Rally for Clean Drinking Water for Passamaquoddy Citizens of Sipayik, April 11, 10am at the State House

The Durham Friends Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee encourages participation:

Rally for Sipayik Water and LD 906

The rally starts at 10, but you can attend the preparatory session with Wabanaki leaders and Wabanaki Alliance staff starting at 8:00 a.m. in the back room of the Cross Building Cafeteria (in the basement), and plan to stay after the rally to lobby your legislators:
The public water supply delivered to the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik contains high levels of carcinogens and is brown at certain times of year. Over the years, the state and a neighboring town have impeded tribal attempts to access water located on tribally-owned lands to bring clean water to a new elementary school and the larger community. LD 906 would remove those barriers, provide financial assistance to the local water district, and help the Passamaquoddy Tribe access clean drinking water at Sipayik. 

Please join Passamaquoddy Tribal leaders and citizens, the Wabanaki Alliance and supporters next Monday, April 11 at 10 AM outside the State House in Augusta for a Rally and March for Clean Drinking Water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

WHERE: Park at the State Office Building Parking Garage for free. Walk across the street to the outdoor area between the Burton M. Cross Office Building and the State House

WHEN: Monday, April 11 from 10 AM – 12 PM.

WHO: All are encouraged to attend! Masks are no longer required in the State House, but we ask that all Lobby Day participants please still wear a mask when indoors and make the best decision for your health and those around you when outside.

WHAT: A rally and march to show widespread support for clean drinking water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik. Please consider staying after the rally to lobby your State Senator and State Representative! We’ll give you the instructions and materials you need. 

Please click here for homemade sign guidance and remember to register here if you plan to attend.

“Desmond and the Very Mean Word,” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, pril 3, 2022

The April 3 message at Durham Friends Meeting was a reading of this book by Cindy Wood. The book is one of those distributed by the Meeting to teachers in this area as part of the Meeting’s Social Justice Enrichment Project.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A. G. Ford

An actual event from the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s childhood forms the heart of a story about the difficulties and rewards of forgiveness. Young Desmond proudly rides his new bike through the streets of the township when he encounters a group of aggressive boys who taunt him with a “very mean word.” Desmond struggles with his own feelings of anger and retribution, but, after wise counsel from trusted mentor Father Trevor, finds his way to forgive. 

Friends Hold Ukraine Situation in the Light

Ukraine Friends Online Worship

Because many of you have woken up at night to pray with Kyiv Quakers and because of your amazing support, love, and great attention to Ukraine, we will do two Meetings for Worship on Sunday, to reach out to friends in all time zones!

  • The early meeting is scheduled for Friends in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Oceania, and Japan.
  • The late meeting is scheduled for Friends in U.S.A, Canada, Kenya, and Europe.
  • Join us for a worship meeting to pray for Ukraine = Pray for PEACE!
Click here to worship with Kyiv Friends on Sunday. 11:00 AM Pacific = Noon Mountain = 8:00 PM Kyiv
Click here to worship with Friends House Moscow daily. 9:00 AM Pacific – 10 AM Mountain

from Kyiv Quakers and Julie Harlow, Davis Meeting (3/6/2022)

Quakers of Kyiv posted the following:

There is no doubt that Quakers are people seeking peace. In the past week, we have received dozens of examples of a desperate desire to help Ukraine, prayers for peace, words of encouragement, and assurances of the steadfastness of the basic testimonies that are close to 400 years old, namely, testimonies of peace. God is good to us, and Quakers are a living organization of good people who believe in peace and in God’s light.

Friends Committee on National Legislation released a statement

Also worth reading on the Ukraine Russia situation are posts from Johan Maurer on his blog Can You Believe. A Russian speaker, Johan lived in Elektrostal, Russia from 2007 to 2017, and earlier was General Secretary of FUM.

Resources suggested by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (22.3.15)

P&SC Urges Support of LD 906 — Clean Water for the Passamaquoddy

March 12 — Durham Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee is urging Meeting members and attenders to voice support for LD 906 a bill that could finally bring clean drinking water to the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point after a 40-year struggle to address contamination in the water supply from the Passamaquoddy Water District. 

Here’s a link to an appeal from the Wabanaki Alliance.

Here’s a link to a webinar from Maine Conservation Voters.

Household Kits for Refugees in Lewiston/Auburn

Durham Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee is collecting and assembling household cleaning kits for refugee families from Afghanistan that are being resettled in Lewiston Auburn. A list of items being collected is below, and then follows a link to a spreadsheet on which Meeting folk can record their intention to provide the items

Please provide 10 of each item so we can make 10 complete kits. Drop items off at Durham Meetinghouse by Sunday Jan 23. Cindy Wood has offered to find and purchase needed items for the kits. If you would rather donate money for this purpose, please make checks out and send them to Cindy Wood. Thank you!

Questions? Contact Wendy at wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com

KITCHEN/LAUNDRY:  Trash can, Trash bags, Dish soap, Sponge/dish cloth, Kitchen towel, Laundry detergent

CLEANING: Toilet brush, White vinegar/all purpose cleaner, Cleanser/baking soda, Broom, Mop, Bucket

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-ZO7YYpgDtWIL5zYL7URG4G3QgOujslaI-3DKyYd1xw/edit

Letter Writing Event in Support of the Wabanaki – January 18, 7:00-8:30 via Zoom

Portland Friends Meeting is holding a letter writing event on January 18, 2022 from 7:00-8:30 via Zoom. Durham Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee is encouraging our participation.

Many of us hold a concern for our Wabanaki neighbors, and hope that LD 1626 could bring a step towards justice for them. If you have been wanting to help, but not sure where to start, this meeting is for YOU!
There will be quiet time for writing letters, as well as talking time to encourage and support each other. Write to Governor Mills, your legislators, your newspapers – whatever you´re feeling pulled towards. We will have folks there who have already written some letters, so you can ask questions and see some excellent models. 

You can RSVP here. Please send this link onward to Friends and friends, and encourage RSVPs so I can plan for the appropriate size group. 

Social Justice Enrichment Project

Durham Friends Meeting, Peace & Social Concerns Committee

As members of the religious Society of Friends we have a deep and abiding concern for social justice and racial equity. Values such as community, equality, and harmony are central to our approach and advocating for social justice in the greater community is an important expression of our values. This project grew out of a series of discussions focused on becoming antiracist.

What is the Social Justice Enrichment Project?

Participating teachers will be given a set of children’s books and some teaching resources that focus on the development of social justice in children ages 5-8.  We will begin with a small group of teachers, recruiting pairs of teachers from four schools in the Durham Friends Meeting catchment area. Teachers will be able to use the books and resources to enhance their social studies and language arts curriculum as they chose. We will ask for feedback from the teachers mid-year and near the end of the school year. This important information will help us refine the project for the future. We will look for the easiest way for teachers to share their experiences with us, possibly Zoom meetings where they can hear the experiences of others.

Why a focus on young children?

Children in the early elementary grades are developing the values that will guide their behavior throughout their lives. They are focused on the fairness of things and learning to play games with winners and losers as well as working together collaboratively. They are participating in group settings which require rules to function smoothly and fairly. Some Maine children are participating in school communities that are increasingly diverse, but at the same time see mostly white people in positions of power. In preparing our children to be part of the global economy we what them to have a solid foundation in working with people from backgrounds different from themselves. When other cultures are not represented in the classroom, the importance of children’s literature increases.

What are the project goals?

We are selecting children’s books and teaching resources that will help the children:

  • Gain understanding and appreciation for diverse peoples and ways of life,
  • Build and empathic way of viewing life situations,
  • See the value of working collaboratively for the benefit of all,
  • Learn about people who work non-violently for justice and equity,
  • Learn the importance of caring for the natural world, and
  • Learn some history of the Wabanaki peoples of Maine and other Native people.
Title & AuthorAgesAboutNotes/Goals
Be Kind, Pat Zietlow Miller    3-6A multicultural picture book about kindness.1, 2
Say Something, Peter Reynolds4-7Powerful story about finding your voice and using it to make the world better. 1
I Am Enough, Grace Byers3-6      Love who you are, respect one another and be kind to others.1
I Believe I Can, Grace Byers3-7    Love and believe in yourself. Affirmation for boys and girls of every background.1
Same Same but Different, Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw4-7Two pen pals, one in the US and one in India, learn about the similarities in their lives along with the differences.1
The Word Collector, Peter Reynolds  4-7Named outstanding literary work by NAACP it is about a boy who collects words.1
Joseph’s Big Ride, Terry Farish    4-7African refugee comes to US, makes friend and learns to ride bike.1, 2
For You are a Kenyan Child, Kelly Cunnane  3-8Introduces life in a Kenyan village through the daily experiences of a little boy1
Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Pena  3-6Newbury and Coretta Scott King awards winner.1, 2
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Rose A. Lewis3-6Story of a woman traveling to China to adopt a baby. 1
Harriet Gets Carried Away, Jessie Sima4-8Harriet loves to get dressed up. While her dads prepare her birthday party she dresses as a penguin and imagines being carried away by penguins.1
Julian is a Mermaid, Jessica Love4-8In this celebration of individuality Julian imagines himself as a mermaid.1
Julian at the Wedding, Jessica Love4-8Continuing with the theme of individuality Julian makes a friend, Marisol at a wedding. Marisol gets dirty and Julian wears her flower crown.1
Mommy, Mama, and Me, Leslea Newman  3-7A toddler spends the day with two mommies.1
When Aidan Became a Brother, Kyle Lukoff  4-7Story of a family’s adjustment to having a transgender child, and their preparation for a new baby. Stonewall Book Award winner.1
Ruby’s Wish, Shirin Yin Bridges6-10Introduces the Chinese tradition of favoring boys, but Ruby wants to go to the university instead of getting married.1
She Persisted, Chelsea Clinton    7-8Introduces 13 inspirational women who never took no for an answer.1
Dear Librarian, Lydia M. Sigwarth  4-8Homeless girl’s life is changed when she discovers the library.1, 2
The Runaway Rice Cake, Ying Chang Compestine  5-8An act of generosity and compassion is rewarded at the time of a Chinese New Year.1, 2
Lyla’s Happiness, Mariahdessa Tallie4-8Lyla exudes happiness, confidence, and comfort in her own skin.  1, 2
This is How We Do It, Matt La Lamonthe  6-8One day in the lives of 7 children from around the world.1
The Proudest Blue, Ibtihaj Muhammad  5-9The first day of school in a hijab and learning to deal with hurtful words.  1
My Name is Sangoel, Karen Williams & Khadra Mohammed6-8A refugee from Sudan finds the U.S. a strange place and has trouble teaching his classmates to pronounce his name.1, 2
Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold5-8Coretta Scott King & Caldecott winner. Magical story that begins on the roof top of a Harlem apartment building.1, 2
The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson    5-8The difficulties of entering new places where everyone seems different from you.1, 2
Thank You, Omu! Oge Mora    4-8Generous Omu gives away all her stew and is then rewarded by her community.1, 2
Sugar in Milk, Thirty Umrigar  4-8 or 6-8Persian legend about embracing change, accepting others, and living in a diverse society.1, 2
A World of Kindness, Ann Featherstone4-6Asks children where they will show kindness to others. Shows impact of everyday social interactions.  2
What is Given from the Heart, Patricia McKissack  4-8Coretta Scott King award winner. African-American story about generosity even in difficult times.1, 2, 3
Let the Children March, Monica Clark-Robinson6-9The true story of children who marched against Jim Crow laws in Birmingham AL in 1963. Illustrator won Coretta Scott King Honor.1, 3, 4
I’m Sorry, Barry Timms3-6Best friends quarrel and find a way to say “I’m sorry” and mend their relationship.2, 3  
The Buddy Bench, Patty Brozo    4-6Children make plans to have buddies rather than have anyone be lonely.2, 3, 4
Strictly No Elephants, Lisa Mantchev2-5A story about inclusion told through a pet club.     2, 3, 4
Lessons from Mother Earth, Elain McCloud  3-6This Native American story teaches appreciation and care for the natural world.1, 2, 5, 6
We are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom  3-7Inspired by Indigenous led movements to protect the water. Won Caldecott Medal.1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Title & AuthorAgesAboutNotes
Wangari’s Trees of Peace, Jeanette Winter    4-7Based on a true story, Wangari won Nobel Peace Prize for her tree planting in Kenya.1, 4, 5
Most People, Michael Leannah2-7An antidote to scary images children see. Two children navigate the city noticing many acts of kindness.1, 2, 3
Title & AuthorAgesAboutNotes 
The Story of Ruby Bridges, Robert Coles6-9In 1960 a judge orders a black 6 year old, Ruby, to attend a white school. The story displays Ruby’s courage in the face of much adversity.1, 2, 4 
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, Deborah Hopkinson  3-7Clara, a slave, makes a map to the underground railroad in a quilt.1, 4 
America my Love, America my Heart, Daria Peoples-Riley6-8Asks questions children of color have about America  
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom, Gary Schmidt  8-10Biography of giant in the civil rights struggle.2, 4
Desmond and the Very Mean Word, Desmond Tutu    6-9 2ndBased on true stories of Desmond Tutu’s childhood.1, 4
The First Blade of Sweetgrass, Suzanne Greenlaw  6-8About Wabanaki basket making. Available early Aug.1, 6    
The Canoe Maker, Jean Flahive & Donald Soctomah5-9Based on the life of David Moses Bridges, a Passamaquoddy Birch Bark Artist. This is the story of David teaching his son to make birch bark canoes.1, 5, 6
Thanks to the Animals, Alan Sockabasin6-8Passamaquoddy folk tale. Named to top 10 Native American books for elementary schools by American Indians in Children’s Literature.1, 5, 6
Circle of Thanks, Susi Gregg Fowler4 & upAlaskan Native boy and his mother have an adventure on the tundra. Provides an example of the interdependence of the. Natural world.1, 3, 5, 6
A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story, Sharon Langley & Amy Norton  6-9In 1963 a community collaborates to desegregate an amusement park in Maryland.2, 3, 4 
When We are Kind, Monique Gray Smith3-5Celebrates simple acts of kindness with Indigenous characters.  1, 2, 5, 6 
Title & AuthorOlderAboutNotes 
We are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know, Traci Sorell  9 and upHistorical & contemporary laws, policies, struggles, & victories in Native life. 1, 2, 6 
Ten Amazing People and How They Changed the World, Maura Shaw  9-11Stories of ten famous people who worked to make the world a better place. 4 
Freedom Over Me, Ashley Bryan8-10Using original estate documents that list 11 slave names, sex, and prices; the author creates stories of each slaves lives and dreams. A Newberry Honor Book1, 2 

Discussion of Reparations, October 5 and October 20, 2021, 7pm


Peace and Social Concerns invites us all to talk about the great injustices done to Black Americans and how communities and organizations are responding. What have we been learning? How are we feeling?

Background materials for the two sessions are here.

Tuesday October 5, 7:00 PM at the Meeting Zoom site [connection information here]

On Tuesday, October 20 (also 7 pm) we will talk about how we as individuals and a community are led to respond. 

Malaga Island, by Surya Milner

Peace and Social Concerns Committee encourages members and attenders of Durham Friends Meeting to read “Inhabited: The Story of Malaga Island,” by Surya Milner (Bowdoin College ’19).

Here’s how it begins: Less than ten miles from Bowdoin as the crow flies, just a short distance from the Phippsburg shore, Malaga Island was once home to a small fishing community established by descendants of a freed slave, all of them forced from their homes by greed and state-sanctioned intolerance. Nature is Malaga’s only resident now, but the presence of those who lived on the island lingers.

To read the rest, follow this link.

Malaga Island is now owned and conserved for public use by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT). MCHT’s website on Malaga Island is here.

Deep Dive on Reparations

[Regularly updated; last update 21.10.05]

Peace and Social Concerns Committee will thinking about reparations for the next few months, and we’d like to invite the wider Durham Meeting community to join us.  How can we, as a nation, as a state, as an organization begin to make amends for the tremendous injustices done by slavery and colonization?  What would we want reparations to accomplish? What form might they take? What is enough to address these injustices?

To help us think about these questions we will be posting videos and readings on the website over the next 8 weeks. In the fall we will host a conversation to share our reactions to the readings and consider how we might answer the call for reparations. We encourage you to take notes as you read, highlighting important ideas and interesting approaches.  [First posted July, 2021, then regular updates]]

21.10.22 Rally for Wabanaki Rights [Video], October 11, 2021

20.05.09 Cush Anthony, Making Things Right: Apologies and Reparations, Message at Durham Friends Meeting

21.10.05 U.S. Congress Advances HR 40, A Slavery Reparations Bill, Human Rights Watch, April 9, 2021. Chairman Nadler’s Statement on the House Judiciary Committee Markup, April 21, 2021

21.10.05 Curtis Library Forum on Walking with our Wabanaki Neighbors: What Steps Can We Take?

21.10.05 Tom Huddleston, The Debate Over Reparations, CNBC, June 19, 2021

21.9.20 Hal Weaver, A Proposed Plan for Retrospective Justice, Friends Journal, January 3, 2021

21.9.14 Tom Hanks, You Should Learn the Truth About the Tulsa Race Massacre, New York Times, June 4, 2021

21.9.14 60 Minutes on the Tulsa Massacre of 1921

21.9.1 Cush Anthony, Reparations bill will put concerns over racial injustice into action, Portland Press Herald, June 20, 2021

21.9.1 H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, Congress.gov

21.8.20 Farmer’s Family Owned Slaves: How to Atone? New York Times, July 5, 2021

21.8.20 Evanston, Ill. Moves Towards Reparations, New York Times, March 23, 2021

21.8.4 Nikole Hannah-Jones, What Is Owed, It Is Time for Reparations, New York Times, June 28, 2020

21.7.28 Catholic Order Pledges $100 Million for Reparations

21.7.28 Virginia Theological Seminary Pledges Reparations

21.7.20 Ta Nihisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

21.7.13 Anne Bailey, Revisiting reparations: Is it time for the US to pay its debt for the legacy of slavery?

21.7.13 James Varner, Reparations: Through my Black Eyes to Your White Minds

21.7.08  William Darity, How Do We Span the Racial Wealth Gap?

Support Urged for Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

Peace and Social Concerns Committee urges support of this bill

April 26, 2021

To:       Senator Carney, Representative Harnett, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary

From: Shirley Hager, 129 Chesterville Hill Road, Chesterville, ME 04938, Member, Friends (Quaker) Committee on Maine Public Policy (FCMPP), and Clerk, Committee on Tribal-State Relations of FCMPP

Re:       Support for LD 1568 and LD 1626, Acts to Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

Senator Carney, Representative Harnett, and members of the Judiciary Committee, my name is

Shirley Hager and I am speaking on behalf of the Friends (Quaker) Committee on Maine Public Policy, Committee on Tribal-State Relations.  One of our primary goals is right relationship between the State of Maine and our Wabanaki neighbors, and their fair and equitable treatment. I am therefore testifying in support of both LD 1568 and LD 1626.

We in Maine have before us a historic opportunity to right 40 years of wrongs done to Wabanaki tribal communities. The terms in the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act have proven disastrous for the tribes, and these bills are designed to address those wrongs.

Since 1980, Wabanaki tribes in Maine have been prevented from benefiting from over 150 federal laws designed to assist and support tribal health, safety, well-being, and self-determination. Wabanaki tribes here also contend with restrictions and complicated regulations imposed by the Implementing Act that are not experienced by the 570 federally-recognized tribes residing outside of Maine. As a result, tribes in Maine suffer from disadvantages not found in any other state.  The vast majority of states where tribes are located abide by federal Indian law, which these bills propose. Through provisions and even requirements contained in federal Indian law, many of these states enjoy and celebrate productive relationships that benefit the tribes, the surrounding non-Native communities, and the state. Time and again, it has been shown that when the tribes are prosperous, surrounding rural communities are prosperous. This is our opportunity to create this reality for Wabanaki communities, for our rural areas, and for Maine as a whole.

The current situation imposed by the State of Maine on Wabanaki peoples is morally and ethically wrong. Because of the restrictive and onerous terms of the settlement acts, Maine was the subject of a 2013 United Nations investigation that described inequities as rising to the level of human rights violations. Tribal communities only want what tribes in other states enjoy—greater freedom to control their own destiny and to thrive. We have in both LD 1568 and LD 1626 the means to make this possible. Let’s be able to say that this year Maine took this honorable and meaningful step toward greater prosperity for our Wabanaki neighbors, for rural communities and for our State. FCMPP Committee on Tribal-State Relations supports the passage of either LD 1568 or LD 1626.  Thank you.

shirley.hager@maine.edu; 207-491-0982

Maine Council of Churches Faith-Based Advocacy Series: 2/23, 3/16, 4/6, 4/26

The Maine Council of Churches will is holding a four-part online series designed to inspire and equip Mainers of faith to become advocates for public policies that promote peace built with justice and justice guided by love.  Each session will include worship (led by Rev. Sara Ewing Merrill), engaging interactive discussions featuring theologians, policy experts and legislators, and opportunities to develop real-world skills and practice in speaking about policy with the voice of faith.

Cost is $10 per session or $30 for all sessions.
Churches that register 5 or more participants – $100 flat fee.
For those for whom this cost would be prohibitive, we are happy to provide scholarship assistance. To request a scholarship please call 207-772-1918. For those who are able to afford more, we would gratefully accept your donations to help us defray costs.

More information here.

Quaker Advocacy — FCNL Suggestions and Resources

Alicia McBride, Director of Quaker leadership at FCNL, spoke with us on January 24 to give us insights on best practices in Quaker advocacy and to share some resources with us. Here are some of the suggestions she made:

Dear Friends,

It was a joy to be with you yesterday in worship and to talk about Friends’ advocacy and FCNL. I wanted to follow up and send the links I shared in the chat, as well as more information on some of the areas that came up. 

Resources and support for lobbying virtually: Here’s where you’ll find written guides as well as links to our regular in-person training, “Learn to Lobby in 30 Minutes” (the next one is February 2) and ways to contact FCNL’s organizers with specific questions. 

Connecting Durham Friends to FCNL: In addition to FCNL’s action alert email list, I put out a monthly newsletter specifically addressed to Quakers. You can sign up on our website here. The email list is open to everyone, not just a person officially designated as a contact with your meeting. 

Federal Native American advocacy resources: An overview of FCNL’s focus is on our website. There’s also more on the history of FCNL’s Native American advocacy program. If you don’t receive it already, I highly recommend subscribing to the monthly Native American Legislative Update email for regular updates.  

Other topics that we discussed: 

  • The Electoral College Should Be Abolished” (FCNL statement). Also a response to the May 2020 Supreme Court case on “faithless electors,” which included one of FCNL’s General Committee members. 
  • In President Biden’s first 100 days, FCNL recommends several actions related to the United Nations and restoring U.S. partnerships with the global community
  • I mentioned a project related to dismantling militarism (as well as racism) in U.S. foreign policy, led by FCNL’s Diana Ohlbaum and Salih Booker of the Center for International Policy. The project is in a consulting phase right now, so we don’t have info publicly available. I’m sure we will share more soon. It’s an exciting effort to support a movement to address the structural and worldview challenges that often prevent peace and justice policy from moving forward. 
  • The E. Raymond Wilson quote I shared is from his acceptance letter for the FCNL Executive Secretary position in November, 1943: “We ought to be willing to work for causes which will not be won now, but cannot be won in the future unless the goals are staked out now and worked for energetically over a period of time.” For a bit more about FCNL’s history, the first few minutes of this video from our 75th anniversary is worth your time.

 Thank you again for welcoming me, and if you have further questions or would like more information on a specific aspect of FCNL’s work, please let me know! I also wanted to let you know that we host a regular time for silent reflection and worship for the FCNL community, every Wednesday from 5:15-6pm Eastern. You’re most welcome to join Friends from across the country for a midweek pause and centering.

Alicia

Alicia McBride, Director of Quaker Leadership (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Friends Committee on National Legislation, A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest

245 2nd St. NE | Washington, DC 20002

alicia@fcnl.org| (202) 465-7576

Alicia McBride of FCNL to Speak January 24, 2021

On January 24 Alicia McBride from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) will join us for Meeting. She will give the message and after Meeting she will join us to discuss the FCNL publication,  A Theological Perspective on Quaker Lobbying. 

This is available for you to read here, or email Doug Bennett (dougb AT earlham DOT edu) to request a copy.

Alicia will also share FCNL current work on legislation related to Indigenous sovereignty.

We Gather on Land That Is a Homeland for the Wabanaki

Durham Friends Meeting sits on land that is a homeland for the Wabanaki for centuries. Nearly all of us who regularly worship at Durham Friends live and work and play in this Wabanaki homeland.

We are in the homeland of the Wabanaki, the People of the Dawn. We extend our respect and gratitude to the many Indigenous people and their ancestors whose rich histories and vibrant communities include the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations and all of the Native communities who have lived here for thousands of generations in what is known today as Maine, New England, and the Canadian Maritimes. We make this acknowledgement aware of continual violations of water, territorial rights, and sacred sites in the Wabanaki homeland. [from the Abbe Museum website]

At its 2021 Annual Session, New England Yearly Meeting approved an Apology to Native Americans. More resources from New England Yearly Meeting for considering the draft Apology are here.

Below are some resources for better understanding of the Wabanaki people.

The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes: A Resource Book by and About Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac and Abenaki Indians, Prepared and Published by the Wabanaki Program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC, 1989).

Resources at the Abbe Museum Educator Hub

Holding Up the Sky – Maine Historical Society Exhibit via Maine Memory Network

Arthur Spiess, Maine Native Americans: An Archaeological Perspective Covering 13,000 years of Native American History in Maine, Maine State Bicenennial Lecture Series, September 15, 2019

Bruce Bourque and Fred Koerber, 17th Century Native and European Contact, Maine State Bicentennial Lecture Series, July 6, 2021

Wabanaki CollectionUniversity of New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre

Native Americans and the Amascongan and European Exploration and Native American Contact, Bethel Historical Society

The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust featured presentations by Joseph Hall (a Bates College professor) and Kerry Hardy (author of Notes on a Lost Flute).

Doug Bennett, We Worship On Land That is a Hoimeland for the Wabanaki, Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, January 17, 2021

Films:

Books:

Approximate territorial range of Eastern Abenaki groups

The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform: A Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America:

From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

The Poor People’s Campaign is now launching a Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America: The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform. This platform proclaims that moral policy is also economically sound policy, because the 140 million are not only the hope of the poor. The least of these, who are, in actuality, most of us, can lead this country out of the pain we have been suffering. The rejected are leading a moral and economic revival to save the heart and soul of this nation. Forward together, not one step back!

The Platform is grounded in five principles:

  1. We need a moral revolution of values to repair the breach in our society. This platform abides by our deepest Constitutional and moral commitments to justice. Where harm has been done, it must be acknowledged and undone.
  2. Everybody in, nobody out. Too many people are hurting and we can’t be silent anymore. Everybody is deserving of our nation’s abundance.
  3. When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises. Instead of “trickle-down,” we start with the bottom up.
  4. Prioritize the leadership of the poor, low-income and most impacted. Those who are on the frontlines of these crises must also be in the lead in identifying their solutions.
  5. Debts that cannot be paid must be relieved. We demand freedom from servicing the debts we cannot pay.

For more on the Jubilee Platform, go here.

“NEYM Sessions: An Apology to Native Americans,” by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, August 9, 2020

“Each year, hundreds of Quakers from across New England and beyond join together for worship, fellowship and seeking how God will guide us in meeting for business.  Having first gathered in 1661, in 2020 New England Yearly Meeting of Friends celebrated 360 years of journeying together as a community of faith and witness. 

Annual sessions provided many opportunities to connect with Friends old and new: vibrant youth programs, adult small groups for interpersonal connection, encouragement, and spiritual exploration, discernment of how Quakers in New England are led by the Spirit to act and serve, and guest speakers offering explorations of the Bible and sharing ministry responding to our condition and the challenges of our times.”  New England Yearly Meeting Web site.    

We gathered over zoom to share ideas, to share stories, to share an apology, to encourage breathing, to be invited, by Amanda Kemp, to move into the heart when facing racial injustices and move toward restoration, to learn of the interrelationship of ecology and theology with Cherice Bock.

Amanda is the bestselling author of ‘Stop Being Afraid! 5 Steps to Transform your Conversations about Racism’, and ‘Say the Wrong Thing’, a collection of personal essays about racial justice and compassion.  

Cherice Bock is adjunct professor of ecotheology at George Fox University and Portland Seminary, and she works as the Creation Justice Advocate at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.  A recorded Quaker minister, Bock sees environmental concerns as one of this generation’s most important social justice issues.  Her academic work focuses on nonviolent theology, Quakerism, contextual theologies, feminism, environmental justice, and ecotheology. 

There was a greater intensity this year.  There was greater intentionality.  Business meetings were devoid of the usual reports with the aim of focusing on racial justice and ecological restoration.  Another enriching element this year was the presence of a group called ‘Noticing Patterns of Oppression’.  Yearly meeting being intentional about noticing how those who have benefit from privilege may unknowingly speak and act in ways that oppress and ignore.  This was the second year for this group to offer their observations and help some become more aware of how their words can imply a sense of other, disregarding, self/cultural centrist perspectives.  Eye opening for those of us who need help in seeing, understanding how words impact others.  

Minutes and letters were presented.  Discussions engaged.  Challenges presented.  Encouragement given.  Minds opened.  Hearts softened.  Souls led. 

To do, to walk, to grow, to learn new language, to envision a world of inclusivity of the oppressed, of earth of life and health.  Two statements came out of the work of YM sessions.  NEYM Apology to Native Americans, and Call to Urgent, Loving Action for the Earth and Her Inhabitants.  Both will be sent out to Monthly Meetings to ponder and reflect upon in the coming year. 

This morning I want to share with you the apology for us to begin that process. 

In the silence that follows ponder:

  • How this letter affects my thinking, my heart, my leadings, my understanding of my journey with others. Others of the past and present. 
  • What do I know? What do I feel?  What do I think?   
  • What is my story? What is the story I want to create?  What do I need to learn? 

Do not let your guilt or defensiveness lead your response but your hope and leadings for a restorative future.

At yesterday’s last Bible half hour Cherice Bock invited us to understand ourselves as fractals of hope, embodying our part in the unfolding of Love, in relationship with and throughout Creation.  May this influence how we hear the letter. 

NEYM Apology to Native Americans 

To the Algonquian peoples of the Northeast who continue among us: the Abenaki, Mahican, Maliseet, Massachusett, Mi’kmaq, Mohegan, Narragansett. Nipmuck, Passamaquoddy, Pennaook, Penobscot, Pequot, Pocumtuc, Quinnipiac, Tunzis, and Wampanoag,

Apology

As participants in European colonization and as continuing beneficiaries of that colonization, Quakers have participated in a great and continuing injustice. For too long and in too many ways, we as a faith community have failed to honor that of God in you, the original peoples of these lands, and in doing so betrayed that of God in ourselves. We are deeply sorry for the suffering we caused in the past and continue to cause in the present. Today we acknowledge that injustice and apologize. 

We acknowledge that Quakers participated in and benefited greatly from the colonization effort which stole your land and displaced your ancestors and caused genocide and sought cultural erasure. We know that the injustice of displacement and disrespect continues. We also see the ways that we continue to benefit from broken treaties and genocidal policies. We have much work to do to attain right relationship.

We are sorry for our advocacy of the “Indian Industrial Boarding Schools,” which we now recognize was done with spiritual and cultural arrogance. Quakers were among the strongest promoters of this policy and managed over 30 schools for Indian children, mostly boarding schools, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We are deeply sorry for our part in the vast suffering caused by this system and its effects.

On behalf of New England Quakers, in particular those of us with European ancestry, we offer this apology. We commit to continuing our efforts to learn, to see more clearly the implications of settler colonialism in our own lives, and to work toward right relationship. We hold ourselves open to suggestions and to dialogue, holding no expectations of you. We will continue to pray for guidance and to seek divine assistance in the transformation we know is needed within each of us, and in the world.

A Call for Us to Act  

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends acknowledges that we have much work to do to enter into right relationship with Native Peoples and with all of Creation. To that end, we urge each of our monthly meetings to undertake the following: 

• Determine the identity of the Native occupants of the region in which their Meeting House rests and acknowledge that with a plaque. 

• Work within the meeting to raise awareness of the history of settler colonialism and our debt to Native Americans. 

• Follow the lead of Native Americans and support their efforts toward social and environmental justice, including preserving the integrity of their lands in the face of ongoing resource extraction, recognizing that theft of Native American land is not just a matter of history; it is happening today. 

• Support state and federal recognition of the status of tribes as acknowledged sovereign nations entitled to self-government and reparations. 

• Explore the implications for the meeting of restitution of lands unlawfully taken from Native Americans in violation of treaties. Once clear on what it would actually require of the meeting itself, support efforts by Native Americans to reclaim control of their sacred and culturally significant lands, including the restitution of lands unlawfully taken from them in violation of treaties.

Friends are encouraged to apply to the Legacy Gift Committee for funds to support their spiritual leadings in response to the above objectives.

Join the Poor People’s Campaign Now and on June 20!

On June 20th, there will be the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-income people across this nation will be heard!
 
Dear Friends,
 
Hope you are staying well during these challenging times. We are at a crucial moment in history when we could go back to “business as usual” with its racism, militarism, poverty and ecological devastation or we could use this as an opportunity to build a build a new society – with justice for all, peace with the rest of the world, and living in harmony with Mother Earth. A massive peoples movement is already underway and we all have an opportunity to join in this effort. 
I am very impressed with the Poor Peoples Campaign: a National Call for a Moral Revival (PPC).  Led by Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, the PPC has organized a people power movement in 45 states to challenge what Martin Luther King called the triple evils of racism, militarism and poverty (building on MLK’s last campaign, known as the Poor Peoples Campaign, in which I had the opportunity to be involved back in 1968).   You can join the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering  by tuning in live to June2020.org at 10am EST on Saturday June 20 – or join the rebroadcast at 3pm PST ( 6pm EST) the same day or at 6pm EST on Sunday, June 21.
 
More than 100 organizations will participate, along with 16 religious denominations, and national figures and celebrities including Al Gore, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Debra Messing and Jane Fonda.  But the core of the program will be the words and experiences of poor and impacted people from across the country.
 
Please invite your friends, family and your networks to join us as well. See the list of  Demands and the Moral Budget of the Poor Peoples Campaign at their website:  poorpeoplescampaign.org.
 
Warm Greeting and Peace,
David Hartsough

WHATThe Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will be the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience on June 20, 2020.The increasing urgency of a broad movement led by the poor and most impacted is more apparent every day. Now is the time to organize towards collective action to enact a moral agenda for the nation. As our ranks grow in the coming months due to COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of poverty, building a platform for the plight, fight, and insight of the poor is even more urgent.We are marshaling our collective voices to demonstrate the power of our communities. We demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.
WHENThis 2 hour program will be broadcast live on Saturday June 20th at 10:00am EST and again at 6:00pm EST.  You can also listen in on Sunday, June 21st at 6:00pm EST.   Adjust all to your time zone.
WHERE The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! We will gather from all 50 U.S. states and territories, and from across the world.  Visit June2020.org to tune in.
WHY We are gathering on June 20, 2020 to dramatize the pain and prophetic leadership of the poor and build power to enact our demands.We are waking the nation to the interlocking injustices facing 140 million poor and low-income people, 43% of the nation.But it’s not enough just to be awake. It’s not the waking, it’s the rising. On June 20, 2020, we rise together!If the rejected millions—the poor without health insurance, without living wages, without clean water, without voting protections—unite, we can move the moral and political imagination of this country and revive the heart of our democracy!
WHO The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is made up of people of all backgrounds, we are Black, Brown, White, Native, and Asian; we are old and young; we are Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim; we are people of faith and not of faith; we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; we are led by poor people and we are a cross-class movement; we are people of all abilities; and we live across this nation, from Alabama to Alaska, from Maine to California to Mississippi.
HOW We will gather online on June 20, 2020 from across the country and world.We will launch a robust accessibility campaign to ensure those of us most affected by poverty and its interlocking injustices are able to participate fully.To begin, go to www.june2020.org to let us know you will join us on June 20, 2020.Spread the word in your networks and social media.Get connected to your state’s coordinating committee. 
—David Hartsough, author of WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist,
PM press 2014. Available through Peaceworkers for $20 at 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117. 
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: 
Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Our mailing address is:
Peaceworkers721 Shrader StreetSan Francisco, CA 94117

“We Cried Power” About the Poor People’s Campaign to Air May 29 at 7pm and June 3 at 7pm

The Poor Peopler’s Campaign will be hosting two facilitated discussions of We Cried Powera documentary about the PPC. The first discussion will be Friday, May 29th at 7 and the second will be Wednesday, June 3rd at 7.The PPC is committed to the structural change of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the warped moral narrative that allows these problems to continue. If you are not familiar with the PPC, please visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/
These showings/discussions will be a lead-in to a huge virtual event the PPC will be holding on June 20th and we are looking for the support of Maine people of faith. June 20th will be the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience. 

More information about the Poor People’s Campaign follows:

What is the Poor People’s Campaign?

  • The PPC is committed to the structural change of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the warped moral narrative that allows these problems to continue.
  • Learn more about PPC principles and demands at: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/about/our-principles/

Are you looking for a way to get involved in the Poor People’s Campaign?

  • Register HERE  for our nationwide  June 20th,  virtual mass meeting!
  • Follow PPC Maine social media 
    •  Like Poor People’s Campaign Maine on Facebook!
      • Faith leaders are encouraged to join the “Maine PPC Faith Groups” Facebook group, where we will be posting more info on getting involved 
    • maineppcampaign on Instagram
    • @MainePPCampaign on Twitter
  • Join the Selfie Campaign!
    • Send a selfie video explaining why you signed up for June 20th to Hannah Smith-Erb, Maine PPC student fellow, at hsmith21@colby.edu. The video will be reposted on PPC social media.
    • Post the video on your personal social media. Use #PoorPeoplesCampaign and #PPCMainers. See examples on our social media.
  • Join us for a discussion of “We Cried Power”, a documentary about the PPC
    • View on your own with discussion on Friday, May 29th at 7 and Wednesday, June 3rd at 7
    • RSVP at hsmith21@colby.edu. Hannah will send you the link to the documentary and the zoom link for the discussion. 
  • To be added to our email list, please visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/ or email hsmith21@colby.edu 
  • Sign the petition

Ways That the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined

From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

War and militarism are destroying the planet. But if we de-fund the Pentagon, we can save it.
Excerpts taken from a piece written by Medea Benjamin for Foreign Policy in Focus. For the full text go here.

  1. The U.S. military protects Big Oil and other extractive industries. For example, the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq was a blatant example of war for oil. Today, U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia is connected to the fossil fuel industry’s determination to control access to the world’s oil.
  2. The Pentagon is the single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. If the Pentagon were a country, its fuel use alone would make it the 47th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, greater than entire nations such as Sweden, Norway, or Finland. U.S.
    military emissions come mainly from fueling weapons and equipment, as well as lighting, heating, and cooling more than 560,000 buildings around the world.
  3. The Pentagon monopolizes the funding we need to seriously address the climate crisis. We are now spending over half of the federal government’s annual discretionary budget on the military when the biggest threat to U.S. national security is not Iran or China, but the climate crisis. We could cut the Pentagon’s current budget in half and still be left with a bigger military budget than China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea combined.
  4. Military operations leave a toxic legacy in their wake. U.S. military bases despoil the landscape, pollute the soil, and contaminate the drinking water. According to a 2017 government report, the Pentagon has already spent $11.5 billion on environmental cleanup of
    closed bases and estimates $3.4 billion more will be needed.
  5. Wars ravage fragile ecosystems that are crucial to sustaining human health and climate resiliency. Direct warfare inherently involves the destruction of the environment, through bombings and boots-on-the-ground invasions that destroy the land and infrastructure.
  6. Climate change is a “threat multiplier” that makes already dangerous social and political situations even worse. In Syria, the worst drought in 500 years led to crop failures that pushed farmers into cities, exacerbating the unemployment and political unrest that contributed to the uprising in 2011. Similar climate crises have triggered conflicts in other countries across the Middle East, from Yemen to Libya.

Durham Meeting Donations to LACO Food Pantry

In December, the Durham Meeting Woman’s Society organized an Advent “food drive” for the Lisbon Area Food Pantry. During this month we asked people to bring in foods that LACO has on its “wish list” for their families, after which Kim Bolshaw drove a truckload of goods to the food pantry.
Dorothy Curtis once again worked her cooking magic this past autumn, making about 80 jars of raspberry, grape, and peach jams from fruits grown in the Meeting garden. These absolutely delicious jams were then happily purchased by members and attenders, raising a little over $400, which was donated to LACO. Thanks to all who brought in food for the pantry. Thanks to Dorothy for making all that jam! Thanks to those who helped in the garden to grow and harvest the fruits. And thanks to everyone who purchased the jams (and some garlics), making this a very successful Meeting outreach.
There are nine Durham area churches that make up Lisbon Area Christian Outreach. Questions about LACO can be brought to Margaret Wentworth, Margaret Copeland, and David Dexter, who have been our representatives on the LACO board.

Climate Crisis; Youth Speak Out!

By Linda Muller, for PSC

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At this September 29 afternoon gathering, our Meeting provided a platform for three local youth activists to share their concerns and ideas about how to move forward. After a finger food potluck, we started at 12:30pm with a moment to acknowledge our presence on Wabanaki land and to prepare ourselves to listen deeply to our youth, for the betterment of all beings. 
Presenters followed. First, Ellie Douglas started us out with her poem:

Ellie Douglas is a fourth grade student at Harpswell Community School. She loves animals and nature. She also loves to write and thought this would be a good chance to express her self.
About 26 attenders at the SPEAK OUT were asked to let these beautiful words sink into our hearts, as well as our logic and discernment. Several commented that this poem was powerful precisely because it found it’s way to our hearts so well. 

Next, Lucia Daranyi explained the teamwork needed to accomplish the resolution for the PortlandSchool District to solarize. Lucia is 17yr. and a senior at Casco Bay High School. “I am on the board of directors for SolaRISE, a nonprofit with the goal of offsetting Portland Public schools carbon foot print through the installation of solar panels as our main source of energy. We have just recently got a resolution passed that will install a solar farm that will produce 80-90% of the district’s energy! Many in her friend group are as concerned as she.WE were so encouraged about this. Congratulations to her group!

And finally, Riley Stevenson brought forward the deep need for all voices to be included in this ecological work. She is aware that some marginalized people are not being included in finding solutions, yet are often disproportionately effected by adverse harsh weather, food distribution problems, etc. She expressed concern that white people in our culture need to develop capacity to relate more warmly and personally with “ people who don’t look like us”.Riley is a junior at Lincoln Academy and lives in Waldoboro, Maine. She moved to Maine almost seven years ago and ever since has been in awe of the natural beauty of our state. She noted how precariously we are holding onto it. Since the start of this past year, Riley has joined the Maine Climate Strikes team as one of their Communications team members, the Maine Youth Environmental Association as their Event Coordinator, and has been a part of the MEEA Changemakers Gathering Planning Team. 

Two young members of the Indigenous Youth Group, convened by Heather Augustine at our Meetinghouse,were invited to share but were unable to attend. We are hoping to share The Changemakers Team information with them, as Riley related that this group has been helpful in keeping her energized and supported in this work, as she balances all this with her high school courses!

A lively discussion rounded out the event. We were so moved by the courage and determination of these youth, that our clerk and many of the members present have determined we need to bring the further solarization of our Meetinghouse forward for the whole of our Meeting community to consider and work on.

The members of Peace and Social Concerns Committee want to thank all of who helped this happen; doing clean up, bringing finger foods, making coffee, taking photos of the event, etc. It takes this kind of group effort to help our Meeting become more visible in our community, and be up to date with Climate Change efforts.

Durham Meeting Members Participate in Vigils at Bath Iron Works

  By Renee Cote and Brown Lethem

   Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, along with over a dozen Maine organizations including Maine Veterans for Peace, has co-sponsored vigils at the “christenings” of two warships to be launched from Bath Iron Works. The USS Lyndon B. Johnson, the third and final Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer to be built at BIW, was “christened” on April 27, 2019. During that vigil, 25 people were arrested for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience. Eight weeks later, on June 22, 22 people were arrested during the “christening” of the USS Daniel Inouye, a naval destroyer. Dozens of people came out in solidarity during both events.

     Brown Lethem, along with several members of Durham Monthly Meeting, participated in both vigils, creating two pieces of banner art and being arrested during the June 22 vigil. During both vigils, witnesses for peacetime conversion of the BIW facility gathered at the entrances with banners and signs proposing the many benefits to society of a conversion to renewable green energy and the de-escalation of the military budget.   

     The Sagadahoc County District Attorney’s Office announced on May 9 that it would decline prosecution of the peace activists arrested on April 27. Those arrested on June 22 were offered bail; nine of the 22 declined bail and asked to be released on their own recognizance. The nine were later sent to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset and held over the weekend in lockup, where they witnessed in solidarity with those being held long term to the insufficient food and poor conditions in the jail.  They also reported that the majority of the prisoners supported their efforts to convert the nation to a peacetime budget that benefits human needs as well as their efforts to save the planet from the climate crisis. Eventually all nine were released without paying bail. Hearings will be held in August.

     Long-time peace activists Bruce Gagnon and Mary Beth Sullivan of Bath were among those arrested at the June 22 “christening.” Bruce described their experience at Two Bridges to Brown Lethem: “After we were released from the Two Bridges jail yesterday one of the guards came out and thanked me for my service in the military.  (I had on my VFP sweatshirt.)  I told him that we vets are not so proud of our time in the military but are actually more proud of our current work for peace and environmental sustainability.  We had a long talk and as he was going back into the jail he shook my hand and thanked me again.”
     Russell Wray, an artist and long-time environmental activist from Hancock, stated in an email to Renee Cote: “My time in Two Bridges jail made it even more clear to me how little the current system we are living under cares for those with little money or political clout, including all those other species we are supposed to be sharing this planet with. Those in power don’t even seem to be concerned with their own, or their children’s future, as has been made clear by their military and environmental policies. This insanity has to change … and hopefully it will, as more and more people are waking up to the crisis we are confronted with, and doing something about it.”

Peace and Social Concerns Meeting, February 13, 2019

By Ingrid Chalufour

            The committee met with all members present, welcoming new members Bob Eaton and Cush Anthony. We discussed possible spring events and made several decisions:

  • We discussed the importance of addressing climate change, the real crisis right now.
  • We would like to put together a panel to help us move toward taking collective action.
  • We would like to collaborate with another group(s) on this and are looking for partners.

            Ingrid Chalufour has volunteered to represent the Meeting in the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council. The recently revived group meets monthly. This might be a path to finding collaborators.

