Report from Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, January 15, 2022

Falmouth Quarter met on January 15, 2022 virtually; 34 Friends attended from all five meetings in the quarter, with one guest from Farmington Meeting.

We shared news from our meetings:

Windham reported that they had held their annual Christmas Fair which was a great success.  They have some necessary building repairs and have applied for a grant from the Obadiah Brown Fund for support to help with these repairs.  The meeting has been actively involved in lobbying for the passage of LD 1626 for Wabanaki Sovereignty.   The meeting is small, but members have known each other for most of their lives and there is deep community at Windham.

Brunswick returned to meeting on zoom in December.  The zoom meetings are smaller than the in-person ones were.  There have been 2 – 3 new attenders joining Brunswick since the summer. The zoom link for Sunday worship will be shared with the list serve so that others from the quarter might join them.  Brunswick has appreciated visitors from Falmouth Quarter at worship.  

Durham is in the process of figuring out how to do hybrid meetings. There have been two trial runs with the owl camera.  There were two successful outdoor in-person events in December involving families. The Peace and Social Concern committee has a program in which they are giving social justice books to teachers in four communities and to refugee families in the community. Over 70 books have been given to refugee families. One of the books that has been given, What is Given from the Heart, was read to those gathered as a part of the program for this meeting.

Portland Meeting is intentionally forming Ministry Care Committees to support Friends who are engaged in ministries – there are at least six active committees supporting a range of ministries.  A small group formed by Ministry Care committee is naming these groups and supporting their work. Sunday worship at Portland is virtual again and is evaluating this decision on a week to week basis.  Briefly the meeting had had both an in-person worship in the meetinghouse and a zoom worship. The meeting is also beginning a discernment process for how the meeting stewards its resources.

We remembered Linda Lyman from Southern Maine who recently died. 

The program for this January’s meeting was focused on the gift economy.  After an icebreaker, we gathered with the song Love will Guide us sung by K J Williams (Durham); after worship, Jay O’Hara (Portland) provided an overview of the principals of the gift economy as outlined in Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift. This is a way to think concretely about how spiritual energy moves through material things.  Jay shared four principles – 1.) Gifts move – they are not received and held on to, 2.) Gifts are consumed or used, 3.) Nothing is owed in return, and 4.) Trust the gift. These principles move the focus from the value of the material resources to the relationships that frame our decisions about material resources.

Ingrid Chalufour (Durham) read the book What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. Mckissack and illustrated by April Harrison. Friends reflected on where they saw themselves in this story.  This is one of the books Durham has given to teachers and families in their Social Justice Enrichment Program.

After a break to wiggle, Friends shared concrete examples of ways they have experienced Gift Economy. The group then broke into smaller groups and considered a specific decision a meeting might be faced with about the use of its funds, considering each choice from the perspective of the gift economy. The following queries were offered to guide the discussion: How have we responded to the multiple gifts that we have received? What is our responsibility to individuals who donated money for a specific project? How is our response informed by Friend’s testimonies of community, stewardship, integrity? Who is the recipient of the gift of each choice? How does each choice reflect an attitude of generosity and sufficiency?  How do they reflect an attitude of scarcity?

KJ led us in the song Thanksgiving Eve and we closed in worship.

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