Legislative Alert, June 2, 2023

Two bills of great importance to the Wabanaki are passing through the state legislature quickly before the end of the session this month. Hearings have already happened on these bills and they are moving to the legislature for votes. PLEASE let your Representatives and Senators know that you support these bills. More information about them is on the Wabanaki Alliance website.

 L.D. 2004, sponsored by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, and co-sponsored by six Republicans, including House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham, of Winter Harbor, would allow tribes to benefit from most federal laws – past, present and future. Jurisdiction over serious crimes and gambling would remain under the state’s purview.

Currently, Congress must specifically make Maine tribes eligible for any new federal program or law that affects the state-tribal relationship, which tribal leaders say can include almost anything.
Talbot Ross’ bill seeks to flip that paradigm, forcing the state to lobby Congress to exclude tribes from any future legislation that applies to the nation’s Indigenous tribes. See the attached talking points that do not include the LD number yet.

The second bill, LD 1970, An Act to Enact the Maine Indian Child Welfare Act, is discussed in the talking points below.

Talking points for LD 1970: “An Act to Enact the Maine Indian Child Welfare Act,”sponsored by Rep. Donna Bailey, D-York.

  • 1. In 1978, the U.S. Congress worked closely with American Indian and Alaska Nativeelected officials, child welfare experts and families whose children had beenunnecessarily removed from their homes to pass the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.ICWA was designed to protect Indian children and families from biased child welfarepractices and well-documented disregard for their families and culture.
  • 2. In 1978, according to theNational Indian Child Welfare Association, nationwide 25% to35% of all Indigenous children were removed from their homes by state child welfareand private adoption agencies. As many as 85% of those children were placed outsideof their families and communities—even when fit and willing relatives were available.
  • 3. In Maine, according to a 2015 report of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth &Reconciliation Commission, Wabanaki children were placedin foster care in similarlyhigher rates than non-Native children prior to ICWA’s enactment in 1978. For AroostookCounty in 1972, the rate of removal for Wabanaki children was 62.4 times higher thanthe statewide rate for non-Native children. The rates for Maine were the second highestin the nation at that time. (Source:Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth &Reconciliation Commissionreport, page 21)
  • 4. Even after ICWA’s enactment, a disproportionately higher rate of Wabanaki children inMaine are taken into foster care than non-Native children. (Source:Maine WabanakiState Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commissionreport, page 21)
  • 5. ICWA serves the best interests of Wabanaki and other Native American children bykeeping them connected to their culture, extended family and community, which areproven protective factors. (Source:“The Indian Child Welfare Act Fact Sheet”preparedby the National Indian Child Welfare Association).
  • 6. ICWA has been labeled the “gold standard” in child welfare policy and practice by acoalition of 18 national child advocacy organizations. (Source:“The Indian Child WelfareAct Fact Sheet”prepared by the National Indian Child Welfare Association).
  • 7. Nearly 500 tribes, hundreds of supporters, and at least 87 members of Congress supportICWA as the abiding standard in Native child welfare. Source:Partnership With NativeAmericans).
  • 8. Maine’s U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree are amongthe 87 members of Congress who signed the “friends of the court” brief supporting ICWAin the pending U.S.Supreme Court review of ICWA’s constitutionality in theBrackeen vs.https://sct.nHaalandcase that is expected to be decided in June. (Source for‘friends of the court”congressional supporters: page 43-46).
  • 9. Maine is one of 26 states that filed “friends of the court” briefs in 2019 supportingICWA inthe pendingBrackeen vs. Haalandcase. (Source: Native American Rights Fund,amicusbriefs tribal side.)
  • 10. By enactingLD 1970, Maine would join 12 other states that have acted to codify ICWAprotections on the state level. This would protect Wabanaki children, families, cultureand sovereignty if the U.S. Supreme Court decides in June to weaken or destroyprotections that have been known as the “gold standard” of child welfare policies for 40 years. (Sources:Native Organizers Alliance Action FundandNative Americans RightsFund)

Links to sources that might be useful:

  • 1.Native American Rights Fund summary of the Haalandv. Brackeen lawsuit brought byTexas and several individual plaintiffs who allege ICWA is unconstitutional.https://narf.org/cases/brackeen-v-bernhardt/
  • 2.Setting the Record Straight: National Indian Child Welfare Association’s fact sheet onICWA.https://www.nicwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Setting-the-Record-Straight2018.pdf
  • “Beyond the Mandate: Continuing the Conversation.”3.2015 Report of the MaineWabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
  • FinalState Amicus Brief -Brackeen v. Bernhardt4., signed by Maine and 25 other states.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 21, 2023 (Draft)

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met for the conduct of business on Sunday, May 21, 2023, with 14 people attending.

1.     Meeting Opening

Sarah Sprogell called for people to gather for worship for the conduct of business. The opening reading was from Parker Palmer. “Friends are most in the spirit when they stand at the crossing point of the inward and the outward. And that is the intersection at which we find community. Community is a place where the connections felt in the heart make themselves known in bonds between people, and where the tuggings and pullings of those bonds keep opening up our hearts.”

May we stay open to one another as we conduct our business.                                    

2.     Request for Clerk of the Day

                        Meeting approved Sarah Sprogell serve as Clerk of the Day, with thanks.

3.     Approval of April Meeting Minutes — Ellen Bennett

                        Meeting approved the April Business meeting minutes.

4.     Finance Committee and Quarterly Report — Nancy Marstallar

Nancy reviewed the Quarterly finance report. We are on track with our percentages re: income and expenses. With respect to the physical plant, we have spent more than anticipated. However, this is likely to be offset because of a reduction in the use of fuel oil this winter.

                        Meeting accepted the quarterly report, with gratitude.

A Sisters Meeting Account has been opened. The Meeting previously approved and allocated funds for 2 travelers to Cuba ($8,000). However, only one went. Therefore, the request is to deposit the remaining funds ($4,000) from the checking account into the new account.

                        Meeting approved the deposit of these funds into the Sisters Meeting Account.

4.a. Woman’s Society via Finance Committee

Woman’s Society is asking approval to give the Center for Wisdoms’ Women in Lewiston $500.  Funds would come from the Charity Account. Two people spoke to personal experience working with the Center and attested that they do very good work. According to process, the request brought today will be seasoned for a month, and brought back to Meeting next month for final approval.

Woman’s Society: request that Plant Sale funds go to Children and Youth programs of the United Society of Women Friends International. There are four international programs focusing on education that have benefitted from support from past Meeting members.

                        Meeting approved that money raised from the Plant Sale go to these projects.

Woman’s Society would like to hold a silent auction beginning the week of August 13th with set-up in vestry. A potluck on Sunday, August 20th, would be the close of the auction.

                        Meeting approved holding a Woman’s Society auction.

5.   Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

M&C requests approval for an addition to the committee description in the handbook. Rene read the addition. “and secondarily to engage in outreach in the wider community”.

                        Meeting approved this addition/change.

In light of the recent changes in CDC recommendations and the ending of the pandemic emergency, Renee read an updated recommendation, on behalf of the Meeting, regarding masking. Discussion ensued around the idea of , and term for, a “designated area” for those who are masked, and the degree to which we could simplify the statement.

The Meeting settled on: “We approve that masks be optional in the building. While all attenders are free to sit where they wish, for those who seek additional shielding, there will be an area set aside “for mask-wearers only” identified in the meeting room.” We will try this for a period of time and revisit the effectiveness of the implemented changes in September.

                   Meeting approved the above changes to masking protocols in the Meetinghouse, and to revisiting the issue in September.

There will be a memorial gathering for Margaret Wentworth  on June 25th, at rise of meeting. Because Margaret was involved in so many organization, notes will be sent to area organizations with which she was involved. M&C will take responsibility for oversight and planning this event.

                        Meeting approved the date of the memorial. 

6.   Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

Changes have been made to the committee description in the handbook. Ingrid read the new proposed description. It was recommended that the word “traditional” be omitted — Quakers have never rested on tradition; always present leadings.

