Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, March 19, 2023

Tess Hartford, Recording Clerk pro tem

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, March 19, 2023 with 13 people attending from the Meetinghouse and 2 by Zoom.

1. Meeting Opening

     Clerk opened the meeting by asking approval of Tess Hartford to be Recording Clerk in Ellen Bennett’s absence. Friends approved this request.

Clerk then gathered Friends with reading of the theme from Cuba Yearly Annual Meeting of Sessions.

     Theme: Quakers that the world needs: becoming the sower’s of hope”;

     Text: Timothy 14:10 and the paragraph from George Fox’s journal: sing and rejoice ye children of the day and of the light, because the Lord is at work in the dark night…”

     The lessons were from Hebrews 11, (“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”) and Romans 5:3-5 (“we also gloryin our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope”)

2. Approval of Minutes of February 2023– Ellen Bennett

    Minutes were approved as submitted.

3. Finance Committee Report—Nancy Marstaller

    A request was made to change the date of the threshing session scheduled for March 26th, to the 4th Sunday in April, the 23rd. After the rise of Meeting

                      Meeting approved the change. 

     Request for approval of a gift of $1,000.00 from the Charity account to assist Dorothy Curtis financially on her trip to Kenya for the United Society of Friends Women Triennial Gathering In July.

Meeting approved this gift.

4. Peace and Social Concerns Committee—- Ingrid Chalufour

    Clerk read a letter crafted by Cushman Anthony in response to the article from Angus King on his position concerning LD-6707 regarding Maine Tribal Sovereignty. A few minor changes were made, after which the letter was approved.

                       Meeting approved the letter

   FCNL has requested of all Quaker Meetings to discern whether or not it should take up the issue of Reproductive Health. PS&C committee members thoughtfully considered this request and made its recommendation to the Monthly Meeting. Two key points were made in these regards. First, historically this has been an issue that Friends have not been able to find agreement on and it would be difficult for FCNL to find a position we could all support. And second, the sense of the committee is that this issue already receives a substantial amount of funding and support. Where FCNL’s resources might be better focused, in their opinion would be in the area of international relations and our defense budget, as this would align with our Quaker value of world peace.

The Social Justice Enrichment Project is preparing a grant proposal to be submitted to the Obadiah Brown Benevolent fund before April 15th. The funds would be used to research the effects of this project to learn more about how the books are being used in the classrooms and what the benefits are to the children. The teachers along with consultants will continue to work with Linda Ashe-Ford as well as Mikku Paul,who is a Maliseet early childhood educator and consultant. The design of this project is to produce materials for teachers and a guidebook for New England Meetings. The requested amount from the OBBF is $7,000.00. PS&C has itself used its budget of $2,000.00 as the Meeting contribution to this project.

5. Statistical Report—— Sarah Sprogell

At the beginning of 2022 we had 101 members and at the end of the year we had 96

There were 4 deaths and 1 resignation.

We had 1 transfer of membership.

We do not have a First Day School

Average attendance at Sunday worship- 25-30 people, including those present in the Meetinghouse and those on Zoom.

Business meeting attendance averages 17 people, again present and virtual.

6. Ministry and Counsel—Clerk, Renee Cote

The 5th draft of the State of Society Report was read aloud to all participants.

Sarah Sprogell suggested a reorganizing of the various content fields for greater cohesiveness as a finished report. The draft as it was presented was wholeheartedly approved with gratitude, but agreed to the realignment of paragraphs as long as the content remained intact.

                     Meeting approved the State of Society report.

7. Trustees—- Sarah Sprogell

There was no report from Trustees this month

8. New Business

Kim Bolshaw brought a request form Portland Monthly Meeting and Durham Monthly Meeting to add the Mission Church/Meeting of Calderon, Cuba to the Velasco Meeting. Calderon is at the farthest edges of Cuba Yearly Meeting in Velasco, our sister city

Portland Friends also asks Durham Friends if we would hold their funds designated for the CYM under our care and create an account exclusively for these funds. These funds are separate from the NEYM, Puente de Amigo funds.

                               Meeting approved these two requests

Clerk of Finance will create the new account.

Clerk, Leslie Manning read a letter from FCNL’s General Secretary, Bridget Moix regarding its compassionate statement in response to the Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs.Wade decision on abortion. Clerk asked all present to prayerfully share thoughts without discussion, comment or debate as a way to discern our position as a Meeting on this issue. Friends shared respectfully and with heartfelt expressions of concerns. It was acknowledged at the conclusion of sharing that we at Durham Friends are not in unity on this sensitive and weighty subject.

9. Meeting Closing

Meeting closed with waiting worship and a deep sense of gratitude.

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