            As a follow-up to the American Friends Service Committee discussion about action priorities we are planning events for April 28, the last Sunday in April. Our committee will give the message that day and facilitate an after-Meeting discussion.

            We have agreed to host a Peter and Annie Blood concert in May at the Meeting House. They have a new Pete Seeger songbook they will be using for the concert.

P

Talking Points from New England Yearly Meeting Sessions 2018

Please share the news and joy from NEYM Sessions 2018 with Friends at home. Consider posting these talking points and making a report to your local meeting for business.

The theme for this year’s Annual Sessions was In Fear and Trembling Be Bold in God’s Service. During the plenary session we heard ministry from Adria Gulizia (Chatham Summit, NJ-New York Yearly Meeting), Sarah Walton (Vassalboro, ME) and Meg Klepack (West Falmouth, MA) sharing experiences from their journeys of faith.

Diane Randall (Hartford, CT), Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) spoke in the Bible Half Hours each day about the role that her faith has played in her work in the political sphere, and the ways in which the practices of Friends have influenced public policy. Recordings of the Bible Half Hours and the plenary session will be available soon online at neym.org and on the NEYM YouTube channel.

Of the more than 620 people gathered, close to 15% were attending for the first time. For the third year in a row youth attendance was at a record high. We continued to celebrate strong representation from each of the New England states; from visitors including Friends from Kenya, Bolivia and El Salvador; and from several other North American yearly meetings; as well as ecumenical representatives. Though we mourned the U.S. government’s continuing denial of visas which prevents representatives of our Cuban Quaker family from being with us in body, we felt their presence with us through a series of video clips, which captured their greetings and prayers for us. They were with us in Spirit.

Throughout the week Friends gathered at Castleton University engaged in a continuing conversation about the need to identify and interrupt the patterns of seeing and doing– within each of us, and within New England Yearly Meeting–that lead to complicity in white supremacy and oppression. The need for this continued work was identified in committee reports, during several items of business, in ministry during our sessions and worship, in the writing and approval of minutes and in ongoing conversations among small and large groups of Friends. We-as individuals, in our meetings, and in our organization-must continue this conversation. We must continue to follow the Spirit wherever it leads, trusting in the Grace that is with us always.

Here’s a summary of important news from the week:

Responding to Previous Years’ Commitments:

Continuing Support for Immigrants and Refugees: Friends shared news of the responses to Sessions’ minuted commitment (Minute 2017- 42) to support the rights and dignity of all 2 of our neighbors who are threatened in this time, including especially undocumented immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. We heard about some of the myriad ways that Friends and Friends Meetings throughout New England have been responding to this commitment. Friends approved the formation of an Immigration Justice working group to bring together Quakers across New England who are under the weight of this concern, and committed the support of the yearly meeting to this group. If Friends in your meeting are engaged in ministry in support of these concerns and would like to connect with others similarly involved, please contact the Yearly Meeting office at neym@neym.org.

Continuing to Respond to the Climate Crisis: At the recommendation of the NEYM Earthcare Ministries Committee, those gathered affirmed a commitment to using the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative’s carbon calculator to calculate their carbon footprint and commit to a 10% reduction from baseline measures this fall by December 2019, and to encourage Friends throughout New England to do the same. More detailed information on support for this work will be forthcoming from the Earthcare Ministries Committee.

Consideration of Minutes brought forward from Quarterly Meetings:

Poor People’s Campaign: At the recommendation of Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting, Friends approved New England Yearly Meeting endorsing the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Sessions encourages Friends and Friends Meetings to “…unite with the Poor People’s Campaign by working to change the war on the poor to a condemnation and eradication of poverty itself, and to become involved through volunteering, organizing and/or financially supporting the coming together of many people across many different spectrums to further the witness of the Poor People’s Campaign.”

Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting brought forward a minute asking that the Yearly Meeting “…encourage Friends in New England to seek ways to support [the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons] and… inform people about it.” Friends approved sharing this minute with local and Quarterly Meetings.

Criminal Justice Reform: Salem Quarterly Meeting asked Sessions to support a minute stating their “…support [for] comprehensive criminal justice reform in Massachusetts that will promote restorative justice, support alternatives to incarceration, reform the pretrial process, and reduce the criminalization of poverty and race.” The minute further invites Friends, and meetings across New England to “join [Salem Quarterly Meeting] in the work of repairing and restoring our communities by reforming our criminal justice system.” Friends affirmed this minute as well seasoned, and asked that the Clerk share this minute with other quarters for discernment and further action.

Other Important Reports and Decisions:

Legacy Gift Funds: Friends gathered were moved by a slideshow of images of the many ways in which the Funds have been being used to support the ministry of New England Quakers in the areas of racial justice, climate change, outreach, religious education and more, coming soon to the NEYM YouTube channel. A list of recent grant recipients can be found on the NEYM website. The deadline for the next round of grants is October 1, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit neym.org/legacy-gift

Faith and Practice Revision: As part of the Yearly Meeting’s ongoing process of revising the book of Faith and Practice for Quakers in New England, Friends considered a draft paper on Membership. Important questions arose, including consideration of the effect that approving a practice of dual membership might have on our understanding of the core commitments of our tradition. Two additional draft papers were presented for comment–one on Pastoral Care and one on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Meetings are encouraged to further engage corporately with the material presented, and to share with the Faith and Practice Revision Committee what unity and wisdom they receive, trusting in the guidance of the Spirit in our midst. The draft chapter on membership is available here. For further information, or to share your meeting’s responses, contact Phebe McCosker (Hanover, NH, Friends Meeting), Clerk of Faith and Practice Revision Committee, or visit neym.org/fprevision.

Transforming our Relationship with Money: After five years of dedicated and faithful work, its charge fulfilled, we celebrated the laying down of the Ad Hoc Long Term Financial Planning Committee. The Finance Committee’s proposal of a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year–the fruit of a diligent process including both expense reductions and increased income–included a reduction of the total amount of New England Yearly Meeting’s donations to three of the organizations of which NEYM is a member (Friends United Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and Friends General Conference). This provided Friends in attendance an opportunity to engage with the dynamic tension between our responsibility for fiscal stewardship, and our responsibility and commitment to support the work of the wider Quaker movement of which we are an inextricable part. After much discernment and with a sense of God’s continual provision, Friends approved maintaining our current level of support for these three organizations, recognizing that further increases in contributions from meetings and individuals will be needed to prevent a deficit in the coming year.

Further details, video & audio recordings are posted at neym.org/sessions. Minutes of Annual Sessions will be posted soon and distributed to all local meetings.

To receive news and updates on the life and ministry of Friends across New England, subscribe to the monthly email newsletter at neym.org/mc-signup. New England Quakers also have an active and growing presence on social media through Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The next Annual Sessions will be held August 3-8, 2019 at Castleton University, in Castleton, Vermont. For questions or more information about anything mentioned in this document, contact neym@neym.org.