Helen Clarkson, 1925-2022

In loving memory of wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Helen Cornelia Clarkson (Pratt). At the age of 96, on Saturday, July 16, 2022, she passed away peacefully in her beloved home on Flying Point overlooking Casco Bay.

Helen Clakson

She was born on August 21, 1925 in Somerville, MA, the oldest child of Albert Pratt and Marion Cornelia Pratt (Dwelley). The family moved to Brunswick, ME were she graduated from Brunswick High School in 1942. She then attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME were she graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. Helen then continued her studies at Washington State University in 1946 where she met her husband, Vernon Albert Clarkson, on the first day of her arrival. She graduated in 1947 with a Master’s degree in sociology. Vernon and Helen were married on August 2, 1947 at the Friends Meeting House (Quaker) in Durham, ME.

They proceeded to have two sons, Bruce and Robert, and a daughter, Joyce. After teaching for one year at Freeport High School, the couple moved to Corvallis, OR. At first Helen worked as a social worker for the State of Oregon, and then when the family moved to Raleigh, N.C., she became a professor of sociology at both North Carolina State University and Meredith College, a position she held for many years. In 1975, the family moved to Rhinebeck, NY in the scenic Hudson River valley where she became the Dean of Admissions of Dutchess County Community College, a position she especially enjoyed because she was able to assist many adult female students overcome difficult personal hurdles and complete their education.

Upon retirement, Vernon and Helen returned to Maine and built a home on a cherished piece of property her parents had purchased in 1946 on Flying Point in Freeport, ME, the home she occupied thereafter in happiness and contentment. Upon retirement, Helen continued to generously donate her time and energy to many worthwhile causes, including being a valued member for seventy-five years of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and equally important to her, the Durham Friends Meeting, the Friends Women Society, the Freeport Women’s Club, and making countless quilts for ABC Quilts and Project Linus to bring a ray of kindness to disadvantage and suffering children.

Helen was predeceased by her husband Vernon, sister Katherine, and grandson Lee Vernon Clarkson. She is survived by her three children, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Helen had a full and wonderful life, spanning wonderous events in history, and to the very end of this chapter on Earth, was an avid reader, maintained an unforgettable sense of humor, and an unwavering love for her family and friends, past and present.

She will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Condolences and fond memories may be shared at www.stetsonsfuneralhome.com A celebration of a life well lived will occur at noon at the Durham Friends Meeting Hall on August 2, 2022. In lieu of flowers, Helen gratefully requests a donation to Bates College for the Vernon A. and Hellen Pratt Clarkson 1946 Scholarship, mailed to Bates College, Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston ME 04240. Arrangements are under the direction of Stetson’s Funeral Home & Cremation Care 12 Federal St., Brunswick, 725-4341.

Helen Clarkson Memorial Service, August 2 at Noon

Helen Cornelia Clarkson (Pratt), at the age of 96, passed away peacefully in her beloved home on Flying Point overlooking Casco Bay on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

She was born on August 21, 1925 in Somerville, MA, the oldest child of Albert Pratt and Marion Cornelia Pratt (Dwelley). The family became part of the Durham Friends community in 1930 when they moved to Brunswick, ME, where Helen and her sister grew up on a farm on the Lunt Road.

On August 2, at noon, her family is having a celebration of her life at the Durham Friends Meeting. All are invited to attend in person or on zoom. There will be a reception after at the Muddy Rudder in Yarmouth. Please RSVP to her daughter (Joyce) if you plan to join the family at the reception
(joclarkson@icloud.com). 

Helen had a full and wonderful life, spanning wondrous events in history, and to the very end of this chapter on Earth, was an avid reader, maintained an unforgettable sense of humor, and an unwavering love for her family and friends, past and present.

She requested that in lieu of flowers, a donation to Bates College for the Vernon A. and Hellen Pratt Clarkson (’46) Scholarship, mailed to Bates College, Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston ME 04240.

What’s Ahead for the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, July 2022


A small group of FCMPP members (Jim Matlack, Shirley Hager, Diane Oltarzewski, Janet Hough, Ann Dodd-Collins and Wayne Cobb) gathered together on July 8th for lunch and a discussion of future FCMPP activities as well as its processes and structure. It was a cordial, extended, and roaming exchange of views and expectations

We agreed that FCMPP should continue to honor its dual emphases from its founding–both civil liberties/legal rights and Wabanaki (Tribal-state relations) issues. Due to the loss of
certain individuals who were closely informed about criminal/restorative justice issues, as well as the rising concern for Tribal justice in recent years, FCMPP has focused almost exclusively on Wabanaki-related issues in recent years. Important personal relationships have been established with Tribal leaders, and Quakers are recognized as reliable allies in campaigns to extend a fuller measure of sovereignty to the Tribes. Yet future politics in Maine are unpredictable and we may find that our work requires renewed focus on the civil liberties agenda.

As a result of the heightened attention to Wabanaki issues, Shirley has taken primary leadership for FCMPP due to her prior experience with these concerns. She has performed admirably but now feels it is important to share leadership for this work, both for the future of FCMPP and to lessen the burdens of her current role. Diane has also said that she wants to step back for a while after a period of intense political activism with FCMPP.

There is a need for new, more active participants in FCMPP and for fresh potential leaders. No certainties emerged from the long conversation, however the group wondered what issues now reach “faith level” engagement among younger Friends. We proposed to approach a young veteran activist among us to help us discern the way forward, both in terms of issues and how we address them, and also how we attract young Friends to our work. 

It was agreed that FCMPP should continue to work closely with the Episcopal Committee on Indian Relations. A group of socially active Unitarians (MUUSAN) may also prove to be
valuable allies.  These three groups might well join in future meetings with Tribal leaders to avoid duplication of effort and to ease their schedules. 

The New England Yearly Meeting Apology project was discussed.  So far, Shirley has contacted Tribal leaders of all but one of the Tribes in Maine to make sure that they are
aware of the intent of this project and have a chance to express their willingness to receive the Apology. Shirley has shared their feedback with the NEYM Right Relationship Resource Group that is shepherding the Apology and who will be sending official letters to Tribal leaders.

 Looking ahead we expect that a successor bill (or several bills) to L.D. 1626 will emerge in the
Maine legislature. FCMPP will again seek to advance such bill(s)toward passage. New bill numbers will not be released until January. A new Minute/Letter from FCMPP will be
needed to express continued Quaker support for relevant sovereignty legislation.  This should
be drafted and cleared so that both Falmouth and Vassalboro Quarterly Meetings can approve the message in timely fashion.  Jim Matlack and Wayne Cobb volunteered to look at the previous minutes approved by both Quarters, and to suggest updated language that would be relevant to any new legislation being proposed. 

Further efforts should also be made to seek support from Senators King and Collins for a Senate counterpart to H.R. 6707, especially since it is now apparent that Governor Mills has sought to delay consideration of this bill. HR 6707 is the bill introduced by Jared Golden to the House: Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act.

We anticipate a meeting of the whole in late September or early October.

Jim Matlack, Clerk, FCMPP

“Grounding in Love” by Mey Hasbrook, July 17, 2022

James Weldon Johnson, born in 1870 during Reconstruction after the US Civil War, wrote the poem-song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” while his brother put it to music. They did this in commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. James recounts:

The song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.
Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country.

This is how “Lift Every Voice and Sing” became cherished as the Negro or Black National Anthem: young people to young people, teachers to youth; sewing, growing and moving. Martin Luther King, Jr. closes his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” with one of its stanza

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

The speech was MLK Jr.’s last presidential address given to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the African-American civil rights group that still exists and was founded after the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The speech’s timing was just one year before Dr. King’s assassination and a decade after the SCLC began. In the speech, he celebrates gains of the Civil Rights Movement including two monumental Supreme Court rulings.

He equally names the work still required of the Movement: to grow into or move into wholeness. He encourages to embrace “divine dissatisfaction” until this vision of wholeness becomes reality, stating: “that day when nobody will shout, ‘White Power!’ when nobody will shout, ‘Black Power!’ but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.”

He recalls the story of Jesus instructing the tax collector Nicodemus to be born again. So Dr. King says to America that the nation must be born again: “that your whole structure must be changed.” And to move into such deep change, he grounds “divine dissatisfaction” in Love for the work toward wholeness. Love for him is “a strong, demanding love”; and a choice in response to hate and oppression, able to endure even betrayal.

The turbulence of today is like that of 55 years ago when MLK Jr. asked “Where Do We Go From Here?” From our here-and-now, Love still is what sustains the making of the Kin-dom of God – a future sewn, grown, and moving us toward wholeness from our present moment of struggle.

Listening to Spirit and inviting wisdom from ancestors, I am compelled by experience that Love is God and requires me to “sink down to the seed” – a phrase from the First Friends, our faithful ancestors: spiritually-empowered dissidents living through civil war in England and during the Reformation.

The experience of “sinking down to the seed” requires me to draw-down into the Divine Source, also called the Living Waters, in order to draw-up Love. I believe that this is the legacy for the Religious Society of Friends and, thereby, the inheritance of Durham Monthly Meeting as a faith community: to act with confidence that with God all things are possible and that Love is required in the work of wholeness.

Let’s encounter and embody “God’s power and human power”, the kind of power that Dr. King bears witness to: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on.”

So, it is in the name of Christ and Beloved Community, that I invite our embracing the movement of divine dissatisfaction toward wholeness: Where will we go from here? How will we ground ourselves in Love among the wider world and among one another? How will we nurture “a strong, demanding Love” as an enduring choice?

Will we be courageous, examine our hearts, and become willing to risk all? Like Early Friend James Nayler, whose last words were shared as the opening reading for today’s worship. Friend James was tortured as punishment for blasphemy. He made peace with God despite his broken body, and sought reconciliation with his spiritual brother George Fox despite being rebuffed repeatedly.

Will we hear Christ, and follow the call as did Ananias? The Ananias who Jesus called to heal the persecutor Saul, and who Jesus had recently blinded.

I believe that this is the legacy for the Religious Society of Friends and, thereby, the inheritance of Durham Monthly Meeting as a faith community: to act with confidence that with God all things are possible and that Love is required in the work of wholeness.

It is my prayer that we may be grounded in Love. May we sink down to the seed to draw-down to the Divine Source, the Living Waters. May we draw-up an enduring choice to work for wholeness, a work that requires all of ourselves: to heal and receive healing; to repair breaches and reconcile one to another; and to testify to God’s power and human power. Amen.

Sources:

“A Gathered People.” Last words of James Nayler found in Quaker Faith & Practice, 5th edition, Britain Yearly Meeting, Chapter 19.12 <https://qfp.quaker.org.uk/passage/19-12/>

“Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Song and introduction by James Weldon Johnson found on the Poetry Foundation web site, <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46549/lift-every-voice-and-sing>.

“Where Do We Go From Here?” Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. found on the Stanford University web site, <https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/where-do-we-go-here>.

Cuba Trip: Date Change and Travelers Needed!

The dates of our trip to Cuba to visit our sister meeting, Velasco, have had to be changed. The trip will now be in February 2023 and include visiting Cuba Yearly Meeting, which is from February 16 to 20.

There are three Friends from Portland planning to go. Two of our Durham Friends who hoped to travel no longer can, so we are looking for two or three more who want to. Let Nancy Marstaller know if so. Thanks!

Meeting for Healing with Portland Friends, July 21 and August 18

Friends are invited to gather for an experimental hybrid worship this summer. Portland Friends Meeting convenes a recurring Meeting for Healing using Zoom on select Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Durham Friends Meeting House will be open by 7:15 p.m. on July 21 and August 18, for synchronizing via the Owl system.  For questions, contact Mey Hasbrook.

