Woman’s Society Minutes, October 16, 2023

Announcement: Woman’s Society will meet next at 7pm on November 20 at the Meetinghouse, with zoom participation as an option.

Minutes, Durham Friends Woman’s Society October 16, 2023

Present: Qat Langelier, Dorothy Curtis, Kim Bolshaw, Nancy Marstaller

  1. We plan to hold our next meeting in person at the meetinghouse, with zoom as an option, Monday November 20 at 7 PM.
  2. We are sending thinking of you cards to several Friends.
  3. We just received the new Blueprints, but not everyone has them yet. Kim read a program from the ’21-22 Blueprints: Cynthia Steele’s In the Midst of it all, His Eye is on the Sparrow. Cynthia is now president of the USFWI.

She spoke of working as a nurse during the pandemic, and shared scripture verses that helped her during that time. Those verses spoke of seeking and accepting God’s blessings, and the opportunities we have to rest in God if we feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Friends had different reactions to the restrictions imposed by the efforts to control the pandemic. One liked the time to work outdoors and be with children, while another felt crowded in her small home with children and visitors staying for a time. Relationships could be strained at times, leading to misunderstandings, and it was hard to watch when family members were not as careful as hoped. We agreed with the reminder from a Friend: We need to be friends of each other, as well as Friends of the Truth/Jesus.

  • Dorothy read her Triennial travel minute, which was signed by Cynthia Steele. She will make a copy for our minutes binder.
  • Dorothy just finished a quilt for Skai Soltys- newborn son of Tess Marstaller and Jaime Soltys. Tess is Nancy’s niece. Nancy mailed the quilt today, as they live in San Francisco. Another recent quilt Dorothy made was for Cindy and Paul Wood’s son; he and his wife recently had a baby boy.

Qat mentioned that both her sons still love and care for their quilts!

  • The treasurer’s report was accepted. We have received money toward 1 membership and 3 Blueprints and a late auction payment. The $800 earned from the auction has been sent to the LACO Food Pantry. $46 was paid for Blueprints and their postage.

Membership dues for USFWI are $10 this year. Blueprints plus postage is $6.50. We have $185 in our account. From the $200 given in memory of Kitsie Hildebrandt we approved donating $50 each to SASSMM, Wayfinder Schools, and New Beginnings.

  • Nancy will lead the program next month.
  • We will pray especially for friends with health concerns.
  • Minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.
  • On Saturday Oct. 14 the USFW-Northeast region met on zoom with 12 present. They shared their experiences at the Triennial. No date or place has been set yet for the spring meeting.
  • The October Tedford meal was chili, cornbread, vegetarian soup, fruit, cider, and ice cream.
  • Dorothy closed the meeting with this poem by Grenville Kleiser:

THANK GOD

Thank God for dawn,

The songs of birds,

Sophia’s House Worship Move to Zoom for October 27

Because of the terrible, tragic shootings in Lewiston, Maine

From Leslie Manning, Clerk of Durham Friends Meeting:

Our regular Sophia’s House worship is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30. Sophia’s House is in Lewiston, we will meet on ZOOM ON the Durham Friends site.  Durham is in Androscoggin County, and we pray for the safety of all.

If any of you want to talk or pray before then, please feel free to contact me.  As some of you know, I was the regional coordinator for an anti-gun violence group in northern New England and worked closely with communities, survivors and loved ones.  I was based in Lewiston, and my heart is heavy.

Please join us in prayer.

Blessings, Leslie

 All are welcome.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 15, 2023

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, October 15, 2023, with 12 people in attendance.

1. Meeting Opening

Clerk opened the meeting with a reading from Advices and Queries from the Religious Society of Friends, Great Britain: Advices 10. 

2. Approval of Minutes of September 2023 — Ellen Bennett

Minutes were approved

3. Review of Agenda

4. Finance Committee — Nancy Marstaller

In response to the Meeting request that Finance take a broad look at the overall financial health of the meeting, the attached report includes a series of questions to consider moving forward.

Finance and Trustees will meet together soon to delve more deeply into the questions posed in the report. 

The Meeting engaged in a listening session.

Clerk offered this over-arching question: What is the best stewardship of the funds in our care? It was noted that we are not currently covering annual operating expenses with regular income; we need to draw on interest from our investment accounts to meet expenses. 

Summary of Friends’ comments and observations:

  • There was a commitment voiced to keep the line item for childcare position.  
  • There was general agreement that there was no reason not to pool investment accounts. 
  • Some funds are invested in a CD. When it matures in the spring, the proceeds might be earmarked to support youth programs (such as childcare and summer camp scholarships).

The Meeting revisited the request from Trustees to Finance, made at last month’s Meeting for Business, to move $55,000 from pooled funds to cemetery funds. Conversation ensued about designations and use of the Parsonage funds. 

The Finance Committee recommended that $55K be taken from the Parsonage Fund and added to the Cemetery Fund. This money will be added to the Cemetery Fund money invested with New England Yearly Meeting Pooled Funds.  The NEYM Pooled Funds will pay out 4% per year, to be used for cemetery maintenance, this percentage prudently calculated so that the principle of the fund will be protected and preserved into the future.  We record that the origin of these funds was through the sale of the parsonage. 

The Meeting approved this request with one Friend standing aside. 

5. Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

No new items were brought forward. Please refer to the report. 

Clerk emailed Friends who attend Meeting primarily or solely via Zoom to ask them about M&C’s recommendation that 4th and 5th Sundays be in-person/tech-free only. Clerk read the responses. All conveyed appreciation for being queried, and many suggested that Meeting try to simply engage the Owl without active oversight. 

Friends discussed considering meeting for worship a “no-tech zone” all the time. Tech is a distraction in the quality of worship for many. One idea offered is to have meeting for worship with Zoom audio only, and to bring the Owl into the gathering room so that those in attendance in person and those attending remotely can ‘Zoom-meet’ with one another. 

Meeting approved 4th and 5th Sundays being tech-free starting in November, skipping December because of the holiday, and resuming for January and February. 

M&C will take up the idea of going completely tech-free and return with additional ideas.

Meeting accepted the report noting that monetary support from the Charity account will be provided for a Friend in need.

6. Trustees — Sarah Sprogell

No written report. Clean-up at Lunt Cemetery went very well. Much was accomplished. Also, two trustees will be attending the Maine Cemetery Association conference on April 18th.

7. Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

Please see attached report. 

Clerk noted the importance of the ministry of bringing books used in the Social Justice project to Indigenous People’s Day events. The books touched many people; the quality of this kind of outreach was honored.  

The Meeting minutes its deep appreciation for the Social Justice project, the work of the Committee, and of Ingrid Chalufour. 

8. Nominating Committee — Linda Muller

No written report. 

Recently, two Friends verbally agreed to serve on committees, and their names were brought forward for approval. Note that the approval is for committees service to begin in January 2024, but if okayed by the “receiving” committee, their work might begin earlier.

The Committee brought forward Doug Bennett to serve on Finance Committee. 

Meeting approved.

The Committee brought forward Kim Bolshaw, to serve on Peace and Social Concerns. 

Meeting approved. 

Clerk noted that effective January 2024, we will be without a Treasurer and without a Clerk. The position of Treasurer is legally required by the state to do the work of the Meeting. 

Clerk also noted that we are looking for help with the newsletter. Consider: is the newsletter still needed? May take this up in the Threshing Session next Sunday, October 22.

9. Closing Worship

Respectfully submitted, 

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments

Threshing Session This Sunday, Noon to 1:15pm

From Nominating Committee, Linda Muller, Clerk

We are a smaller group and still have work to do together….

Friends are reminded to enjoy your bag lunch then gather in the worship room by 12 noon on this coming Sunday, October 22, 2023.

This THRESHING SESSION will be centered on the query:

Can we SIMPLIFY our committee structure in order to do the work of our beloved Meeting together?

Some more specific questions we might consider:

**Are there committees that can be combined, like Finance and Trustees?  If so, should those names be required to have membership in the Meeting?

**Do we need a separate Nominating Committee, and should it require membership?

**Do we need a formal committee for Peace and Social Concerns, or does it function more like a work group with various interest groups that can be voluntary (not nominated).  Should clerk be a member of Mtg?

**Similarly, do we need a formal Library Committee, or is it a work/ interest group? Does it require nomination?

**Do we need a Communications Committee, or rather discreet tasks taken on by individuals (i.e., Webmaster, Newsletter Editor, Friends Note organizer )?
(At this moment, with (newly) no newsletter editor, perhaps we want a trial of having a weekly bulletin instead (an expansion of This Week at DFM)? Do we need a back- up webmaster?)

The more threshing the better so come if you possibly can.  We’ll keep it to an hour, or an hour and 15 min.

And thank you for considering,     — Nominating Committee Clerk, Linda M

“Craig’s Prayer — the Latest,” by Craig Freshley

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, October 15, 2023

Craig Freshley began his message by reading the latest version of a prayer he has been writing and rewriting for several years.

Creator,

Thank you for making the universe.
Thank you for making me a part of it.
Thank you for providing me with all that I need, and more.

You are the light upon me,
the heat within me,
and the time that carries me along.

I want to see straight and stand true,
notice miracles all around me,
always ready to receive, give, and forgive.

Help me detach from expectations.
Help me like me.
Help me do what’s light.

Here is a recording of the whole message — what he said about this prayer.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 17, 2023

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, September 17, 2023, with 12 people attending from the Meetinghouse and one via Zoom.

1.     Meeting Opening

Clerk opened the meeting by reading the following:

Query 3:  Meeting for Business.  Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship and prayerful search for the way of Truth?  Are all members encouraged to use their talents in the service of the meeting?  Do you undertake your proper share of the work and financial support of the meeting?

— NEYM Faith and Practice, 1985, p 211

2.     Approval of Minutes of July 16, 2023 — Ellen Bennett

                                                                                                                               Meeting approved the minutes, with two additions regarding Finance and clerking the meeting, to be included in Items 3 and 4. Recording Clerk made those additions.

3.     Finance Report — Nancy Marstaller

Nancy read a thank you note for the $1,300 donated for the Bolivian Food Security Project. The Meeting received $800 additional dollars in individual contributions to the $500 approved in July.

Finance Committee will be meeting to review, overall, funds needed to support the Meeting on an annual basis, and will report its findings next month.

Quarter 2 report. Please see attached report.

                The Meeting accepted the report, with gratitude.                                                

4.     Trustees — Sarah Sprogell

Refer to attached report re: funds from the sale of the parsonage, and recommendations for funds needed to maintain a fiscally healthy Meeting.

Trustees have recommended $55K from the parsonage fund be transferred to the cemetery fund bringing its balance to $125K. Using a 4% distribution would cover most or all of our annual expenses, about $5K/year. This recommendation will come before Meeting again next month.

With regard to the Meeting’s buildings and grounds, we do not have a plan for funding capital expenses. Finance Committee will review this, with Trustees, in looking at overall financial health.

Question: Is past performance an indicator of future needs? Might we look at a 3-5 year plan for capital expenses? Are there other needed improvements? Consider these in future discussions.

Clerk agreed to reach out to NEYM to find out where the Eileen Babcock bequest funds are.

The Meeting approved Clerk of the Meeting get in touch with NE Yearly Meeting to ascertain where the funds are from the Eileen Babcock bequest.

Much appreciation was expressed for the hard work and discernment that went into the report.

5.     Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

Clerk read the relevant portion of Faith and Practice as it pertains to resigning membership in a Monthly Meeting.

Mey Hasbrook submitted a letter of resignation to the Clerk of Meeting and the co-clerks of Ministry and Counsel. The first portion of the letter was read aloud, including referenced passages from scripture.

Meeting approved M&C’s recommendation to accept Mey’s resignation. M&C will discern next steps in reaching out to Mey for one more meeting.

