Quakers Opposing Zinc Mine near Katahdin; Rally in Bangor October 23

From Shirley Hagar and the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy (FCMPP):

Andy Burt will be giving testimony at this hearing in Bangor on Monday, October 23 opposing the Pickett Mine on behalf of FCMPP and in solidarity with the Penobscot Nation and Houlton Band of Maliseets.

She notes opposition from the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) and adds: I’m hoping we can alert Friends to the importance of the hearing in Bangor where I’ll give our FCMPP testimony. There are links for folks to sign up and more info. NRCM will be offering vans from Portland, Brunswick and Augusta (buses if required) and pizza at the Cross Center for the rally. I have permission to table and pass out info on Q6 at the rally. 

Apparently Wolfden has put together a strong legal team but lawyers for NRCM, the Penobscots and the Maliseets look forward to the cross examination. Very important to have a large showing of community opposition. 

Be great if quarterly meetings could get the word out. NRCM is the hub organizing the rally.

Below are two documents: 1) the flyer announcing the hearing and rally on October 23, which includes a link to sign up, and 2) a fact sheet on the proposed mine. The Wolfden company has been turned down once by the Land Use Planning Commission and now they are back, but NRCM believes that their proposal is no better and contains empty promises.

This is it. This is our chance to tell decision-makers that mining in the Katahdin region is not worth the risk. 

The Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) has scheduled an October 23rd public hearing in Bangor for the zinc mining proposal at Pickett Mountain. Join us for a rally before the hearing to send the message that this is the WRONG mine in the WRONG place by the WRONG company. Bangor Rally & Hearing: The Katahdin Region is No Place for a Mine 
Monday, October 23 
Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main Street, Bangor 
Rally starts at 5:15 p.m. 
Hearing starts at 6:30 p.m. 
Sign Up
This is our best chance to demonstrate the overwhelming public opposition to a mine in the Katahdin region. We know the company, Wolfden Resources, will be there and will bring its supporters to try to tip the balance in its favor.  Join us for a rally and pizza at 5:15 p.m. before the public comment session begins to hear from speakers and to show your opposition. Then at the public comment session, you’ll have an opportunity to speak to the LUPC in person and share why you oppose this mining proposal.  Find more information to prepare your comments on our website — we’re happy to help you with talking points if needed.   This new hearing date in Bangor was scheduled after more than 50 Maine legislators sent a letter urging the LUPC to make the hearings more accessible. This dangerous mining proposal is important to Mainers far outside the immediate region where the mine would be located — and we need to show that to the LUPC. I hope you’ll join us on October 23rd. Sign up here!Sincerely,  
Melanie Sturm
NRCM Forests & Wildlife Director
P.S. If you can’t attend the hearing, you can submit a written comment opposing the mine to the LUPC using our action alert.
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“Walking Together,” by Elder Albert D. Marshall and Louise Zimanyi, Illustrations by Emily Kewageshig 

At Durham Friends Meeting on October 8, 2023, Ingrid Chalufour read Walking Together, a book the Meeting is distributing to teachers participating in our Social Justice Project. The book tells of the blessings that come from “walking together in a good way.”

ELDER DR. ALBERT D. MARSHALL is from the Moose Clan of the Mi’kmaw Nation, Eskasoni First Nation in Unama’ki-Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A fluent speaker of Mi’kmaw, he has brought forth the concept of Etuaptmumk / Two-Eyed Seeing which honors the strengths of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing for the benefit of all.

LOUISE ZIMANYI, who is of French-Canadian and Hungarian descent, lives as a guest in Tkaronto/Toronto, Treaty 13 territory. As a professor and researcher, she is co-learning from and with the Land and wise teachers, co-transforming early childhood pedagogy and practice.

EMILY KEWAGESHIG is an Anishnaabe artist and visual storyteller whose work captures the interconnection of life forms using both traditional and contemporary materials and methods. She creates artwork that highlights Indigenous knowledge and culture. Emily is from Saugeen First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Woman’s Society Meeting Minutes, September 18, 2023

Monday 9.18.2023, via Zoom

Present: Dorothy Curtis, President, Nancy Marstaller, Treasurer, Susan Gilbert, Secretary, Kim Bolshaw, Qat Langelier

Cards: Kim will send cards to Friends.

Program and Devotions: Dorothy Curtis talked about her trip to Kenya, Africa where she attended the United Society of Friends Woman’s International Triennial and went on a Safari. She began by thanking the Woman’s Society for our support and her shared her appreciation for support from the Masons. Dorothy traveled alone, and was grateful for NH Friend Marian Baker’s advice and assistance. Marion has extensive experience with travel to Africa, Kenyan Quaker Meetings and USWFI. Sunday Meetings Dorothy attended included a sermon, drumming, singing, and prayer. A prayer day at the meeting House in Nakuru included many children. The Triennal conference was held at the Kabarak University in Nakuru, over several days, with the theme ‘’Come, Abide, Go’’. The children attended one evening and sang for everyone. Dorothy discovered that the sense of time in Africa is not like ours, and Qat recommended the article, “Culture-Based Negotiation Styles,” which describes monochronic and polychronic time, found at https://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/culture_negotiation. On Safari, Dorothy saw a lion pride eating a zebra, monkeys, baboons, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, water buffalo, hippos and alligators. She appreciated the elephant preserve where care is given to the injured and orphaned elephants, and also saw an orphaned baby rhino. Dorothy shopped in Nakuru for African made fabric, and found the designs all very large, so will alter her quilt designs to accommodate the bold size. The next USWFI Triennial will be in Indiana in 2027. Occasionally, the gap between USWFI Triennial meetings is 4 years.

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from our 6.19.2023 meeting. Next meeting will be October 16 at 7 PM.

Treasurer’s Report: Nancy reported that the $1146. proceeds from the plant sale was sent to the USWFI Children and Youth Fund. Thanks were given to Kim and others who helped make the sale a big success. Ongoing, Dorothy Curtis’s jams earned $290. The silent auction earned $453.50 at the time of this report, with a bit more expected. The $790.50 will be rounded to $800. and sent to LACO Food Pantry in honor of Margaret Wentworth. There has been a donation in honor of Kitsie Hildebrandt, and we will think over and decide in October what to support with it.

Prayers: We hold Friends in our hearts.

Tedford Meal: In July, Nancy’s Team B brought grilled burgers and chicken salad. In August, Sarah Sprogell’s Team C brought hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, water melon and cookies, and September, Dorothy Curtis’s Team D brought hot dogs, corn, potato chips, ice cream and cookies. Food and donations for Tedford House meals are welcome. 

Other Business: Nancy will order the new USFWI Blueprints program study book for those who want one. WS Membership dues are now $10. yearly. The Woman’s Society August 21 potluck was attended by 12 people. Marian Baker is trying to arrange  a USWFI Northeast  meeting in October. Qat is exploring the issue of dietary-restricted food insecurity for people in Lewiston/Auburn.

Next Meeting:  October 16 at 7 PM. Dorothy will try to arrange a hybrid meeting that day.

Dorothy ended the meeting with a poem:

The Gift of Friends

God knew we needed something more

Than budding earth and sunlit sky,

And so he sent us friends to love,

To lift our hearts and spirits high;

God chose to teach Love’s wondrous art,

Of comfort, cheer that never ends

By giving to the thankful heart

The dear, good gift of faithful friends.

— Author Unknown

Respectfully Submitted, Susan Gilbert

Durham Meeting Contemplative Prayer Group

[Updated October, 2023] On Monday mornings from 8:30am through 9:00am you are welcome to join us for prayer.  The Zoom details are below. Come a little early to greet, gather, and share prayer requests.

During this period of prayer, 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.

Join us!

Durham Friends is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2814426094

Passcode: ask if you don’t know it: dougb AT earlham DOT edu

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 281 442 6094
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbozXBQ0OI

“Travelling in Palestine and Israel: Listening to the ‘Living Stories'” at Brunswick Meeting, October 15, 2023, Noon

Earlier this year Petra Doan and Liz Kamphausen Doan joined a Friends Council on Education study trip to Palestine and Israel. They shared their experiences with MidCoast meeting earlier this summer, but Brunswick Friends have invited them to share  again in Brunswick for anyone interested.

After meeting (which begins at 10:00 in the Morrell Meeting Room of Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick) we will provide soup and invite any attenders to bring a small lunch item to share. The presentation is expected to begin at approximately noon. 

Note: this conflicts with Meeting for Worship for Business at Durham Friends Meeting

Draft Introduction for NEYM Faith and Practice — Comments Encouraged

From the Faith and Practice Revision Committee to the Clerks of NEYM’s monthly meetings:

This August the F&P Revision Committee brought a draft Introduction to Sessions for the Yearly Meeting to consider. Attached is the Draft Introduction and a Cover Letter asking meetings to consider the text and to send responses to the Revision Committee by March 1, 2024.

Any questions should be addressed to fandp@neym.org.

“Pause and Be Still (PBS),” by Lisa Steele-Maley

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, September 24, 2023

Psalm 46 verse 10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

This morning, I’d like to spend a little time celebrating PBS – not Public Broadcasting Service but the invitation to Pause and Be Still. Like Public Broadcasting Service, Pause and Be Still (this morning’s PBS)  is free and available to all. Tuning into PBS offers access to the most important stories of any day. It is here whether you use it or not. There will never be a pledge drive.

When I truly settle into a moment to pause and be still, the chatter in my mind quiets and the seeking in my heart rests. I sense a clearing opening; I have made myself ready to be more fully present to God in that moment. I have taken a step toward the divine and the divine has sensed my readiness and stepped closer to me. In the stillness, we may dance or cry or laugh or embrace. There is awe. In the stillness, we know each other and are known by each other. And I am reminded that the divine is always here, in me and around me. I just need to pause and be still to remember.

This summer, I began paying close attention to invitations to Pause and Be Still and I have found my connection to the life of Spirit within me deepening and stretching. Granted, my practice of paying attention and embracing invitations to pause was likely supported by the fecundity of the summer season, but even that was a bonus, not the doorway. The doorway is this intention to pay attention to the invitations to PBS.