Meeting for Worship for Healing is an old Quaker tradition. Our goal with this meeting is to focus on the physical and spiritual illnesses of the current world. It’s not intended to be the same as a full meeting for worship but instead is meant to be focused on communal prayer. We are often blessed with a time of deep silence.  ~from Portland Friends Meeting

Woman’s Society Hybrid Meeting Minutes, June 20, 2022

Susan Gilbert, Secretary

Present: Dorothy Curtis/President, Susan Gilbert/Secretary, Helen Clarkson, Charlotte Anne Curtis, Renee Cote, Martha Sheldon, Qat Langelier, Kitsie Hildebrandt

Card Ministry: Dorothy began the meeting and asked who should receive cards.

Program and Devotions:

Qat shared their Bible Study Group experience with Adelphi Friends (in Maryland) and read selections from the current issue of Illuminate which covers the Gospel of John. The source of our name is in John 15:15, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Qat recommends the Illuminate series, which is available through barclaypress.com. Dorothy thanked Qat.

Dorothy let us know that Joyce Machaha and Judith Nandikove of Donholm Friends Church of Nairobi Yearly Meeting will not be visiting North American USFWI groups this year, as they did not obtain the necessary grant. They will try again next year.

Treasurer’s Report: Given by Dorothy, as Nancy was not present. Nancy put our investment funds into a 6-month CD, which will mature in December. There is $121.18 in our account. We approved giving donations, $50 each, to MCHPP and USFWI. Dorothy thanked Nancy.

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from the June 16 meeting.

Next Meeting: The Woman’s Society will take July and August off from meeting, but we plan a pot luck picnic on August 15. Dorothy Curtis offered to mask, wear gloves and serve.

Prayers: A Friend was suggested. Margaret Wentworth requested that we pray for the head of the Ramallah Friends School in Palestine, Rania Maayah.

Tedford Meal: Team B will prepare July’s meal, Team C, August, Team D, September. Charlotte Ann offered to help with calling.

Other Business:

Martha is coming to the U.S. for three weeks this summer, August 2-23.  

Betsy Muench invited Durham Friends to her cottage for the past weekend. Qat shared Betsy’s view with us. We saw Seguin, Pond Isle, and two light houses. Popham Beach is nearby.

Gratitude was expressed as Dorothy ended the meeting.

“The Quaker Testimony of Community,” by C. Wess Daniels

Sometimes “Community” is lifted up as a testimony within the Quaker world. I can see why. Our emphasis on group decision-making, communion in the form of waiting worship where Christ is present in our midst, and our belief that testimony is our public expression of our communal encounter of our faith in Christ are all examples.These are the results of processes and practices that rely on a strong foundation of community, but the work involved in creating that strong sense of community is much harder to come by. This may come as a shock to some of you but my story of community among Quakers has been very up and down over the past 21 years of identifying as a Quaker. Mine has been a story of trying to belong and understand what it means to belong. There have been times when some Friends in some places have not been so welcoming [some going so far as to try to get me to leave]. But there have also been Friends in many places who have welcomed me even when I didn’t always fit into their categories.But those are longer stories to be shared another time. The point is: Just because we say we have a testimony of community does not automatically mean community and belonging exist.

Belonging to a Friends meeting and being a Quaker are identities in parallel: I am a Quaker because of my own convictions and understanding of who God is & I seek to belong to a local expressions of that larger and much older tradition. Sometimes my commitment to one impacts my commitment to the other and vice versa, but they are not always in sync.

What helps with creating belonging in our local expressions of the Quaker tradition? Here are three quick ideas:

1. We need to have a strong centerInstead of being focused on protecting external boundaries of community (what belief, or identity, or practice is acceptable), we commit to a deep knowing and understanding of the center of our tradition. For me that is a deep commitment to the liberating Jesus who is present in our midst and who stands in solidarity with the poor and all those on the margins. Being clear about our center – whatever that is – allows us to invite people into something. It recognizes that we cannot be all things to all people but we can be this specific expression of community to those who want to be a part of that. I don’t just want to belong. I want to belong to something. 

2. We need to make practices and beliefs explicitAs new people show up they need be helped to know what is going on, what is believed, and how to get engaged. We should have structures, practices, and liturgies that assume from the outset that people who have no prior understanding of the Quaker tradition will be in our midst. There should be no mystery to who we are and what we do. We have a lot of implicit theology and practice that can feel exclusive if you’ve never experienced any of it before. I have heard people say this quote far too often, “Quakerism cannot be taught, only caught.” That is terrible theology and points to a culture of secrecy that will not only keep people from belonging, but it will also slowly kill off discipleship within our communities. Quakerism must be taught, re-interpreted, and re-taught again. 

3. We need to build weak links with each other That low threshold moments of community can build lasting links to one another. It’s one thing to show up to an important business meeting, but if we don’t know each other, have never shared a meal, don’t know each other’s fears, joys, kids names, it is almost impossible to do the hard work of discernment together well. The baseball game we went to as a meeting last night is an example of building weak links. So are potlucks and bonfires. Things where we get together for fun, the stakes are low, and the goal is to build connections. The more inputs we have with these opportunities, the more we can invite various people in, the more we do the mundane work of building belonging.We don’t need to be big productions and we don’t need permission to do this: all it takes is an invitation to share a meal, a cup of coffee or tea, a walk, a podcast, or a project together. We can all be build weak links right now.

I think we always need this kind of work, but we need it especially right now when the world feels so dangerous and inhospitable. We need to re-introduce ourselves to community and to one another.Quakers have to work just like everyone else to build community and a sense of belonging. I believe we can do this by being clear about who we are and what we’re up to (our center), about onboarding people into our tradition (making thing explicit), and by making the effort to be lower-f friends with each other (building those weak links with each other).

by Wess Daniels, Greensboro, NC (Haw River Watershed)

Durham Friends Meeting Minutes (Draft), June 26, 2022

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, June 26, 2022 with 8 people present in the Meetinghouse and 7 joining in through Zoom. Bob Eaton opened the meeting with a moment of silent centering and preparation.

