Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, March 21, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, March 21, 2021 with 14 people present.  Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, Clerk, read words of inspiration from the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook section under Purposes and Goals, and led us in prayer.

  1. The February minutes, as printed in the Newsletter, were approved.

2. Handbook: Renee Cote and Sarah Sprogell made some minor changes/corrections to the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook. After sharing the edited version on line, the final draft will be presented for approval at our April monthly meeting.

3. Falmouth Quarterly Meeting: Sarah Sprogell announced that the next meeting will be April 24 at 9:00 a.m. We approved Sarah Sprogell and Robert Eaton as representatives. The agenda for April includes State of Society Reports, memorial minutes, and recognition of those in the ministry.

4. Memorial Minute for Susan Rice: Sarah Sprogell presented the final version and it was approved, adding the death date.

5. Trustees: Katharine Hildebrandt reported that the threshing session for the consideration of selling the meeting parsonage will be April 25, in person, outside, at the meeting parking lot, following the Covid-19 safety guidelines (masks and socially distanced). The rain date is May 2. No decision will be made at this meeting.

The meetinghouse has been reserved on June 12 for the memorial service for Ann Bernice Douglas Huffsmith, who died February 10, 2021. The Douglas family were active members of meeting several years ago. Ann was the sister of James Douglas, meeting member and former pastor.

6. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that they have made several plans in response to the discussion of the NEYM Apology. Believing the most important thing we can do is to support state and federal legislation that leads to Indigenous sovereignty, they have created two documents to help with lobbying. These are on the Meeting website. They will provide updated information as these bills move through the legislative process. There was also a strong interest in better educating ourselves on issues of importance to the Wabanaki people in Maine. They will plan a series of talks that will follow and build on the Wabanaki Reach workshop that is being planned for this spring. They will also provide a bibliography of resources, and work with the library committee to set up a section of resources in the meeting library. There is also an interest in increasing the awareness in Durham of sites important to the Wabanaki. They wonder if a few of us would like to volunteer to do some research on what these sites might be in preparation for a meeting with the Durham Historical Society?

They are also wondering if Monthly Meeting would give the committee permission to submit letters to the editor on behalf of the committee (not the Meeting) without Monthly Meeting approval.

The book subcommittee has selected the books for the New Mainer children and will be ordering them at the end of the month. We have also begun to map out the project that will give social justice books to kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers.

Wendy Schlotterbeck volunteered to research Wabanaki sites; Douglas Bennett has the book The Wabanakis, with valuable information. Ingrid Chalufour has the book, The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes.

7. We approved the request that the committee may submit letters to the editor on behalf of the committee without Monthly Meeting approval, with the discernment of the Meeting clerk.

8. Christian Education Committee: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported for the committee. “We met on March 9 via Zoom, with Kim Bolshaw, Tess Hartford and Wendy Schlotterbeck, clerk.

The Durham Friends Skating party on Sunday, Feb 28 was transformed into a parking lot party due to the warm temperatures. The 6 attendees had warm conversation and hot cider, compliments of Kim Bolshaw!

We discussed another activity for Durham Friends to gather and decided to plan an easy hike—on the paved Papermill Trail in Lisbon—on Sunday March 28 at 1:30 p.m. https://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/papermill-trail  

There was no further update regarding collaborating with Central Maine SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) participating in a Wabanaki REACH educational program led by Heather Augustine in April or May, via Zoom. This would be open to Durham Friends. We will share the cost to participate and cost will not be a barrier to anyone’s attendance. The topic will be Wabanaki history and decolonization.

We had lively discussion regarding plans for Easter Sunday Meeting for Worship (April 4) and connecting with the children and youth of our Meeting. A small gift of Easter candy will be mailed to each family with children. Kim will grow small containers of wheatgrass for anyone who would like one. Friends can pick up a small pot of wheatgrass on March 28 at the hike or at the Meetinghouse. Contact Wendy or Kim if you have questions. Christian Education will hold care of worship on April 4. 

Upcoming activities include an annual plant sale—June 3, Children’s Day—June 4, and Family Beach Day—June 19 or 20.”

9. Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck attended the Antiracist Training for NEYM Youth Workers on Feb. 27.

Wendy will be staffing the NEYM Young Friends retreat on Sexuality, Gender, and Relationships April 23-25 as an RP (Resource Person).

10. Ministry and Counsel: Tess Hartford reported that Mey Hasbrook has found message bringers through May. They report that pastoral care continues with various members and attenders.

Discussion regarding the Educational Media Project is ongoing with Craig Freshley, Andy Burt, Mey Hasbrook, videographer Charlie Hudson, and Joyce Gibson. The length of each biography and expense with professional editing is under consideration. A pilot project will be created.

A threshing session to discuss hybrid worship options will be held April 11, after meeting for worship. 

The State of Society Report will be presented to monthly meeting on April 18.

We noted that clarification is needed in order to proceed with a contribution to Jay O’Hara’s work supporting indigenous people. More information will be provided, to be discussed in April.

11. Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook sent a report regarding her work with The Center for Wisdom’s Women’s Sophia’s House in Lewiston. She has spent many hours helping to prepare a benefit weekend. Some members are actively supporting this ministry, and Mey was encouraged to join in the effort as a form of outreach. Some persons noted that the Meeting does not have a formal role with Sophia’s House nor is a community partner. Discussion ensued concerning appropriate announcements on the website which are outside of Meeting activity. The incoming Clerk suggested that he work together with the Clerks Committee to review guidelines for the website and clarify supervision for the Meeting Care Coordinator, in consultation with Mey.

12. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell reported that the meeting has two CDs that are coming due at the end of March; the renewal rates are very low so it may be better to put them back into money market accounts. They would like Monthly Meeting’s approval to make this decision at their discretion.

13. We approved the request that the Finance Committee make decisions regarding the CDs at their discretion.

14. Sarah Sprogell presented the 2020 Statistics Report. The report recorded two new members, four deaths, and the number of members: 103. 37 of these members are active in the life of the meeting. Our typical attendance in Meeting for Worship is 33; two are younger than 18. Average attendance at Meeting for Business is 15. Compared to 2019, the number of individuals active in the Meeting is about the same.

15. Tess Hartford mentioned that there are five youth who have shown interest in attending Friends Camp. Scholarship money may be requested if space is available. The Meeting heartily supported their attendance and suggested that each receive $500 toward camp costs. We requested that the Finance Committee increase the scholarship budget to meet this need. 

16. We approved the amount of a $500 scholarship per camper if space is available, upon receiving a letter from the potential camper requesting the funds.

We expressed our appreciation to Martha Hinshaw Sheldon for her service as Meeting Clerk and Co-Clerk. We welcome Robert Eaton, our new Durham Friends Meeting Clerk!

Martha Sheldon ended the meeting with a very meaningful prayer of gratitude.