operating records shows that this information, as well as bank statements and related documentation, continue to be well-documented, organized and readily accessible for review.
Many thanks go to our treasurer who does an excellent job of managing our financial responsibilities and accounts, a knowledgeable and faithful steward of the meetings finances.
We expressed appreciation for Sarah as auditor.
6. Christian Education/Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the committee did not meet in August. Wendy participated in the Religious Education discussion at NEYM on August 8 and two sessions of the global Quaker Religious Education Collaborative this past weekend (Aug. 14-16) with participants from three continents. It was especially rich to hear from Friends in Bolivia, El Salvador and Kenya.
Wendy will be contacting families to offer various possibilities for connections and spiritual formation for Durham Friends children and youth in the coming year.
Our Durham Friends Game Night August 15 was attended by four valiant Friends and they had a lot of fun. They may offer the Trivia Game at our picnic on August 29. More questions can be submitted for this event!
7. Peace and Social Concerns: Ingrid Chalufour sent a report from the committee. A 5 ´ 3 foot Black Lives Matter banner has been ordered to hang between posts on the horse shed. If you have experience hanging banners and are willing to help, please let Ingrid know.
The Bangor Daily News was the only paper to publish our letter-to-the-editor and they removed the Durham Meeting signature and replaced it with Ingrid’s name. Next time the committee will embed the Meeting name in the text.
They hope that you are all picking out readings on racism and planning to participate in their upcoming discussion series. Topics, dates, and times for the Zoom discussions will be in the next [i.e. this] newsletter.
If you have additional ideas on how we might respond to the “peace & social concerns” of the day, please let them know.
Wendy Schlotterbeck announced that she has racial justice posters available for use.
8. Trustees: Donna Hutchins sent a report. The flooring in the back hall was replaced and the flooring in the front entry was refinished in the meetinghouse. A door was replaced, and posts and doors were painted on the horse shed. They removed pillars and a dead tree at entrance of the cemetery. They are moving a sand pile to the green burial area to make a separate parking area, and designing a new fence. We expressed our appreciation for Donna’s thoughtful work as trustee.
9. We were sad to hear that Andrew Higgins, who does our plowing and mowing, has had a serious accident which crushed and injured his legs. He has had 10 surgeries, and three weeks in the hospital, and all this alone due to the COVID restrictions. He awaits skin graft surgeries. Friends of his family have set up a “Go Fund Me” page for him, with a goal of raising $20,000 to help cover medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. The meeting was asked to make a contribution to the family of $500 to $1,000 from the Charity Fund. The suggestion will be referred to Trustees for consideration, with a recommendation coming back to Meeting for Business in September.
An unusual ending to our meeting occurred when all wished Edwin Hinshaw a happy 86th birthday.
Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk
An Invitation from Peace and Social Concerns
In Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to be an Antiracist, he says, “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equality and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” Join the Peace and Social Concerns Committee in an examination of racist ideas and policies with a goal of moving our thinking and actions toward an antiracist future.
Meet with us on Zoom on the following Tuesdays at 7:00:
September 15 – Where are you in your journey toward antiracism? What are you reading and thinking about? Where do you see, through reading or lived experience, racism in our society and our communities? Have you had new insights into the way systemic racism has played out in our country?
Readings: Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic, June 2014. Nikole Hannah-Jones, What Is Owed, NYTimes, June 26, 2020. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talk). Leonard Pitts, The Appraisal of How Little a Black Life Is Worth Begins at Birth
October 6 – Where do we see change happening? What do you understand about making change happen? Can attitudes and beliefs be changed or is policy the route to change? Does changed policy lead to changed attitudes and beliefs?
October 27 – Where are you feeling called to act? What is your leading at this time? Do you feel complicit? How? What would lead you being more antiracist?
Readings: Catherine Besteman and Joseph N. Jackson, Maine Voices: Want to help remedy racial inequity in Maine? Here are places to start, Portland Press Herald, June 13, 2020. Bill Brown, What Do Quakers Owe Blacks? Tools for Racial Justice, July 2002.
November 17 – Hold the date for a possible follow-up discussion
**Please prepare for the first discussion by reading one or both of the double-starred articles on the list below. Both are available on the Durham Meeting website. We recommend other readings in addition (see list below), particularly Ibram X. Kendi’s book.
- *How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
- The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
- So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
- White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
- The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
- Cast: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
- Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
- The Color of Law, by Richard Rothsein
- Waking Up White, Debby Irving
- The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
- **The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic Monthly 6/2014
- **What is Owed, by Nikole Hannah-Jones in the New York Times Magazine 6/24/2020
- America’s Enduring Cast System, in the New York Times Magazine 7/1/2020
Links to other readings are on the Peace and Social Concerns page of the Durham Friends Meeting website.)
The most recent Friends Journal, August 2020, is organized around the theme “Pastoral Friends,” an unusual topic for Friends Journal. The articles are worth reading. Especially interesting is “Pastoring Without a Pastor,” by Kathleen Costello Malin, about the experience of Smithfield Friends Meeting, which, like Durham Friends Meeting, is part of New England Yearly Meeting. And, like Durham Friends, Smithfield is trying pastoral worship without a pastor. I recommend the whole article. Likely you’ll need a subscription to read it, but here’s a snippet or two:
“We continue to try things to keep our pastoral meeting’s tradition alive. We had several volunteer “pastors” and have also tried to share the duties of presenting messages among our members. We know that we have people who come to our meeting for the programmed worship. They have alternatives that offer sermons and hymns, including a welcoming Old Catholic church that some of our members also attend. Pastoral care for the members of the meeting was certainly the hardest thing to replicate when we tried it on our own. Not everyone is suited to this type of ministry, and the duty usually falls on those most willing to help.
“After our last pastor retired, our Ministry and Counsel Committee met to explore our options. …
“[F]or several years we took turns giving messages from the lectern during our meetings for worship. We would start with a song and follow with sharing our joys and concerns of the week. After some silent worship, the volunteer would give a message, and then after another period of open worship, we ended with a song.
Clarabel Marstaller’s Memorial Service will be held at the meetinghouse and on Zoom on August 8, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. We look forward to celebrating her life and sharing memories with as many people as possible.
As we are still in a pandemic and are limited in how many can physically be present at the meetinghouse, we encourage people to attend by Zoom. If you do want to attend in person, please let Nancy Marstaller at email@example.com or 207 725-4294 know so she can make sure we are following current guidelines. Face masks will be required to enter the meetinghouse and there will be no refreshments after the service.
To join the meeting by Zoom you may log on through the Durham Friends Meeting website: http://www.durhamfriendsmeeting.org/.
- The Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/2814426094
- Phone number: 301-715-8592
You can log on after 1 p.m. on August 8.
The family thanks everyone for all their support.
On Monday mornings from 8:45 am through 9:45 am you are welcome to join us for prayer. The Zoom details are below.
During this period, we experience a corporate attention to God through silence, intercessory prayer, exercises of gratitude and communion with each other. Though we are not tied to a particular order of practice, we include a brief time for greetings, prayer requests, followed by 30 minutes of waiting worship, and close with about 15 minutes of fellowship and final thoughts.
Durham Friends is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
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Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends convened for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 19, 2020, with 19 people present. Clerk, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, opened the meeting by quoting the late John Lewis, member of the United States House of Representatives, and civil-rights leader: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise. Necessary noise.”
1. The June minutes were approved.
2. Representatives to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, which meets July 25 at 10:00 a.m., Joyce Gibson and Sarah Sprogell, were approved.
3. We were saddened to learn of the death of Susan (Sukie) Rice who had been ill for some time. Liana Knight-Thompson, Sarah Sprogell, and Tess Hartford volunteered to write a memorial minute.
4. Trustees: Donna Hutchins sent a report. They have an estimate for the cost of repointing the meetinghouse bricks, and we asked that they obtain a second estimate for comparison. The kitchen has been painted. Window sills have been scraped and painted. Other plans are to refinish the front entry floor and paint the walls; refinish or replace the back hall floor and paint the walls; and paint the horse shed doors and posts. Andy Higgins will be asked to remove some trees too close to buildings, remove dead tree at the parsonage, move sand in Lunt Cemetery to make a parking lot for the green burial area, and fix damage in Lunt Cemetery.
We discussed the usefulness of the phone land line in the meetinghouse in the era of cell phones. Kristna Evans will consult with Katharine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt regarding alternates for a phone connection in the meetinghouse.
5. We approved that KItsie and Kristna will follow up and use their discretion in changing to a less costly phone connection.
6. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee is planning a forum designed to deepen our understanding of the presence of racism in ourselves and our communities. Using readings as a stimulus for conversation, The committee is planning a series of discussions, each with a different focus. There will be more information about this project in the newsletter and again mid-August. The newsletter will have a list of recommended books and articles. In August they will give dates and topics for the discussions, which will begin in September. They hope many will participate in this important exploration.
The committee has also written a Letter to the Editor for local papers. They ask our permission to submit it to Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, and Brunswick newspapers. The letter is as follows:
“Recent events have shed new light on the many ways racism is embedded in our society. While whites benefit from opportunities; people of color find hurdles, doors closed, and all kinds of barriers. Racism exists in health care, education, housing, policing, and voting rights.
We recognize that our silence makes us complicit with injustice and violence. To quote Martin Luther King Jr. Nov. 17, 1957 The Trumpet of Conscience, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” We Quakers are called to better understand our complicity and to end it. We ask ourselves how we have supported racism in our communities, our state, and our country. To find the answers we must listen and learn about the experiences of others – people of color, the poor, the incarcerated, and the Native population of our state. Only with new understanding can we effect the changes we are called to make.
Let us open our hearts and minds to the tragic effects of systemic racism, the loss of generations of black and brown leaders to unjust incarceration and the intractable poverty of the caste system we have allowed to flourish. Let’s let the protestors into our offices and boardrooms, to tell us of their hopes. Attend city/town council meetings to encourage thoughtful responses to the calls for a more just society. With new clarity we can legislate and live our ideals of justice and freedom for ALL Americans.”
The committee also discussed posting a Black Lives Matter sign at the meetinghouse.
7. We approved sending the above letter to various newspapers, signed by the clerk representing Durham Friends Meeting.
8. We approved posting a Black Lives Matter ready-made sign at the meetinghouse. Margaret Wentworth suggested that we read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.
9. Meeting Care Coordinator Search Committee: A positive and interesting all-meeting virtual interview with Mey Hasbrook was held on July 5. Mey is a Quaker from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The committee would like to amend the Meeting Care Coordinator job description to include oversight by a three-person committee. Martha Sheldon, Leslie Manning, and Wendy Schlotterbeck volunteered to serve. To further describe the tasks of the MCC, they will meet with the Communications Committee, Ministry and Counsel, the Clerks group, and others as time allows.
The Treasurer, Katharine Hildebrandt, suggested that the Care Coordinator salary be $10,200 per year.
10. The meeting approved the amendment to the job description, a three person oversight committee consisting of Martha Sheldon, Leslie Manning, and Wendy Schlotterbeck.
11. The meeting approved hiring Mey Hasbrook as Meeting Care Coordinator, to begin as soon as practical arrangements can be made, with a salary of $10,200 per year.
12. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell presented the quarterly financial report which is attached. She reported a total income of $27,696.58, and the total expenses of $17,902. 77 as of June 31, 2020. Our weekly contributions are lower than usual, but we have done well in limiting committee expenses, and there haven’t been any large expenses for the meetinghouse and parsonage.
We spent almost $10,000 from the capital account for improvements in both the meetinghouse and the parsonage; this doesn’t show up in our operating budget. There is a new water heater at the parsonage, a number of plumbing improvements for the meetinghouse kitchen sinks, replaced the water filter system, and painted the meeting room, kitchen, and exterior windows.
13. Ministry and Counsel: Doug Bennett presented a report regarding our method of worshiping as a group.
“Since March 22, Durham Friends Meeting has been conducting worship via Zoom rather than in our Meetinghouse. We have been gratified to see good participation in Meeting during these months of physical isolation from one another.
We know that there are some members of the Meeting who are eager to have us return to the Meetinghouse to worship together. At the same time, we know there are many among us for whom catching the virus could be life threatening — a risk not worth running.
For the foreseeable future we believe the Meeting should continue to worship primarily via Zoom.
At the same time, we have started experimenting with a hybrid form of worship in which we will worship via Zoom and some people will worship in the Meetinghouse using electronic devices to connect to Zoom.
As we move forward, we will let you know when it is possible for some to return to worship in the Meetinghouse and what you should do if and when you do come to the Meetinghouse. Everyone who comes to the Meetinghouse will be asked to wear masks and maintain safe social distance from one another. There will continue to be no shared refreshments.
We are likely to continue holding worship primarily via Zoom until a vaccine or proven anti-viral medicines are developed. All future decisions and formats are dependent on CDC recommendations.
Finding ways to worship together and at the same time ensuring the safety of all of our members continue to be our two guiding stars. We appreciate the assistance New England Yearly Meeting and others have given us as we learn the possibilities and potential pitfalls of such hybrid worship.”
13. We approved this plan for the for-seeable future, and thank Ministry and Counsel for their thoughtful consideration of meeting attendance.
14. Martha Sheldon reported that Leslie Manning, Clerk of the Permanent Board, requests that the meetinghouse be used to view New England Yearly Meeting annual sessions, August 1-9. Appropriate precautions are required. Leslie will host many of these sessions..
15. We approved the use of the meetinghouse for viewing NEYM sessions.
16. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck, Youth Minister, reported that 9 persons enjoyed the Cox Pinnacle hike last Sunday, July 12th. She announced a game night on August 15, at 6:30 via Zoom. Please send her trivia questions. She also reminded us to register for New England Yearly Meeting. Wendy has reported that she is cutting back her hours while the pandemic is ongoing to five hours a week due to the lack of activity, to be reconsidered when social distancing is no longer necessary.
17. Clerk Martha Sheldon reminded us that the Durham Meeting Handbook needs to be updated. Committees are encouraged and requested to update their sections. It was suggested that the Clerks Committee tackle this project. A friendly discussion ensued regarding our need for more Quaker faith and practice education. Resources were suggested.
The meeting ended with a short prayer from Clerk, Martha Sheldon.
Dorothy Hinshaw Recording Clerk
We will be adapting and adjusting as we proceed. It is our hope that this format will allow for more people to be a part of our worshiping community. It is our hope that we can come together to support, encourage and walk with each other in this time of challenge and unknowingness. May the spirit of love and peace be our guide. — From Members of Ministry and Counsel: Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, clerk, Doug Bennett, Renee Cote, Joyce Gibson, Tess Hartford, Brown Lethem, Wendy Schlotterbeck.
From her husband, Lee:
Sukie passed on at noon today. Her last hours–from early this morning forward–went quickly. Even though she was unconscious, or turned deeply inward, during much of that time, there was a determination about those hours, a focus, like that of the long-distance runner who will not stop or be stopped till the finish line is crossed.
Her last days–there have been eighteen of them since she ceased eating and drinking–were punctuated again and again by the surprising and generous idea, the loving suggestion, the gentle imperative, and the general putting in order of virtually all things within her reach (of course, because she’s never hesitated to call upon others to lend a hand, her reach remained very long indeed).
As most of you know, Sukie staunchly believed in the reality of a spiritual world. She did not have a fear of death, perhaps intuiting, as Walt Whitman said,
“All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”
As I sit here writing this, I find myself convinced that some confirmation of that intuition can probably be found in the radiantly peaceful, beautiful expression on the face of her body–which, thanks to Sarah, Pat, and Joan, lies freshly washed, dressed, and at rest now under a purple Kenya cloth in the next room.
But enough. Other than to let you know that the end of her life happened today, I have no more important thing to say than this: She loved you. You enriched her life. She was profoundly grateful for that. And she wouldn’t mind my adding that (as I think some of you may already have been reminded by her) not only will she not miss you, she will be with you, now and in times to come. — Lee
From her friend, Sarah Hyde:
Our dearest Sukie crossed the threshold today [July 17]. She took flight with such beauty and courage!
Now we begin a three-day Vigil in which we honor her passing, her extraordinary life. We welcome you to come and visit her body in her home for the next three days. Our experience in being a part of a vigil is to visit, to come and sit at her kitchen table, laugh, cry, share your stories of Sukie and what you loved about her, Then, if you wish, go and sit with her in Silence, prayer, singing a song she loved, reciting or reading a poem or scripture… .whatever you are moved to do with her for 5-15 minutes. We consider this Vigil a period of time that helps to carry Sukie across the waters to the next world. Someone will be at her home throughout the day- the Chisholm family at night, Pat Chanterelle, Joan Mueller and I will be there during the day from 10 am-7 pm. We welcome anyone who would like to visit with Sukie.
We ask that you please wear masks and dress warmly. Though it is supposed to be quite warm this weekend, we will have the room very cold with an air conditioner to help her body and its 3-day passage. We have made a Google Doc that you can use to sign up for a specific time slot identifying when you would like to visit. Here is the link. Thank you all for your kind words and support of Sukie throughout the past few months. She looks beautiful and peaceful; she’s heading home.
Below is a description written by Lee with regard to a 3-day Vigil- it is beautiful. If you would like more information beyond this click on the link he offers- it is very helpful. Much Love and Reverence for Sukie and this very sacred time together, — Sarah Hyde
The Three-Day Vigil
As many of you have heard, Sukie and I all this winter, spring, and summer have been feeding—and watching—the birds. Just as each species has its own look, flight pattern, song, so too each also has its own way of eating at our bird feeder. My personal favorite is probably the chickadee. Nothing greedy there. The little fellow alights, takes one plump seed, pauses (just for a second), and springs into the air, gleefully victorious, with its prize in its beak.
That may be a helpful image—chickadee version—of a brief time that follows death. Sukie and I believe that, with the last breath, the soul detaches from the body, but it does not simultaneously or instantaneously detach from its life. Indeed, all the people, places, things, and events it has encountered during its life lie before it—or so we have come to believe– in a vast panorama. A panorama, or tableau, that one experiences over the course of approximately three days…and from the fruits of this experience, one takes (makes, shapes, and creates as well, perhaps) a “seed.”
If all this is so (and many a cultural tradition as well as the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who founded among other things the first Waldorf School, say that it is so), these three days are very special. Vigil or no vigil, each of us who knew Sukie—who have brought to her (and I quote her last letter, “great happiness as you have traveled your journey intermingling with mine”—is clearly a part of that retrospective tableau.
And during the vigil—whether you sit for a time in the room where her physical body rests or, from a distance, picture her as you knew her in life, and think of her (or read a poem to her, sing to her, remember something you did together with her, speak to her of what she has meant to you in your life, etc—you help her. You support her. You become as if part of the pole or perch upon which the chickadee pauses, ever so briefly (three days is not a long time where eternity is concerned), before it springs into the light-filled air with that seed in its beak.
For more on the three-day vigil from another’s perspective, check out Nancy Poer’s article from an old issue of Lilipoh, here.
Doug Gwyn (former pastor at Durham Friends and noted Quaker author, came upon the article below, which appeared in The American Friend, October 3, 1929, about a celebration of the centennial of the current Durham Friends Meetinghouse. He sends it along with greetings to all. The Meeting history by Hattie O. Cox, to which reference is made, is here. The Meeting as a worshipping community was founded in 1775.
Falmouth Quarterly Meeting asks: How are we being nourished?
Friends, it’s good to feel nourished, especially in times of heightened concern. Falmouth Quarter intends to meet on Saturday July 25 for fellowship, spiritual nourishment and worship. We will use the Zoom format and gather there from 10 to noon.
We invite each meeting to bring a reflection/meditation to share on what you have discovered in this season of virtual community and bring a query that all can respond to. We are imagining each meeting would share their thoughts and query, followed by worship sharing, repeated six times for all six meetings.
We hope all meetings will feel led to participate in this time to gather, connect, share and worship together as a larger community. Durham Friends who would like to be involved in any way, please reach out to Sarah Sprogell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-5077.
In Peace and Gratitude for our gathered communities, Sarah Sprogell and Fritz Weiss, co-conveners of Falmouth Quarter.
Durham Friends Meeting will hold a game night for children and adults of all ages on Saturday, August 15 at 6:30 pm.
There will be trivia questions!
Durham Friends Meeting will sponsor an outdoor adventure, a short walk together, on Sunday, July 12 at 3pm. Together, we will walk the loop at Cox Pinnacle, a 1.8 mile walk.
All participants will be asked to wear masks to keep one another safer. Everyone, children especially, encouraged to participate.