Durham Friends Meeting Use Guidelines

Proposed May 22, 2022

ENTRY and USE

Vaccinations are encouraged but not required.

If you feel even the slightest bit unwell, please stay home and join Meeting for Worship on zoom. 

Masks should be worn at all times inside the meetinghouse, such as when giving the message, announcements, or speaking during worship or other inside events. 

KN95, N95, or surgical masks are preferred. Well-fitting cloth masks are acceptable if 2 or 3 layers, especially with a filter insert or surgical mask added. Plastic shields, kerchiefs, gators, or buffs are not acceptable. 

We have a supply of masks available at the entrances to the meetinghouse.

Please maintain 6-foot distancing with people not in your family group or “pod.” We do not have any attendance cap or reservation system.

INFORMATION SHARING

All are asked to sign in when attending meetings, adding your name, phone number and email address to a dated sheet. These will be placed outside each door to the worship room for worship. Clerks or convenors of other meetings will keep their own lists. If you come down with Covid within 3 days of attending a meeting at the meetinghouse, contact the meeting clerk, Bob Eaton, if it was after attending meeting for worship, or the clerk or convenor of any other meeting you attended.

Fellowship before and after meetings is encouraged. Masks must be kept on when inside. Feel free to unmask when outdoors. No food will be served indoors but may be served to eat outdoors.

Air purifiers are used in the worship room. Please use them for other meetings and events. You may temporarily move one from the worship room to another room that you are using for a smaller meeting. 

Turn on overhead fans when using the worship room. When weather permits, open windows in any room that you are using, including the bathroom. Keep windows open for at least 20 minutes after use, if possible, to replace air flow, but please remember to close windows when you leave.

COMMITTEE AND OTHER MEETINGS

ZOOM meetings will continue to be available.

Meetings and events should be scheduled on the Durham Friends Meeting calendar. Committee clerks can schedule meetings; others need to contact our Trustees for scheduling events. At present the trustee to contact is Sarah Sprogell. There is a link to the calendar on the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends website. Note if it is a Zoom meeting, in person, or hybrid.

These guidelines apply to all members and attenders, as well as families or any group seeking to hold memorial services or similar events.

Please limit your visit to as few rooms as possible.

Fellowship before and after meetings is encouraged. Masks must be kept on when inside. Feel free to unmask when outdoors. No food will be served indoors but may be served to eat outdoors.

Air purifiers are used in the worship room. Please use them for other meetings and events. You may temporarily move one from the worship room to another room that you are using for a smaller meeting. 

Turn on overhead fans when using the worship room. When weather permits, open windows in any room that you are using, including the bathroom. Keep windows open for at least 20 minutes after use, if possible, to replace air flow, but please remember to close windows when you leave.

COMMITTEE AND OTHER MEETINGS

ZOOM meetings will continue to be available.

Meetings and events should be scheduled on the Durham Friends Meeting calendar. Committee clerks can schedule meetings; others need to contact our Trustees for scheduling events. At present the trustee to contact is Sarah Sprogell. There is a link to the calendar on the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends website. Note if it is a Zoom meeting, in person, or hybrid.

These guidelines apply to all members and attenders, as well as families or any group seeking to hold memorial services or similar events.

Please limit your visit to as few rooms as possible.

Woman’s Society Hybrid Meeting Minutes, April 18, 2022

By Susan Gilbert, Secretary

            Present: Dorothy Curtis, President, Nancy Marstaller, Treasurer, Susan Gilbert, Secretary, Charlotte Anne Curtis, Kim Bolshaw, Dorothy Hinshaw, Helen Clarkson, Kitsie Hildebrandt

            Card Ministry: Kim will send cards to Margaret Wentworth’s brother Jim and his wife Vera, and their niece, Alex, saying we are “thinking of you.” She will send a thank you card to Kitsie in appreciation of her hard work for the Meeting over the years, as a trustee, treasurer, organizing historical records, and many other contributions.

            Devotions and Program: Brought by Dorothy Curtis, who read from the month’s Blueprint offering on “Resting in His Shadow.” This was by Nairobi Kenyan Judith M’maitsi Nandikove on how God provides rest in times of trial, quoting Psalm 91, Isaiah 44.

            Next Meeting: May 16, Program will be brought by Kim Bolshaw.

            Minutes: Susan read the newsletter version and will email present members the long archive version for everyone to check for corrections.

            Treasurer’s Report: Nancy said the WS received a $40 donation, bringing the balance to $70.68.

            She suggests we make a reading list for 2022-2023. Mary Glen Hadley’s book Led By The Light and Marty Grundy’s A Call to Friends—Faithful Living in Desperate Times could be bought together for a discount. Midcoast Hunger could receive a donation of $30 or $40. We discussed buying Blueprints and Calendars for the new year, counting who wants one and buying a few extra.

            Prayers: For Margaret Wentworth and her brother and his family. For Kim’s friend Merrill Noetzel. Kim and Merrill recently lost their friend, Clarence David, of Lunt Road.

            Tedford House: Nancy’s Team E prepared a meal of meat, mac and cheese, salad, bread, cookies, fruit and juice. Leslie Manning’s Team F will cook next month.

            Leslie Manning has asked if WS members are interested in Adult Sunday School starting up again.

            Dorothy Curtis ended the meeting, reading a Spring poem from a children’s book.

“Tree of Life,” by Jane Field

Message given by Jane Field of the Maine Council of Churches at Durham Friends Meeting, May 1, 2022

I bring you greetings from the Maine Council of Churches, where I serve as the Executive Director. We are an ecumenical coalition of seven Protestant denominations in the state, including yours, the Religious Society of Friends. Together, we have 441 congregations with more than 55,000 members who live out their faith in towns from Kittery to Fort Kent, from Rumford to Eastport. The Quaker representative who sits on our Board is Diane Dicranian; a member of your Meeting, Cush Anthony, is an at-large member of the Board; and we work with the Clerk of the New England Yearly Meeting, Bruce Neumann, and consult with him on major issues before the Council. In fact, we are the grateful recipients of a Prejudice and Poverty Grant from the Yearly Meeting that is funding our upcoming event in Brunswick, “Saying Peace, Peace When There Is No Peace: How Demanding Civility Risks Protecting White Privilege,” next Thursday, May 5, from 11am to 1pm in-person at the UU Church and streaming online—we hope you’ll join us!

Your own Leslie Manning almost single-handedly held the Council together during some difficult days of restructuring about 10 years ago, and continued to serve on our Public Policy Committee for years after the boat stopped rocking. Another Quaker in MCC’s Hall of Fame is Tom Ewell, who served as Executive Director in the 80’s and 90’s and remains on my speed dial even today as a trusted colleague and faithful supporter of the Council. 

We are a small (but scrappy!) nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire congregations and Mainers of faith and goodwill to unite in working for the common good, building a culture of justice, compassion and peace, where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love. We carry out that mission by offering statewide educational programs and resources, and through faith-based legislative advocacy in Augusta—promoting policies that:

  • Reduce poverty, hunger and homelessness
  • Protect and restore the environment
  • Increase equitable access to health care and education
  • Defend the rights and dignity of the vulnerable and marginalized (particularly LGBTQ+ and New Mainers, people of color, and our Wabanaki tribal neighbors)
  • And ensure that Mainers can live together harmoniously with equity, peace, and safety for everybody.

If you would like to learn more about our work, you’re welcome to take a copy of our most recent newsletter or visit our website (mainecouncilofchurches.org).  You can sign up to receive our newsletters and emails—either via our website, our Facebook page, or by phone.

You could say that we at the Maine Council of Churches are all about making connections—and this morning I’d like us to spend some time thinking about how and why God’s dream is for us to be … connected.  

We’re going to do that by looking at the hidden life of trees. That’s the title of a wonderful book by Peter Wohlleben, a forester who works deep in the forests of Germany, and who has learned astonishing things about trees—trees just like the ones outside this building, just like the ones in your own backyards. As I describe his extraordinary findings, I invite you to think about a favorite tree of yours (we all have one, don’t we? Mine is a Japanese pine that stands at the water’s edge near my family’s camp; my whole life it has been framed perfectly in the camp’s picture window that looks out on the lake).

Picture your tree’s trunk. Did your mind’s eye automatically look up? Now look down to where your tree’s trunk meets the earth, and let your imagination envision the intricate root systems that are lying underground below your tree.

In his book, Wohlleben describes something miraculous going on in those roots that we humans can neither see nor hear: trees are communicating with one another. He has discovered they depend on a complicated web of cooperative, interdependent relationships, alliances and kinship networks. Wise old mother trees feed their saplings and warn neighbor trees when danger is approaching. Reckless teenagers take foolhardy risks chasing the light and drinking excessively, and usually pay with their lives. Crown princes wait for old monarchs to fall, so they can take their place in the full glory of sunlight. It’s all happening in the ultra-slow motion that is tree time. [Smithsonian, “Do Trees Talk to Each Other?” by Richard Grant, March 2018]

A revolution has been taking place in the scientific understanding of trees, and the latest studies confirm what Wohlleben and his colleague Suzanne Simard of British Columbia have long suspected: Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated—and even intelligent—than we thought. There is now scientific evidence showing that trees of the same species are communal, and often form alliances with trees of other species, too, living in cooperative, interdependent relationships, maintained by communication and a collective intelligence similar to an insect colony. 

These soaring columns of living wood draw our eyes upward, but the real action is taking place underground, just a few inches below our feet. Wohlleben jokes that we could call this underground communication network “the ‘wood-wide web.” It connects trees to each other through a web of roots and fungus. Trees share water and nutrients through the network, and also use it to communicate. They send distress signals about drought, disease, or insect attacks, and other trees alter their behavior when they receive these messages.  

Scientists call these “mycorrhizal” (my-core-eyes-all) networks. The fine, hairlike root tips of trees join together with microscopic fungal filaments to form the basic links of the network. Trees pay a kind of fee for network services (like a cable or cell phone bill!) by allowing the fungi to consume about 30 percent of the sugar that the trees photosynthesize from sunlight. The sugar is what fuels the fungi, as they scavenge the soil for mineral nutrients, which are then absorbed and consumed by the trees. One teaspoon [hold up a teaspoon] of forest soil contains several MILES of these fungal filaments!

For young saplings in a deeply shaded part of the forest, the network is a lifeline. Lacking the sunlight to photosynthesize, they survive because big trees, including their parents, pump sugar into their roots through the network. For elderly trees, it serves as nursing care. Once, Wohlleben came across a gigantic beech stump, four or five feet across. The tree was felled 400 or 500 years ago, but scraping away the surface with his penknife, he found something astonishing: the stump was still green with chlorophyll. There was only one explanation. The surrounding beeches were keeping it alive, by pumping sugar to it through the network. “When beeches do this, they remind me of elephants,” he says. “They are reluctant to abandon their dead, especially when it’s a big, old, revered matriarch.”  

To communicate through the network, trees send chemical, hormonal and slow-pulsing electrical signals, which scientists are just beginning to decipher. Some trees may also emit and detect sounds, a crackling noise in the roots at a frequency inaudible to humans.

Trees also communicate through the air, using pheromones and other scent signals. In Africa, when a giraffe starts chewing acacia leaves, the tree notices the injury and emits a distress signal in the form of ethylene gas. Upon detecting this gas, neighboring acacias start pumping tannins into their leaves. In large enough quantities these compounds can sicken or even kill large herbivores—like giraffes. (Giraffes are aware of this, however, having evolved with acacias, and this is why they browse into the wind, so the warning gas doesn’t reach the trees ahead of them. Giraffes seem to know that the trees are talking to one another!)

Trees can detect scent and taste through their leaves. When elms and pines come under attack by leaf-eating caterpillars, they detect the caterpillar saliva, and release pheromones that attract wasps who lay their eggs inside the caterpillars. The wasp larvae eat the caterpillars from the inside out. “Very unpleasant for the caterpillars,” says Wohlleben. “Very clever of the trees.”

A recent study shows that trees recognize the taste of deer saliva. When a deer is biting a branch, the tree brings defending chemicals to make the leaves taste bad so the deer will stop. If, on the other hand, a human breaks the branch, the tree knows the difference, and brings in substances to heal the wound.

Why do trees share resources and form alliances with trees of other species? Doesn’t the law of natural selection—“survival of the fittest”—suggest that they should be competing? “Actually, it doesn’t make evolutionary sense for trees to behave like resource-grabbing individualists,” botanist Simard says. “They live longest and reproduce most often in a healthy stable forest. That’s why they’ve evolved to help their neighbors.”

But this isn’t a high school biology class—why talk about this in a worship service? I can think of at least two reasons. The first is just the sheer miracle of it all—how amazing is God’s creation?!  

The second reason to talk about this in worship is because it is a beautiful metaphor from nature about how we are meant to exist in community, especially within the church, both at the local level, and in the broader, wider church, as we are, you and I, through the Maine Council of Churches. We are meant to be connected, just like trees are. We, too, are meant to love and help our neighbors. As Paul taught the Corinthians, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”  

It is our hope and prayer at the Council that we can be a sort of “mycorrhizal network” connecting local congregations like yours here at Durham Meeting with others all around the state. Like trees who are connected through vast root systems, we can share what nourishes us. We can send distress signals when someone among us is in danger or under attack so that all of us can rally around and take action. We can look out for young ones and our elders, and we can learn from each other.

Because, like trees, it doesn’t make evolutionary sense for us to behave “like resource-grabbing individualists,” either. We, too, live longest and best in a healthy, stable “forest”—a community where we love our neighbors, even as we love ourselves.

So this morning, while I am here as your guest, let us give thanks for the “mycorrhizal” system that connects us to each other, to the wider faith community (including the Maine Council of Churches), and to our neighbors of every faith, a system that connects us to creation, and to God. Let us celebrate how we, like the trees, thrive in a network of trust, shared language, and deeply interdependent relationships that are shaped by faith, hope and love, justice, compassion and peace. May it be so. Amen.

Durham Friends Meeting Minutes, April 24, 2022 (Draft)

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met in hybrid format for the conduct of business on Sunday, April 24, 2022, with 18 people attending: 11 via Zoom and 7 in the Meetinghouse.

Bob Eaton began with meeting with a moment of silent preparation.

  1. Review of Agenda — Bob Eaton

Items that require approval or seasoning

2.     Approval of Minutes of March 2022 — Ellen Bennett

        The minutes were approved as distributed with the agenda.

3.     Nominating Committee — Linda Muller

Please refer to attached report for proposed options to assume the responsibilities of Treasurer on an interim basis. An important consideration is the importance of people assuming leadership responsibilities for our Meeting.

The recommendation was made that we move ahead with approving the proposed option for a temporary bookkeeper while continuing to search for a Treasurer. We will review this situation in six months (the end of the calendar year). 

        The recommendation was approved.

The attached report also emphasized the need for meeting members and attenders to step forward and assume responsibility for seeing to the health and functioning of the Meeting.

4.     Trustees Report — Sarah Sprogell

Please refer to the attached report for details.

The Meeting approved expenditure of funds for upgrading the electrical panel, up to $5,000, and authorizes Trustees to commit those funds.

The Meeting approved expenditure of approximately $14,000 for removal of asbestos, as well as remaining ductwork and furnaces.

5.     Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

Please refer to the attached report.

        The Meeting approved moving Monthly Meeting from May 15th to the 22nd.

The Meeting approved Leslie’s use of the Meetinghouse and equipment when she delivers five, half-hour Bible sessions in July.

        State of the Society Report

Please refer to the attached report. (Corrections will be made by Renee for number of New Mainers reached by our book project.)

        The Meeting approved the State of Society Report.

6.     Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

Please refer to the attached report.

The Meeting approved the letter addressed to the Town Council of Brunswick on behalf of the Meeting, asking recognition of the Abenaki people through renaming 250th Anniversary Park, Pejepscot Park.

The Meeting approved use of $1,000 from charity funds to support Qat’s project “Riverside Friends Just Peace Collaborative.”

Reports for Information and Comment

7.     Finance Committee — Nancy Marstaller

Please refer to the attached first quarter financial report.

        The Meeting accepted the Finance Report with thanks.

8.     Meetinghouse Use Guidelines — Nancy Marstaller

Please refer to the attached document. The Meeting engaged in a thoughtful and diverse discussion around vaccinations, masking and testing, for access to the Meetinghouse. The Meeting did not find unity, and the topic will be a part of the agenda at May’s Monthly Meeting for Business. We recognize the challenge and are committed to continue working on it.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments: available here

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Agenda.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Draft Minutes of 22 03 20.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Ministry and Counsel State of Society.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Nominating Committee.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Entry proposal.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Finance 1st Quarter.xlsx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Ministry and Counsel Committee.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Peace and Social Concerns.docx

DMM Business Mtg 22 04 24 Report Trustees.docx

Interested in Visiting Friends in Cuba? [Now with an Update]

Update, May 7, 2022:

Rebecca Leuchak, Mary Hopkins and Chris Jorgenson, who travelled to Cuba for the annual sessions of Cuba Yearly Meeting in February, will be speaking at Durham’s meeting for worship on Sunday, May 15. They will be available for a short time to answer questions at the rise of meeting.

These Friends will then go to Portland Friends Meeting for an informational and organizational meeting starting at 1:00 to start planning the fall trip to Velasco, Cuba.  Rebecca, Mary, and Chris will answer questions; then we will organize folks to work on various aspects for the trip including funding, logistics, coordination with Puente and CYM, clearness for travelers, communication, spiritual support, and any other needs. The meeting will be in-person only and may last about 2 hours.

Interested in visiting Friends in Cuba? Or supporting those who go?

We’re so excited that Durham and Portland Meetings will be sending a delegation to Cuba in early November. If you are interested in going or helping those who go, or just want to find out more, please contact Nancy Marstaller by March 31.

The Portland/Durham/Velasco Sister Meetings committee will organize an informational session in April, to talk about details, and hope to have one of the recent travelers to Cuba join us. I hope to hear from many of you by March 31. Thanks!

Nancy Marstaller

marstallern@gmail.com

Materials for Business Meeting, April 24, 2022

Reports and other materials for the 22.4.24 Durham Friends Business Meeting can be found at this link.

AGENDA:  Durham Monthly Meeting Business Meeting, April 24, 2022

Note:  Meeting for Business will be held at the Meeting House.  Zoom will be available.

  1. Review of Agenda                                                                                                     Bob Eaton

Items that require approval and/or seasoning

  • Approval of Minutes of March 2022                                                                       Ellen Bennett
  • Nominating                                                                                                         Linda Muller
  • Trustees Report is attached                                                                                 Sarah Sprogell
  • Ministry and Counsel                                                                    Tess Hartford and Renée Cote

State of the Society Report for approval

  • Peace and Social Concerns                                                                                Ingrid Chalufour

At our March meeting we heard a request for a disbursement from the Charity Fund.  Per our guidelines this reqest is coming for a second reading.  Please refer to the P & SC report of last month for details.

Reports for information and comment

  • Finance Committee                                                                                         Nancy Marstaller

AttachmentsAvailable by clicking here

Minutes, 22.03.20

Finance Committee Report, First Quarter 2022

Committee on Ministry and Counsel Report 22.04.24

State of Society Report 2021, Draft

Nominating Committee Report, 22.04.24

Peace and Social Concerns Committee Report, 22.04.24

Trustees Report, 22.04.24

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting Minutes, April 16, 2022

Co-convenors: Wendy Schlotterbeck, Fritz Weiss; Clerk: Fritz Weiss

Twenty five Friends from all five Meetings in Falmouth Quarter with one visitor from Lawrence Meeting gathered on April 16, 2022 for the Spring Quarterly Meeting. Two Friends sent regrets.

 Martha Sheldon offered an opening prayer noting that we are gathered together to hear stories from our lives, our hearts and our souls.

FQ 2022-1. Land Acknowledgment: We are in the homeland of the Wabanaki, the People of the Dawn. We extend our respect and gratitude to the many Indigenous people and their ancestors whose rich histories and vibrant communities include the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations and all of the Native communities who have lived here for thousands of generations. We make this acknowledgement aware of continual violations of water, territorial rights, and sacred sites in the Wabanaki homeland.

FQ 2022-2. The agenda for this quarterly meeting was to receive reports from those in the quarter with recognized ministries, to receive and forward memorial minutes and to receive the state of society reports.

FQ 2022-3. Elizabeth Szatkowski (Portland) has been recognized for her ministry working with people from marginalized populations and advocating to change the inequities created by classism, racism and poverty. Much of her work has been with people facing homelessness, mental illness, addiction and trauma. She practices deeply seeing that of God in each person and reflecting that back to them in an active way to contribute to their empowerment and self-actualization. She was granted a denomination endorsement by Falmouth Quarter in 2018 to support her work supervising the chaplains, social workers, and bereavement department at Hospice of Southern Maine. In this role she works to create and hold space in a medical model organization for psycho social and spiritual experiences.  Elizabeth  reported that the way her ministry was used this year was not something she really welcomed. In her chaplaincy role at Southern Maine Hospice, she found herself supporting a beloved colleague through her hospice journey.  This colleague had developed an aggressive cancer unexpectedly. Elizabeth found this both hard and rich, as she witnessed her colleague growing and helping others grow; helping her friends to be present and celebrating her mortality.  Elizabeth stated that she felt able to receive Spirit, share with others and make space in a public workplace for this to happen. Elizabeth has a ministry support committee from Portland which has been important in her faithfulness.  She closed with a quote from Anne Lamott: “I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

FQ 2022-4. Leslie Manning reported for Maggie Fiori’s (Portland) Ministry Care Committee.  Maggie will be sharing about her ministry on zoom on May 9th; we are all invited.  Maggie’s ministry extends beyond her work with the Young Friends of New England Yearly Meeting to include an invitation to Friends to meet each other with love where we are and encourage us to move towards where we need to go.  Friends shared how they have experienced Maggie’s ministry in both her work with Young Friends and in her broader engagement with Friends in the world.

FQ 2022-5. We received the State of Society from Windham Meeting read by Julieanne Moore – The report noted that the meeting has met the challenges of the past year with Faith Gratitude and Perseverance.  The report is attached to these minutes.

FQ 2022-6. Report from Janice Beattie (Windham) on her ministry – Janice reported that she has been called to pastoral ministry at Windham Meeting for 25 years, noting that “God brought me to it, I did not plan it.” The ministry is expressed through the community as everyone contributes in their own way. Janice expressed gratitude for all the community gifts and talents and noted that “God is always in the lead.”

FQ 2022-7. In their reports, Windham noted that they had joined the other meetings in Falmouth Quarter in advocating for the Tribal Sovereignty legislation which is before the Maine legislature.  We shared that the bill had been approved by both the house and the senate and has been forwarded to the Governor.

FQ 2022-8. In her report on her ministry, Leslie Manning (Durham) asked us to consider what Friends mean by “ministry”. She shared her call to service among Friends, to build up, nurture, and challenge faithfulness among friends and to help us realize our prophetic vocation. Leslie reported that after decades of supporting those who have experienced violence, she is finding herself accompanying incarcerated women who have been perpetrators of violence.  She provides care, advocacy and support to the women, their families and the staff who work with them.  Leslie expressed appreciation for Durham Meeting which is appointing a support committee for her.

FQ 2022-9. Southern Maine Meeting has not written a State of Society this year. Sarah Moore reported that the meeting feels God’s presence mostly through the connections and care for each other in their small meeting.  Southern Maine is meeting together outside when the weather allows.

FQ 2022-10. We received and heard the Memorial Minute for Linda J Lyman read by Sarah Moore. The minute will be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting.

FQ 2022-11. Craig Freshley (Durham) shared that after more than 20 years of conceiving and writing, his book Together We Decide is being published.  The book is grounded in a lifelong concern for bringing people of different opinions together in dialogue. When Craig first encountered Friends at Durham meeting, he realized that the Quaker process of listening and discernment was a powerful tool for this work.  Durham meeting has provided concrete and spiritual support for the book project and for the “Make Shift Coffee House”  project which brought people together for conversations among Republicans and Democrats across the polictical divide.  In order to finish the book, Craig has had to let the coffee house languish. His hope with the book is to bring Quaker principles into the mainstream.  Craig shared his fear of being too attached to the success of the book and a fear of seeing the work as an expression of his own ego.  He also shared his awareness of and gratitude for the privileges he has of being white, relatively affluent and male which made it easier for him to do this work.

FQ 2022-12. Martha Sheldon, reported that she continued to feel that her recording in the ministry has life. She feels a deep conviction and purpose for supporting, nurturing and leading worship, and for supporting, sustaining and challenging communities.  Martha emphasized the importance of the clearness process in recognizing ministry, and the importance of recognizing the breaks we receive due to our privilege.  She also noted that she was recorded in the ministry at a time when many churches did not generally recognize or support women in ministry.  The carrying of ministry involves both being open to opportunities and every so often taking breaks. Martha has moved to Northern Ireland, she reports: “Clarity of purpose and ministry callings are, as yet, not manifest in Northern Ireland.   I continue to be present for ministry opportunities at Durham via zoom.  Before the move my ministry included my work with autistic children and their teachers.  All are welcome to visit [Ireland]!  [To share} conversation, healing walks, cobweb removing windy days, reflection…..” She is looking forward to the next stage of her ministry with exhilaration and with uncertainty.

FQ 2022 -13. Brunswick Meeting did not write a state of society report this year.  The meeting is coming together in person again at 10:00 on Sundays at the Curtis Public Library in Brunswick and welcomes visitors. It is a joy to be together again.  Brunswick expressed gratitude for the support they receive from the wider Quaker fellowship.

FQ 2022-14. We received three memorial minutes from Portland Meeting and will forward them to the Yearly Meeting.

  • Arthur Fink
    • Ed Robinson
    • Anne Harwood

FQ 2022-15. Diana White has been recognized by Portland Meeting in 2021 as carrying a ministry of healing.  Diana was diagnosed with cancer in early 2020. When her cancer had been treated and her scans were clear, she asked what she was to do with the life she had been given. Diana’s profession was nursing and nursing instruction, with an interest in supporting families and working in the community. She has continued to deepen her spiritual focus in her healing work as she is developing her gifts, and working regularly with a group of Nashviille Quakers who are Reiki practitioners.  Diana shared that part of living with serious illness is learning to live each day fully. She shared that she has recently developed slow growing metastatic cancer in her lungs, while feeling healthier than she has for years.

FQ 2022-16 Jay O’Hara began his report reading an excerpt from Dr. King’s letter from a Birmingham jail where Dr. King expressed his grave disappointment with the white moderates who are more devoted to order than to justice.  Jay has been recognized for a prophetic outward ministry confronting the climate crises.  He is feeling strongly that he is also called to the uplift and rejuvenation of our Religious Society of Friends. He feels that there is a role that Quakers have in the transformation of the world which is so necessary now. This year Jay has felt at a crossroads. His confidence was shattered and he has been reeling from this experience. He has had two concrete expressions of his ministry over the past year – offering the Bible half-hours at the 2021 annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting and a public trial with four colleagues for their action blocking a coal train bringing coal to the Bow power plant in New Hampshire.  Jay described his current condition as lonely, confused, distanced and unsettled, but trusting in God’s presence and praying for the rejuvenation of ministry in ways that are clear, humble and perhaps powerful and different from the past.