The doorway has stayed wide open as we enter this season of transition and all the fullness that it holds. The fall equinox invites us to let go of all that summer abundance and to prepare to receive in the fullness of the emptiness of the darker months. Each releasing and receiving is an invitation to pause and be still.

My curiosity about PBS began on the acupuncture table. I have been receiving acupuncture for over a decade and, each time, after I have been poked full of needles, the practitioner asks “music or silence?”. I don’t even have to think about it. Silence is the obvious answer. An hour of silence sounds like heaven ~ but of course it is not silent. As soon as she leaves the room, I hear her receding footsteps, the bird song, the tumble of the dryer downstairs, the neighbor’s car door opening and closing…Laying there immobilized, I tune in to my surroundings. Arriving more fully in the moment, I become aware of the temperature in the room, the heat on my feet, the gentle breeze from the window. The thoughts that have been occupying my mind fall away. A silence of sorts arrives in my being.

Finally after one appointment, I realized that it is not external silence that I am choosing, it is inner silence. Her question “music or silence?” is an invitation that my body has come to recognize as an invitation to pause and be still. PBS.

You may have recognized a similar process of arrival as you settle into Meeting each week.

“Thomas Merton advised, “May we not neglect the silence printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us.”

Seeking to tend the silence in the center of my being on a more consistent basis, I have begun to look for and step towards invitations to pause and be still. I don’t need to wait for a weekly gathering at Meeting or a monthly acupuncture appointment, or even a daily meditation practice. Invitations to PBS are happening everywhere all the time! I will share a few of the invitations that I have accepted over the last few months in the hopes that they may help you begin to notice invitations to pause and be still when they arrive in your life:

One morning, I raced out to get a few groceries. Knowing that I had to make two stops before getting back to a work commitment, I raced through the first store only to find myself arriving at the second store 7 minutes before they opened. As I put my timepiece away, I realized I had been granted 7 minutes to pause and be still. PBS! I sat down on the stoop and felt my shoulders relax. Feeling the sun on my face, watching the cars, people and pets pass, and listening to the seagulls overhead, the urgency and self-importance of my task melted away. I was reminded that I am one of many, a single part of the whole in this glorious dance of humanity and divinity. Pause and Be Still.

As I sat, working on this message one evening, I looked up from my computer and was startled to see a young deer standing 15 feet from the house. Calm and unafraid, browsing on the tall grass, I recognized her presence as a gift – an invitation to PBS. I watched her for what felt like a long time, but maybe it was only 3-4 minutes. Over the course of the next hour, we had two more encounters – one outside standing only 10-15 feet from one another. Curiosity, gratitude, wonder, and something that felt like yearning exchanged between us. Pause and Be Still.

The more attention I paid, the more frequently and persistently the invitations arrived. Anything that caught my eye or ear and caused me to do a double take or to catch my breath became an invitation to PBS.

Over the summer, it was:

Microfilaments of spider web suspended from tree to tree

The hummingbird at the feeder, appearing to hover effortlessly while his wings beat rapidly

Strawberry leaves ringed with dew drops

Early morning mists descending on the field

Rain that penetrates every pore

Pause and Be still

The smell of the roses and peonies

The memory of a loved one

The newborn loon baby in the lake

The deer, killed by a passing car

The haunting, far-away look in that gentleman’s eyes

Pause and Be Still

As autumn arrives, I see invitations to PBS in:

The oak leaf falling ever so slowly, held aloft by a breeze so light I can’t feel it

A perfectly whole and beautiful monarch butterfly lying dead among the garden’s tangle

My neighbor singing to herself as she works in the yard

The three-day old chick laying lifeless face-down on the floor of the coop

The little bird’s slow breaths of air and movement of body as I held her in my palm

Pause and Be still.

Accepting these invitations, truly pausing and being still to let wonder and gratitude sink in is a simple and profound way to honor Creation and my place in its web. For me, this is worship in its most humble and profound form.

May you find and accept many invitations to pause and be still this fall season. And, in those PBS moments, may you remember that the divine is always present, always here to be welcomed and known and always waiting to welcome and know you.


Lisa Steele-Maley is the Dean of the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME)

“I Am a Special Agent of God,” by Doug Bennett

Message given @ Durham Friends Meeting, Sept. 17, 2023

“I am a special agent of God.”  True statement.

How about you?  Would you say, “I am a special agent of God?” True or false?

I have to say True.  I am a special agent of God. 

September 1964: that’s when I encountered that question.  It was an item on a psychological test administered to all the members of my entering class at Haverford College.  It had a powerful effect on me:  not just in the sense that I still remember it nearly 60 years later, but in the sense that it made me think – and still has that effect. 

I am a special agent of God.  True or false?

That question came at me when I was in a difficult place in my religious life, as so many young people are when they are just about college age.  Did I believe or did I not?  If I did believe, what was it I believed?  I didn’t know the answers to those questions.  I was in a muddle. 

