Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 20, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 20, 2021 with 13 people present.  Bob Eaton, Clerk, opened the meeting with quiet worship.

1.The May minutes were approved as printed in the Newsletter.

2. Handbook:  the final draft of the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook was approved, adding an additional introduction which states that “Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is a member meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.  New England Yearly Meeting has a Faith and Practice which communicates to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and to outline procedures to be followed by meetings regarding membership, organization, the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society.  This Handbook states the particular policies and procedures of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within the overall guidance of the Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

3.Trustees: Katharine Hildebrandt reported that a threshing session to consider the selling of the parsonage was held on April 25, 2021.  There were approximately 20 people in attendance, either on Zoom or in the backyard behind the meetinghouse, six feet apart and wearing masks.  A detailed report of that meeting will be attached to the minutes.  A thoughtful discussion ensued regarding this matter.    Trustees recommend that the meeting move forward with a decision on the future of the parsonage at the July monthly meeting.  We expressed our appreciation for the work of the trustees. 

4.  Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote brought a report regarding future hybrid meetings for worship.  Hope was expressed that we return to meeting in the meetinghouse in the fall, maintaining some virtual attendance, as well as continuing to have speakers from away, and keeping in mind those who cannot come to the meetinghouse.   It was noted that the CDC recommendations have changed over time, and that we ought to use the most current guidelines.  The question of requiring vaccinations was raised.  We accepted the report with appreciation and look forward to continued study of hybrid worship.  Renee Cote reported that the Meeting OWL device has been checked for use in the meetinghouse and is recommended.

            Nancy Marstaller is planning a hymn sing on August 22nd, working with Ministry and Counsel on arrangements.

            Wendy Schlotterbeck recommended that we donate the amount of $1000 to Jay O’Hara in support of his ministry with the Climate Disobedience Center. 

5.  We approved purchasing the Meeting Owl for use in the meetinghouse. 

6. We approved the donation of $1000 to Jay Ohara for the Climate Disobedience Center, using the Charity Fund.

7. Clerk’s Report: Bob Eaton reported that the May meeting laid over the report of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Seasoning Group to June.  Following Wendy’s recent resignation as Youth Minister, Christian Education Committee is reviewing this role. Since the first-year anniversary of the Meeting Care Coordinator position is nearing, meeting will want to evaluate this position as we move forward.  Therefore, the clerk recommends that an ad-hoc group composed of clerks of committees, and others who wish to volunteer, review the Christian Education Committee recommendation, and conduct a review of the MCC position to see if there is potential synergy between the two positions as we define them for the future. Also, consideration of the ad hoc Meeting Care Coordinator Oversight Group be further laid over pending the result of the review of the two positions.

8. Christian Education Committee/Youth Minister: Wendy Schlotterbeck reported that the Annual Plant Sale had another successful year. Warm thanks to Kim Bolshaw and many others who donated, watered and tended the plants. So far, they  have netted $900. 

            On Children’s Day, June 6, slideshow of Durham children/youth was shared via zoom near the end of Meeting for Worship that day. A copy of the photos will be sent to attenders who did not have video access (Lyn, David, Margaret, Renee).  The Noonday Children’s Day gathering outside in the Meeting House yard was attended by 15 Durham Friends. It was a wonderful experience seeing people in-person and sharing laughter around the picnic table in the horse shed.

            On Saturday, June 12, 17 Durham Friends gathered at the Hinshaw-Sheldon’s camp on Labrador Pond in Sumner, Maine. They delighted in each other’s company, sat around the picnic table under a large shade tree, and shared food and conversation. Some made use of the kayaks and canoes and paddled the pond on the glorious, sunny day.  

            Youth Minister, Wendy Schlotterbeck, helped facilitate the evening sessions of the June NEYM Young Friends retreat June 11-13.

9. Clerk Bob Eaton wrote the following Minute of Appreciation: “Wendy Schlotterbeck joined Durham Friends Meeting in 2009 and within a year the meeting asked her to take on the responsibility of Youth Minister.  Wendy had filled this role with quiet competence ever since.  The size of the meeting’s youth group had varied over the years, but never Wendy’s careful attention to each member.  A generation of meeting children have grown in the love and concern that Wendy has shared so generously.  Wendy’s ministry to our youth reminds us of George Fox’s admonition to us: “Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.”  Wendy, you have, indeed, walked cheerfully and lightly with us as Youth Minister.  We thank you, dear friend.”

 10. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported that the committee will be focused on reparations for the summer. They will be posting readings on the website and hosting a discussion of reparations in September. They will also be encouraging you to support the federal bill HR 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act. Their fall agenda will return to issues of Indigenous Sovereignty in Maine. Shirley Hager, one of the authors of The Gatherings, will join us for Meeting for Worship and a discussion in October. The books for New Mainer children will be given to families on June 30. Cindy Wood, from the committee, will be present for the distribution, which will be in conjunction with an Art Van visit, at Brunswick Landing where many of the families live. The committee continues to work on recruiting 8 teachers for the Social Justice Enrichment Project. Elementary schools in Durham and Topsham are definitely in the program and they hope to have two other schools very soon. The committee has compiled an impressive list of books that they will use in making a selection for each teacher. You will hear more about this project in the months to come. Ingrid expressed appreciation for working with those on the committee. 

11.  Velasco Friends Meeting: Nancy Marstaller reported that contact with Cuban Friends in Velasco is sporadic due to more covid cases; more restrictions are noted.  Donations cannot be sent at present.  There will be a pot-luck lunch September 26 with Portland Friends who share a sister relationship with Velasco Friends Meeting.

12. Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell presented a draft proposal for procedures for contracting services for the meeting. They recommend that a check list be used in order to gather adequate information whenever a person is hired for contracted work or services.  This information would be included in a written contract, signed and dated by the appropriate people. This checklist will be used as a reference for committees and the monthly meeting.  This list will be attached to these minutes. It was suggested that we add a procedure for resignation or completion of service.

            Bob Eaton, Clerk, closed the meeting with quiet waiting, and anticipation for a great afternoon outside!

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk