Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 21, 2023, with 14 people attending.
1. Meeting Opening
Sarah Sprogell called for people to gather for worship for the conduct of business. The opening reading was from Parker Palmer. “Friends are most in the spirit when they stand at the crossing point of the inward and the outward. And that is the intersection at which we find community. Community is a place where the connections felt in the heart make themselves known in bonds between people, and where the tuggings and pullings of those bonds keep opening up our hearts.”
May we stay open to one another as we conduct our business.
2. Request for Clerk of the Day
Meeting approved Sarah Sprogell serve as Clerk of the Day, with thanks.
3. Approval of April Meeting Minutes — Ellen Bennett
Meeting approved the April Business meeting minutes.
4. Finance Committee and Quarterly Report — Nancy Marstallar
Nancy reviewed the Quarterly finance report. We are on track with our percentages re: income and expenses. With respect to the physical plant, we have spent more than anticipated. However, this is likely to be offset because of a reduction in the use of fuel oil this winter.
Meeting accepted the quarterly report, with gratitude.
A Sisters Meeting Account has been opened. The Meeting previously approved and allocated funds for 2 travelers to Cuba ($8,000). However, only one went. Therefore, the request is to deposit the remaining funds ($4,000) from the checking account into the new account.
Meeting approved the deposit of these funds into the Sisters Meeting Account.
4.a. Woman’s Society via Finance Committee
Woman’s Society is asking approval to give the Center for Wisdoms’ Women in Lewiston $500. Funds would come from the Charity Account. Two people spoke to personal experience working with the Center and attested that they do very good work. According to process, the request brought today will be seasoned for a month, and brought back to Meeting next month for final approval.
Woman’s Society: request that Plant Sale funds go to Children and Youth programs of the United Society of Women Friends International. There are four international programs focusing on education that have benefitted from support from past Meeting members.
Meeting approved that money raised from the Plant Sale go to these projects.
Woman’s Society would like to hold a silent auction beginning the week of August 13th with set-up in vestry. A potluck on Sunday, August 20th, would be the close of the auction.
Meeting approved holding a Woman’s Society auction.
5. Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford
M&C requests approval for an addition to the committee description in the handbook. Rene read the addition. “and secondarily to engage in outreach in the wider community”.
Meeting approved this addition/change.
In light of the recent changes in CDC recommendations and the ending of the pandemic emergency, Renee read an updated recommendation, on behalf of the Meeting, regarding masking. Discussion ensued around the idea of , and term for, a “designated area” for those who are masked, and the degree to which we could simplify the statement.
The Meeting settled on: “We approve that masks be optional in the building. While all attenders are free to sit where they wish, for those who seek additional shielding, there will be an area set aside “for mask-wearers only” identified in the meeting room.” We will try this for a period of time and revisit the effectiveness of the implemented changes in September.
Meeting approved the above changes to masking protocols in the Meetinghouse, and to revisiting the issue in September.
There will be a memorial gathering for Margaret Wentworth on June 25th, at rise of meeting. Because Margaret was involved in so many organization, notes will be sent to area organizations with which she was involved. M&C will take responsibility for oversight and planning this event.
Meeting approved the date of the memorial.
6. Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour
Changes have been made to the committee description in the handbook. Ingrid read the new proposed description. It was recommended that the word “traditional” be omitted — Quakers have never rested on tradition; always present leadings.
Meeting approved changes as read after discussion.
7. Trustees — Doug Bennett
Trustees are proposing changes to Handbook with respect to the meetinghouse and cemeteries. Doug summarized the minutiae of the changes (e.g., thermostat settings and frequency of mowing in the cemeteries). Kim asked that the line referencing closing the shades in the meeting room be deleted.
Meeting approved the proposed changes.
8. Closing Worship
Meeting closed with silence in gratitude for the work done.
Respectfully submitted, Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk