“First Love,” by Ken Jacobsen, September 18, 2022

Message delivered at Durham Friends Meeting, September 18, 2022

This morning’s message at Durham Friends was given by Ken Jacobsen, a member of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). 

He spoke of First Love, beginning with recollection of the passing of his wife and partner Katherine five and a half years ago.  Out of his grief he found himself led back to his first love – the first love any of us know – the steady love that God has for each and every one of us.

This life, he said, is “a school of love.”

He drew our attention to the teaching about the two great commandments in Mark 12:28-31:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Towards the end, Ken Jacobson brought to our recollection Isaac Penington’s letter that begins “Our life is love.”  Here is the full text of that letter. 

TO FRIENDS IN AMERSHAM                      Aylesbury, 4th of Third Month, 1667

FRIENDS,

Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting. Oh! wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then, ye will be a praise to the Lord; and anything that is, or hath been, or may be, amiss, ye will come over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb’s dominion; and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as life rises and rules in you. So watch your hearts and <487> ways; and watch one over another, in that which is gentle and tender, and knows it can neither preserve itself, nor help another out of the snare; but the Lord must be waited upon, to do this in and for us all. So mind Truth, the service, enjoyment, and possession of it in your hearts; and so to walk, as ye may bring no disgrace upon it, but may be a good savor in the places where ye live, the meek, innocent, tender, righteous life reigning in you, governing over you, and shining through you, in the eyes of all with whom ye converse.

Your Friend in the Truth, and a desirer of your welfare and prosperity therein. — Isaac Penington

“Spiritual Leadership for a Climate-Changed World,” by Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, Executive Director, The BTS Center, August 14, 2022

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 14, 2022

Words of Joanna Macy, on gratitude:

We have received an inestimable gift. To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe — to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it — is a wonder beyond words. It is an extraordinary privilege to be accorded a human life, with self-reflexive consciousness that brings awareness of our own actions and the ability to make choices. It lets us choose to take part in the healing of our world.

Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Yet we so easily take this gift for granted. That is why so many spiritual traditions begin with thanksgiving, to remind us that for all our woes and worries, our existence itself is an unearned benefaction, which we could never of ourselves create.

The great open secret of gratitude is that it is not dependent on external circumstance. It’s like a setting or channel that we can switch to at any moment, no matter what’s going on around us. It helps us connect to our basic right to be here, like the breath does. It’s a stance of the soul… Gratitude is the kernel that can flower into everything we need to know.

Take a few deep breaths and call to mind something for which you are grateful. If you’re comfortable, hold your hands in front of you like this, and imagine that you are holding this thing for which you are grateful. Quite possibly it’s not a tangible thing that you can hold in your hand, but imagine that you are. Hold it, and silently offer your unspoken words of thanks.

Today I’d like to talk with you about spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world.

First I want to let you in on a little secret: When I say “Spiritual leadership,” I’m talking about you. You are a spiritual leader. By virtue of the fact that you are part of this Friends Meeting, striving to embody Quaker values — a commitment to simplicity, a belief in the centrality of silence, openness to truth as it is continually revealed, a genuine desire to seek peace with oneself and others, practices rooted in community, equality, and stewardship (these are some of the things I appreciate about the Quaker tradition!) — by virtue of this, I want to you to hear me say that you are a spiritual leader. Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself that way, but today I boldly proclaim that you are one, or at least you have the potential to be one, and the world needs you to live into the fullness of that identity.

Spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world — do you see what we did there? Climate-changed? Maybe you noticed that we added a little “d” tacked on the end. What happens when we do that? Suddenly that familiar phrase, “climate change,” becomes past tense. No longer can we think of climate change as something off in the future. It’s here and now — and it’s a primary characteristic of the world in which we are living and in which spiritual leaders are called to lead.

So what does spiritual leadership demand of us, in a world where temperatures are rising? Yesterday’s headline read, “The Arctic is heating up nearly four times faster than the whole planet, study finds.” Probably you know that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 96% of the oceans on the planet. In a world where sea levels are rising, causing more frequent flooding that threatens coastal communities, even forcing residents of some low-lying islands to relocate… In a world of more intense hurricanes, unpredictable winter storms, disastrous drought in some places and equally disastrous rainstorms in other places… In a world where devasting wildfires destroy habitats and ravage forests that sequester carbon… In a world where 1 in 7 bird species is at risk of extinction and more than 40% of insect species are in decline, 1/3 of them endangered — and of course, the loss of birds and insects threatens agriculture in significant ways, which has a devastating ripple effect across the food chain… What does spiritual leadership require of us in a climate-changed world?

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s essential, maybe even a little bit liberating, to name the truth — to put it all out there and acknowledge it for what it is. The truth is heavy, but what’s worse than confronting all of this is denying it. Turns out there’s nothing at all hopeful about burying our heads in the sand. Environmental scientist Katharine Hayhoe says she is often asked, “What can I do?” Her response: the most important thing we can do to address the climate crisis is to talk about it.

When I talk about it, I often quote another environmental advocate, Gus Speth:

“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with thirty years of good science we could address these problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

When I hear these words, I get energized. Cultural and spiritual transformation may not be within the purview of scientific community, but it should be within the purview of the faith community! It should be within the purview of the Quaker community! We at The BTS Center are focusing on spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world, because we want to see cultural and spiritual transformation!

The climate crisis is more than just a parts-per-million problem. It’s more than just a fossil fuels problem. It’s more than just a plastics problem, more than just a global warming or greenhouse gas or sea level rise or species extinction problem — these are all symptoms. The underlying crisis is a spiritual crisis — rooted in selfishness, greed, and apathy, expressed in a pernicious cycle of domination, extraction, and consumption. In our extractive capitalist culture, we have been fed the lie that the sole purpose in life is to consume more. To see meaningful change, we need a new vision for what it means to live a good life — a life that is rooted in justice, in equity, in the common good, and not only for ourselves, but also for all living things.

At its roots, the climate crisis is a spiritual crisis, and the solutions need to be grounded in spiritual transformation.

Which is to say, the world needs us to show up in this moment. The world needs you, my Quaker friends: you and your commitment to simplicity, your belief in the centrality of silence, your openness to truth as it is continually revealed, your genuine desire to seek peace with oneself and others, you practices rooted in community, equality, and stewardship — more than ever before, the world needs you and your spiritual leadership. And I know that can be overwhelming, and I know we don’t know where to start, but I want to suggest that it begins by digging ever more deeply into our practice of faith. For a moment, let me return quickly to Joanna Macy.

In her book Active Hope, Joanna Macy offers some important guidance for what she calls the Work that  Reconnects:

• Begin with Gratitude: “When we come from gratitude,” Joanna Macy suggests, “we become more present to the wonder of being alive in this amazing living world, to the many gifts we receive, to the beauty we appreciate.” Especially in a time when so much in our world seems to be spinning out of control — so much loss, so much suffering, so much violence — we need to practice gratitude, and it needs to be daily because yesterday’s gratitude isn’t sufficient for today’s struggles. A regular practice of gratitude helps to build a context of trust and psychological buoyancy that supports us to face difficult realities.

• Honor our pain for the world: When we begin with naming what we love, what we’re grateful for, we quickly become aware of all that is unraveling in our world, and this leads us to feel deep pain — maybe outrage, alarm, grief, guilt, dread, despair — these are all normal and healthy responses to a world in trauma. It’s important to honor these emotions. Joanna Macy writes, “Our pain for the world not only alerts us to danger, but also reveals our profound caring. And this caring derives from our interconnectedness with all life. We need not fear it.”

• See with new eyes: This means widening our vision, taking stock of the resources and communities available to us. In Joanna Macy’s words, “When seeing with new eyes, you know that it isn’t just you facing this. You are just one part of a much larger story, a continuing stream of life on Earth that has flowed for more than three and a half billion years and that has survived five mass extinctions. When you sink into this deeper, stronger flow and experience yourself as part of it, a different set of possibilities emerges.” We begin to see ourselves differently. We begin to see our own power differently. We discover a richer experience of community and a more expansive view of time.

• Go forth: Let go of feeling like this is all on you. Focus on discovering and playing your part, sharing your gifts, offering your best contributions to the healing of the world. Take the next faithful step.

Begin with gratitude. Honor our pain for the world. See with new eyes. Go forth.

In their collection of essays called All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, editors Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson write:

“So where do we go from here? First, we take a breath. It’s a lot. And in some ways, we, humans, were not designed for a crisis this massive and all-encompassing. In other ways, we were made for this moment. What we do now is dream. From a foundation of science and community (note: I would add spiritual practice, as well), we must imagine the future we want to live in, and the future we want to pass on, and every day do something to reel the dream closer to reality.”

This is who we’re called to be, and this is what we’re called to do.

What if you’re not feeling particularly optimistic? Here’s what Joanna Macy says:

“I’m not insisting that we be brimming with hope. It’s okay not to be optimistic. Buddhist teachings say feeling that you have to maintain hope can wear you out. So just be present. The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present. And when you’re worrying about whether you’re hopeful or hopeless or pessimistic or optimistic — who cares? The main thing is that you’re showing up, that you’re here, and that you’re finding ever more capacity to love this world because it will not be healed without that. That is what is going to unleash our intelligence and our ingenuity and our solidarity for the healing of our world.”

May it be so. Amen.




Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 17, 2022

Ellen Bennett — Recording Clerk

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 17, 2022, with 9 people attending from the Meetinghouse and 6 by Zoom.

  1.    Meeting Opening

Meeting members were invited into worship holding Helen Clarkson and her family in the Light. Helen, a longtime and beloved meeting member, passed away July16th.                                                                                           

2.     Approval for Clerk of the Day

Rene Cote shared that Bob Eaton announced he would be stepping down immediately, as Meeting Clerk. M&C recommended that Leslie Manning serve as interim clerk for the meeting, with great appreciation.

               The recommendation was approved.

3.     Approval of Minutes from June 26 — Tess Hartford

In item # 2 of the May minutes, the request was made to delete the sentence beginning with “There followed a discussion.”

       With this correction, the minutes were approved.

New Business

4.    Clerk of the Day asked the Meeting to consider the following New Business item early in the meeting agenda due to the time availability of the requester.

Ellis Noetzel, a young and faithful attender of Meeting, would like to attend Friends Camp. Her family requests support for the cost of attending. This is the only request that the Meeting had this year and the money is available.

               Meeting approved the request.

Reports from Committees

5.     Ministry and Counsel — René Cote

Bob Eaton resigned his position as clerk effective immediately. Approval is not needed for this request. Nominating Committee is aware of the resignation, and Leslie Manning will inform Quarterly Meeting of the changes.

Katherine (Kitsie) Hildebrand requests that the Meeting accept her resignation as a member of Durham MM. M&C recommends the Meeting accept the resignation, with tremendous sadness and regret, as well as deep and abiding gratitude for her many years of service. Kitsie and her family will always be in the Meeting’s thoughts and prayers. There will be a letter from M&C to Kitsie.

       The Meeting approved her request, with sadness.

6.     Finance Committee — Sarah Sprogell

A verbal summary was given. Expenses are significantly lower than budgets due to vacant staff positions, and though weekly contributions are down, the meeting’s financial position is good. Contributions may now be sent to the Finance Committee at the Meeting’s address.

        Heidi Todd has been hired as bookkeeper. She began her work the end of June.

A family contribution has been made covering the full cost of rebuilding the stone pillars at the Lunt Cemetery. The family has historical connections to the Cemetery. In consultation with the new bookkeeper, the finance committee will determine how gifts such as these are recorded. Clerk will work with the Recording Clerk and finance committee to draft an acknowledgment of the gift.

               The Meeting accepted the Finance Committee report.

7.     Trustees Report — Sarah Sprogell

Trustees recommend that the meeting join a solar farm to reduce its electric bill, and would like approval to proceed with exploration of solar farms and eventual sign-up. Friends who are not in attendance at Meeting for Business may submit any questions or comments about joining a solar farm to Trustees, who meet the first Sunday of the month.

Knowing that Trustees will proceed with due diligence and good research, the Meeting approved Trustees request to proceed on the Meeting’s behalf.

8.     Nominating Committee — Mey Hasbrook

The committee reminds Meeting that there will be a meeting in the fall (suggested date, Oct. 30th) to discern the role of Treasurer moving forward.

       The Meeting approved the recommendation for a called meeting in October.

Committee recommends that Mey Hasbrook join the Communications Committee, term to begin in January 2023. Mey asked for early approval so that she may sit in on meetings to determine how she might best fit.

       Meeting approved the nomination.

        Clerk reminds Meeting that we are seeking an auditor for cemetery funds.

9.     Peace and Social Concerns —Ingrid Chalufour

Ingrid summarized the committee report noting particularly: DMM has a presence in the wider Durham community; letter to Brunswick Town Council has been received and is “in the queue,” and the social justice enrichment project in Pownal, Freeport, Auburn and Friends School of Portland is going very well. The meeting expressed its thanks to this diligent group. Clerk recommended that this be shared so as to appear in New England Yearly Meeting’s newsletter.

       Report is accepted with gratitude.

The Meeting was reminded that similar initiative needs to be taken with our US senators with regard to H.R. 6707: Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act. A letter on behalf of DMM, drafted by Clerk with help from Shirley Hager and Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, will be sent to Maine senators. This measure passed the US House with bipartisan support.          

New Business

10.   It is the practice of NEYM to name representatives to their Annual Sessions, who will then report back to each monthly meeting in August or September. Clerk asked if any members would be attending. Responding were Mey Hasbrook, Sarah Sprogell (in discernment),

Portland Friends Meeting is having a special event around the Cuba Trip on July 24. Members are encouraged to attend.

In lieu of Meeting for Business in August, Members suggested a gathering on 8.21, following Meeting for Worship, for sociability and friendship. Kim and Mey and Leslie agreed to help plan the gathering.

    Meeting approved a social gathering on 8.21.

Meeting Closing

Durham Monthly Meeting will hold its next Meeting for Business on 9.18.22. Should it be necessary to conduct business before then, please contact the clerks of M&C.

Margaret Wentworth led all in prayer for closing.

Respectfully submitted, Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Note: Special mention was made that 7.17. 22 is the second anniversary of Sukie Rice’s death. Members paused for a moment of silence in remembrance, and two members spoke personally of her importance to them.

Attachments:

DMM Business Meeting 22.07.17 Agenda

DMM Business Meeting Minutes 22.06.26

DMM Business Meeting Ministry and Counsel Report

DMM Business Meeting Budget

DMM Business Meeting Trustees Report

DMM Business Meeting Nominating Committee Report

DMM Business Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Report

“Membership Matters,” by Doug Bennett, September 11, 2022

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, September 11, 2022

It’s membership that’s on my mind this morning.  It’s on my mind because recently I’ve been asked a few times about how one becomes a member of a Quaker Meeting.  I’m a member of Ministry and Council, the committee of the Meeting that handles membership matters.  

Membership:  Is this a club you’re joining?  Is membership just a matter of affiliation? Like being a member of Rotary, not a member of the Lions or of the Odd Fellows.  Or like being a Phillies fan not a Mets or Yankees fan. 

I wasn’t born into membership.  I’m a convinced Friend, not a birthright Friend.   I grew up in a Presbyterian Church.  I first went to Quaker Meeting in college, and attended fitfully until I made the decision to become a member in my mid-30s.  I remember with some embarrassment how long it took me to write a letter to the Meeting I joined – mostly because I didn’t really know what I believed.  Writing the letter made that all too clear.  They took me in anyway.  (It turned out it didn’t matter so much what I believed.  More on that later.)

I said I grew up in a Presbyterian Church.  My mother and my father had each grown up in a Northern Baptist Church.  They had full body immersion baptism as teenagers, not infant Baptism.  They met at a Northern Baptist college – Bates.  But as a family we went to a Presbyterian Church.  Why?  because it was nearby, because friends went there, and because there wasn’t a Northern Baptist Church easily to be found.  So was this Rotary not Lions, Phillies not Yankees.  I wondered as a kid.  Does it matter?  Why?

Early Quakers didn’t have membership.  They weren’t trying to create another distinct group of Christians with a slightly different set of beliefs.  They wanted to change the way everyone thought about being a Christian.  It was only after a few decades had passed and Quakers were being persecuted that they started having membership – so they could keep track of who needed assistance from other Quakers while they were in jail or didn’t have a job.  

Being a Quaker is an affiliation, I suppose.  This is my religious club; this is my religious clubhouse.  But this isn’t all it is, an affiliation.  A little over a decade ago I was a member of Quaker Meeting in Indiana Yearly Meeting, and we were thrown out.  Not from Quakerism, but from the Yearly Meeting.  It was a rude and unsettling experience.  Why were we thrown out?  Because we had beliefs and practices that welcomed people whatever their sexual orientation.  We didn’t believe homosexuality was a sin.   So we got the heave-ho. 

Does being a Quaker mean having the correct beliefs?  Many Friends recoil from that thought, don’t we?  Part of being a Quaker is not having a creed, not having to ascribe to a formula of beliefs.  It’s something else, something more.  That ‘non-creedalism (no orthodox, insisted-on beliefs) is important to me, and it seems like Indiana Yearly Meeting lost its way on that. 

What does it mean to become a Quaker, a member of a Quaker Church or Quaker Meeting.  It’s not just an affiliation.  It’s more.  To talk about that something more I think we have to think about matters of discipline and commitment, too. 

Let’s start with discipline. I know that can be a worrying, even forbidding term, with its suggestive overtones of punishment. It becomes a warmer word, however, when we think of it as having to do with being a disciple – a student, a follower, a learner. Discipline is a way of discipleship. 

We each need a discipline, I think, because we each need a way to learn about God and what God expects of us. I’m wary of those who believe that knowing God is easy, as if it were something that just happens without our having to make much effort. Perhaps that is so for some people, but I am skeptical. For me, knowing God takes active effort. Making no effort is much more likely to lead me towards inattention and selfish behavior. 

So for me, I need a discipline: a learning strategy, a regular approach to knowing God. I am pretty sure we do not all need the same discipline.  For me, that is a clue to why it is not a bad thing that there are a variety of denominations. Think of each as embodying a distinctive religious discipline. “This is how we work together to know God.”   (Of course, for many denominations, there is also a creed, an orthodoxy.)

For me, waiting worship is a most helpful approach: gathering with others in stillness to seek God.  I know many who find the repetition of the Mass to be especially useful for drawing closer to God.  I know many people who value external sacraments, or who value ‘smells and bells’, or – a lot of other things.  A place to start on a spiritual journey is to know what spiritual discipline is best for you. 

From the British Quaker Ben Pink Dandelion I learned a new word:  orthopraxy.  Quakers, he says, don’t have an orthodoxy; they don’t have a creed.  But they do have a set of distinctive practices especially in worship.  Those distinctive practices, especially waiting worship, are the orthopraxy. 

Discipline opens the door to commitment, and to community   There may be some who can find and settle into a discipline all by themselves – without anyone else.  But that’s not for me, and I imagine would not be for most others.  If I am to settle into deep, waiting worship, I want to gather with others in doing that.  We do it together.  And so it is with most religious disciplines: their practice requires a community to practice them well.  So spiritual discipline requires community, and community requires commitment. 

In seeking such a community, I’m looking for a group of people who will not just be present once, but be present together over time, gathering and regathering.  I’m looking for a group of people who will make a commitment to being together for worship and seeking, and I’ll expect to make a commitment to them, too.  To become a member of a Quaker Meeting is to say, ‘you can count on me as we seek together for God’s will.’ 

How will that commitment be shown?  I can imagine a variety of ways: via regular financial contributions, via service on committees, via volunteering to help in other ways.  But most of all through regular count-upon-it attendance, week in and week out.  Taking part, showing up, being engaged.  In my Quaker meeting it does me good to see familiar faces each week, people I expect to be there and who expect me to be there, too.  We gather strength from one another. 

Also posted on Riverview Friend

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, October 15, 2022

[Updated] Falmouth Quarter will meet on October 15th from 10:00 – 1:30 at Durham Friends Meeting.

We invite you – all of you – to come to share about the abundance you have found in these hard times. 

We are imagining our entire time together as a meeting for worship, with sharing, art, laughter, reading, cider, and business. 

The schedule for our time together is:

10:00 – gather in worship – Singing,  fellowship, perhaps some Juice and coffee and snacks and sharing

10:30 – Brief meeting for business to approve the budget, approve donations for the year, to confirm the dates we will be meeting and to consider what program we might like to bring to the Quarter in January. 

              During the business meeting, those who would rather make cider will be setting up and operating the cider press.  The books that Durham meeting has been donating to pre-schools and early elementary classrooms will be out for reading.

11:00 – We will be making windsocks with an invitation to inscribe the wind socks with messages about where we have felt God moving in our meetings and in our lives.  There will be times of open sharing of these messages.  Each meeting is invited to think about what the meeting will share and inscribe upon their windsock.  Cider making will continue, book reading will continue.

12:30 – Picnic lunch – bring something to share or bring your own.

1:30 –  Wrap up; close worship. Please take your windsocks home to fly them from your porch, or from your meeting house so the wind can spread the messages to the world.

 “We didn’t find what we were looking for, but look at what we found.” (Wendall Berry)

Fall 2022 Meeting for Healing Schedule, Portland Friends Meeting

Fall Meeting for Healing schedule: 7PM on 1st & 3rd Thursdays (mostly)

The Portland Friends will hold its Meeting for Healing this Fall, on Zoom, on 1st and 3rd Thursdays at a slightly different time: 7:00 pm. (For September the Meeting for Healing will be on 2nd and 4th Thursdays.) You are welcome to join worship for part of the time or to worship with us without the Zoom connection. The Divine connects us all.

Fall Meeting for Healing schedule, Thursdays at 7PM

September 8 & 22

October   6 & 20

November  3 & 17

December  1 & 15

If you have any questions or need the Zoom link, please feel free to reach out to

Chris Davis: goblinshark@gmail.com or

Beth Bussiere-Nichols: beth.bussiere@gmail.com

Meeting for Worship for Healing is an old Quaker tradition. Our goal with this meeting is to focus on the physical and spiritual illnesses of the current world. It’s not intended to be the same as a full meeting for worship but instead is meant to be focused on communal prayer. We are often blessed with a time of deep silence. Messages may arise but should be de-centered from our ego.

An invitation to Worship in clamorous times. We are living through a time when we are inundated with words.  We invite you during worship to sink deeply below the political messages, below the personal efforts to put things into words, down to the Silence, down to the Living Waters, down to the Source that connects us all.

All are welcome!

Fall Gathering, Vassalboro & Falmouth Quarterly Meetings, September 10, 2022

Falmouth Quarter is invited to join Vassalboro Quarter at Friends Camp on September 10. The event will be in-person at Friends Camp, 8:30 am – 3:30 or 4pm

Friends Camp address: 729 Lakeview Dr, South China, ME 04358

We are so excited to offer (everything being favorable) the chance to be together in-person at Friends Camp.

Saturday, Sept. 10: In-person
After two years away, we are having a physical gathering.
We encourage Friends to bring someone with them, perhaps someone who has yet to experience gathering at Friends Camp.

Schedule:

8:30-9:00 Gather

9:00-12:00 Shared worship around queries.

12:00-1:00 Lunch: Vassalboro Meeting will bring the main dishes and Friends are asked to bring breads, salads, and desserts. We will be eating outside. All 18 yr olds and younger are free.  All others donate as led. Please let us know several days in advance if young children will attend.

1:00-3:30 or 4:00 Small groups to discuss various areas of concern. Ending with Meeting for Worship.

There are many concerns in the United States and around the world that speak to Friends. One timely effort is “An Urgent Call to the Religious Society of Friends” regarding the threat to our democracy.
Please see the linked information about “The Call” as it will be part of the Saturday program.

“Unless We Know Each Other,” from Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (2013)

All of us in the meeting have needs. Sometimes the need will be for patient understanding, sometimes for practical help, sometimes for challenge and encouragement; but we cannot be aware of each other’s needs unless we know each other. Although we may be busy, we must take time to hear about the absent daughter, the examination result, the worries over a lease renewal, the revelation of an uplifting holiday, the joy of a new love. Every conversation with another Friend, every business meeting, every discussion group, and every meeting for worship can increase our loving and caring and our knowledge of each other.

Loving care is not something that those sound in mind and body “do” for others but a process that binds us together. God has made us loving and the imparting of love to another satisfies something deep within us. It would be a mistake to assume that those with outwardly well-organized lives do not need assistance. Many apparently secure carers live close to despair within themselves. We all have our needs.

Careful listening is fundamental to helping each other; it goes beyond finding out about needs and becomes part of meeting them. Some would say that it is the single most useful thing that we can do. Those churches that have formal confession understand its value, but confession does not have to be formal to bring benefits. Speaking the unspeakable, admitting the shameful, to someone who can be trusted and who will accept you in love as you are, is enormously helpful.

Plain speaking is a longstanding Quaker testimony. It is not only that we hold a witness to the value of truth but also that straightforwardness saves us from many mistakes and much time wasted. On first acquaintance some Quakers can seem rather brusque; without the conventions of flattery and half-truths, we particularly need to make clear the steadfast love we have for one another.

Caring can take many forms. Some help will be beyond the resources of the local meeting, but it should not be beyond our resources to see when it is needed and to see that it is provided. Often it is what we are rather than anything we do which is of help to others. We should be wary of giving advice: a sympathetic ear, whilst a person finds their own way forward, will usually do more lasting good. Some people may not want to be helped, seeing our concern as an intrusion. Great sensitivity is called for.

The adults in a meeting have a shared responsibility for making a reality of our claim that the presence of children and young people is valued and that everybody’s needs and feelings matter. People vary in how comfortable they feel with silent worship; some children, like some adults, take naturally to its disciplines and joys; others have to work at it. Some meetings offer other forms of worship from time to time. In any case it is important that the needs of all age groups are considered when we plan our activities.

Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, Fifth Edition (2013)
reprinted from Extra Extra Western Friend, August 13, 2022

Helen Clarkson, 1925-2022

In loving memory of wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Helen Cornelia Clarkson (Pratt). At the age of 96, on Saturday, July 16, 2022, she passed away peacefully in her beloved home on Flying Point overlooking Casco Bay.

Helen Clakson

She was born on August 21, 1925 in Somerville, MA, the oldest child of Albert Pratt and Marion Cornelia Pratt (Dwelley). The family moved to Brunswick, ME were she graduated from Brunswick High School in 1942. She then attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME were she graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. Helen then continued her studies at Washington State University in 1946 where she met her husband, Vernon Albert Clarkson, on the first day of her arrival. She graduated in 1947 with a Master’s degree in sociology. Vernon and Helen were married on August 2, 1947 at the Friends Meeting House (Quaker) in Durham, ME.

They proceeded to have two sons, Bruce and Robert, and a daughter, Joyce. After teaching for one year at Freeport High School, the couple moved to Corvallis, OR. At first Helen worked as a social worker for the State of Oregon, and then when the family moved to Raleigh, N.C., she became a professor of sociology at both North Carolina State University and Meredith College, a position she held for many years. In 1975, the family moved to Rhinebeck, NY in the scenic Hudson River valley where she became the Dean of Admissions of Dutchess County Community College, a position she especially enjoyed because she was able to assist many adult female students overcome difficult personal hurdles and complete their education.

Upon retirement, Vernon and Helen returned to Maine and built a home on a cherished piece of property her parents had purchased in 1946 on Flying Point in Freeport, ME, the home she occupied thereafter in happiness and contentment. Upon retirement, Helen continued to generously donate her time and energy to many worthwhile causes, including being a valued member for seventy-five years of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and equally important to her, the Durham Friends Meeting, the Friends Women Society, the Freeport Women’s Club, and making countless quilts for ABC Quilts and Project Linus to bring a ray of kindness to disadvantage and suffering children.

Helen was predeceased by her husband Vernon, sister Katherine, and grandson Lee Vernon Clarkson. She is survived by her three children, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Helen had a full and wonderful life, spanning wonderous events in history, and to the very end of this chapter on Earth, was an avid reader, maintained an unforgettable sense of humor, and an unwavering love for her family and friends, past and present.

She will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Condolences and fond memories may be shared at www.stetsonsfuneralhome.com A celebration of a life well lived will occur at noon at the Durham Friends Meeting Hall on August 2, 2022. In lieu of flowers, Helen gratefully requests a donation to Bates College for the Vernon A. and Hellen Pratt Clarkson 1946 Scholarship, mailed to Bates College, Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston ME 04240. Arrangements are under the direction of Stetson’s Funeral Home & Cremation Care 12 Federal St., Brunswick, 725-4341.

Helen Clarkson Memorial Service, August 2 at Noon

Helen Cornelia Clarkson (Pratt), at the age of 96, passed away peacefully in her beloved home on Flying Point overlooking Casco Bay on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

She was born on August 21, 1925 in Somerville, MA, the oldest child of Albert Pratt and Marion Cornelia Pratt (Dwelley). The family became part of the Durham Friends community in 1930 when they moved to Brunswick, ME, where Helen and her sister grew up on a farm on the Lunt Road.

On August 2, at noon, her family is having a celebration of her life at the Durham Friends Meeting. All are invited to attend in person or on zoom. There will be a reception after at the Muddy Rudder in Yarmouth. Please RSVP to her daughter (Joyce) if you plan to join the family at the reception
(joclarkson@icloud.com). 

Helen had a full and wonderful life, spanning wondrous events in history, and to the very end of this chapter on Earth, was an avid reader, maintained an unforgettable sense of humor, and an unwavering love for her family and friends, past and present.

She requested that in lieu of flowers, a donation to Bates College for the Vernon A. and Hellen Pratt Clarkson (’46) Scholarship, mailed to Bates College, Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston ME 04240.

What’s Ahead for the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, July 2022


A small group of FCMPP members (Jim Matlack, Shirley Hager, Diane Oltarzewski, Janet Hough, Ann Dodd-Collins and Wayne Cobb) gathered together on July 8th for lunch and a discussion of future FCMPP activities as well as its processes and structure. It was a cordial, extended, and roaming exchange of views and expectations

We agreed that FCMPP should continue to honor its dual emphases from its founding–both civil liberties/legal rights and Wabanaki (Tribal-state relations) issues. Due to the loss of
certain individuals who were closely informed about criminal/restorative justice issues, as well as the rising concern for Tribal justice in recent years, FCMPP has focused almost exclusively on Wabanaki-related issues in recent years. Important personal relationships have been established with Tribal leaders, and Quakers are recognized as reliable allies in campaigns to extend a fuller measure of sovereignty to the Tribes. Yet future politics in Maine are unpredictable and we may find that our work requires renewed focus on the civil liberties agenda.

As a result of the heightened attention to Wabanaki issues, Shirley has taken primary leadership for FCMPP due to her prior experience with these concerns. She has performed admirably but now feels it is important to share leadership for this work, both for the future of FCMPP and to lessen the burdens of her current role. Diane has also said that she wants to step back for a while after a period of intense political activism with FCMPP.

There is a need for new, more active participants in FCMPP and for fresh potential leaders. No certainties emerged from the long conversation, however the group wondered what issues now reach “faith level” engagement among younger Friends. We proposed to approach a young veteran activist among us to help us discern the way forward, both in terms of issues and how we address them, and also how we attract young Friends to our work. 

It was agreed that FCMPP should continue to work closely with the Episcopal Committee on Indian Relations. A group of socially active Unitarians (MUUSAN) may also prove to be
valuable allies.  These three groups might well join in future meetings with Tribal leaders to avoid duplication of effort and to ease their schedules. 

The New England Yearly Meeting Apology project was discussed.  So far, Shirley has contacted Tribal leaders of all but one of the Tribes in Maine to make sure that they are
aware of the intent of this project and have a chance to express their willingness to receive the Apology. Shirley has shared their feedback with the NEYM Right Relationship Resource Group that is shepherding the Apology and who will be sending official letters to Tribal leaders.

 Looking ahead we expect that a successor bill (or several bills) to L.D. 1626 will emerge in the
Maine legislature. FCMPP will again seek to advance such bill(s)toward passage. New bill numbers will not be released until January. A new Minute/Letter from FCMPP will be
needed to express continued Quaker support for relevant sovereignty legislation.  This should
be drafted and cleared so that both Falmouth and Vassalboro Quarterly Meetings can approve the message in timely fashion.  Jim Matlack and Wayne Cobb volunteered to look at the previous minutes approved by both Quarters, and to suggest updated language that would be relevant to any new legislation being proposed. 

Further efforts should also be made to seek support from Senators King and Collins for a Senate counterpart to H.R. 6707, especially since it is now apparent that Governor Mills has sought to delay consideration of this bill. HR 6707 is the bill introduced by Jared Golden to the House: Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act.

We anticipate a meeting of the whole in late September or early October.

Jim Matlack, Clerk, FCMPP

“Grounding in Love” by Mey Hasbrook, July 17, 2022

James Weldon Johnson, born in 1870 during Reconstruction after the US Civil War, wrote the poem-song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” while his brother put it to music. They did this in commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. James recounts:

The song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.
Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country.

This is how “Lift Every Voice and Sing” became cherished as the Negro or Black National Anthem: young people to young people, teachers to youth; sewing, growing and moving. Martin Luther King, Jr. closes his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” with one of its stanza

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

The speech was MLK Jr.’s last presidential address given to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the African-American civil rights group that still exists and was founded after the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The speech’s timing was just one year before Dr. King’s assassination and a decade after the SCLC began. In the speech, he celebrates gains of the Civil Rights Movement including two monumental Supreme Court rulings.

He equally names the work still required of the Movement: to grow into or move into wholeness. He encourages to embrace “divine dissatisfaction” until this vision of wholeness becomes reality, stating: “that day when nobody will shout, ‘White Power!’ when nobody will shout, ‘Black Power!’ but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.”

He recalls the story of Jesus instructing the tax collector Nicodemus to be born again. So Dr. King says to America that the nation must be born again: “that your whole structure must be changed.” And to move into such deep change, he grounds “divine dissatisfaction” in Love for the work toward wholeness. Love for him is “a strong, demanding love”; and a choice in response to hate and oppression, able to endure even betrayal.

The turbulence of today is like that of 55 years ago when MLK Jr. asked “Where Do We Go From Here?” From our here-and-now, Love still is what sustains the making of the Kin-dom of God – a future sewn, grown, and moving us toward wholeness from our present moment of struggle.

Listening to Spirit and inviting wisdom from ancestors, I am compelled by experience that Love is God and requires me to “sink down to the seed” – a phrase from the First Friends, our faithful ancestors: spiritually-empowered dissidents living through civil war in England and during the Reformation.

The experience of “sinking down to the seed” requires me to draw-down into the Divine Source, also called the Living Waters, in order to draw-up Love. I believe that this is the legacy for the Religious Society of Friends and, thereby, the inheritance of Durham Monthly Meeting as a faith community: to act with confidence that with God all things are possible and that Love is required in the work of wholeness.

Let’s encounter and embody “God’s power and human power”, the kind of power that Dr. King bears witness to: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on.”

So, it is in the name of Christ and Beloved Community, that I invite our embracing the movement of divine dissatisfaction toward wholeness: Where will we go from here? How will we ground ourselves in Love among the wider world and among one another? How will we nurture “a strong, demanding Love” as an enduring choice?

Will we be courageous, examine our hearts, and become willing to risk all? Like Early Friend James Nayler, whose last words were shared as the opening reading for today’s worship. Friend James was tortured as punishment for blasphemy. He made peace with God despite his broken body, and sought reconciliation with his spiritual brother George Fox despite being rebuffed repeatedly.

Will we hear Christ, and follow the call as did Ananias? The Ananias who Jesus called to heal the persecutor Saul, and who Jesus had recently blinded.

I believe that this is the legacy for the Religious Society of Friends and, thereby, the inheritance of Durham Monthly Meeting as a faith community: to act with confidence that with God all things are possible and that Love is required in the work of wholeness.

It is my prayer that we may be grounded in Love. May we sink down to the seed to draw-down to the Divine Source, the Living Waters. May we draw-up an enduring choice to work for wholeness, a work that requires all of ourselves: to heal and receive healing; to repair breaches and reconcile one to another; and to testify to God’s power and human power. Amen.

Sources:

“A Gathered People.” Last words of James Nayler found in Quaker Faith & Practice, 5th edition, Britain Yearly Meeting, Chapter 19.12 <https://qfp.quaker.org.uk/passage/19-12/>

“Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Song and introduction by James Weldon Johnson found on the Poetry Foundation web site, <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46549/lift-every-voice-and-sing>.

“Where Do We Go From Here?” Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. found on the Stanford University web site, <https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/where-do-we-go-here>.

Cuba Trip: Date Change and Travelers Needed!

The dates of our trip to Cuba to visit our sister meeting, Velasco, have had to be changed. The trip will now be in February 2023 and include visiting Cuba Yearly Meeting, which is from February 16 to 20.

There are three Friends from Portland planning to go. Two of our Durham Friends who hoped to travel no longer can, so we are looking for two or three more who want to. Let Nancy Marstaller know if so. Thanks!

Meeting for Healing with Portland Friends, July 21 and August 18

Friends are invited to gather for an experimental hybrid worship this summer. Portland Friends Meeting convenes a recurring Meeting for Healing using Zoom on select Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Durham Friends Meeting House will be open by 7:15 p.m. on July 21 and August 18, for synchronizing via the Owl system.  For questions, contact Mey Hasbrook.

Meeting for Worship for Healing is an old Quaker tradition. Our goal with this meeting is to focus on the physical and spiritual illnesses of the current world. It’s not intended to be the same as a full meeting for worship but instead is meant to be focused on communal prayer. We are often blessed with a time of deep silence.  ~from Portland Friends Meeting

Woman’s Society Hybrid Meeting Minutes, June 20, 2022

Susan Gilbert, Secretary

Present: Dorothy Curtis/President, Susan Gilbert/Secretary, Helen Clarkson, Charlotte Anne Curtis, Renee Cote, Martha Sheldon, Qat Langelier, Kitsie Hildebrandt

Card Ministry: Dorothy began the meeting and asked who should receive cards.

Program and Devotions:

Qat shared their Bible Study Group experience with Adelphi Friends (in Maryland) and read selections from the current issue of Illuminate which covers the Gospel of John. The source of our name is in John 15:15, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Qat recommends the Illuminate series, which is available through barclaypress.com. Dorothy thanked Qat.

Dorothy let us know that Joyce Machaha and Judith Nandikove of Donholm Friends Church of Nairobi Yearly Meeting will not be visiting North American USFWI groups this year, as they did not obtain the necessary grant. They will try again next year.

Treasurer’s Report: Given by Dorothy, as Nancy was not present. Nancy put our investment funds into a 6-month CD, which will mature in December. There is $121.18 in our account. We approved giving donations, $50 each, to MCHPP and USFWI. Dorothy thanked Nancy.

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from the June 16 meeting.

Next Meeting: The Woman’s Society will take July and August off from meeting, but we plan a pot luck picnic on August 15. Dorothy Curtis offered to mask, wear gloves and serve.

Prayers: A Friend was suggested. Margaret Wentworth requested that we pray for the head of the Ramallah Friends School in Palestine, Rania Maayah.

Tedford Meal: Team B will prepare July’s meal, Team C, August, Team D, September. Charlotte Ann offered to help with calling.

Other Business:

Martha is coming to the U.S. for three weeks this summer, August 2-23.  

Betsy Muench invited Durham Friends to her cottage for the past weekend. Qat shared Betsy’s view with us. We saw Seguin, Pond Isle, and two light houses. Popham Beach is nearby.

Gratitude was expressed as Dorothy ended the meeting.

“The Quaker Testimony of Community,” by C. Wess Daniels

Sometimes “Community” is lifted up as a testimony within the Quaker world. I can see why. Our emphasis on group decision-making, communion in the form of waiting worship where Christ is present in our midst, and our belief that testimony is our public expression of our communal encounter of our faith in Christ are all examples.These are the results of processes and practices that rely on a strong foundation of community, but the work involved in creating that strong sense of community is much harder to come by. This may come as a shock to some of you but my story of community among Quakers has been very up and down over the past 21 years of identifying as a Quaker. Mine has been a story of trying to belong and understand what it means to belong. There have been times when some Friends in some places have not been so welcoming [some going so far as to try to get me to leave]. But there have also been Friends in many places who have welcomed me even when I didn’t always fit into their categories.But those are longer stories to be shared another time. The point is: Just because we say we have a testimony of community does not automatically mean community and belonging exist.

Belonging to a Friends meeting and being a Quaker are identities in parallel: I am a Quaker because of my own convictions and understanding of who God is & I seek to belong to a local expressions of that larger and much older tradition. Sometimes my commitment to one impacts my commitment to the other and vice versa, but they are not always in sync.

What helps with creating belonging in our local expressions of the Quaker tradition? Here are three quick ideas:

1. We need to have a strong centerInstead of being focused on protecting external boundaries of community (what belief, or identity, or practice is acceptable), we commit to a deep knowing and understanding of the center of our tradition. For me that is a deep commitment to the liberating Jesus who is present in our midst and who stands in solidarity with the poor and all those on the margins. Being clear about our center – whatever that is – allows us to invite people into something. It recognizes that we cannot be all things to all people but we can be this specific expression of community to those who want to be a part of that. I don’t just want to belong. I want to belong to something. 

2. We need to make practices and beliefs explicitAs new people show up they need be helped to know what is going on, what is believed, and how to get engaged. We should have structures, practices, and liturgies that assume from the outset that people who have no prior understanding of the Quaker tradition will be in our midst. There should be no mystery to who we are and what we do. We have a lot of implicit theology and practice that can feel exclusive if you’ve never experienced any of it before. I have heard people say this quote far too often, “Quakerism cannot be taught, only caught.” That is terrible theology and points to a culture of secrecy that will not only keep people from belonging, but it will also slowly kill off discipleship within our communities. Quakerism must be taught, re-interpreted, and re-taught again. 

3. We need to build weak links with each other That low threshold moments of community can build lasting links to one another. It’s one thing to show up to an important business meeting, but if we don’t know each other, have never shared a meal, don’t know each other’s fears, joys, kids names, it is almost impossible to do the hard work of discernment together well. The baseball game we went to as a meeting last night is an example of building weak links. So are potlucks and bonfires. Things where we get together for fun, the stakes are low, and the goal is to build connections. The more inputs we have with these opportunities, the more we can invite various people in, the more we do the mundane work of building belonging.We don’t need to be big productions and we don’t need permission to do this: all it takes is an invitation to share a meal, a cup of coffee or tea, a walk, a podcast, or a project together. We can all be build weak links right now.

I think we always need this kind of work, but we need it especially right now when the world feels so dangerous and inhospitable. We need to re-introduce ourselves to community and to one another.Quakers have to work just like everyone else to build community and a sense of belonging. I believe we can do this by being clear about who we are and what we’re up to (our center), about onboarding people into our tradition (making thing explicit), and by making the effort to be lower-f friends with each other (building those weak links with each other).

by Wess Daniels, Greensboro, NC (Haw River Watershed)

Durham Friends Meeting Minutes (Draft), June 26, 2022

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 26, 2022 with 8 people present in the Meetinghouse and 7 joining in through Zoom. Bob Eaton opened the meeting with a moment of silent centering and preparation.

1) Review of Agenda — Bob Eaton

      Clerk began with a review of the agenda.. Clerk asked Tess Hartford if she would take the minutes in Ellen Bennett’s absence. Tess obliged.

Items that require approval and/or seasoning

2) Approval of Minutes of May 2022—-Ellen Bennett

      Bob Eaton asked if there were any changes, additions or corrections to be made on the May Minutes. Nancy Marstaller spoke to the report from the ad hoc committee formed to work on safety guidelines for the safe attendance of in person Meeting for Worship in the Meetinghouse, noting that her participation on said committee would no longer continue.There folljowed a discussion with other members about how to proceed when the ad hoc committee was laid down. Meeting accepted this addition with great thanks to those who worked on these guidelines along with Nancy, Ingrid Chalufour and Ann Ruthsdottir. This change was noted and the minutes approved.

3) Ministry and Counsel Committee Report—- Tess Hartford and Renee Cote

     On May 23, Monthly Meeting approved updated COVID guidelines that removed the vaccination requirement for in-person attendance. Because the COVID rates and recommendations continue to change, Ministry and Counsel will continue to put safe practices on its agenda and to monitor the situation with the COVID virus. As there was no laying down of the COVID guideline committee during that Monthly Meeting, M7C requests that the committee be laid down if its work has ended, with many thanks for all its work in this area

Ministry & Counsel continues its prayerful consideration of the issues that have arisen regarding the current and former trustees and is reviewing the ways that other Meetings have developed to address conflict resolution within the Meeting.

We happily recognize three recent graduates: Ariana Andrews, granddaughter of Tess Hartford, from Brunswick High School. Ariana will be attending Southern Maine Community College in the fall. Qat L’Angelier received a Master’s degree in Peace and Reconciliation Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Maine: and Joey Reed, son of Angie and David Reed received his Master’s degree in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of Maine. Graduates received cards.

3) Finance Committee Report—— Nancy Marstaller

   1   We have found an excellent person we want to hire as a bookkeeper. Her references were all rave reviews and she is very comfortable with our current system and ready to start. Her name isHeidi Todd and she lives in Freeport. She charges $30 per hour and anticipates that once she gets started it will take her 2-3 hours per month to do the work. Although we heard an endorsement from the last monthly meeting to hire a bookkeeper, the minutes did not reflect this so we ask for specific approval now. Approved

We also ask for approval to amend the budget to add a line for a bookkeeper under Meeting expenses with$600.00 for the remainder of the year.  Approved

   2. We recommend an additional donation of $500 to New England Yearly Meeting of Friends to support sessions this year, as they are allowing children and youth to come without charge.  This would come from our general account. Approved

If anyone is interested is interested in how we are currently sharing treasury responsibilities, please speak to one of us on Finance. Reimbursement procedures for committees and individuals have not changed. Please still used the forms provided.

Report of the Trustees for Business Meeting– –Clerk, Sarah Sprogell, members Doug Bennett and Dan Henton, custodian, Kim Bolshaw ex officio

  1. The electrical panel upgrade was completed on May 31st by LIncoln Electric. The panel was upgraded from 100 to 200 amps in order to accommodate our new heat pumps.
  2. Three heat pumps were installed on June 13 by Northeast Heat Pumps. Two are in the meeting room and one is in the basement. These are in addition to the existing hear pump in the vestry.
  3. We will likely schedule the removal of the old furnaces in late summer or early fall, to take advantage of funds currently held in a CD, that matures in September.
  4. In May the monthly meeting asked Trustees to look into recommended fees for use of the meetinghouse by non-members. Earlier handbooks have included a suggested donation of $100.00 for a one-time use of the building and/or grounds. We will continue to use this guideline for now.

         The report from Trustees was accepted.

                                    Audit for Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

                                              Years 2020 and 2021

Looking back at these two years, it should be noted that for most of 2020 and all of 2021 the meetinghouse was not used for regular worship of for most other gatherings due to the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. In spite of this unprecedented world-wide event, the meeting hired a Meeting Care Coordinator who served for much of this time, helping to facilitate speakers, provide a number of on-line gatherings and assist with other outreach projects. With the building mostly unused, meeting Trustees carried out a number of significant improvements ranging from painting the meeting room, nursery, and kitchen, removing carpeting at the entrance hallways and renewing the flooring in those areas, and repointing much of the building exterior . Perhaps most significant during this time period was the sale of the Parsonage in September 2021.

An audit of the operating records found that this information, as well as bank statements and related documentation continue to be well documented, organized and readily accessible for review. In addition to a checking account for the Meeting’s operational budget, our Treasurer also oversees and manages our capital and charity accounts. These accounts are used periodically, with the approval of the business meeting, and are documented with invoices and meeting minutes as needed. The Treasurer also oversees three investment accounts held through the New England Yearly Meeting, two of which provide quarterly distributions to the operating account. Finally, there is a locally held CD account and a savings account that the meeting has drawn upon in unique circumstances.