FQ 2022-17. Theresa Oleksiw shared the story of how she recognized and accepted her calling to ministry and a brief summary of how God is working through her. Theresa described her experience of being called using the phrase from Rufus Jones as “the warm intimate Touch of a guiding hand.”  This Touch began with a clarity that she was to take a break from her career as a city planner and go to Music School. However, once she had earned her degree in music, she was unable to find another job in city planning in spite of her training, experience, connections and credentials. Instead, there were opportunities to work in youth ministry and to begin writing.  The intimate touch seemed to be consistently guiding her to the writing.  In accepting the call, Theresa’s spent her savings and found herself with her child living in poverty.  At times she was lonely, frustrated and angry with God.  However, once she finally accepted that this was the path she was to travel, she was able to get funding from a number of sources. Theresa shared how she felt most clearly seen by the impoverished women she met and shared stories and dinner with at community dinners. She had to learn to trust the inner voice and the inner guide in the face of people who judged her for her poverty.  She is continuing to write and share the stories of those she has met in her journey, to share with food banks handbooks she has written and to advocate for the disposed in Maine.

FQ 2022-18. The State of Society report from Portland Meeting is attached to these minutes.

FQ 2022-19. We closed with Prayer grateful for the remarkable and varied ministries alive in the quarter.

Attachments: State of Society reports from Windham, and Portland. (Durham’s State of Society is not yet finalized and will be shared with the quarter when it is ready.

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Windham Monthly Meeting of Friends, State of Society Report 2021

            In considering the content of this report, three words came to the forefront: FAITH, GRATITUDE and PERSEVERANCE. Faith is the trusting in our Creator and His abilities and His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which mankind is justified or saved. We stand by Him as faithful believers and loyal members of His house of worship, ready to serve our calling by way of our gifts and talents as His children, ready to meet the challenges and to endure.  Gratitude is feeling or being thankful, which comes from the benefits received by way of our Creator, Redeemer and friend, through life experiences and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Perseverance is a steady course of action or purpose or state of circumstances, to hold on, to continue on course and to maintain in spite of difficulties … tenacity.

            Scripture gives us plenty of examples of this:  i.e., Abraham’s consistent faith was rewarded (Genesis 12:10) and Daniel gives an example of being faithful regardless of circumstance (Daniel 3:16-18).  Faith!

            When the giving of thanks is an integral part of life, we find that our attitude toward life will change, i.e., being more positive, loving, gracious and humble. (Ps 92:1,2). Gratitude!

            Because Christ lives in us, as believers  we can remain courageous and hopeful and endure the hard times.  It’s our faith revealed: True Christians vs. fair-weather believers.  Perseverance!

            Our meeting has been confronted with many challenges in recent years, among which are a shrinking congregation (due to losses by way of deaths, relocations, illnesses) and the upkeep of a historic Meetinghouse.  The Pandemic and other situations have affected everything from participation to finances which affect us personally and as a group. 

            We are meeting all this with faith, gratitude and perseverance, remaining faithful to God’s provision, to a desire to continue as a Meeting for worship, and to being open to ways to continue on.  We seek opportunities to introduce the community to our past history and ways, keeping in touch with the greater Quaker community as much as possible via Falmouth Quarterly Meeting ZOOM meetings, annual contact with our Quaker Ridge brethren, and continued support of the Girl Scout Troop that gathers in our Meetinghouse weekly.  We remain prayerful with sharing Bible Study times and being grateful for opportunities to work together to increase our finances by replacing the semiannual bean suppers with a Christmas Fair in the fall.  We recently received a grant from the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund for needed repairs to the building addition which are scheduled to begin the end of May.  We welcome guests to our times of worship throughout the year and are thankful for God’s ever present help through the work of the Holy Spirit.  One of our new attendees was responsible for drafting a letter to the Maine Legislature and Governor Mills voicing our support of LD1626,  the Maine Indian Tribes request for more autonomy.  We accept all this as God’s presence among us.

            To quote Charles R. Swindoll: “God designed us to live in friendship and fellowship and community with others.  That’s why the church – the body of Christ, is so very important, for it is there that we are drawn together in love and mutual encouragement.  We’re meant to be a part of one another’s lives .”         

            This concludes the review of our thoughts and outlook as for the State of our Society here in Windham, Maine, for the year of our Lord 2021,

                                                                        Respectfully submitted, Janice L. Beattie, Pastor,

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Portland Friends Meeting, State of Society Report 2021

A Rough Draft Year

Last year as the pandemic continued, we gathered to listen to God in new ways. Spirit is alive and singing amongst us, sometimes by its joyful presence, or too often by the sensation of its absence. We know that to be a community of faith is to piece together glimpses of God that each of us receives until together we see the whole, and this is hard to do right now. It’s hard to see God’s whole vision for us when we can’t find a way that we can gather all together that works for every person. Sometimes, finding ways to be together as one and feel Spirit’s presence takes so much creativity and energy and hope that we get tired or lonely, and we forget our unconditional belovedness.

Sometimes Spirit’s presence (or our awareness of it) flows with ease and grace, even while the pandemic continues to surprise and disappoint us. Hope rose through the spring that vaccination would open the door to join together again in our Meetinghouse as a gathering of Faith. Our opportunities for whole meeting worship on zoom made us grateful to be able to hold worship during the pandemic for those able to be there, and sometimes Spirit would burst forth through the computer screen. We experimented with hybrid worship, but found that there was not life in it for us. This fall we had the gift of outdoor intergenerational worship and fellowship gatherings at Friends School of Portland. We were grateful for the chance to be with so many families that we have missed for the last few challenging years. The trees swayed and the clouds sashayed with joy. Some of us found just what our hearts needed in the sanctuary of a small group, often in person, like faithfulness groups or a weekday worship or a spontaneous opportunity for fellowship, where we could nurture fresh connections with each other and the Divine. Too many of us have not been able to find a way to be present with our community and this pains us.

As the cold weather arrived, we moved to zoom for first Sundays with the whole community invited to worship together to do business and to be in waiting worship. We are experimenting with nurturing new fluid small gatherings, hoping to build new connections even as we are separated.

Spirit nudges us to continue to engage in big questions even in these times when it can feel hard to hold the center. We’re not yet sure what these questions are but we’re working on finding them. We feel invited to explore: What is our purpose as a community? What is our role in the wider community? What is our responsibility to our  neighbors?  Two examples are our work with Family Promise helping to provide support for our neighbors in need of housing, and another is advocating for sovereignty for our Wabanaki neighbors.

We’re doing hard work on an empty belly. We are hungry for connection. We’re praying to receive the nourishment we need each day to put one foot in front of the other, together.

Portland Friends Meeting is being shaped and reshaped by the Ever-changing  and the Eternal.

“The Light, The Seed, The Tree of Life,” by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, April 10, 2022

How do we talk about a God who is beyond our knowing?

The opening hymn we sang this morning, “Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise,” praises a God beyond our comprehension: “immortal, invisible God only wise, in Light inaccessible hid from our eyes.”  That’s one way to talk about God: to acknowledge that God is so far beyond us we can’t begin to comprehend.  Walter Smith, who wrote the hymn doesn’t even try. 

We Quakers often take a different path.  Sometimes we talk about ‘that of God within.’  That’s pretty inspecific.

Often we speak often of the Light, or the Light Within.  (And it isn’t a ”Light inaccessible hid from our eyes” that we’re talking about.)  We often ask that people be “held in the Light,” and we ask that others “hold us in the Light” in difficult times.  This is Light we claim to be able to experience, and this has become our preferred way of talking about God or Spirit or Jesus. 

Of course, it’s a metaphor.  We don’t literally mean we worship Light in the same way we might imagine a group of people worshipping a volcano or fire; it’s not even like worshipping the great and powerful Oz.  We know words will fail us when we speak of God.  Words can’t really capture the power or the majesty of God.  Words can’t really convey the fullness of God’s love for us.  So, we use a term that gestures at some of what we comprehend about God.  As I say, it’s a metaphor. 

Early Friends (and not just Friends) found this idea of God as Light in the Bible.  It’s often a metaphor there.  Here are some familiar verses

Isaiah 9:2      The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 

Matthew 4:16    The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

Goodness!  There’s Matthew showing us Jesus quoting Isaiah!

John 8:12      Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

Ephesians 5:8     For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Drawing from that passage, early Friends called themselves The Children of the Light. 

It’s a very powerful and suggestive metaphor.  When it’s there, Light makes things clear to us.  Light warms us and comforts us.  Light is everywhere.  These are features of Light: that it comforts us, and that it can be anywhere.  We’re saying God is something like this too.  But it’s a metaphor; again, it’s not Light that we worship. 

I find this metaphor of the Light most helpful when I bring to mind that Light can be searching, that it can reveal what is in dark corners, that it can strip us bare, reveal what we would like to conceal.  But we use it less often this way. 

God is more than we can ever wrap our minds around.  That’s a reason we resort to metaphors.  When we resort to a metaphor we’re saying ‘God is sort of like this, in some ways. 

This use of a metaphor, it seems to me, is akin to Jesus’s use of parables.  Most of Jesus’s teaching come to us as parables rather than as rules to follow or dos and don’ts.  We’re meant to learn something from the parable, and we do, but sometimes the parable helps us see that what we’re to learn is more complicated than any simple rule.  We’re learning a way of thinking and learning a way of being that’s beyond simple laws or rules.  Teaching us through parables is a better way to learn that.  But it’s also a warning that we shouldn’t think the lesson can be reduced to something simple or clear-cut. 

It’s the same with a metaphor.  When we remember it’s just a metaphor, we need to remember not to take it too literally – not to settle into thinking that God IS Light – or that’s the totality of God.

I’ve been reading some writings of early Friends.  Here is Isaac Penington, an important early Quaker, and a wonderful writer.  In one of his works, shortly after he began considering himself a Quaker, he wrote of the Savior in this way:

He is the tree of life … whose leaves have virtue in them to heal the nations. He is the plant of righteousness, the plant of God’s right hand. Hast thou ever known such a plant in thee, planted there by the right hand of God?

“He is the tree of life.”  That is another wonderful metaphor – the tree of life planted inside us.

It puts me in mind of another marvelous metaphor much used by early Friends, used perhaps as often as they spoke of the Light.  This is the idea of talking about an indwelling God, the God within, as The Seed.  This metaphor, too, has Biblical roots. 

Here is Matthew 13:31-32   He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven  is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Many of us will remember the parable of the sower that is in three gospels — Mark, Matthew and Luke.  That, too, is about God as “The Seed.”

Here is another take on the Seed:

John 12:23-25    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Here is 1 John 3:9       No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Just like the Light, or the Light Within, the Seed is a powerful image.  It, too, is just a metaphor, but it calls out or suggests different aspects of the nature of God and of our possible relationship with God.  I think that’s one reason early Friends didn’t just settle on one metaphor, but shifted from metaphor to metaphor: the Light, the Seed, the Tree of Life, and many others. 

This metaphor of the Seed helps us see God in a different way.  The Light is just there.  But the Seed needs to be tended.  That’s like the tree of life.  It’s just a seed unless it is given the right kind of attention.  If it’s not given the right kind of attention, it may dry up. 

Early Friends sometimes talked, too, of another Seed; this one they called the Seed of the serpent.  Human beings could give their attention to one or to the other.  One of those Seeds would grow, and the other would not.  It’s a choice you make.  Without care and attention from you, it’s the Seed of the serpent that will flourish in you. 

This is very different from Light and Darkness.  There are two Seeds.  We can tend one or we can tend the other will decide which will grow.  If we give ourselves over to greed or envy or hatred, it is the Seed of the Serpent that will grow. 

The metaphor of the Light has been a familiar one since I first encountered Quakers.  I think it has become so common, so used, so overworked, that it’s become a little unhelpful.  It has less potency to help me see God.  These other metaphors are helping me other aspects of God, and thus becoming more useful to me in my spiritual life. 

And I’m finding these three images together, these metaphors of the Light, the Seed and the Tree of Life very helpful to me.  Together, the three metaphors, bring to mind something growing, changing, life-filled.

also posted on Riverview Friend

Falmouth Quarterly Meeting Gathering, April 16, 9am to noon

Falmouth Quarter will meet on April 16th on zoom from 9 – noon.  We will be celebrating ministry and the life of the Spirit in our meetings throughout the morning in each of the concerns before us.

We will hear Memorial Minutes sharing the lives and witness of Friends we have known and loved.

We will hear the State of Society reports, sharing our experience of Spirit in the life of our meetings.

We will hear reports and sharing about and from individuals with recognized ministries in Falmouth Quarter.

ZOOM Link:

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Meeting ID: 859 3088 6777
Passcode: 754382
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Rally for Clean Drinking Water for Passamaquoddy Citizens of Sipayik, April 11, 10am at the State House

The Durham Friends Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee encourages participation:

Rally for Sipayik Water and LD 906

The rally starts at 10, but you can attend the preparatory session with Wabanaki leaders and Wabanaki Alliance staff starting at 8:00 a.m. in the back room of the Cross Building Cafeteria (in the basement), and plan to stay after the rally to lobby your legislators:
The public water supply delivered to the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik contains high levels of carcinogens and is brown at certain times of year. Over the years, the state and a neighboring town have impeded tribal attempts to access water located on tribally-owned lands to bring clean water to a new elementary school and the larger community. LD 906 would remove those barriers, provide financial assistance to the local water district, and help the Passamaquoddy Tribe access clean drinking water at Sipayik. 

Please join Passamaquoddy Tribal leaders and citizens, the Wabanaki Alliance and supporters next Monday, April 11 at 10 AM outside the State House in Augusta for a Rally and March for Clean Drinking Water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

WHERE: Park at the State Office Building Parking Garage for free. Walk across the street to the outdoor area between the Burton M. Cross Office Building and the State House

WHEN: Monday, April 11 from 10 AM – 12 PM.

WHO: All are encouraged to attend! Masks are no longer required in the State House, but we ask that all Lobby Day participants please still wear a mask when indoors and make the best decision for your health and those around you when outside.

WHAT: A rally and march to show widespread support for clean drinking water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik. Please consider staying after the rally to lobby your State Senator and State Representative! We’ll give you the instructions and materials you need. 

Please click here for homemade sign guidance and remember to register here if you plan to attend.

Clean-Up Day, April 23, 10am to noon and noon to 2pm

Trustees are planning an outdoor work day. 

When: Saturday April 23, 10-12 and 12-2.  Come for the morning or afternoon; bring a picnic lunch.

What:  Cleaning up the outdoor area around the meethinghouse.

Tasks will include: raking, cleaning up sticks and branches, cleaning up behind the horse shed, bucking up fallen trees as needed, washing outside windows.

Please bring a rake, clippers and/or hand saw, tarps for moving leaves.  Also gloves. Dan will bring a small chain saw.

“Desmond and the Very Mean Word,” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, pril 3, 2022

The April 3 message at Durham Friends Meeting was a reading of this book by Cindy Wood. The book is one of those distributed by the Meeting to teachers in this area as part of the Meeting’s Social Justice Enrichment Project.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A. G. Ford

An actual event from the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s childhood forms the heart of a story about the difficulties and rewards of forgiveness. Young Desmond proudly rides his new bike through the streets of the township when he encounters a group of aggressive boys who taunt him with a “very mean word.” Desmond struggles with his own feelings of anger and retribution, but, after wise counsel from trusted mentor Father Trevor, finds his way to forgive. 

Worship Sharing on the Peace Testimony, April 2, 4pm

Peace & Social Concerns invites you to a 

Worship Sharing on the Peace Testimony

 April 2 at 4:00 p.m. EDT, via ZOOM (prior registration required).

Friends are invited to join to share their thoughts and discernment about the Peace Testimony of Friends and how the events in Ukraine have affected them.
Hosted by Quaker House, in Fayetteville, N.C. (near Fort Bragg).

Please note: an RSVP is required to receive Zoom connection details.

Quaker House is hosting a second Worship Sharing session on Saturday, April 2 at 4:00pm EDT. Friends are invited to join to share their thoughts and discernment about the Peace Testimony of Friends and how the events in Ukraine have affected them. The Worship Sharing will be unprogrammed and we will wait for messages to rise from the silence. As a time of
worship, we will not record the session.

If you wish to participate, send an email to wayne.finegar@quakerhouse.org or call 910-323-3912 and the connection information will be sent to you. This will allow us to have a sense of how many will be joining in worship. After the time of worship, we will discuss next steps in this discernment. Some options already suggested include:

  1. Additional worship sharing opportunities.
  2. More formal presentations from Friends who have written or spoken on these topics (suggestions of names with contact information are very welcome).
  3. Discussion groups (probably with smaller numbers) focused on topics of interest. These might well
    include materials for review prior to the sessions.
  4. Activism sharing with a focus on how to achieve real change in an era of social media.
    Friends are encouraged to bring other suggestions for consideration

Durham Friends Meeting Minutes, March 20, 2022

        Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually for the conduct of business on Sunday, March 20, 2022, with 23 people present. Sue Reilly, from Portland Friends, joined the Meeting to lend prayerful support for the discussions.

1.     Meeting Opening

Ministry and Council’s recommendation that Leslie Manning, serve as Clerk for the day for this Meeting for Business was approved.

Leslie then opened Meeting for Business with a reading from a proposed chapter for NEYM Faith and Practice, followed by a moment of silent preparation.

There were no additions or edits to the proposed agenda.

2.     Approval of Minutes of February 2022 — Ellen Bennett

The following amendments to the minutes were requested:

  • Regarding the guidelines for use of the meetinghouse, amend minutes to read it was received with gratitude, but not “accepted”.
    • Trustees report requires more specificity. “Bring a final proposal to replace the two furnaces to the meeting.” Finance Committee: 
    • Amend the minutes to read the Finance Committee “Year-End” report was submitted.

               The minutes were approved with the above changes.                                                  

Old Business

3.     Guidelines for use of Meetinghouse — Nancy Marstaller

Nancy clarified how Covid-positive test information for outside groups that use the Meetinghouse, would not be shared beyond those individual groups. Conversation ensued about levels of comfort attending Meeting with those who are unvaccinated.

It was suggested opening the Meetinghouse on 3/27/2022, requiring vaccination and masks. This would serve as a kind of experiment before revisiting the guidelines again at the April Meeting for Business.

The guidelines were accepted with the change of requiring all those attending in person be fully vaccinated. The guidelines will be reviewed at our monthly meeting in April.

              The recommendation to open the Meetinghouse on 3/27, was approved.

4.     Air Purifiers — Sarah Sprogell

To further assist in protecting Meeting attendees from Covid, the addition of air purifiers to the Meetinghouse was researched.

The Meeting approved the recommendation of Trustees to purchase 4 air purifiers with funds from the capital account to help with Covid mitigation.

5.     Trustees — Sarah Sprogell

              The Meeting approved two recommendations put forward by Trustees:

1. A new heating system using heat pumps. Please see appended Trustee Report for specifics.           

2. Replacing the current heat pump that serves the vestry. The Meeting approved this recommendation.

Reports from Committees

6.     Ministry and Council — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

The Meeting approved the M&C recommendation that April’s Monthly Meeting be moved to 4/24.

The Meeting approved M&C’s recommendation that Gene Boynton receive reimbursement from the charity account for expenses associated with Tommy Frye’s passing. The Meeting also expressed its deep and sincere thanks to Gene Boynton for taking on this responsibility.

Concerning oversight of the use of the Meetinghouse, it was clarified that Trustees have oversight responsibility for outside groups that wish to use the Meetinghouse for gatherings, and M&C has oversight for groups that wish to use the Meetinghouse for gatherings for worship, for example memorial services.

7.     Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

The Committee brought for discernment Qat Langelier’s request for funds to support her work towards a masters degree program. The request is for $1,000 from the charity account. Following procedure, the request will come for a second discernment at the April meeting.

8.     Finance Committee — Nancy Marstaller

The committee requests $4 – $8K to support the cost of up to 2 travelers from Durham Friends to Cuba in November. Funds would come from the Nellie Woodbury Fund, currently held in a CD.

The Meeting approved Finance Committee’s request for use of the funds from the Woodbury account.

New Business

9.     Resignation Received — Leslie Manning

The Meeting received Kitsie Hildebrandt’s resignation from her role as Treasurer. She will remain in this role until a replacement is found. If anyone is interested in stepping into this role, please see Linda Muller.

        The meeting is deeply, deeply grateful for Kitsie’s service as Treasurer.

10.   Request for use of Meetinghouse — Wendy Schlotterbeck.

Use of the Meetinghouse for the FQM “Emerging from Hibernation” party, scheduled for May 7, was approved.

11.   Statistical Report — Sarah Sprogell

The meeting accepted the statistical report provided to NEYM with tremendous gratitude for the work done.

12.   Nominating Committee — Linda Muller

The Nominating Committee recommended a change to those on the Library Committee, with Nancy Marstaller coming off and Margaret Wentworth joining (again!).

              The Meeting approved these changes to the Library Committee.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments:

  • 22.02.20 DMM Business Meeting Draft Minutes
  • DMM Covid Guidelines—Draft
  • Air Purifier Recommendation
  • Trustees Report
  • Ministry and Council Report
  • Ministry and Council Recommendation
  • Peace and Social Concerns Report
  • Finance Committee Report
  • NEYM Statistical Report
  • Nominating Committee Report

Durham Friends Meetinghouse Use Guidelines, March 20, 2022

Accepted March 20, 2022; to be reviewed regularly.

ENTRY and USE

We require that only fully vaccinated people enter the meetinghouse.

If you are not vaccinated, please join Meeting for Worship by Zoom.

If you feel even the slightest bit unwell, please stay home and join us on zoom.

Masks must be worn at all times when giving the message, announcements, or speaking at any type of meeting or event inside the meetinghouse. We will have a microphone and speaker available in the worship room.

KN95 or N95 masks are preferred. Well-fitting cloth masks are acceptable if 2 or 3 layers, especially with a filter insert or surgical mask added. Plastic shields, kerchiefs, gators, or buffs are not acceptable.

We have a supply of masks available at the entrances to the meetinghouse.

Please maintain 6-foot distancing with people not in your family group or “pod.” We do not have any attendance cap or reservation system.

INFORMATION SHARING

All are asked to sign in when attending meetings, adding your name, phone number and email address to a dated sheet. These will be placed outside each door to the worship room for worship. Clerks or convenors of other meetings will keep their own lists. If you come down with Covid within 3 days of attending a meeting at the meetinghouse, contact the meeting clerk, Bob Eaton, if it was after attending meeting for worship, or the clerk or convenor of any other meeting you attended.

Fellowship before and after meetings is encouraged. Masks must be kept on when inside. Feel free to unmask when outdoors. No food will be served indoors. When weather allows, snack may be served for eating outdoors.

Air purifiers will be used in the worship room. Please use them for other meetings and events. You may temporarily move one from the worship room to another room that you are using for a smaller meeting. 

Turn on overhead fans when using the worship room. As weather permits, open windows in any room that you are using, including the bathroom. Keep windows open for at least 20 minutes after use, if possible, to replace air flow, but please remember to close windows when you leave.

COMMITTEE AND OTHER MEETINGS

ZOOM meetings are available at present and will be in the future as an adjunct when the meetinghouse is open.                                                                            

Meetings and events should be scheduled on the Durham Friends Meeting calendar. Committee clerks can schedule meetings; others need to contact our Trustees for scheduling events. At present the trustee to contact is Sarah Sprogell. There is a link to the calendar on the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends website. Note if it is a Zoom meeting, in person, or hybrid.

Please meet outside or on ZOOM if your group is not fully vaccinated.

These guidelines apply to all members and attenders, as well as families or any group seeking to hold memorial services or similar events.

Please limit your visit to as few rooms as possible.

Oh God, Eternal Friend and Guide

OH GOD, ETERNAL FRIEND AND GUIDE – closing hymn at Durham Friends Meeting, March 19, 2022

Worship in Song p. 175; words by Lewy Olfson, music by John B. Dykes

Oh God, eternal friend and guide, I feel you ever by my side.

Through times of darkness, doubt, and stress, Through times of pain and hopelessness,

However deep my doubt or shame, I hear you call me by my name.

Oh God, my all-forgiving friend, You journey with me to the end.

My step may falter, foot may stray, As endlessly I lose my way;

Though weak my purpose, lax my will, I know your love is with me still.

My cries for help go not unheard. Your mercy shines in act and word.

Your grace designed to make me whole, Your gentleness to heal my soul.

For this alone I sing your praise: That you are with me all my days.

Materials for Business Meeting, March 20, 2022

Reports and other materials for the 22.2.20 DFM Business Meeting can be found at this link.

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Worship with a concern for business, March 20, 2022

Approval of clerk for the day

M and C recommendation for March 20

opening reading

Minutes from previous meeting for approval

AGENDA review

Old Business:

Reopening Meetinghouse

Trustees report and recommendation

Reports from committees:

Ministry and Counsel

Peace and Social Concerns

New Business 

Resignation received 

(Request for FQM event on 5/7?)

Statistical Report

Nominating Committee

Worship

Closing

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, February 20, 2022

February 20, 2022

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

        Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually for the conduct of business on Sunday, February 20, 2022, with 22 people present. Bob Eaton, clerk, opened Meeting for Business with a moment of silent preparation.

        Review of approving each minute as it arises and is recorded by Recording Clerk. Narrative may be reviewed and commented on.

1.     Agenda Review — Bob Eaton

No comments or additions

Items that require approval and/or seasoning

2.     Approval of Minutes of January 2022 — Ellen Bennett

            Minutes of the January meeting were approved as distributed with the agenda..

3.     Nominations Committee — Linda Muller

Linda reviewed both the Nominating Committee Annual Report and Monthly Report.

            Doug Bennett was approved as a Meeting Trustee.

Mey Hasbrook was welcomed as a member of the Nominating Committee

The Committee Annual Report should read that consultation took place with Christian Ed members.

            The meeting accepted both reports, with gratitude.

4.     Velasco Portland Durham Sister Committee Report — Nancy Marstaller

The sister committee is a joint group of Durham and Portland Meetings.  Nancy read the proposal for a group to attend a birthday celebration for Cuba Yearly Meeting and Velasco Meeting.

The Meeting whole-heartedly endorsed the proposal to support the travel of up to eight people from Portand Friends and Durham Friends to Cuba and Velasco Friends.

5.     Meeting at the Meeting House Guidelines — Nancy Marstaller

A small working group drafted guidelines to be used when a decision is made to meet again in our meeting house.  The working group welcomes input from Meeting.

It was recommended the following changes and amendments be made to the guidelines:

  • The Clerk should be informed if anyone tests positive for Covid to share information with the Meeting, e.g., through a Friends Note.
  • Delete contact tracing and replace with “information sharing”.
  • It was agreed that vaccination should be a condition of attending meeting, but vaccination cards will not be required for proof. Unvaccinated people are encouraged to join Meeting by Zoom.

Vibrant discussion. New thoughts were shared for the committee to consider, and the Meeting expressed its great appreciation of the Committee’s work.

    The report was received with gratitude with the suggested modifications.

Reports for information and comment

7.     Trustees Report — Sarah Sprogell

Trustees invite Meeting comment and will keep Meeting updated on developments as they work to bring a final proposal to replace the two furnaces to the Meeting.

Sarah introduced this report by clarifying the purpose. The purpose is to listen to the Meeting as we continue our way forward. Information not in the report includes a recent visit from a chimney expert who said that the chimney could accommodate the commercial furnace. A building expert visited the Meeting House and said that heat pumps would work. 

We do have space for additional solar panels that could help with powering heat pumps. The electricity to power the heat pumps, if not from the solar panels, may come from fossil fuels.

Meeting expressed tremendous gratitude for the care and attention paid to these many issues, and looks forward to further developments from the Trustees.

8.     Ministry and Counsel — Tess Hartford and Renee Coté

Tess read a summary of the MCC position, lessons learned, etc. The issue of discomfort around the MCC report and summary was raised.

The Meeting needs to think about contracted services for the future: MCC, IT person, Youth Minister and Outreach, Pastoral Care.

With the understanding that the Clerks group is not a standing committee, it may begin discussion about the MCC position to help discern next steps. 

        Appreciation was expressed to M&C for their work and report.

8.     Finance Committee — Nancy Marstaller

        The Finance Committee Year-End report was accepted with gratitude, in light of this challenging year.

9.     Communications — Doug Bennett for Liana Thompson-Knight 

Communications Committee is committed to making sure that everyone who wants to receive print copies of the newsletter will do so. At a future meeting, it was recommended that 15 minutes be spent demonstrating how to navigate the website to help access the newsletter and other Meeting materials.

10.   Clerks Report — Bob Eaton

Clerk was pleased to write a letter of introduction to Friends’ Meetings within New England Yearly Meeting for Mey Hasbrook. Mey will be traveling to Meetings within Yearly Meeting in the coming months.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments for DMM 22.02.20:

  • Agenda
  • Draft Minutes of 22.01.16
  • Communications Committee Report
  • Finance Year End Report
  • Finance Spread Sheet
  • In-Person Meeting Guidelines
  • Ministry and Council Committee Report
  • Nominating Committee Report
  • Trustees Report
  • Velasco Sister Meeting Report
  • Clerk’s letter of introduction for Mey Hasbrook

  

Friends Hold Ukraine Situation in the Light

Ukraine Friends Online Worship

Because many of you have woken up at night to pray with Kyiv Quakers and because of your amazing support, love, and great attention to Ukraine, we will do two Meetings for Worship on Sunday, to reach out to friends in all time zones!

  • The early meeting is scheduled for Friends in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Oceania, and Japan.
  • The late meeting is scheduled for Friends in U.S.A, Canada, Kenya, and Europe.
  • Join us for a worship meeting to pray for Ukraine = Pray for PEACE!
Click here to worship with Kyiv Friends on Sunday. 11:00 AM Pacific = Noon Mountain = 8:00 PM Kyiv
Click here to worship with Friends House Moscow daily. 9:00 AM Pacific – 10 AM Mountain

from Kyiv Quakers and Julie Harlow, Davis Meeting (3/6/2022)

Quakers of Kyiv posted the following:

There is no doubt that Quakers are people seeking peace. In the past week, we have received dozens of examples of a desperate desire to help Ukraine, prayers for peace, words of encouragement, and assurances of the steadfastness of the basic testimonies that are close to 400 years old, namely, testimonies of peace. God is good to us, and Quakers are a living organization of good people who believe in peace and in God’s light.

Friends Committee on National Legislation released a statement

Also worth reading on the Ukraine Russia situation are posts from Johan Maurer on his blog Can You Believe. A Russian speaker, Johan lived in Elektrostal, Russia from 2007 to 2017, and earlier was General Secretary of FUM.

Resources suggested by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (22.3.15)

“Wangari’s Trees of Peace,” by Jeanette Winter

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, March 13, 2022

Today’s message at Durham Friends Meeting was a reading of Jeanette Winter’s Wangari’s Trees of Peace. (Thank you to Wendy Schlotterbeck for the reading.) This book and many others have been donated by this Meeting to schools in the region surrounding us.

Here’s a summary of the story: As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans . . . This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.

Clarion Books, 2018

As an opening hymn, we sang “I Am An Acorn, words and music by Carol Johnson, #242 in Worship in Song

I am an acorn, the package, the seed.

God is within me and God is the tree.

I am unfolding the way I should be.

Carved in the palm of his hand.

Carved in the palm of his hand.

P&SC Urges Support of LD 906 — Clean Water for the Passamaquoddy

March 12 — Durham Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee is urging Meeting members and attenders to voice support for LD 906 a bill that could finally bring clean drinking water to the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point after a 40-year struggle to address contamination in the water supply from the Passamaquoddy Water District. 

Here’s a link to an appeal from the Wabanaki Alliance.

Here’s a link to a webinar from Maine Conservation Voters.

“Welcoming a Vision,” by Mey Hasbrook

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, March 6, 2022

In discerning today’s message, an earlier expectation requires broadening. While writing is an option for some, it is not an option for all. So what I thought would be us writing a letter to the Divine –  the heart of our own hearts –  will become a prayer to the Divine. The prayer will be invited at the message closing. Here’s a query for today, and to which we’ll come back

●from a Quaker named William – Is thy heart right?
●and from today’s closing hymn – Who in God’s heav’n has passed beyond [our] vision?

~~

Since November, I’ve been reading and re-reading Chapter 12 of II Corinthians, all the while navigating life at a strong current. This letter is attributed to Apostle Paul and addresses a young, fractious, floundering church.

Ch. 12 is pretty intense:  from visions beyond words gifted by the Divine, to unavoidable and relentless pain, to divine grace. Paradoxically, weakness can open a path to strength; indeed, herein is the power of Christ, which shapes my life as the power of Love. 

Paul gives this story:  Three times I appealed to the Lord about the thorn in my flesh, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’
So –
claims Paul – I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me – which for today’s message, let’s hold as ‘the power of Love’.
Paul continues – Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

A friend of my late stepmother has become a pen pal, and it was she who sent me the reference to this scripture.  Her card arrived after I finished a series of major medical tests, which began due to a diagnosis of a chronic benign condition.  Yet tests evolved to eliminate concerns about cancer.  Indeed, the passage came at an opportune time. 

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’

I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me – remember, we’re holding ‘the power of Christ’ as ‘the power of Love’.

Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

~~

Paul and the other apostles were traveling ministers, as was William Savery circa the late 18th century.  His national home was the newly-formed United States, mired in partisanship and conquest.  William’s ministry led him to England, and his sermon drawn upon today is titled “An Age of Uncommon Events”*; it’s from 1796.

He reminds Friends, [W]hile we are endeavouring to seek after truth, do not let us be afraid of coming to the knowledge of it.

Recognizing the budding natural science of the age, William commends one science worth them all.  He goes on to explain how this is to know God and one’s self, an inquiry of thought as well as feeling.

The impact of such knowing, explains William, enlarges the love of professors of Christianity –  so, those who claim to be Christian.

He calls upon the standard of Christ’s prayer amid agony, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
And he calls Friends to a prayer, Forgive us our trespasses, only as we forgive them that trespass against us.  Yes, William includes only intentionally.

I am new to William Savery, and found “An Age of Uncommon Events” in search of Quaker references to II Corinthians. 
What arises clearly for today’s message from William’s sermon and Chapter 12 of II Cor. is to honor the heart ache expressed in both – the type of heart ache from being broken open by the Light, by Christ who is the living path of Love.
Also, to face the paradox of heart ache and hardship with the presence of Christ – that is knowing that Christ’s presence is powerful, gifting inner strength through Love.

~~ 
Friends, it is time now to prepare for our prayer to the Divine. For those of you who are able and wish to write this down, feel free. Most importantly, follow whatever form to which you feel called. 

May we be faithful in listening to Spirit, and to welcome continuing revelation. May our worship inspire us to a vision of expansive Love, beginning right here where we are – among one another – even in heart ache, even amid hardship, and always in the presence of Christ.

Transitioning to prayer, I return to the query, and share excerpts from today’s texts:

QUERY
●from Friend William, Is thy heart right?
●from today’s closing hymn, Who in God’s heav’n has passed beyond [our] vision?

EXCERPT from Ch. 12 of II Cor.
Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up. For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish…

EXCERPT from “An Age of Uncommon Events”

Oh may the God of all mercy, wisdom, and power, hasten this day; enlarge the love of professors of Christianity one towards another, throw down all the walls of opposition, which were built up in the day of departure from the fountain of living water, and bring us again to drink at Shiloh’s stream; that all the heritage may drink at the fountain itself, and the world once more rejoice in knowing him to reign and to rule over all, whose right it is, and ever will remain. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*“An Age of Uncommon Events” is available online through the Quaker Heritage Press web site.

Message from Pastor Yadira, Velasco Friends Meeting in Cuba, February 19, 2022

From Yadira, pastor of Velasco Friends, via Facebook 2-19-22

Buenas noches. Dios les bendiga. Les saludo desde gibara dónde se celebra nuestra junta anual. Damos gracias al señor por la presencia de las hermana del puente que comparten este tiempo con nosotros. Muchas gracias por el presente que mandaron para nuestra junta de Velasco. Gracias . Voy a enviarles fotos de nuestra asamblea.

Good evening. God bless you. I greet you from Gibara where our annual meeting is held. We thank the Lord for the presence of the sisters of the bridge who share this time with us. Thank you very much for the present you sent for our Velasco meeting. Thank you. I will send you photos of our assembly.

Bread Day, Saturday March 5, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm

Youth ministers Maggie Fiori and Gretchen Baker-Smith invite Friends of all ages from across the Yearly Meeting to gather with their local meetings – in person or virtually – to bake, laugh, and consider what yeast and bread have to tell us about Spirit and community. You can read more about it here.

Saturday, March 5: Durham Bread Day- please come via zoom or in person!!

Two options:

  1. For those who feel comfortable gathering in person-with masks:
    1. Gather at 9:30 at our Meeting house kitchen. 
    2. Join the NEYM zoom link at 10, for a short check-in and meditation with others from around New England! https://zoom.us/j/96433956342?pwd=OXhtVGZJMlJHRVhzcTlYV09YSVg0Zz09
    3. Make bread together using our own choices and ingredients.
    4. Join the zoom during sharing times while the bread is rising and baking. (Singing, games, stories…) NEYM zoom ends at 2pm.
    5. Take photos and upload them to the shared site!
    6. Some of us will deliver bread samples to some older Durham Friends who live alone.
  1. Stay in your own kitchen and bake bread!
    1. Join the NEYM zoom link at 10 for a short check-in and meditation with others from around New England! https://zoom.us/j/96433956342?pwd=OXhtVGZJMlJHRVhzcTlYV09YSVg0Zz09
    2. Make bread of your choice, stay on the zoom link or come and go as you please.
    3. While your bread is rising and/or baking, join the zom link for singing, games, stories. NEYM zoom ends at 2pm
    4. Take photos and upload them to the shared site.
    5. If you’d like- share some bread with a neighbor or friend or just enjoy a yummy slice of homemade bread knowing many other Friends are also enjoying their delicious creation.

ZOOM Plan for Gretchen’s Kitchen

March 5, 2022, 10AM-2PM

https://zoom.us/j/96433956342?pwd=OXhtVGZJMlJHRVhzcTlYV09YSVg0Zz09

Meeting ID: 964 3395 6342

Passcode: 326033

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,96433956342# US (Washington DC)

+13126266799,,96433956342# US (Chicago)

TimeSegmentWhat
10:00Welcome, explain the day. Hello’s to each other!
10:10 Introduction Message & Meditation from Gretchen
10:20 Start Bread – all are welcome to make any kind!
11:00Dough will RiseFrom here on out, we will bob and weave with what we do… I expect people to come and go, come late, etc. We will likely read some picture books and possibly people will have stories.. We may also have breakout room optional conversations or Whiteboard Drawing collaborations. Perhaps we’ll sing with different people leading.We will encourage everyone to send photos or thoughts or short videos to share.
2:00Done, celebrate goodbye!
After this time, I’m available by text! But I will be helping my Meeting with their bread day so will be off this zoom. GBS #508-287-6441

Save the Dates! Falmouth Quarterly Meeting: April 2, April 16, May 7

Dear Friends
Falmouth Quarter is planning three events for the spring.  They are:

April 2, Quarterly Family gathering – a time to play with mud and seeds and visit and eat together – probably 9 – 1, location and more details to follow

April 16th – The regular quarterly meeting.  In the spring we hear from those in the quarter with recognized ministries, we hear and forward state of society reports, and we hear and forward memorial minutes.  I hope that meetings can reach out to those with ministries and consider how they would like to report; we will be on zoom, so there are opportunities for creative sharing. – the plan is to meet from 9 – noon.

May 7th – the all Maine Gathering – Falmouth Quarter is responsible for hosting this event.  We expect to be in person, we expect to share a program and to celebrate our community together.  location and more details to follow.
for now, please put these dates on your calendar & let us know if you would like to be part of planning…

love Fritz Weiss & Wendy Schlotterbeck – co-coordinators of Falmouth Quarter

U.S. Friends Visit to Cuba, December 2021

[Report courtesy of Friends United Meeting]

Worship in Velasco.

In December, Jade and Tom Rockwell, under the care of Camas Friends Church/Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends, followed a personal leading to visit Friends in Cuba. They called the ministry ¡Viva Amistad! — Living Friendship. Since Covid has created such difficulty in traveling to Cuba, we thought Friends would be interested in Jade’s report.

We were able to visit two Friends churches during our trip to Cuba in December, Velasco and Puerto Padre. We wanted to visit Havana as well, but, unfortunately, they were closed because of the holiday during the portion of our trip when we were in Havana. (The Friends in Havana Meeting are all from Oriente and return home to spend the holidays with family in the Eastern part of the island.)

The Velasco church only recently reopened after two years of closure for Covid. They are keeping their services short in duration in consideration of Covid risks. Cuban people were under a mandatory lockdown for Covid, which was only lifted in November. People were not permitted to leave their homes during this time, so it was much stricter than what we have had in the United States. Although this is now lifted, masks are still required both indoors and on public streets and this rule is enforced by a fine. The good news is that upwards of 85% of Cubans are reported to be fully vaccinated at this time. In Velasco and Puerto Padre, many restaurants and businesses were still closed. In Havana, most had reopened. 

There are widespread shortages of supplies that are affecting every sector of society. This has led to situations of civil unrest this past year, though we did not encounter any protests or confrontations while we were visiting. 

Included in the shortages are almost every medicine, medical supply, or household item. Even tropical fruits that fall from the trees are scarce in these times. We’re told people take what there is and sell them in Havana where they can make a better profit. It is recommended that visitors bring absolutely every personal item they may need for their trip because if you forget a small item, you likely will not be able to buy it anywhere. For our trip we brought donations of needed items and gave these to the Puerto Padre and Velasco churches for distribution. We also donated some supplies to some Quaker medical students to distribute in their clinical work in the wider communities. Trail mix was a nice luxury treat to share and we were grateful for it when transportation difficulties delayed us and we were left without meals. 

Donations we brought: latex gloves, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, laundry soap, sanitizer, deodorant, menstrual supplies, first aid supplies, condoms, batteries, over the counter pain/allergy/diarrhea relief, vitamins, school supplies, instant read thermometer for Velasco church (other churches could still use these), and some very small gifts for kids in Sunday schools. I can say that absolutely every item we brought was much needed and appreciated. We were told that people are being turned away from needed surgeries if they cannot furnish their own latex gloves, suturing thread, etc. Donations that carry much monetary value are difficult to manage well. Useful-but-not-valuable are the best things to bring. Think what you use most frequently at home. The churches keep a stash of these supplies to respond to needs, but in these times, if the public knows that there are resources, people take them to hoard or sell, so our leading was to let the pastors or healthcare professionals that we know handle them with discretion according to needs they encounter.

We also brought some videos from my Yearly Meeting of songs and greetings and these were very much appreciated. In Puerto Padre, we were able to share them in a worship service. This really encouraged and inspired people to be able to connect and share worship. Puerto Padre and Velasco have both gone through changes in the past few years of embracing more Cuban-style music and expression in worship, and this is bringing a lot of spiritual vitality to their Meetings. In the past, Cuban style instrumentation and music, as well as expression such as movement and clapping, was seen as not appropriate in a Quaker Meeting, but now these communities have a different leading. Friends described this change as liberating their worship, as expressing their authentic selves in worship (rather than imitating a foreign culture), and as expressing the joy of their faith that some described as a spiritual gift of Cuban culture. It is part of a formal music ministry in Puerto Padre, and their praise band sometimes visits other Friends churches to share (not only Cuban music—they enjoy many styles).

We greatly enjoyed participating in this joyful worship and praise in both Velasco and Puerto Padre.

In Velasco, because they did not have a projector, we were not able to share our videos in worship, but we shared with our host family and church leaders who appreciated them. We also captured video greetings from Cuban Friends to bring home.

In Puerto Padre, the church has been able to persist in their construction projects, completing more of them during Covid. They pause the projects when they are short on supplies. Right now they are not able to get cement at an affordable rate, and this is the main material used in the construction projects. However, they are pleased to have completed a cafeteria which is used for a ministry feeding elderly people, and also overnight for up to seventy visitors. They also have a carpentry shop where they build wooden furniture to raise funds for the church. 

There have been some very devastating Covid losses in Quaker communities that folks are still grieving. We remain in prayer for our Friends there, and give thanks that the vaccination campaign has hopefully brought these tragedies to an end in Cuba.