Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 19, 2023

approved, March 19, 2023

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, February 19, 2023, with 8 people attending from the Meetinghouse and by 4 Zoom.

1. Meeting Opening

Clerk opened the meeting with a period of silent worship and read from Friends Committee on National Legislation  “Tips to maintain dialogue across disagreement: Listen empathetically. Ask open-ended questions. Share your story, rather than argue over facts.” Listen, ask, share…..

2.     Website Tour — Doug Bennett

A tour of Durham Monthly Meeting’s website was conducted by the Meeting’s web coordinator, to familiarize Meeting members with this resource. Beginning with a shared image of the DFM homepage, each of the elements of the homepage were reviewed.

The website is made up of a number of “static” pages: e.g., a page for Visitors, one titled “Our Meeting” which has a number of additional links, a page for Peace and Social Concerns, etc.

All information posted on the website comes through a Meeting committee. The one page that is not static is the News and Messages page. This page is updated regularly with messages given at meeting, as well as invitations to events.

Because there are a great number of documents available through the website, there are two search boxes to assist in finding specific documents. A list of categories, which is also available, may assist in finding specific information.

There are three important uses of the website: 1. Giving immediate shared access to information, which is posted within 24 hours of being received. 2. As an on-line archive. 3. As a tool for outreach — the website is findable by anyone, not just members.

The weekly email, “This Week at DFM” includes hot links to everything that has been added recently to the website.

Members noted that the website is another way to keep us connected as a community. Others noted that Friends from other meetings have complimented the webpage. Doug received thanks for his work.

3.     Approval of Minutes of January 2023 — Ellen Bennett

                        Minutes were approved as submitted.

4.     Finance Committee Report — Nancy Marstaller

        Clerk pointed out that a total of 4 documents were distributed, including end-of-year reports.

Highlights of the end-of-year report from 2022 were noted. The Meeting is in good financial shape. Our weekly contributions were down, but this deficit was countered by bequests and end-of-year giving. Our expenses were also lower for 2022, leaving us in good financial shape. Only 67% of what we budgeted in expenditures was spent.

A summary of expenses outside of our regular operating expenses was also provided.

A Balance Sheet was presented. The question was raised as to the division of restricted vs. unrestricted money. Finance Clerk responded that all money reported on the Balance Sheet is unrestricted. The difference between “designated” and “restricted” funds was explained.

Finance Clerk then reviewed the financial report for February.

The Finance Committee asks the Meeting set a date for a Threshing Session. The agenda should include determining a tithing amount for building Charity funds, as well as the use of the Parsonage funds. Clerk suggested March 26th.

                The date of Sunday, March 26th for a Threshing Session was approved.

The Meeting also approved up to $1000 from Charity account to support Dorothy Curtis to attend the United Society of Friends Women—Kenya, Triennial, in July. These funds would be added to funds from other sources. 

                Meeting approved this support.

5.     Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

Regarding someone to provide tech support, the best solution has been discerned to be someone with technology expertise. Several suggestions have been made. It was noted that it might be best if this person is not a member of the meeting; tending to tech issues can take away from the worship experience. The feeling was expressed that we should still have volunteers, Meeting members, available to assist as back-up. Asking someone to come every Sunday for just a couple of hours might be difficult. A paid person could be responsible for technology set-up, checking to make sure that things are working, with Meeting-member volunteers to work during worship.

To improve the technology set-up, microphones would be rearranged. The current mic at the podium would be replaced by 2 free-standing mics. Hand-held mics have also been used successfully in other places, and should be tested in the Meetinghouse.

M&C will continue to discuss this issue and bring a recommendation back to the Meeting.

Ezra Smith’s request for Meeting membership was brought forward. The Clearness Committee will be providing a letter of support for Ezra to be included with these minutes. Committee members were asked to provide a summary of the conversation with Ezra. The best date to welcome Ezra into Membership will be determined.

                  The Meeting united in joyfully approving Ezra’s request for Membership.

The Meeting Care Coordinator job description was read and reviewed. M&C is looking for suggestions and approval of this description. The suggestion was made to add that the MCC would reach out to the co-Clerks of M&C for counsel support as needed. In addition, the recommendation was made to add that preference for hiring would be given to a person with familiarity with Quaker programmed or semi-programmed meetings for worship and Quaker values.

The financial implications of hiring an MCC as well as a technology person, and perhaps a new youth minister, given that our weekly income has dropped off significantly of late, raises the question: Are we financially sound? Can we afford this easily? The tech support position might cost the Meeting more than an MCC. The funds have been budgeted for MCC for 2023. If the wish is to move forward with two positions, the Meeting has to make certain that it has funds to support both.

                  The Meeting approved the job description as amended.

                  The Meeting approved that M&C post the job description and seek applicants.

6.     Trustees — Sarah Sprogell

No action items were brought forward with the Trustees report.

Trustees informed the Meeting that an outside group is renting and would be using the Meetinghouse this coming week.

The dates that outside groups are using the Meetinghouse are posted on the Google calendar via the website, as well as the paper Meetinghouse calendar posted in the Gathering Room.                                                       

7.     Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

        Clerk read the Peace and Social Concerns report. There were no action items.                  

8.     New Business — Leslie Manning

Wendy asked to bring a presentation from MEIRS of Lewiston on the fourth Sunday in February at the rise of meeting.

                The Meeting approved this event.

Request for concert — Peter Blood and Annie Patterson requested use of the Meetinghouse to host a concert at the end of April. A concern about masking was raised, given that their concerts are sing-alongs. Because it is important to be consistent about masking, the Meeting agreed that it is appropriate to ask concert-goers to be masked, but not Annie and Peter. Intergenerational special events group will take the lead on coordinating this.

                Meeting approved hosting the concert.

9.     Closing Worship

Clerk thanked everyone for hard, concerted work in listening to one another and lifting up concerns about our work together, and particularly hold M&C in the light as they prepare the State of Society Report. Hold one another tenderly, and listen together for God’s will for our community.

Clerk closed the meeting with moments of silent worship, and a reading Ezra’s letter of intent to become a member of Durham Friends Meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

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  1. Pingback: Agenda and Materials for Durham Friends Business Meeting, March 19, 2023 | Durham Friends Meeting (Quaker)

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