But this item came at me from an unusual direction.  “I am a special agent of God.”  True or false? I was pretty sure as I read it that the answer was “true,” for me.  And I was just as sure that answering “true” was the crazy answer on this test.  That’s why it has stayed on my mind all these years.  True, and crazy. 

All of us in that entering class took a bunch of tests that first week.  Some of them were placement tests, like the one I took that showed I hadn’t learned enough in high school French to take second year French at this college.  But other tests were psychological tests of a sort I’d never taken before. 

I learned from the sheet on which I was writing answers, true or false in response to each of dozens and dozens of statements (over 500 actually), that this was called the MMPI, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.  Or I know I know it’s also called the ‘Mini Multi.’   It’s still used, still “the most common psychometric test devised to assess personality traits and psychopathology.”

Taking the test that day, I remember there were involuntary giggles around the room as one and another of us came to various statements we should mark true or false.  I remember only one other specific statement from that day.  “I have black, tarry bowel movements.” True or false?  It’s one of the ones that made me laugh involuntarily.  Not because there’s anything so shocking about that item; it’s just such a strange thing to be asked.  I’d certainly never been asked before, whether “I have black, tarry bowel movements.”

Decades later, when I became more interested in psychological tests, I learned that the MMPI can be helpful in diagnosing such things as depression, hysteria, paranoia, psychopathic deviance and hypochondriasis.  (That last one means “excessive concern with bodily functions.”  That’s why that item “I have black, tarry bowel movements,” is on the MMPI.)  I learned the MMPI was developed by faculty members at the University of Minnesota in the 1940s. 

Some other statements I now know are on the MMPI, true or false to each of these:

  • I feel uneasy indoors.
  • I am sure I get a raw deal from life.
  • I believe that I am being followed.
  • People say insulting and vulgar things about me.

I’m pretty sure I answered false to each of these. 

But I didn’t need to know any of this about the MMPI to realize that that this test was trying to sort us out psychologically – even to find out if any of us were mentally disturbed or “crazy” as we would have put it in 1964.  All of us taking the test realized this.  That’s probably why all of us laughed at one or another of the items.  Could you really imagine anyone answering “true” to this or that statement?  But I guess people do. 

So there was that item: “I am a special agent of God.” True or false?  As I’ve said, I was pretty sure that the answer was “true,” for me.  And I was just as sure that answering “true” was the crazy answer on this test. 

That day, I thought about it for a bit.  Did I really think I was a special agent of God?  And if so, did I want to say that on this test?  Who knew what would happen next?  Would I be carted off in a strait jacket? Ushered off the grounds?  Those didn’t seem likely, especially for only one crazy person response, so I marked it true.  And it has stayed with me, kind of a marked man. 

Am I a special agent of God?  What does that even mean? What makes me think so?

I wasn’t a Quaker then.  I don’t think I’d yet encountered the idea that God can and will speak to us in the here and now, often in the silence of gathered worship.  But it seemed right to me, even then, that in being given the gift of life, I had been given directions of a sort.  That there were expectations – sacred ones – about what I should do and what I shouldn’t do.  Didn’t those directions or expectations make me an ‘agent’ of God?  I wouldn’t have put it that way without the prompt.  But when faced with the statement “I am a special agent of God,” wasn’t the best answer – the honest answer – True?

How about the “special” part?  Why a special agent?  We all don’t seem to be given exactly the same directions or expectations.  There seemed to be lots of difference, lots of individuality, among humans.  I don’t think I would have picked the word “special.”  That sounded then, and now, much too much like I thought I was better than others, and I was pretty sure that wasn’t so.  I might have said “particular,” as in “I am a particular agent of God.  And perhaps “special” meant something like “beloved” or “loved by.” But who was I to quibble?  There was the statement: “I am a special agent of God.” True or false? 

True, I think.  What do I mean by that? 

It means I try to take direction.  I have a handler.  I try to do what God tells me to do, on those rare occasions when I’m given any guidance at all.  (But isn’t that true of other special agents: they don’t hear from their handler for long stretches?)

It means I feel like I’m accountable.  Someone’s watching to see whether I do what I’m told.  That someone watching me cares for me, but also has pretty high expectations.  It means I submit my will to the will of my handler – and my handler is God. 

And it means I hear voices.  Or at least I try to.  That’s the crazy-sounding part.  To admit you hear voices.

“I am a special agent of God.” True or false?  I still think it’s true.  I think each of you are special agents of God, too.  It may not be much of a belief to one as muddled as I was then and now.  But it’s a beginning. 

I am a special agent of God.  And you are a special agent of God.  Others may think us crazy, but it’s a good kind of crazy. 

Also posted on Rover View Friend

Agenda and Materials for Business Meeting, September 17, 2023

The Agenda and Materials for Meeting for Worship for Business on September 17 can be found at this link.

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

September 17, 2023

Please note that if there is no power at the Meetinghouse on Sunday, we will postpone Meeting for Business to the following Sunday, September 24.

Opening Query

Minutes of Previous Meeting, July 16, 2023

Finance Report

Trustees Report

Ministry and Counsel Report

Nominating Committee Report

Peace and Social Concerns Update

Report from Dorothy Curtis on FUM Triennial and USFWI Conference

New Business

Closing Worship

Fellowship Potluck for Visiting Friends at Portland Friends Meeting, September 28

Portland Friends Meeting invites us to a fellowship potluck and conversation to welcome three traveling Friends on Thursday, September 28, 2023, 4:30 pm

The traveling Friends are Gail Melix (Sandwich MM), Buffy Curtis (NYYM), and Paula Palmer (Intermountain YM). There will be materials about their ministries, and the conversation will be offered by whomever of them has energy to contribute.

This invitation is especially made to Friends from Falmouth Quarter, and therein neighboring meetings. Joiners are welcome to come for part or the entirety, and at any point in the offerings. 

The fellowship potluck will be held at the Portland Friends Meeting House, 1837 Forest Ave. For guidelines including health/ Covid details, please scroll down this page to review .

Fyi, for potluck contributors who also will attend the convo, please place dishes downstairs beforehand, if possible.

4pm: Doors open – Beth & Brad

4:30pm – Ministry Conversation (casual): Meeting Room – Beth & Brad

5pm to 6:30pm – Fellowship potluck: Basement – Genna & Mey

6:30pm – Clean-up – Everyone!

Upcoming Pendle Hill Programs, Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Pendle Hill (a Quaker Retreat Center outside Philadelphia) calls our attention to a few opportunities this fall and this spring. Anna Hill, their bEducation Engagement Coordinator writes:

I’m reaching out to connect about a few upcoming Pendle Hill programs—I especially want to highlight two upcoming fall workshops focusing on Faith and Practice, Deepening at the Root with Christopher Sammond (Oct 5-9) and Friends’ Decision-Making and Clerking with Steve Mohlke and ,O (Nov 17-19). 

Deepening at the Root 

Friday, Oct 5, 4:30pm – Sunday, Oct 9, 12pm, 2023 

Through experiential exercises, small group sharing, large group processing, and worship, this on-campus workshop with Christopher Sammond explores opening to the divine Source in worship, vocal ministry, and leadings for action. We will create a community of deep trust and openness, opening us into deeper communion with each other and the Divine Source. 

Friends’ Decision-Making and Clerking: Participating in Meetings for Business with Joy and Confidence 

Friday, Nov 17, 4:30pm – Sunday, Nov 19, 12pm, 2023 

This is on-campus workshop with Steve Mohlke and ,O is an opportunity for both new and experienced clerks of Friends’ meetings and committees to meet and think together about the role of presiding clerk in the spiritual practice of meeting for business. This workshop will address racism in the context of Friends’ decision-making; we will be lifting up processes that seek to liberate the Spirit among all participants.

The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope (Podcast)

Join Quakers, seekers, and host Dwight Dunston for Season 3 of Pendle Hill’s podcast as we explore the 

practices that enrich our connections to ourselves and to each other: How do we cultivate relationships in spiritual community? How do these relationships and practices support our work for liberation and justice and transform our sense of what is possible? Join the conversation on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts! 

The 2024 Spring Term. I also want to let you know that we will be hosting two information sessions for the 2024 Spring Term, our 10-week residential study program March 1-May 10, 2024, in October and November. At the link above, you can find FAQs, faculty information, and more.

Applications are now open for the 2024 season of this 10-week residential study program on Pendle Hill’s beautiful 24-acre campus.

Do you find yourself seeking space and community in which to share the daily rhythm of learning, work, and worship? Pendle Hill’s Spring Term offers a greenhouse – a protected space for Friends and other seekers to bring leadings, ideas, questions, and other seeds of the “already but not yet” – to nurture these visions into being, through the daily rhythm of study, work, and worship in community. Learn more about this program and all it has to offer, and reach out ot admissions@pendlehill.org with any questions.

Spring Term Info Session (October) Oct 11, 2023, 7:30pm-8:30pm ET via Zoom 

Spring Term Info Session (November)  Nov 11, 2023, 2pm-3pm ET via Zoom 

Falmouth Quarter to Meet, October 28, 2023, 9:30 to 2:00 pm, Windham Friends Meeting

All are invited to the October gathering of Falmouth Quarter on October 28th at Windham Friends Meeting.

Love Boldly, Share Deeply

UPDATE (posted October 23, 2023)

Love Boldly, Share Deeply

Falmouth Quarter will meet on October 28th from 9:30 – 2 at Windham Friends Meeting

The schedule for our time together is:

9:30  – Gather 

10:00 – Meeting for business: The Agenda will be: 

·       Receive Treasurer’s report.  (treasurers report)

·       Approve the 23-34 budget and specify this year’s donations.

·       Confirm the dates for 2023-2024 Quarterly meetings.

·       Consider what program to bring to the Quarter in January.

·       Receive Durham’s recommendation to record Leslie Manning’s gifts in ministry. NEYM Faith and Practice recommends naming several Friends to visit with Leslie and to bring this recommendation back to the quarter. 

·       Approve nomination of Dennis Redfield and Doug Bennett to the Beacon Hill Friends House Corporation. 