1) Review of Agenda — Bob Eaton

      Clerk began with a review of the agenda.. Clerk asked Tess Hartford if she would take the minutes in Ellen Bennett’s absence. Tess obliged.

Items that require approval and/or seasoning

2) Approval of Minutes of May 2022—-Ellen Bennett

      Bob Eaton asked if there were any changes, additions or corrections to be made on the May Minutes. Nancy Marstaller spoke to the report from the ad hoc committee formed to work on safety guidelines for the safe attendance of in person Meeting for Worship in the Meetinghouse, noting that her participation on said committee would no longer continue.There folljowed a discussion with other members about how to proceed when the ad hoc committee was laid down. Meeting accepted this addition with great thanks to those who worked on these guidelines along with Nancy, Ingrid Chalufour and Ann Ruthsdottir. This change was noted and the minutes approved.

3) Ministry and Counsel Committee Report—- Tess Hartford and Renee Cote

     On May 23, Monthly Meeting approved updated COVID guidelines that removed the vaccination requirement for in-person attendance. Because the COVID rates and recommendations continue to change, Ministry and Counsel will continue to put safe practices on its agenda and to monitor the situation with the COVID virus. As there was no laying down of the COVID guideline committee during that Monthly Meeting, M7C requests that the committee be laid down if its work has ended, with many thanks for all its work in this area

Ministry & Counsel continues its prayerful consideration of the issues that have arisen regarding the current and former trustees and is reviewing the ways that other Meetings have developed to address conflict resolution within the Meeting.

We happily recognize three recent graduates: Ariana Andrews, granddaughter of Tess Hartford, from Brunswick High School. Ariana will be attending Southern Maine Community College in the fall. Qat L’Angelier received a Master’s degree in Peace and Reconciliation Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Maine: and Joey Reed, son of Angie and David Reed received his Master’s degree in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of Maine. Graduates received cards.

3) Finance Committee Report—— Nancy Marstaller

   1   We have found an excellent person we want to hire as a bookkeeper. Her references were all rave reviews and she is very comfortable with our current system and ready to start. Her name isHeidi Todd and she lives in Freeport. She charges $30 per hour and anticipates that once she gets started it will take her 2-3 hours per month to do the work. Although we heard an endorsement from the last monthly meeting to hire a bookkeeper, the minutes did not reflect this so we ask for specific approval now. Approved

We also ask for approval to amend the budget to add a line for a bookkeeper under Meeting expenses with$600.00 for the remainder of the year.  Approved

   2. We recommend an additional donation of $500 to New England Yearly Meeting of Friends to support sessions this year, as they are allowing children and youth to come without charge.  This would come from our general account. Approved

If anyone is interested is interested in how we are currently sharing treasury responsibilities, please speak to one of us on Finance. Reimbursement procedures for committees and individuals have not changed. Please still used the forms provided.

Report of the Trustees for Business Meeting– –Clerk, Sarah Sprogell, members Doug Bennett and Dan Henton, custodian, Kim Bolshaw ex officio

  1. The electrical panel upgrade was completed on May 31st by LIncoln Electric. The panel was upgraded from 100 to 200 amps in order to accommodate our new heat pumps.
  2. Three heat pumps were installed on June 13 by Northeast Heat Pumps. Two are in the meeting room and one is in the basement. These are in addition to the existing hear pump in the vestry.
  3. We will likely schedule the removal of the old furnaces in late summer or early fall, to take advantage of funds currently held in a CD, that matures in September.
  4. In May the monthly meeting asked Trustees to look into recommended fees for use of the meetinghouse by non-members. Earlier handbooks have included a suggested donation of $100.00 for a one-time use of the building and/or grounds. We will continue to use this guideline for now.

         The report from Trustees was accepted.

                                    Audit for Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

                                              Years 2020 and 2021

Looking back at these two years, it should be noted that for most of 2020 and all of 2021 the meetinghouse was not used for regular worship of for most other gatherings due to the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. In spite of this unprecedented world-wide event, the meeting hired a Meeting Care Coordinator who served for much of this time, helping to facilitate speakers, provide a number of on-line gatherings and assist with other outreach projects. With the building mostly unused, meeting Trustees carried out a number of significant improvements ranging from painting the meeting room, nursery, and kitchen, removing carpeting at the entrance hallways and renewing the flooring in those areas, and repointing much of the building exterior . Perhaps most significant during this time period was the sale of the Parsonage in September 2021.

An audit of the operating records found that this information, as well as bank statements and related documentation continue to be well documented, organized and readily accessible for review. In addition to a checking account for the Meeting’s operational budget, our Treasurer also oversees and manages our capital and charity accounts. These accounts are used periodically, with the approval of the business meeting, and are documented with invoices and meeting minutes as needed. The Treasurer also oversees three investment accounts held through the New England Yearly Meeting, two of which provide quarterly distributions to the operating account. Finally, there is a locally held CD account and a savings account that the meeting has drawn upon in unique circumstances.

Our Treasurer, Katherine Hildebrandt, has worked faithfully and skillfully for many years in this role. Her knowledge and abilities in keeping our records organized and current has been an enormous gift to the meeting. She deserves our deep and heartfelt gratitude.

Respectfully submitted, Sarah Sprogell, Meeting auditor

Meeting accepted the Audit Report with gratitude

Member Concern

A member spoke to all those assembled expressing hurt and dismay regarding the alleged improper behavior of the Trustees and their decisions as an appointed and lawful instrument of the Meeting charged with the responsibility of caring for the Meetinghouse physical maintenance and improvements, upkeep of the grounds and also our cemeteries. The clerk responded with a request for silently and earnestly taking in the sentiments expressed. We acknowledge that we are in a tender period of time within our Meeting community and that healing our brokenness will not come quickly, but will require ongoing faithfulness, prayerful dialogue and open heartedness to walk alongside each other, bearing this together with God’s help and grace.

Advance Reports and other materials can be found here.

Agenda 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Audit Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Draft Minutes 22 05 22-23 DMM Business Mtg
Finance Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Ministry and Counsel Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg
Trustees Report 22.06.26 DMM Business Mtg

Land Acknowledgement Program via Pendle Hill, August 9 and 11

Peace and Social Concerns Committee calls attention to this coming program at Pendle Hill:

To register, click here

Living on what was another peoples’ homeland through their coerced removal carries with it a generational responsibility to recognize and honor their history and their legitimate claim to places where we live. Recognizing that preparing a land acknowledgment is a first step towards creating right relationship with the land and its native peoples, we will review:

  • the Euro-colonial principles and means used to take Turtle Island from its original inhabitants;
  • sources for identifying accurate local native history;
  • ways to correctly identify and contact culturally affiliated tribes; and
  • current land-return movements in the United States.

We undertake this review centering the ultimate goals of writing land acknowledgments, including relationship building, identifying and restoring erased history of local sites, and returning land to native peoples.

"Land Acknowledgement," a two-part webinar presented by tom kunesh

To enhance your experience of the webinars, consider consulting the following resources:

1961 – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

1986 – Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. Some excerpts can be found here: africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=5770.0;wap2

2009 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The danger of a single storyyoutube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg (19 minutes)

2012 - Tuck & Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor”: clas.osu.edu/sites/clas.osu.edu/files/Tuck%20and%20Yang%202012%20Decolonization%20is%20not%20a%20metaphor.pdf

2018 - Liz Nicholson, “Quakers are Colonizers”: quakervoluntaryservice.org/quakers-are-colonizers/

2019 Decolonizing Quakers – Seeking Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples: decolonizingquakers.org

The resource list from Summer 2020: https://pendlehill.org/fall-conference-2020/working-towards-right-relationship-resources/

Leader(s)

tom kunesh and twelve siblings were born to a Standing Rock lakota tribal member mom and a white lawyer dad, and grew up good-and-catholic in Minnesota on what had been dakota & anishinaabe contested land. He joined the Navy for adventure and the GI Bill, became a linguist, served in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and Spain, and studied religion. He works today at being a dad, protecting and educating about indigenous sites in Tennessee, attends Nashville Friends Meeting, and hangs out at the intersection of religion, decolonization, atheism, and quiet.

For more information, click here.

Falmouth Quarter Summer Gathering, July 16, 2022

Falmouth Quarter will gather on July 16th (the third Saturday in July) at Ed and Dot Hinshaw’s Camp at Labrador Pond in Sumner! The summer gathering is a time for celebrating our community, and catching up on all that has been happening in our meetings and our lives this year.  This will be an outdoors, in-person, no zoom party.

The camp has a beach, some kayaks, & space to play. Friends are invited to come from 10:00 – 4:00.  We will gather for a whole community worship at 11:00 followed by a brown bag lunch. there are things to do for the Young Friends, and for families and children. 

All are welcome! We would like a rough idea who will be there; please let us know if you plan to come.  Or just come.

Rain date is Sunday, July 17.

“Rise Up Singing” Authors Coming to Brunswick, July 9, 2022

There will be a Sing-Along Concert with Quaker folk singers Annie Patterson and Peter Blood on Saturday, July 9* from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Growing to Give in Brunswick**.

Address: Growing to Give Farm, 30 Coxon Road, Brunswick, ME

It’s a fundraiser to help grow food for people in need. Advance tickets are required.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Individuals, 18 and below in age, are FREE.

Visit https://growingtogive.farm/ for details more information about the farm and to see the poster for this event.  Hope to see you there! – Craig Freshley

*Rain date is July 10.

Woman’s Society Hybrid Meeting Minutes, May 16, 2022

By Susan Gilbert, Secretary

Present: Dorothy Curtis/President, Nancy Marstaller/Treasurer, Susan Gilbert/Secretary, Helen Clarkson, Charlotte Anne Curtis, Martha Sheldon, Kim Bolshaw, Qat Langelier, Marion Baker

Cards: We chose people to send cards to, and decided to no longer name them in the meeting notes.

Devotions and Program: The Bluprints program by Nancy McCormick ‘’Resting In His Shadow’’ was read by Kim. Scripture – Psalm 91:1 – 2, Hymn – ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’’. Nancy and Mike McCormick and their ministry teams have made several trips to Belize City Friends Center, assisting with maintenance of buildings and grounds, helping the teachers as needed, and holding an after school program for Friends School students as well as local children.  Nancy described this service as an exchange of care and learning between the visiting Friends and the local community. We sang ‘’Great is Thy Faithfulness’’. 

Next Meeting: The next WS meeting will be brought by Helen on June 20 – ‘‘Strength and Courage From the Lord’’. Dorothy asked if we might take August 15 off and we decided to have a picnic gathering that day instead of a meeting. 

Minutes: Susan read the meeting notes from April 18.

Treasurer’s Report: Nancy said we had a $5 donation. After $31.88 was spent on books, we have a balance of $51.18. We have a CD invested for expenses to send Dorothy Curtis to Kabarak, Kenya to attend the 2023 USFWS International Triennial. Nancy will investigate rates and times – possibly 6 or 9 months – to reinvest.

Prayers: Prayers were asked for individuals.

Tedford Meal: June’s meal will be prepared by Kitsie’s Team A.

Other Business: Nancy has designed a decorative quilt as a gift to bring to Velasco, Cuba, on the trip there at the end of September. She asked if anyone wanted to make a square by August 15. Marion suggested a depiction of Durham Meeting House in the center. Fabric paint or embroidery are possibilities for our designs.

Marian said the NE Region of USFWI would have an update on the upcoming International Triennial, with info on what’s happening locally.  A grant has been finished to bring Joyce Machaha and Judith Nandikove of Donholm Friends Church,   Nairobi Yearly Meeting to visit women in New York, New England and Quebec ’ and possibly Western Region USFWI Woman’s Society groups. The Meeting House in Donholm holds 1500 to 2000 people and has programmed meetings. Joyce may be available to attend our August 15 gathering.

Dorothy ended the meeting with a quote from Helen Keller, ‘’The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched but must be felt by the heart’’.

Respectfully Submitted, Susan Gilbert

Georgetown Ocean Paradise Gathering, June 18-19

Yea- the school year is almost over and summer is upon us!!
Please come join Durham Friends in Georgetown at Betsy Muench’s ocean paradise! We are invited anytime on Saturday, June 18 AND Sunday June 19

Saturday is a day for play.

On Sunday, Falmouth Quarter Friends have been invited to join us! We will hold a family friendly Meeting for worship on the beach at 10:30 and the rest of the day is at your pleasure! 
Let me know your plans if you can, but come anyway and surprise us if you decide to come last minute!!(wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com)

Directions are at the end of this message- I will fasten a balloon by the driveway! Everyone is warmly invited. Betsy loves to share this beautiful place with us and it is a lovely gift. Wendy Schlotterbeck’s cell# is 513-9187. The house phone is # 371-2237

Note: Durham Monthly Meeting for Business this month will be June 26, not June 19.

What to bring?

1. Bathing suit, towel and sunscreen.

2. Change of clothes, jacket  and bug spray.

3. Food- bring a picnic lunch, drinks and snacks- there is water at the house.

4. Mask- please bring a mask to wear if you use the bathroom inside Betsy’s house, and wear one outside if you wish.

5. Betsy has several kayaks, life jackets… to share but feel free to bring your own.

6. Friends! We welcome your friends.

7. As always, please come only if you are Covid symptom free to keep our community safe.

8. If it’s bad weather we will likely cancel- call Wendy if in doubt.

Directions to the Holt-Muench property at 710 Bay Point Road in Georgetown:

Take Rt. 127 south from where it crosses Rt. 1 in Woolwich (just across the river from Bath, Maine) and follow it 8.8 miles to Georgetown center. On the right, after you pass the Georgetown Pottery, post office, Country Store and firehouse, Bay Point Road will turn off just before you start down the hill. After about 3 miles Bay Point Road will cross a marsh and make a fairly sharp bend to the left, then start watching for a white feldspar driveway on the left. Our mail box may or may not be out on the right. After you turn in to the driveway a white sign on a tree to the left of the gate says Holt. Follow the driveway down to the end and park on the feldspar circle by the house. Total distance is about 12 miles from Rt. 1. 

“This I Know Experimentally,” by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, June 5, 2022

I want to begin this morning with a story familiar to Friends.  It’s the story of George Fox’s epiphany.  It’s about a moment in his life in 1647 when he was at a place called Pendle Hill.  It’s the moment he realized that God could and would speak to him in the present.  It’s the story of when he came to realize that he did not need priests or preachers or pastors.  It’s the story of when he came to realize the power of the Light Within.

He had been  seeking help in his spiritual journey from various learned and supposedly wise people.  None of them seemed to be able to help him.  He was in despair.  And then he realized something unexpected and wonderful.  Here’s how he tells the story in his Journal.  Speaking of the priests and preachers and pastors from whom he had been seeking assistance, he said,

I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, ‘There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to your condition;’ and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy. Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give Him all the glory; for all are concluded under sin, and shut up in unbelief as I had been, that Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith, and power. Thus when God doth work, who shall prevent it? and this I knew experimentally.”    — George Fox, 1647

I think the words we mostly remember from this are these:  “I heard a voice which said, ‘There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to your condition;’ and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy.”

Those are striking words, no doubt about it.  But today it’s the last phrase that is on my mind.  “And this I knew experimentally.”  “And this I knew experimentally:”  what did Fox mean by this?

I’m not a linguist or a philologist, but I think Fox’s use of the word “experimentally” is a very early use of that word in English.  It’s a newish word when he spoke it.  We don’t yet have in 1647 ‘the scientific method’ as we know it today.  Galileo had just died, still convicted of heresy by the Pope.  And Isaac Newton was just age 5 in 1647.  We shouldn’t think the word ‘experimental’ had precisely the same narrow meaning then that it might today. But it did have a meaning roughly like the way we use it today

Broadly speaking, to know something “experimentally” is to know it “by experience.”  Fox doesn’t mean that he had conducted a formal experiment with randomized groups or controls or double-blind procedures, the way scientists might speak about experiments today.  But in saying he knew this “experimentally” he does mean he had direct experience. 

When we speak of “experience” we mean direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge.  Normally, we mean seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching – knowledge we gain through our senses.  Most of us today think of our senses as external senses: they are how we perceive or experience the world ‘out there’.  What Fox is saying, I think, is that we can have internal experience.  There is another sense beyond the five we mostly count.  It’s an internal sense.  I think this is what Fox is speaking about when he says, “And this I knew experimentally.”

I felt it.  I heard it.  It touched me.  I felt it within. 

This is all on my mind because I’ve found myself thinking about what this ‘direct experience’ feels like.  What does it ‘feel like’ when God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit – however you want to name the Divine — ‘speaks to my condition?’  What do I know when I know experimentally?

Fox heard a voice.  There are some who have quite a forceful experience.  The Apostle Paul was one.  Acts 9:3-4 tells the story:  As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  He saw a light. 

In 1559 (about a century before Fox’s epiphany) Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite Nun had a quite direct experience with a seraph – a kind of angel:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it … She felt a touch that pierced her. 

 Most of us don’t have experiences as dramatic as these.  So, again, what does it feel like?  That’s a question for each of us to answer.  Each of us might give a somewhat different answer. For most of us, it’s less like piercings of the heart and more like glimpses and nudges.  Over the centuries, Quakers have recorded what it felt like in journals and in letters to one another.  The glimpses and nudges are so gentle that most of us have to learn to notice them.  They can be subtle; they can be easy to miss. 

This spring, along with a dozen or two others, I’ve been in a Midweek Meditation group led by Brian Drayton.  He’s been having us read and reflect on some of the letters and essays of Isaac Penington, a contemporary of Fox who was drawn to Quakerism.  

In one, Penington speaks of the “breathings” of the Lord leaving a living presence in him. 

In the same essay, he asks, “Dost thou feel the ease which comes from the living arm, to the heart which is joined to it in the light of the gospel?”  And he asks, “Dost thou feel the life and power flowing in upon thee from the free fountain?”  The direct experience he’s talking about is a breath, now it’s a touch, and now it’s a taste of water.

What strikes me in these passages is that Penington is not saying, authoritatively, ‘This is what it feels like.’  He’s not telling; he’s asking: “Dost thou feel?”  He is suggesting; he is coaching.  He is asking, did it feel something like this? 

He is directing our attention to what it might feel like.  But it is up to us to say.  We have to figure it out.  We have to feel it; we can’t be told what we should feel. 

In these suggestions he offers – “Dost thou feel?” – he mentions all of the familiar external senses as what it might feel like internally.  It might be something we see, or it might be a voice we hear.  It might be a body touch – a nudge that leads us down a path.  It might be a lingering smell, or a taste of something refreshing that gives us guidance. 

Penington has a language for the external senses, but not really the words that communicate what it might feel like within.  Nor really do any of us.  So Penington offers a variety of analogies: it might feel like this; it might feel like that, it might feel like this. 

Penington is assuring us, with Fox, “this we know experimentally.”  We can have direct experience.  He is also telling us, the experience may be subtle; we may have to search for it; we may have to quiet ourselves and still ourselves to feel the experience. 

Nevertheless, we can do this.  This we know experimentally.  So, Friends: dost thou feel?

Also posted on Riverviewfriend

Durham Friends Meeting Minutes, May 22-23, 2022 (DRAFT)

 

Ellen Bennett — Recording Clerk

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 22, 2022, with 8 people attending in the Meetinghouse.

Due to technical problems, those members waiting to attend by ZOOM were not able to attend.  Those at the Meetinghouse agreed to hold a brief meeting to hear a member’s concern and to then adjourn the meeting until Monday, May 23, at 7pm by ZOOM.

Meeting of 22 May 2022.

  1. Concern of member

Dan Henton shared a deep concern that the former trustees had been criticized of improper behavior.  He wanted the meeting to specify charges against the former Trustees.  Dan further felt that the current clerk of Trustees had exceeded her authority on several expenditures.  Dan then excused himself from Meeting.

Clerk of Trustees apologized for moving too quickly in seeking to expedite several items concerning maintenance of the existing heat pump and an issue concerning the cemetery.  Clerk of Trustees, after consultation with the Trustees and the Clerk of Meeting reversed the decision regarding the heat pump and submitted a request to the March monthly meeting.  No action has been taken, to date, on the cemetery expenditure.  Clerk of Meeting noted Trustees were now in conformance with the Meeting Handbook and thanked Dan for raising the issue and the Clerk of Trustees correcting the mistake.  Meeting was united in expression of confidence in the current and prior trustees.

       Meeting asked the clerk to draft a minute expressing the meeting’s fulsome support and trust in  the integrity and work of the prior Trustees.

Clerk pointed out that the rupture in the prior Trustees that led to two resignations had not healed.  The role of Trustees is still not fully clear.  Meeting needs to address this question directly.  It was noted that Trustees have begun the useful work of drafting a charge for Trustees that will eliminate ambiguity.  Finance Committee volunteered to help in this work.

       Meeting asked Trustees to continue its work drafting a charge for the Trustees and to report on its progress.

This Meeting is adjourned until Monday, 7pm, 23 May 2022.

Meeting of 23 May 2022.

Bob opened the meeting by Zoom with a moment of silent centering and preparation. Sixteen members joined.

  • Review of Agenda — Bob Eaton                                                                                          

Clerk began with a review of the agenda, noting the addition of the review of the minutes of the Sunday afternoon Meeting for Business at the Meetinghouse.

Items that require approval and/or seasoning

  • Approval of Minutes of April 2022 — Ellen Bennett

        The April minutes were approved as submitted with the agenda.

  • Approval of Minutes of May 22 meeting — Bob Eaton

Bob read the minutes of this first part of the Meeting for Business which took place Sunday May 22, 2022.

With one amendment for clarification concerning the use of funds, the minutes of this portion of the Meeting for Business were approved.

Pursuant to request of the Sunday session, Meeting approved the following minute:

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends reaffirms its full confidence in the integrity and competence of the prior and current Trustees of Meeting.

  • Nominating Committee Report — Linda Muller

The following individuals were brought forward by the Nominating Committee to serve in support of the Meeting:

               Meeting members approved Cush Anthony to serve on Ministry and Counsel

               Meeting members approved Dorothy Curtis to serve on the Finance Committee

               Meeting members approved Kim Bolshaw to serve on the Library Committee

               Meeting members approved Mey Hasbrook to serve as Treasurer Assistant

               Meeting members approved the description of the Assistant Treasurer.

Meeting members approved a special meeting to convene this fall to review the overall work of the Meeting Treasurer.

Meeting members approved Finance Committee actively seek a bookkeeper, assuming that all Meeting members will read these minutes and thus be aware of this opportunity.

Meeting members expressed their appreciation for the work that Nominating Committee has done.

6.     Ministry and Counsel Report — Tess Hartford and Renée Cote

Meeting members approved the transfer of membership of Mey Hasbrook from Kalamazoo Friends Meeting to Durham Friends Meeting. 

                                                                                                                                               Trustees will take up the question of remuneration for use of the Meetinghouse for weddings, etc. Wendy will send information from Portland Friends Meeting concerning rental of the Meetinghouse for comparison purposes.

7.     Covid Guidelines — Nancy Marstaller

The new recommendations remove the vaccination requirement. Clerk of the Meeting pointed out that there is no need for expediency regarding a decision. A thoughtful and clear discussion followed with people commenting on both sides of this issue. Clerk asked for a period of silent reflection. Clerk noted that regardless of the outcome, some members will be attending Meeting by Zoom.

The Meeting accepted the recommendation of the Committee to remove the vaccination requirement from the Covid Guidelines. Meeting members are appreciative of the care and work that the Committee has put into thinking through this issue.

It was noted that the use of technology in the Meetinghouse, allowing hybrid worship, will require more individuals be trained in how to use and troubleshoot tech issues so that all might participate in worship without difficulty.

Reports for information and comment

8.    Finance Committee — Nancy Marstaller

9.     Peace and Social Concerns Committee Report — Ingrid Chalufour

10.   Trustees Report — Sarah Sprogell

The above three reports were accepted by the Meeting and are attached.

11. Verbal report on Falmouth Quarterly Meeting — Wendy Schlotterbeck.

Wendy shared information about the upcoming plant sale, and the logistics of bringing and buying plants. 

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Attachments:

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Agenda.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Draft Minutes of 22 04 24.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Covid Guidelines Rationale.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Covid Guidelines.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Ministry and Counsel.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Nominating Committee.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Peace and Social Concerns.docx

        DMM Business Mtg 22 05 22 Report Trustees.docx

LACO Food Pantry Benefit Car Show, June 4, 2022

The annual LACO (Lisbon Area Christian Outreach) car show will be held Saturday, June 4th from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Shiloh Church in Durham (12 Beulah Lane). Shiloh Church is one of the LACO partner churches (as is Durham Friends Meeting).

Proceeds of the car show benefit the LACO Food Pantry. Breakfast and lunch available. Margaret Copeland writes, “I hope people will come at lunch time since that is when we make most of our money.”

Please direct questions to Margaret Copeland.

Renaming a Park: Letter to Brunswick Town Council

 Durham Friends Letter to the Brunswick Town Council (same text below)

Durham Friends Meeting (Quaker)

532 Quaker Meeting House Road, Durham, MAINE 04222

May 27, 2022

To the Town Councilors of Brunswick,

We write to urge the Town of Brunswick to change the name of its 250th Anniversary Park to Pejepscot Park, and to use the occasion of the renaming to begin telling a truer, more inclusive history of human habitation along the lower Androscoggin River.  

Those signing this letter are residents of Brunswick (11 of us) and residents of adjoining towns (another 22).  We are all members of Durham Friends Meeting, the Quaker Meeting just over the border from Brunswick in Durham.  

We believe that it is important to remember that Indigenous people have lived in this region for thousands of years.  They have fished, hunted, and grew food throughout the Androscoggin watershed. At the site of today’s park, they came seasonally to catch salmon and alewives and others as these fish moved upriver to spawn.  Likely they had an encampment where the park is now sited.  European settlers wanted to make the same use of the fishery, and so they constructed a fort overlooking the lower falls of the Androscoggin, and they built a road from the fort to Maquoit Bay – along a pathway that the Abenaki people portaged their canoes – the same road that is today’s Maine Street and Maquoit Road.  

Because of the importance of this site for both the Abenaki and the European settlers, it is simply not right to call this park by a name suggesting that its history began in 1739.  There are important stories about this human settlement well before that date, and the precise location of this park is especially important in these stories for both the Abenaki and the European settlers.

There is a plaque in the park today that reads “Historic Site: When the Abenaki were the sole inhabitants of this land, the water here was called Ammoscoggin. The word means ‘Fish coming in Spring.’” This is one form of recognition, but we urge additional recognition by renaming the park.  Pejepscot is what the Abenaki called the Androscoggin River below the last falls, the stretch of river for which the park provides a splendid view.  Early maps by Europeans also call this stretch of the river the Pejepscot.  

For these reasons, and in recognition of the complexity of our mutual history with the Abenaki, we respectfully urge you to consider the name Pejepscot Park, a name that honors and raises up the first inhabitants of this area.

                                                      Approved by Durham Friends Meeting,

                                                      At its Business Meeting, April 24, 2022

Contact person: Ingrid Chalufour,

clerk of Durham Friends Meeting’s Peace & Social Concerns Committee

ichalufour@gmail.com, 207-483-2620

Some of the individual members of Durham Friends Meeting are the following, who asked that their signatures be included: 

Residents of Brunswick:

Kim Bolshaw

Ingrid Chalufour

Charlotte Anne Curtis

Craig Freshley

Theresa Hartford

Mey Hasbrook

Linda Muller

Ann Ruthsdottir

Kathy Jo Williams

Cindy Wood

Paul Wood

Residents of Topsham: 

Douglas Bennett

Ellen Bennett

Residents of Auburn

Reneé Coté

Wendy Schlotterbeck

Residents of Bath

Margaret Leitch Copeland 

Leslie Manning

Residents of Bowdoinham

M. Jo-an Jacobus

Residents of Durham

Laurie Caton-Lemos

Ezra Smith

Residents of Freeport

Helen Clarkson

Sarah Sprogell

Residents of Harpswell

Wendy Batson

Robert Eaton

Nancy Marstaller

Residents of Norway

Patti-Ann Douglas 

James R. Douglas 

Residents of Portland

Lyn Clarke

Residents of Richmond

Liana Thompson-Knight

Residents of South Portland

Barbara Simon

Residents of Sumner

Dorothy Hinshaw

Edward Hinshaw

Residents of Yarmouth

Cushing Anthony

Currently residing Out-of-State

Joyce Gibson (Massachusetts)

Brown Lethem (California)

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

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 JustPeace 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