M&C also brought forward the letter proposing that Leslie Manning be recorded as a minister, that was approved by the Meeting in July. (Note that Leslie stepped out from her role as Clerk for this portion of the meeting. Renee Cote assumed the role of Clerk.)

Meeting approved sending, to Falmouth Quarter, the letter from M&C asking that Leslie Manning be recognized as a recorded minister.

It was suggested that Leslie’s ministry beyond the meeting — prison ministry, Sofia House — be included in the letter. M&C will make those edits/additions before sending it on.

Leslie Manning returned and assumed her role as Clerk.

Please refer to report for dates of important, proposed upcoming meetings.

                Meeting approved a memorial meeting to be held on October 29th.

M&C discussed fourth and fifth Sundays as in-person worship only, thus encouraging people to come to the meetinghouse and relieving pressure on technology support. It was recommended that Members who participate solely by Zoom be contacted to get their reaction. The recommendation will be revisited next month.

Members were encouraged to sign up for the Care of Worship role.

6.     Nominating Committee Report — Linda Muller

        Please refer to the attached report.

                                                                                                                                                       Meeting approved the recommendation that committee term limits be removed. This change will be reflected in the handbook

                        Meeting approved a threshing session be held on 10/22 at the rise of Meeting.

7.     Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

        Please refer the the report.

It was noted with pleasure that the United Way has approved a position to help coordinate support for New Mainers who will be moving into Brunswick Landing this month.

8.     Report from Dorothy Curtis on FUM Triennial and USFWI Conference

“Come. Abide. Go.” Theme of this year’s USFWI triennial. Dorothy read a note of deep thanks, in which she expressed her tremendous gratitude for the support of many in making this trip. “This was a trip of a lifetime.” Dorothy then annotated several of her photographs and regaled all with wonderful stories about her trip to Kenya.

9.     Closing Worship

        Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends will reconvene on October 15th, 2023.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments here

Agenda and Materials for Meeting for Business, October 15, 2023

The agenda and materials for this Business Meeting can be found here.

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Business, October 15, 2023  

Opening Reading

Minutes of September meeting

Review Agenda

Finance Committee

Request for transfer of Funds by Trustees (2nd reading)

Ministry and Counsel 

Zoom free worship 4th and 5th Sundays*                                                                 

Report on Emergency Funds disbursement of $1,000 

Trustees Update

Peace and Social Concerns Update

Closing Worship

*Clerk’s Note: 

Ministry and Counsel has recommended that the Meetings for Worship on fourth and fifth Sundays of the month be held in the meetinghouse only, with no technology assistance.  This is based on feedback from several Friends, including members of the Tech Support group, and was brought to Meeting for Business last month.

It will be reviewed again this coming Sunday, since no one was on Zoom for the September meeting, and we would like to hear from those who regularly use Zoom.  If approved, we will be happy to provide information about other meetings who use Zoom or hybrid worship who welcome visitors.

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Urges Action on Palestine-Israel

Here is the most recent “Take Action“from FCNL on the unfolding tragedy in Israel-Palestine. Our Peace & Social Concerns Committee urges us to communicate with Congress.

The U.S. Must Act to De-Escalate the Violence in Israel and Palestine

We are heartbroken by the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. As Quakers, we deeply mourn the loss of all lives and pray for those who have lost loved ones due to this latest escalation. We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ attacks and inhumane treatment of civilians and call for the immediate release of all hostages. We also condemn the indiscriminate and violent Israeli response that has already claimed hundreds of civilian lives.

More war and weapons won’t bring peace. In the face of growing violence, lawmakers must:

  • Work to de-escalate this situation by calling for restraint, ceasefire, de-escalation, and respect for international law.
  • Protect lives—those of the Israeli hostages and the roughly 1 million children who live in Gaza.
  • Address the root causes underlying this explosion of violence, including decades of institutionalized oppression and collective punishment of Palestinians through brutal military occupation and a 16-year Gaza blockade.

Urge Congress to call for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint to prevent further civilian harm in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

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.

“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.  

ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT

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.