We have found comfort in the metaphor of the potluck. Each of us brings what we are able, and we gather joyfully to share the bounty. It does not matter if we have little or nothing to bring, there is always enough. And being with each other, in light and laughter while giving thanks, is our deepest blessing. We are grateful. (From our State of the Society 2011)
The usual order of our worship service is:
- 10:25 Open Hymn Sing
- ~10:35 Call to worship, sharing of joys and concerns, requests for prayer
- ~10:45 Youth Storytime (afterwards, children may leave for Sunday School)
- Message Giver speaks when moved
- Unprogrammed Worship (people speak as moved)
- ~11:30 Call for Offering
- Announcements and introduction of visitors
- Final Hymn
Meeting is usually closed by handshakes, led by people on facing bench. After meeting please stay to enjoy refreshments with us and sign our guest book. At present (2011), because of COVID-19, we are worshipping via Zoom.
How We Do Things at Durham Friends Meeting
Durham Friends Meeting meets every Sunday for worship lasting about an hour followed by a social hour with refreshments. It begins at 10:25 am. This weekly worship is the heart of all that we do. And Durham Friends Meeting does a great deal more. Here’s an overview of how we do various things.
Meeting members and attenders meet once a month to conduct business. We do this using Quaker business practice in which we search together for unity without taking votes. You can find a good overview of this in New England Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice. (Durham Friends Meeting is a member Meeting of NEYM. Faith and Practice is the document that tells us how we do things like approve new members, perform marriages, conduct memorial services and the like.)
The monthly meeting for business takes place on the 3d Sunday of each Month following the social hour. A clerk (Quakerese for a chairperson) conducts the meeting and is assisted by a recording clerk who keeps the minutes. Most of what the business meeting considers comes forward in reports from various committees.
When the business meeting agrees on a course of action, we agree together on a wording that states what we have agreed to. These statements are the heart of the minutes, and we leave the meeting knowing what we have agreed together to do. The minutes also contain brief summaries of committee reports and of what we discuss at business meeting.
Today the Meeting has about nine standing committees. Descriptions of what the various committees do can be found in the Meeting Handbook. Members of these committees are proposed by a Nominating Committee and approved by the monthly business meeting, usually in January each year. We encourage everyone connected to the Meeting to serve on a committee. A list of committee members is here. Most committees have a regular time that they meet once a month.
A Communications Committee puts together Newsletter, Best of Friends, which goes out once a month, usually at the very end of one month to cover activities for the month head. Material to be submitted for the Newsletter should be in the hands of the editor by the Wednesday following business meeting (3d Sunday of the month).
The Meeting also has a Website that posts all of the information in the Newsletter. The website also includes messages that have been delivered on some Sunday mornings, committee reports and a good deal of additional information.
- Clerk Martha Hinshaw Sheldon
- Recording Clerk Dorothy Hinshaw
- Newsletter editor Liana Thompson Knight
- Website editor Doug Bennett