Our Treasurer, Katherine Hildebrandt, has worked faithfully and skillfully for many years in this role. Her knowledge and abilities in keeping our records organized and current has been an enormous gift to the meeting. She deserves our deep and heartfelt gratitude.

Respectfully submitted, Sarah Sprogell, Meeting auditor

Meeting accepted the Audit Report with gratitude

Member Concern

A member spoke to all those assembled expressing hurt and dismay regarding the alleged improper behavior of the Trustees and their decisions as an appointed and lawful instrument of the Meeting charged with the responsibility of caring for the Meetinghouse physical maintenance and improvements, upkeep of the grounds and also our cemeteries. The clerk responded with a request for silently and earnestly taking in the sentiments expressed. We acknowledge that we are in a tender period of time within our Meeting community and that healing our brokenness will not come quickly, but will require ongoing faithfulness, prayerful dialogue and open heartedness to walk alongside each other, bearing this together with God’s help and grace.

Advance Reports and other materials can be found here.

Agenda 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Audit Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Draft Minutes 22 05 22-23 DMM Business Mtg
Finance Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Ministry and Counsel Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Trustees Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg

Land Acknowledgement Program via Pendle Hill, August 9 and 11

Peace and Social Concerns Committee calls attention to this coming program at Pendle Hill:

To register, click here

Living on what was another peoples’ homeland through their coerced removal carries with it a generational responsibility to recognize and honor their history and their legitimate claim to places where we live. Recognizing that preparing a land acknowledgment is a first step towards creating right relationship with the land and its native peoples, we will review:

  • the Euro-colonial principles and means used to take Turtle Island from its original inhabitants;
  • sources for identifying accurate local native history;
  • ways to correctly identify and contact culturally affiliated tribes; and
  • current land-return movements in the United States.

We undertake this review centering the ultimate goals of writing land acknowledgments, including relationship building, identifying and restoring erased history of local sites, and returning land to native peoples.

"Land Acknowledgement," a two-part webinar presented by tom kunesh

To enhance your experience of the webinars, consider consulting the following resources:

1961 – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

1986 – Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. Some excerpts can be found here: africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=5770.0;wap2

2009 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The danger of a single storyyoutube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg (19 minutes)

2012 - Tuck & Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor”: clas.osu.edu/sites/clas.osu.edu/files/Tuck%20and%20Yang%202012%20Decolonization%20is%20not%20a%20metaphor.pdf

2018 - Liz Nicholson, “Quakers are Colonizers”: quakervoluntaryservice.org/quakers-are-colonizers/

2019 Decolonizing Quakers – Seeking Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples: decolonizingquakers.org

The resource list from Summer 2020: https://pendlehill.org/fall-conference-2020/working-towards-right-relationship-resources/

Leader(s)

tom kunesh and twelve siblings were born to a Standing Rock lakota tribal member mom and a white lawyer dad, and grew up good-and-catholic in Minnesota on what had been dakota & anishinaabe contested land. He joined the Navy for adventure and the GI Bill, became a linguist, served in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and Spain, and studied religion. He works today at being a dad, protecting and educating about indigenous sites in Tennessee, attends Nashville Friends Meeting, and hangs out at the intersection of religion, decolonization, atheism, and quiet.

For more information, click here.

Falmouth Quarter Summer Gathering, July 16, 2022

Falmouth Quarter will gather on July 16th (the third Saturday in July) at Ed and Dot Hinshaw’s Camp at Labrador Pond in Sumner! The summer gathering is a time for celebrating our community, and catching up on all that has been happening in our meetings and our lives this year.  This will be an outdoors, in-person, no zoom party.

The camp has a beach, some kayaks, & space to play. Friends are invited to come from 10:00 – 4:00.  We will gather for a whole community worship at 11:00 followed by a brown bag lunch. there are things to do for the Young Friends, and for families and children. 

All are welcome! We would like a rough idea who will be there; please let us know if you plan to come.  Or just come.

Rain date is Sunday, July 17.

“Rise Up Singing” Authors Coming to Brunswick, July 9, 2022

There will be a Sing-Along Concert with Quaker folk singers Annie Patterson and Peter Blood on Saturday, July 9* from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Growing to Give in Brunswick**.

Address: Growing to Give Farm, 30 Coxon Road, Brunswick, ME

It’s a fundraiser to help grow food for people in need. Advance tickets are required.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Individuals, 18 and below in age, are FREE.

Visit https://growingtogive.farm/ for details more information about the farm and to see the poster for this event.  Hope to see you there! – Craig Freshley

*Rain date is July 10.

Woman’s Society Hybrid Meeting Minutes, May 16, 2022

By Susan Gilbert, Secretary

Present: Dorothy Curtis/President, Nancy Marstaller/Treasurer, Susan Gilbert/Secretary, Helen Clarkson, Charlotte Anne Curtis, Martha Sheldon, Kim Bolshaw, Qat Langelier, Marion Baker

Cards: We chose people to send cards to, and decided to no longer name them in the meeting notes.

Devotions and Program: The Bluprints program by Nancy McCormick ‘’Resting In His Shadow’’ was read by Kim. Scripture – Psalm 91:1 – 2, Hymn – ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’’. Nancy and Mike McCormick and their ministry teams have made several trips to Belize City Friends Center, assisting with maintenance of buildings and grounds, helping the teachers as needed, and holding an after school program for Friends School students as well as local children.  Nancy described this service as an exchange of care and learning between the visiting Friends and the local community. We sang ‘’Great is Thy Faithfulness’’. 

Next Meeting: The next WS meeting will be brought by Helen on June 20 – ‘‘Strength and Courage From the Lord’’. Dorothy asked if we might take August 15 off and we decided to have a picnic gathering that day instead of a meeting. 

Minutes: Susan read the meeting notes from April 18.

Treasurer’s Report: Nancy said we had a $5 donation. After $31.88 was spent on books, we have a balance of $51.18. We have a CD invested for expenses to send Dorothy Curtis to Kabarak, Kenya to attend the 2023 USFWS International Triennial. Nancy will investigate rates and times – possibly 6 or 9 months – to reinvest.

Prayers: Prayers were asked for individuals.

Tedford Meal: June’s meal will be prepared by Kitsie’s Team A.

Other Business: Nancy has designed a decorative quilt as a gift to bring to Velasco, Cuba, on the trip there at the end of September. She asked if anyone wanted to make a square by August 15. Marion suggested a depiction of Durham Meeting House in the center. Fabric paint or embroidery are possibilities for our designs.

Marian said the NE Region of USFWI would have an update on the upcoming International Triennial, with info on what’s happening locally.  A grant has been finished to bring Joyce Machaha and Judith Nandikove of Donholm Friends Church,   Nairobi Yearly Meeting to visit women in New York, New England and Quebec ’ and possibly Western Region USFWI Woman’s Society groups. The Meeting House in Donholm holds 1500 to 2000 people and has programmed meetings. Joyce may be available to attend our August 15 gathering.

Dorothy ended the meeting with a quote from Helen Keller, ‘’The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched but must be felt by the heart’’.

Respectfully Submitted, Susan Gilbert