·       Share news from each meeting. 

 If you have additional items for the business agenda, please forward them to Fritz Weiss @ rossvall.weiss@gmail.com.

11:30 break, brown bag lunch.  

12:30 Afternoon program: Sharing experiences from the 2023 annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting – especially the two plenaries.

— a plenary with Joseph Bruchac (an Abenaki storyteller) & Jesse Bruchac (an Abenaki language teacher), and 

— the Bible half-hours with Emma Condori Mamani, a Bolivian Friend who spoke recently at Durham Friends Meeting. 

–       A plenary with Anna Fritz (cello) (examples of her ministry are available at: https://annafritz.com/

2:00 Wrap up, closing worship.  


Falmouth Quarter will meet on October 28th from 9:30 – 2 at Windham Friends Meeting

We invite you to come and share about the life and spirit in your meetings.  Our hope is that our entire time together is a time of worship, with laughter, business, connections and handcrafts.  

Windham meeting is preparing for their annual craft fair and would welcome donations of homemade items, knitting, or crafts for the fair.   Those who knit or crochet are encouraged to bring your materials and work on projects while we meet.  Windham is not welcoming White Elephant items this year. 

Our schedule is: 

9:30  – Gather in worship – Singing,  connection, perhaps some Juice and coffee and snacks and sharing

10:00 – Meeting for business to approve the budget, approve donations for the year, to confirm the dates for 2023-2024 Quarterly meeting, consider what program we might like to bring to the Quarter in January and to share news from each meeting.  If you have additional items for the business agenda, please forward them to Fritz Weiss @ rossvall.weiss@gmail.com.

11:30 break, potluck lunch.  There is a stove and microwave to heat up items and an electric tea kettle to heat water.

12:30 Sharing experiences from the 2023 annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting – especially the two plenaries.

— a plenary with Joseph Bruchac (an Abenaki storyteller) & Jesse Bruchac (an Abenaki language teacher), and 

— the Bible half-hours with Emma Condori Mamani, a Bolivian Friend who spoke recently at Durham Friends Meeting. 

–       A plenary with Anna Fritz (cello) (examples of her ministry are available at: https://annafritz.com/

2:00 Wrap up, close worship.  

Questions, ideas, comments or concerns can be forwarded to the co-coordinators of Falmouth Quarter:

Fritz Weiss (rossvall.weiss@gmail.com) and Wendy Schlotterbeck (wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com)

The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves, September 10, 2023, 12:30 to 2:30 pm

The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves; A presentation by Paula Palmer, Gail Melix, and Andrew Grant on Sunday September 10 from 12:30 to 2:30. 

Join us in the Durham Friends Meetinghouse. We will gather as a community to participate in this event by Zoom. Bring a picnic lunch.

Peace & Social Concerns

News from Velasco Friends Meeting — and a Suggestion for World Quaker Day

News from our sister meeting in Velasco from the sister meeting committee, August 2023

Yadira Cruz Pena, the pastor of Velasco Meeting was one of the representatives from Cuba Yearly Meeting (CYM) to New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) last week.  She shared this photo of Velasco Friends meeting outside this week in a service blessing a member’s home.  I sent her a photo of Portland Friends meeting outside at the Friends School. We agreed that in nature, God’s presence can be easily felt.

She also shared this photo of her oldest daughter holding the “Church’s baby”.

We have begun planning how Velasco, Durham and Portland can have a joint or concurrent event on World Quaker Day on the first Sunday in October. We cannot be in person and probably cannot be on zoom together, but with creativity, we can feel each other’s presence.

We are sending some spices and the photo album we shared with Durham and Portland to Yadira with a delegation traveling from New England to Cuba in September. 

CYM and NEYM are beginning to explore ways that the two yearly meetings can be more closely connected even in these difficult times.

“Individuals in Community,” by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

The message at Durhgam Friends Meeting on August 13, 2023 was given by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, our member now living in Northern Ireland.

Greetings from Coleraine Friends Meeting.  Been in Northern Ireland for two years this summer.  

Busy days!  Helping my parents move and was the registrar for New England Yearly Meeting.  Love the job.  Love the people. Love sorting and packing!

This is in contrast to my not so busy retirement days in Northern Ireland where I volunteer with the National Trust, Corrymeela reconciliation center and other odd activities.

Two weeks ago I spoke of being individuals in a community versus being a community of individuals.  Where do we focus?  On ourselves or on our community?  

At Yearly meeting there were 402 individuals.  Some more attentive to the Spirit and community than others.  In my humble opinion.  Some seemed just interested in hearing their own voices.  As we do. Who am I?  Who are you?  Both.  Sometimes one?  Sometimes the other? 

When growing up in Wellesley Friends meeting I learned of the GreenCircle.  A way of peace and reconciliation, a way of being in community.  In a circle all are equal.  No one is at the head of the table.   No one is in the front or behind.  

Another image.  The Third Way.  Palestinian lawyer, Jonathan Kuttab wrote of a third way in the conflict in Palestine and Israel where I first heard of this concept.  We tend to think of us versus them.  Only two ways to solve conflict.  In the third way there are more than two ways.   Multiple ways.  I believe that is what Jesus taught.  Alternative ways to see the world.  Ways that take into account the whole community rather than the winner and loser.  

Joseph and Jesse Bruchac, from the Abenaki nation, shared stories and music as keynote speakers at NEYM.  Jesse is an author and native languages speaker, Joseph a storyteller.  One story told how animals became smaller when humans were created.  Their telling of this story and others is on the NEYM website.   My summary version is this.  When humans were created the other animals were angry and wanted to be rid of them, these strange creatures.  The creator soothed each creature with a touch, a stroke, a word of calm. This decreased their ferocity and size to not harm humans.  Except for the mosquito.  The vampire spider.  

Because the earth is not for the comfort of humans.

Community is not the stage for individuals.  

Community is for all to be heard and listened to, for all to be equal, for all to hear of the wisdom of the Spirit, the creator, the Other.  Wisdom is not from one voice but from a weaving together of voices. Weaving together of voices that may introduce a third way or more, of leadings based on being open to the wisdom of others, especially those who may be contrary to us.   For when we are not willing to listen to others we are not willing to learn of new possibilities, new solutions.  In our listening I invite you to ask others why they feel or are led in a certain way.   (

I invite you to be willing to be open to a third way, a way led by the Spirit and not our own desires or wants.  I do not believe that our wants and desires are bad and the Spirits are good and that they conflict but that sometimes our wants and desires may not be what is best for the community and from Spirit.

This is not always easy but it does lead to a peace of mind and soul.   This I know.  

Woman’s Society Silent Auction, August 13-21, 2023

 Update: The Woman’s Society silent auction continues at the Meeting House this Sunday Aug. 20th, and concludes at the annual potluck Aug. 21st, to which all are welcome. Funds go to LACO in memory of Margaret Wentworth.

Items are being sought for this year’s silent auction being sponsored by the Woman’s Society. All proceeds will go to LACO, the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach food bank.

The auction itself begins Sunday, August 13, and concludes with a 6pm potluck supper at the Meetinghouse.

Isaiah 58: 6-12

At Durham Friends Meeting on August 6, 2023, Renee Cote, co-clerk of Ministry and Counsel, read Isaiah 58:6-12, the theme of this year’s New England Yearly Meeting annual sessions, August 5-9, 2023. “Like a Watered Garden: Open to Grace, Loose the Bonds of Injustice.”

Isaiah 58:6-12 (New International Version)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

“Recognizing and Appreciating,” by Richard Rohr

In opening worship on July 30 at Durham Friends Meeting, Wendy Schlotterbeck read this meditation from Richard Rohr, posted on the website of the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Recognizing and Appreciating, by Richard Rohr

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Contemplation is a kind of seeing that is much more than mere looking because it also includes recognizing and thus appreciating. The contemplative mind does not tell us what to see but teaches us how to see what we behold.  

But how do we learn this contemplative mind, this deep, mysterious, and life-giving way of seeing and of being with reality? Why does it not come naturally to us? Actually, it does come momentarily in states of great love and great suffering, but such wide-eyed seeing normally does not last. We return quickly to dualistic analysis and use our judgments to retake control. A prayer practice—contemplation—is simply a way of maintaining the fruits of great love and great suffering over the long haul and in different situations. And that takes a lot of practice—in fact, our whole life becomes one continual practice.  

To begin to see with new eyes, we must observe, and usually be humiliated by, the habitual way we encounter each and every moment. It is humiliating because we will see that we are well-practiced in just a few predictable responses. Few of our responses are original, fresh, or naturally respectful of what is right in front of us. The most common human responses to a new moment are mistrust, cynicism, fear, knee-jerk reactions, a spirit of dismissal, and overriding judgmentalism. It is so dis-couraging when we have the courage to finally see that these are the common ways the ego tries to be in control of the data—instead of allowing the moment to get some control over us and teach us something new! 

To let the moment teach us, we must allow ourselves to be at least slightly stunned by it until it draws us inward and upward toward a subtle experience of wonder. We normally need a single moment of gratuitous awe to get us started. [1] 

In her book on spirituality and parenting, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg emphasizes the special awe that arises from paying attention to our ordinary lives:  

The twentieth-century rabbi and theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel [1907–1972] wrote a lot about “radical amazement,” [2] that sense of “wow” about the world, which he claimed is the root of spirituality. It’s the kind of thing that people often experience in nature—at the proverbial mountaintop, when walking in the woods, seeing a gorgeous view of the ocean. But it’s also, I think, about bringing that sense of awe into the little things we often take for granted, or consider part of the background of our lives. This includes the flowers on the side of the road; the taste of ice cream in our mouths; … or to find a really, really good stick on the ground. And it also includes things we generally don’t even think of as pleasures, like the warm soapy water on our hands as we wash dishes. [3] 


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2017), 7–9. 

[2] Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (New York: Macmillan, 1976), chap. 4. Cited by Ruttenberg, Nurture the W0w, 293. 

