Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, April 18, 2021

Durham Monthly Meeting Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, April 18, 2021 with 21 people present. Robert (Bob) Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with a short period of silence expressing gratitude for those present.

  1. The March minutes were approved, with a small correction: the Christian Education Children’s Day will be June 6 (minute # 8).

2. Clerk’s Report: Bob Eaton raised the question of term limits for the Clerk. It was approved that Bob Eaton be Clerk for this calendar year, i.e., April through December 2021. The clerk reported that he will ask the Communications Committee to review the guidance regarding posting on the meeting website and report back to meeting. He will ask the Finance Committee to review current practice and to propose to meeting a general procedure on contracting services for the meeting.

3. Ministry and Counsel: The State of Society Report was presented with much thanks to Doug Bennett who composed the report. This report will be attached and included in the Newsletter. We especially thank Katharine Hildebrandt for her poem at the end of the report.

Renee Cote submitted a written report for Ministry and Counsel on their discussion about the Threshing Session held April 11th regarding our hybrid worship options. Participants expressed the advantages of Zoom, especially for those with physical limitations; the realization that there may not be a post-pandemic; the meaning of corporate worship as a physical gathering; the opportunity to see our membership grow; and the value of the simple, non-electronic physical space of the meetinghouse. They considered non-vaccinated individuals and offering small group worship for those unable to be present, either over Zoom or in the meetinghouse. When establishing small groups for in-person worship, they will focus on keeping everyone as part of the “real” meeting. It was suggested that we try the “Meeting Owl,” which New England Yearly Meeting has available to facilitate both “in house” and remote worship. 

4. We Approved the State of Society Report, which will be presented to Falmouth Quarterly Meeting.

5. We approved using the “Meeting Owl” when it becomes available.

6. Christian Education Committee/Youth Minister: Wendy reported that the Durham Friends hike on the paved Papermill Trail in Lisbon on Sunday, March 28 was attended by hearty souls, 4 adults and 2 youth. They had a lovely time and were pleased that the rain forecasted held out until the very end. Some of the Easter grass grown by Kim Bolshaw and treats were distributed.

The Youth Minister delivered Easter packages of candy and wheat grass to the homes of 11 families with children and several adults. In addition, several coloring packets were mailed to families with younger children.

The collaboration (as mentioned in the March minutes) with Central Maine SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice) participating in a Wabanaki Reach Educational program led by Heather Augustine plans to meet June 5 or 12 from 3-5 p.m. Peace and Social Concern and the Christian Education Committees will contribute $100 each to help cover the cost of $500.

Tess Hartford brought a Godly Play message to meeting for worship on Easter Sunday and explained a little about this curriculum that Durham Friends had been using until last March when we switched to virtual meeting. Ellis Noetzel sang a lovely version of Adore You by Harry Styles, which was a special treat for all.

Upcoming events include the Annual Plant Sale, beginning June 4, and Children’s Day, June 6.

7. Meeting Care Coordinator: Mey Hasbrook reported that Jeri Kemple is asking for relief persons in her full-time care of Tom Frye. Her plan is to take some camping trips and she needs volunteers to substitute for her when she is on vacation. Please email her with offers.

The Café Corner series began in December as a “social experiment in revelry.” Six gatherings offered varied formats and altering weeknights. Participants explored creative themes with informal conversation. The final session of this first phase invited community guests. Reflections from participants are welcome as the next phase is being planned.

Mey reported that she will be out-of-state April 19 to May 4 at a residence without access.  She can be reached by e-mail. Phone communications should focus on urgent matters, likely to be returned with a lag. 

8. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: The Social Justice Curriculum Sub-committee has purchased the books for the New Mainer children and plans to give them to the children at the end of the school year. They have begun to plan the project that will give social justice books to early elementary school teachers. They have the draft of a one-page introduction to the project and are in the process of recruiting four teaching teams to help launch the project.

The ad-hoc committee (Sarah Sprogell, Ingrid Chalufour, Katharine Hildebrandt, and Bob Eaton) working to lower the carbon footprint of the meetinghouse has placed the meeting on the Window/Dressers list to make window inserts for the worship room next fall. These inserts will decrease the air leaking into the room from the windows.

9. The Nominating Committee reports that they have yet to replace the Recording Clerk who has consented to continue until a replacement is found. The meeting thanks the Recording Clerk for continuing.

10. Handbook revision report: Martha Sheldon and others are working on this project and are almost ready to submit a final draft; they have postponed approval until our May monthly meeting. Margaret Wentworth made several suggestions and corrections to be added to the document. They reminded us that it is a “living” document and not cast in stone. 

11. Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell reported that for the first quarter, our income is $14,102.77, and expenses are $9,668.85, which reflects that our finances are in good condition. The weekly offering is down by about half of what we projected; the bank interest is high because it includes interest from all of our locally held accounts, not just our checking accounts. We received a designated donation of $1,000 for replacement of the pillars at the Lunt Cemetery. The full report is attached.

12. Nancy Marstaller sent a report on our Sister Meeting relationships with Velasco, Cuba. We share this relationship with Portland Meeting. The report will be included in the Newsletter, and attached to these minutes.

We ended monthly meeting with a period of silence. Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk