Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, September 19, 2021

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually via Zoom for the conduct of business on

Sunday, September 19, 2021, with 14 people present.  Clerk, Bob Eaton, opened the meeting with quiet worship, and continuing in worship we proceeded to conduct business.

1.The June and July minutes were approved as printed in the September Newsletter.  It was noted that there were no Newsletters for July and August; therefore, the previous number 1 minute in the July minutes was in error.

2. Trustees:  Katharine Hildebrandt reported the following:

            The Parsonage: With the approved minute from Monthly Meeting for Business, dated July 18, 2021, which read, “Friends approved the recommendation of the Trustees to sell approximately 2 acres including the parsonage, well and septic field on the open market. The trustees and clerk of the meeting are authorized to accept a final offer on behalf of the meeting.” Trustees are now under contract with a buyer.  The survey has been completed, along with other details related to the sale of the property.  The clerk of Trustees will meet with the Treasurer and the Clerk of the Meeting to go over the details of the sale ahead of the closing on Friday, September 24, 2021.

            The Meetinghouse: The repointing of the brickwork on the Meetinghouse has been completed for now.  This work included replacing the three gable-end windows and scraping and painting the exterior trim. The interior has had significant improvements over this past period of time in terms of floor refinishing, plaster repair, and paint. Trustees are hoping to now turn our focus on the work we can do to address the “Greening” of our Meetinghouse.

            The Lunt Cemetery: The Green Burial section of the Lunt Cemetery has been partially enclosed with a split rail fence, to be completed soon.  Trustees will bring a report containing information on the Green Burial site to the next Monthly Meeting.

            We expressed appreciation for the work of the Trustees.

3. Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Ingrid Chalufour reported.  They hope that everyone has been reading the reparations articles they are sharing on the website. They are planning a lively discussion on October 5 at 7:00 PM via Zoom. A second discussion, focusing on how we might respond to the call for reparations, will be on Wednesday Oct. 20 at 7:00.

            The Social Justice enrichment branch of the committee has had a busy summer distributing books to New Mainers and preparing to give books to 9 teachers of young children.  Fifty Brunswick New Mainer children have received their books and 17 Bath children will have theirs very soon. The first week in October each of the 9 teachers in the first year of the project will receive 7 books that will support children’s learning about and value for diversity, peaceful conflict resolution, Wabanaki and African American history, and caring for the environment. The committee will share more about this project in a message later this fall.

            From the Greening the Meetinghouse work group: Window Dressers, the volunteer organization that makes window inserts, has measured our worship room. The cost of 10 window inserts will be $609. These inserts will cut down on cold air leaking into the room and should reduce our use of oil. The workshop where the inserts will be made October 18-22 at the Episcopal church on Pleasant Street in Brunswick. We are expected to provide a few volunteers to help. There are morning and afternoon sessions, and an evening session on Wednesday the 20th. The work is organized in a way that a novice can easily contribute by learning one step in the process. Please contact Ingrid Chalufour by email if you want the link to sign up as a volunteer.

            We acccepted their report with appreciation.

4. We approved the requested amount of $609.00 for window inserts.

5. Ministry and Counsel: Renee Cote reported the following:  In June, Monthly Meeting approved the request from Ministry & Counsel to purchase the OWL to allow us to transition from ZOOM-alone to a hybrid form of worship in which people can either come to the Meetinghouse or participate via ZOOM.  Two M&C reports, one from June and one from July, about hybrid worship are available if any Friends would like to review them.  After an August pause and considering the emergence of the Delta Covid variant, “we will continue planning this transition in the coming months.  We aren’t ready to make regular use of the Meetinghouse yet, for reasons both of safety and of needed technical preparation, but we will be working on these and appreciate Friends’ patience with continued use of ZOOM as our primary mode of worshipping together.”

            Leslie Manning has requested a “care and accountability committee” for her chaplaincy, which will involve support for those involved in different phases of the carceral process and their loved ones. They approved this request and look forward to its development.

            It is with sadness that they report that Tom Frye died August 29, 2021.  Sarah Sprogell reported that Ezra Smith built a simple pine box for Tom, per Tom’s request for a green burial at the Lunt Cemetery. A small group of caring Friends from the Meeting were on hand Monday to prepare the earth, transport Tom’s remains to the cemetery, return his body to the earth, and close the grave.  “The Spirit was indeed moving among us in many ways; most notably, it happened that Peter Crysdale faithful and caring Friends who were present on Sunday and Monday also became “essential workers” in this process, either in transferring Tom’s body or in preparing the ground. Tom’s final passage was handled with a simple and very personal stewardship, a sacred and very physical task. Gene Boyington, Katharine (Kitsie) Hildebrandt, Donna Hutchins, Ezra Smith and Teresa Oleksiw helped prepare the ground for burial. Ezra, Jim McCarthy, Linda Muller, Kitsie, Sarah, and Denise (a friend of Jeri and Tom) moved the pine box into Ezra’s truck for transport; Peter Crysdale, Tess Hartford, and Ann Ruthsdottir joined us at the cemetery for a tender gathering of hearts to remember Tom and hold Jeri (caregiver) in our care. Many from this group remained to help close the grave, bringing Tom’s body to its final resting place in the embrace of Mother Earth’s soil. As the raindrops fell, we watched a rainbow appear before us.”  Gene Boyington, Sarah Sprogell and others will prepare a memorial minute.

6.  Finance Committee:  Sarah Sprogell brought the six-month financial report which is attached.  We are thankful to have spent only 37% of our budget.  We thank this committee for carefully overseeing our finances.

            We closed in quiet worship, thankful for the careful reports from committees, Trustees and Ministry and Counsel. 

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk