State of Society – Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends – 2016

We continued to appreciate the leadership and caring concern of Doug Gwyn, our part time “minister among ministers.” In addition to thoughtful and inspirational messages brought by Doug and others, friends continued to enjoy selecting hymns; prayers of joy and concern were abundantly shared and a variety of youth stories were included in our Meeting for Worship, including Godly Play presentations for children and youth during the celebrations of Christ’s birth and resurrection.   Doug conducted a helpful workshop on the spoken ministry. The Pastoral Care Team continued to answer needs as they arose. Ministry and Counsel produced a paper on prayer in meeting and in our personal lives.

Membership increased by 4 persons; the average consistent attendance at meeting for worship was 38. If all local members and attenders were present, we would have about 60 in attendance. In order to keep our membership list up to date, we dropped 27 members who have been inactive for many years. Our total membership is now 104.   68 are resident members.

Our Youth Minister, Wendy Schlotterbeck, continued to effectively serve the meeting by her work with youth. The loss of several youth through graduation redirected her efforts to involving families with younger children. We appreciate her emphasis on environmental and social concerns as she and the youth represented the meeting in many efforts to effect positive change in our society.

“Godly Play” continued to be the Sunday School curriculum for children, which met the first and third Sundays. The Youth Class discussed Quakerism and current justice issues. The Adult class met every week, with regular attendance of faithful members. Doug Gwyn led a series on the Gospel of John; Most of the year was spent reading and discussing the book, The Powers that Be by Walter Wink. A popular part of the Adult Sunday School hour was the inclusion of spiritual journeys of members and attenders on the fourth Sunday of the month.

Other activities of the Meeting included a rousing song fest with Peter Blood and Annie Patterson; several planned friendly eight dinners in homes; holiday pot luck dinners, and the traditional annual Kakamega Dinner supporting the Kakamega Care Center in Kenya. Also we continued to be in contact with our sister Meeting, Velasco Friends Meeting in Cuba. Our extensive garden at the parsonage has flourished thanks to very hard workers; we were pleased to receive a gardening grant for 2017. A newly established Clerk’s Committee met regularly to integrate and coordinate Meeting activities. “Coffee hour” after Meeting for Worship is a splendid time for social interaction and enjoyment.

The Trustees have been inspired to study the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof, and a more efficient heating system. They have received financial grants for this purpose. Rugs in the meeting room were removed and the floor underneath was refinished; matching wood was installed in other areas resulting in a beautiful floor for the whole room. We appreciate their diligence in maintaining the property.

One vibrant group which continued to meet is our Woman’s Society, meeting on the third Monday of every month. They provide meals for a homeless shelter once a month, contribute to United Society of Friends Women International projects, and support a ministry of Christmas boxes to many in our meeting and others in need. Some Friends attended the USFWI Triennial gathering in Iowa.

We are thankful to have members and attenders who are active in Lisbon Area Christian Outreach, Maine Council of Churches, Falmouth Quarterly Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting, Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and Quaker United Nations Committee.

At the Ministry and Counsel annual retreat in August, Our pastor, Doug Gwyn, announced his resignation to assume a position at Pendle Hill. His ministry and teaching were much appreciated, and he will be greatly missed. His leaving prompted Ministry and Counsel to consider an adventure of being pastor-less for a period of time, and also evaluate the needs of the meeting. M and C recommended an experiment in which the meeting would have spoken ministry by various members and attenders and provide pastoral care where needed for at least six months, and that the parsonage be rented during that time. After a large gathering of Friends met to consider this experiment, it was approved, with some standing aside. This 6 month period will be reviewed periodically through questionnaires, and a called session will be held to evaluate the Meeting’s vitality and spirituality.

Approved at Monthly Meeting for Business, March 19, 2017, Sarah Sprogell, Martha Hinshaw Sheldon, Co-clerks

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share