[3] Danya Ruttenberg, Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (New York: Flatiron Books, 2016), 56–57. 

“Roots, Stones and Baggage,” by Brown Lethem

The July 23, 2023 worship at Durham Friends Meeting was begun by Richard Brown Lethem reading poems from his recently published chapbook, Roots, Stones and Baggage. It is available from  Bamboo Dart Press.

Roots, Stones & Baggage is a collection of paintings and poems that span over seventy years of his life. Both the poems and the paintings take many stylistic turns that mirror those of his life. Works written and painted in Missouri, Paris, Brooklyn, Maine & California reflect those surrounding sometimes taking flight into the ether and at other turns digging into the core of all things.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, July 16, 2023

Revised version, August 2, 2023]

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, July 16, 2023, with 9 people attending from the Meetinghouse and 5 by Zoom.

  1.    Meeting Opening                                                                                                                

        Dorothy Curtis opened the meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving.

2.     Approval of Minutes of June 2023 — Ellen Bennett

Acknowledgement from FCNL (change from FWCC) for K J William’s gift will be corrected in the minutes.

            Meeting approved the minutes with the above correction.

3.     Finance Committee: Second request for funds for Bolivia

A Quarterly Report from the Finance Committee will be given in September.

The request for approval for a gift to the Bolivian Youth Group, addressing food security and working under the care of Friends International, was presented again after initial consideration at the June Meeting for Business. Research on food scarcity in Bolivia indicated that there has been substantial drought over past 10 years in this region, resulting in a large world-wide initiative to send aid. A recent update publication from FWCC described both this situation and the international support.

Emma Condori Mamani, our Meeting for Worship message-giver, spoke about the food security project, specifically with respect to the families in the highlands who have been hit hard by climate change. The process by which the families are selected to receive aid is thorough, requiring a great deal of work.

Emma then stepped away from the meeting for the approval discussion of this item. Leslie also stepped away, leaving eight Friends in Meeting for the ensuing discussion, as well as for discussion of Item 4.

Meeting approved the donation of $500 for the food security project. Individuals may support this project, as well. Information on how to do this will be shared via a Friends Note with the request that donations be submitted by August 1st.

4.     Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

Renee read the recommending letter from Martha Hinshaw Sheldon and Linda Muller for Leslie Manning to be recognized as a recorded minister in the Society of Friends (see attached).

The Meeting approved immediately and joyfully, with thanks to Martha and Linda.

Renee reviewed the remainder of the M&C Report (see attached).

5.     Library Committee — Dorothy Hinshaw

There has been discussion among clerks and library committee that, in honor of beloved Friend, Margaret Wentworth, Meeting name our library the Margaret Wentworth Library. 

Meeting approved.

6.     Trustees — Sarah Sprogell                                                                                                 

        Trustees report was read (see attached).

7.     Use of Parsonage Funds Discussion

        Please refer to attachment summarizing past suggestions.

To begin discussion, Clerk summarized three recommendations: Consolidate accounts, calculate a percentage draw on restricted/designated funds to support operations, and increase support for the cemeteries.  The Finance committee will return in September with a recommendation about the consolidation of funds, not including the Parsonage Fund.

Trustees will consider: How much funding do we need to continue as a healthy meeting? Finance Committee will consider: How do we disperse/allocate those funds?

At Monthly Meeting in September, Meeting will seek to agree upon answers to these questions.

8.     NEYM Annual Sessions Representatives

No need for representation expressed by Meeting.

9.     Additional Items

Meeting expressed its great appreciation to Dorothy Curtis for attending the triennial of the United Society of Friends Women International, in conjunction with Friends United Meeting and Quaker Men, and acknowledged the challenges in travel that Dorothy experienced. Dorothy agreed to give a report to Monthly Meeting in September about her experiences.

Durham Monthly Meeting has supported Maine All-Care. The Meeting recently received a request to add its name to a letter in support of the Medicare for All Act 2023, HR 3421. (Please see attached letter.)

Meeting approved adding Durham Friends Meeting’s name to a letter in support of Medicare For All.

The next Meeting for Business will be September 17th.

10.   Closing Worship

Members were asked to pause to reflect on the ways in which individuals come together in community, and how to acknowledge those individuals and their differences in ways of participation.

Respectfully submitted, Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk


Proposed Meeting Agenda

Draft Minutes of 6.18.23 Business Meeting

Description of Friends International Bilingual Center, Bolivia

Ministry and Counsel Report

Parsonage Fund Ideas

Letter in Support of The Medicare for All Act of 2023 (H.R. 3421)

Report from the Kenya Triennials

[Updated August 1, 2023] Our member Dorothy Curtis has safely and happily returned from her travel to the USFWI and FUM Triennials in Kenya. (That’s every-third-year or so gatherings of U.S. Friends Women International and Friends United Meeting, for those not familiar. She will make a report on the experience at the September 17 Monthly Meeting for Business.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the combined Epistle from the Triennial.

And here is a report on these gatherings from Marian Baker, also from New England Yearly Meeting that includes some photos of Dorothy in Kenya among Friends: