State of Society — Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends — 2015

Over the past year Durham Friends Meeting is pleased and blessed that seven individuals became full members: some new and others by transfer. The statements and letters of these new members were an inspiration to all members. We also joyfully recognize the participation of 15 Young Friends; five will graduate from high school this year. We are inspired by the social concerns of our youth. Our average Meeting attendance is 40.

We appreciate our pastor Doug Gwyn: his Sunday messages, leadership style, listening skills, scholarship, optimistic manner, observations, and sense of humor. Under the care of Ministry and Counsel, Doug has organized and coordinates a Pastoral Care Committee.   Midweek worship, Sunday Adult Education, writing group and Woman’s Society help keep us connected and grounded. Hand-made baby quilts are given to families. There is an appreciation of being a part of the Society of Friends with its history and challenges.

We continue to be blessed with our creative and adaptable youth pastor and Christian Education Committee. Wendy Schlotterbeck’s leadership of the teen trip to the Southeast was a fine example. The group visited Quaker centers in North Carolina and had queries for each place they explored. There are two Sunday School classes for children and youth, the younger one using Godly Play. The facilitators and their work with our children is soulful and appreciated widely. Our need is for more children to be involved in Meeting for Worship and Sunday School and for more adults to be continually learning about our faith and our history.

We are making thoughtful choices about financial resources, facilities, and programs. We installed a metal roof for the parsonage and replaced our old outhouse with an insulated wall. A cell tower on our woodlot land is in process. We have welcomed community groups such as Twelve Steps and, and hosted a transgender meeting. Two workshops on Black Lives Matter were very much appreciated.   Some are active in Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting.

We have a choir that sings at Easter and Christmas times, led by a fine musician. Our Christmas program took the form of a Latin American inspired Posada. This focused attention on migration and the experience of being “other” in our society. We each are learning, growing, assisting as able, and grateful to be part of this evolving spiritual community. The urgent worldwide and local human needs we see call us to educate ourselves and those nearby, as well as provide aid locally.

Each year the loss of elder Friends reminds us of their valuable contributions to Meeting and how important it is to honor and respect life. We remember with gratitude two members who were a valuable part of the Meeting who have died in the past year.

Approved at Monthly Meeting for Business on January 17, 2016, Sarah Sprogell, Presiding Clerk