                        Meeting approved changes as read after discussion.

7.   Trustees — Doug Bennett

Trustees are proposing changes to Handbook with respect to the meetinghouse and cemeteries. Doug summarized the minutiae of the changes (e.g., thermostat settings and frequency of mowing in the cemeteries). Kim asked that the line referencing closing the shades in the meeting room be deleted.

                        Meeting approved the proposed changes.

8.     Closing Worship

Meeting closed with silence in gratitude for the work done.

Respectfully submitted, Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

“Integrity, the Backbone of the Testimonies,” by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 21, 2023

I was first introduced to Quakerism as a student at Haverford College.  One way I received that first introduction was a quotation in ornate script (unusually ornate for Quakerism) that hung in the Common Room.  It was from a Commencement Address in 1883 by Isaac Sharpless, then the college president, in 1883.  It reads:

“I suggest that you preach truth and do righteousness as you have been taught, whereinsoever that teaching may commend itself to your consciences and your judgements. For your consciences and your judgments we have not sought to bind; and see you to it that no other institution, no political party, no social circle, no religious organizations, no pet ambitions put such chains on you as would tempt you to sacrifice one iota of the moral freedom of your consciences or the intellectual freedom of your judgements.”

I’m not the only Haverfordian who was struck by those words.  I know several who carry it around in their wallets, or have copies of that inscription in their homes. 

I’m no longer sure that this Isaac Sharpless quotation is a good introduction to Quakerism.  For me, it speaks too much of individualism, of conscience and freedom, and not enough of worship or God’s will, or of community for that matter. 

Nevertheless, that injunction to “preach truth and do righteousness” laid a heavy stamp on me and it still speaks to me.  It’s an active exhortation.  These are positive things to do, things to do actively, not things to avoid, not things to stay silent upon.  “Preach truth and do righteousness.” It’s an urging to be wholly and fully yourself, to stand for what you believe, and to enact those beliefs in the world in every way that you can.  “Preach truth and do righteousness,” or, as another Quaker once put it, “Let your life speak.”

That Sharpless quotation mostly warns against the constraints that others may place on our inclination to say or do the right thing – political parties, say, or religious organizations.  But over the years I’ve been more struck by the constraints we place on ourselves.  The ways we hold ourselves back – hold ourselves back from doing the right thing.  We do nothing.  We stay silent and seated rather than “preach truth and do righteousness.”  We pay attention to what’s ‘in our interest’ or what’s ‘comfortable’ for us.  Mostly what holds us back is loving ourselves more than loving our neighbors. 

Today, I see a lot of people standing around doing nothing.  Bad things happen, and lots of people step backwards or they sit down.  In current parlance, they ‘ghost.’  “It’s not mine to do anything about,” they seem to be saying.  “Maybe this will soon blow over.”  “I’m not getting involved.”  “I don’t think I want to get drawn into this.”  Maybe we roll our eyes or look away when lies are told.  Down that road, what’s the truth of things becomes murky, and we all grow cynical in the belief that everyone cuts corners, and no one does anything about it. 

The currently popular list of Quaker testimonies follows a SPICES mnemonic: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship.  It’s “Integrity” I want to lift up today, and there it is in the middle of the SPICES list. 

That list makes it one of six, but Wilmer Cooper wrote a Pendle Hill pamphlet in which he said “’integrity’ is the essential Quaker testimony and undergirds all other testimonies of Friends.”  (PH 296, p 6).  (Wilmer was the founding Dean of the Earlham School of Religion and someone who, along with his wife Emily, Ellen and I had the privilege to know.)  I think he’s right; integrity is the essential Quaker testimony.

He opens the Pendle Hill pamphlet by telling a story about Elfrida Vipont Foulds, a distinguished British Quaker and historian, going to the village of Fenney Drayton, where George Fox had grown up, to see if she could better understand what shaped him.  She sat in the church where he worshipped as a child – an Anglican Church of course.  And she forms a picture of men and women coming week after week on Sunday, religiously.  And then she says “But the self-same people would go from the church the following week cheating their neighbors, cheating in the marketplace, they would get drunk in the ale houses; husbands would beat their wives and parents would cuff their children.  Next Sunday they would go back to the village church….”.  (p 4).  The taproot for Fox, she concluded, is that “Fox felt the need for integrity in daily life.” 

This makes sense.  For me, integrity is the essential Quaker testimony. 

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. The word has come to mean “an undivided or unbroken completeness.”  And with regard to our behavior, it has come to mean “soundness of moral principle and character; entire uprightness or fidelity, especially in regard to truth and fair dealing”.

Here are a few things it asks of us. 

Integrity means speaking the truth of course. It asks for honesty through and through.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us:

37 But let [a]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). 

Early Friends –and Friends today – refuse to swear oaths, because to swear an oath before making a statement implies that this time I’m telling the truth, but at other times, maybe not. 

It is not just being truthful in what you do say, but also in having the courage to speak up, and to tell the whole truth that you know, even when that’s painful.  Just knowing the truth isn’t good enough; you have to tell others.  You have to make that an unwavering practice and habit.  Speak the truth at all times, but also:  step forward to be of assistance.  Don’t ‘leave it to others.’ If you won’t speak up, who will? 

Integrity means standing up as well as speaking up – standing up for others.  It means being actively engaged when others are wronged.  I’m sure you can all think of instances of wrongdoing that we later learn others knew about and yet stayed silent.  That’s not integrity.  Speaking up about wrongdoing has become rare enough that we’ve coined a word to describe those who do: “whistleblower.”  But often we realize many people knew about the wrongdoing, and only one or two spoke up – and maybe not immediately.  That’s not integrity.  When someone ‘blows the whistle,’ ask yourself who hasn’t said a word.  We rarely need whistleblowers if the rest of us will speak up in the first place.

Integrity means treating everyone the same, not treating some more favorably because they have power or can provide benefits to you.  Early Friends were known for having just one price for all customers.  Integrity today means caring for everyone, not just ourselves or our allies or our friends. 

Integrity means caring for others as well as yourself.  It means treating others with ‘unreserved respect’ – as if they, too, were hosts for a Divine presence within.  It means loving your neighbors as much as yourself.  Loving our neighbors means not just comforting them in private but stepping forward in public for them on their behalf.  It means standing up for others – all others.

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is a man who is all about his business – in every way, every hour of every day.  He thinks Christmas is a humbug; he thinks charity is absurd.  But by the end he is a man transformed.  He is a joyful man celebrating Christmas, and also now a man of integrity.  Dickens has Scrooge say about “his business” now that he is a reformed man:”

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”  Scrooge goes from being a man who stays put in his counting house to someone who steps forward to help others.  

Integrity asks that we be trustworthy:  good to our word, consistent, reliable, always, in private and in public, indoors and out.  When I was a Boy Scout, we would regularly recite the Scout Law:  “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”  It’s a list of twelve, but it begins with “trustworthy,” reminding us to live by the other eleven always and consistently.  It gives the others strength. 

Speaking up, standing up, treating everyone with respect, with fairness, with caring;  being trustworthy; that’s what integrity asks of us. It’s a lot.  Sometimes, maybe often, it means taking steps away from comfort. 

We speak of “faithfulness” as central to our relationship to God.  In a parallel way, “integrity” is central in our relationships with other people.  Both mean doing what we should be doing, doing it actively, doing it wholeheartedly, with no holding back. 

What does integrity ask of us?  Everything.  To have integrity means ‘being whole,’ and that means embracing the whole of things, not just your corner of things.  It means to live a life in which we are fully present – whole, wholly yourself, wholly present.  It means living as if you lived in the new kingdom.  When Fox says (and this is a cornerstone of the peace testimony) “I told them I lived in the virtue of that life and power that taketh away the occasion for war,” he means he went the whole way in his obedience to God, not part way.  He inhabited the new kingdom with his whole self as if he were a tent pole. 

To have integrity means being part of the backbone of how all things should be.  Integrity is the essential Quaker testimony because it gives voice and strength to all the others. It means standing up for and supporting the way all things should be.  The other testimonies – simplicity, peace, community, equality, stewardship – mean very little without integrity to give them backbone.

Or, as Isaac Sharpless instructed: “preach truth and do righteousness.”


Also posted on River View Friend

Legislative Alert, May 20, 2023

From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

LD 78: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to Article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations

Sponsor: House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. Read our testimony»

This bill would restore language regarding Maine Indian treaty obligations to all printed copies of the Maine Constitution. In 1876, the state constitution was amended to remove certain sections of Article X from print. Article X incorporates most of the 1819 act that separated Maine from Massachusetts and includes a timeline for starting the new Maine government. Section 5 of the article, one of three affected by the 1876 amendment, clarifies Maine’s obligation to uphold and defend treaties made between Massachusetts and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Nations. While the three sections remain in force and can be read online, the 1876 amendment prohibits their inclusion in printed versions of the constitution. LD 78 is an amendment to the state constitution that would require that Section 5 be included in all printed copies of the constitution. Constitutional amendments require passage by two-thirds of each legislative chamber before advancing to the voters for approval. Learn more about the removal of section 5 in this report or watch REDACT, a recording of a Maine Historical Society panel discussion on the topic. Read the complete bill text»

⚠️ STATUS: Legislature will vote soon
The Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on LD 78 Tuesday, March 7 (read the public testimony). At a March 16 work session, LD 78 was amended to stipulate that all provisions of Article X, not just Section 5, be included in printed version of the constitution. The committee voted that the bill Ought to Pass as Amended. The bill will go to the House next for a vote.

» Contact your legislators. Contact your legislators and ask them to vote YES on LD 78. Find your legislators and their contact info here» 

This was copied from the Wabanaki Alliance website.For more information or a link to learn the contact information of your Representative go to:

Agenda and Materials for Durham Friends Business Meeting, May 21, 2023

Materials for this Meeting for Worship for Business are available at this link

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business, Durham Friends Meeting, May 21, 2023

Opening Worship

Request for Clerk of the Day

  • 1 Approval of Minutes, April 16, 2023
  • 2. Finance Committee and Quarterly Report – Nancy
  • 3. Woman’s Society – Nancy
  • 4. Ministry and Counsel
  • 5. Peace and Social Concerns – Ingrid
  • 6. Trustees Report
  • 7. Other
  • Closing Worship

Georgetown Family Campout, June 10-11, 2023

Durham Friends Meeting and Falmouth Quarterly Meeting invite one and all to a family campout June 10&11, 2023. We will gather on the weekend of June 11-12 at Betsy Meunch’s beach house in Georgetown.

All are invited to come to as much of the weekend as you are able.  There is level space for camping looking out on the water, a private beach.  We will feast, have a campfire, and play; and we will have our spring meeting for sharing the states of our meetings, and the ministry that is rising among us.  Sunday we will worship as a whole community outdoors.

Questions? Rossvall.weiss@gmail.com ; Wendy Schlotterbeck@gmail.com

Woman’s Society Zoom Meeting Minutes, April 17, 2023

Present, via Zoom: Dorothy Curtis, President, Nancy Marstaller, Treasurer, Susan Gilbert, Secretary, Kim Bolshaw.

Cards: Kim will send cards to Friends.

Program and Devotions: We took turns reading Program #3 from Blueprints: “Hope From Believing in God’s Goodness”, by Charlotte Strangelove. Scripture: Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’’ Recommended Song: Good, Good Father or Great is Thy Faithfulness.
The message encouraged us to promote hopeful truths based on scriptures from the Bible.
We shared how the goodness of God is evident in our lives.

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from our 3/20/2023 meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: We have $11.05 in the account. The Woman’s Society traditionally
has donated money to causes that support children and youth. Since the pandemic, there
has been less participation in the Woman’s Society, and fewer fundraising events. We
discussed ways to earn funds and also would be grateful for charitable donations from
outside our group.

Prayers: For Friends, including those Kim sends cards to.

Tedford Meal: On April 3 Nancy’s Team E prepared lasagna, pumpkin soup, green
salad, bread, cookies and ice cream. The meal on May 1 will be made by Leslie
Manning’s Team F. Volunteer contributions of food or donations are welcome.

Other Business: We discussed Kim’s trip to Cuba, and the question of Memorial Minutes
for Helen Clarkson, Charlotte Anne Curtis, and Margaret Wentworth.

Dorothy Curtis ended the meeting with a quote from Madame de Stael: “To pray together, in whatever tongue or ritual, is the most tender brotherhood of hope and sympathy that men can contract in this life.”

Respectfully Submitted, Susan Gilbert

“Our Mother Tongue,” by Leslie Manning

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 14, 2023

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6:34)

This appears at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, and is something I try to remember and practice.  What stops me?  Often, it is fear.

Don’t worry.

Be not afraid.

Fear not, for I am always with you.  We hear this again and again from G!D and the angels.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   (Isaiah 41:10)

The celebration of Pentecost (50 days after Passover) in the Jewish tradition is the bringing of the first fruits from the winter harvest to G!d in the temple. They are offered in commemoration of the most significant gift G!d made to G!d’s people, the Torah, the laws and commandments that stated how people are to live in relationship with G!d and each other.  We know them as the Ten Commandments.  Love G!d, love your neighbor, love yourself.

After Jesus’ death and return, he left his followers for the final time promising that he would send the Comforter to them, the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father.  Com meaning with, forte, meaning strength.  Consolation, yes, but also strength. 

When that Spirit arrived, the followers were filled with power, divine power, and went out into the packed streets of Jerusalem, full of celebrants of the festival, and spoke, preached, prophesied and testified to all they had learned and knew to be true in the tongues of every person present, spoke to each of them in their own language, their mother tongue.  And we are told that people were amazed and many believed.

For us as Friends, it could be said that our mother tongue is in our sacred silence, our expectant waiting, our seeking oneness with that same divine power that descended upon the original followers and continues to be available to each one of us, as it was to Fox and Fell, Woolman and Mott, Jones and Kelly, and is available and present whenever we gather, seeking unity with each other and divine will.

The deeper unity we seek and work for is described by Julian of Norwich when she writes, “The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is  truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another person.”

Or, we believe, from all of Creation.  So, let us put aside the fear that separates us from each other and the Creator, and join together in waiting upon that Spirit.  Taking each day as it comes as the gift it is meant to be.

Report on the All Maine Gathering, May 8, 2023

At the All Maine Gathering on 5-8-23, we invited Friends to share concerns and queries that they hoped to have brought back to Monthly Meetings.  If a Monthly Meeting engages with any of these concerns and would like to share reflections, please send your reflections to either Fritz Weiss (rossvall.weiss@gmail.com) or Wendy Schlotterbeck (wendy.schlotterbeck@gmail.com) for FalmouthQuarter, or Carole Beal (carolebeal@gmail.com) and Janet Hough (janet.hough5@gmail.com)  for Vassalboro Quarter and we will forward the reflections to all the meetings in Maine.

The following concerns are shared.

  • The Eli and Sybil Jones Ramallah School Scholarship Fund of Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting is raising funds to continue to support scholarships as they have for over 12 years.  Checks can be sent to Cynthia Harkleroad, Treasurer, Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting, PO Box 69, Bowdoinham ME 04008-0069.  Please note “Ramallah Friends School” in the memo line.
  • Friends across Maine are invited to take a 1 to 3 hour turn at the Quaker Table in the Social-Political Action area of the MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair, held September 22-24 in Unity, Maine. Sometimes we pose or post queries and listen, often we answer questions about Quakers, we offer brochures and stickers, we discuss Friends’ faith and practice, we hear about fairgoers’ experience with Friends Camp, Quaker schools, other meetings around the region, etc. As a theme for posters and connection to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association values, sometimes we use Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy, from Quaker Institute for the Future or Joanna Macy’s, Active Hope. Three hours in a day earns a free pass to the Fair for that day. Often there are two people at the table at a time. FMI please call, text or email Mark Rains, cell 207-500-9131, mainerains@gmail.com
  • The Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy would like the attached one page summary shared with all meetings. This faithful group has been advocating with the Maine legislature on Government for decades and continues to do good work.  It is not clear where the next generation to carry this witness will come from.
  • Queries on the experience of Responding to a Call.  Throughout Saturday in the conversation and worship the theme of responding to a call was present.  We heard about the powerful response of Friends at All Maine to the invitation to visit Kakamega was still echoing in people’s lives, and had resulted in the remarkable work that is continuing through the Kenya Rising organization.  We invite Friends to share with each other their experience at being nudged, called or whispered to – Where the call comes from? How does it feel ? How do we discern that it is from God or Spirit and not from other human motivations? How did you respond? What barriers and resistance did you feel?
  • Finally, from the morning worship, we are reminded of Marge Nelson’s advice to Friends: “Our job is to kiss frogs.”  (ask someone who attended for more context.)

Love Fritz Weiss, 23.5.12

Update from Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, May 2023

     Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy (FCMPP) was launched in the 1980’s by Ed Snyder following his retirement from Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington. He envisioned a statewide network of Quaker activists who could coordinate their advocacy efforts on timely topics under consideration in the Maine Legislature. At the beginning it was decided to focus on two policy areas where broad agreement among Friends could be anticipated without having to seek specific approval from all the local meetings: 1) tribal/state relations (i.e. Wabanaki concerns) and 2) civil liberty/criminal justice concerns  (e.g. death penalty).

     FCMPP used to meet in person on a regular basis to share reports, decide on issue priorities, and sustain ongoing personal connections.  The passing of some in the founding cohort and the onset of Covid required meeting on zoom and a reduced capacity to handle a wide range of issues.

     In recent years the focus has increasingly centered on Wabanaki concerns. There is a long history of Quaker efforts to assist the Maine tribes—e.g. the separate American Friends Service Committee program on Maine Indians.  Two developments enhanced FCMPP attention to tribal matters: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indigenous children taken from their families and the Task Force on needed amendments to the Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980 which cut off Maine tribes from benefits of Federal legislation affecting all tribes in the other forty-nine states.

    A core group of FCMPP members has been intensely engaged in relevant support efforts, at times in close coordination with a counterpart Episcopal support group.  FCMPP members have attended legislative hearings and given testimony—both spoken and written—on specific bills and placed op-eds and Letters to the Editor in local newspapers. They have travelled to all five Wabanaki settlements to meet in person with the tribal leaders in the effort to be informed allies.  Several members regularly take part in a weekly zoom session led by the Wabanaki Alliance (the tribal chiefs, leaders, and staff) to coordinate advocacy and outreach endeavors including joint lobby visits with legislators.  FCMPP leaders along with leaders from several other church groups have set up in-person meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate.

   The major pending bill is based upon the Task Force recommendations to amend the 1980 law in order to restore a fuller measure of tribal sovereignty as well as economic benefits from Federal legislation.  Several smaller relevant bills have been supported and seem likely to pass but the sovereignty bill will require a 2/3 vote on both chambers to overcome an expected veto from the Governor.

   We will hand out today a Guide to Citizen Lobbying and giving testimony before legislative committees prepared by FCMPP for fellow Quakers as they may be led to express their views on current issues.

    In February members of FCMPP met in a sorting session led by Peter Woodrow to assess future endeavors of the group. We recognize that our work evolved to focus primarily on tribal/state concerns.  We are open to further evolution to take up other concerns.  We welcome queries and expressions of interest from other Friends in Maine.   What do you think a state-based Quaker advocacy group in Maine should be dealing with now?     

Queries/Responses may be sent to:    Jim Matlack  jmatlack38@gmail.com and Shirley Hager Shirley.hager@maine.edu                                                        

Legislative Alert, May 13, 2023

LD 78: The Maine House will soon vote on LD 78 a bill that is important to the Wabanaki. It will require text of Maine Indian Treaty obligations to be published in all copies of the state Constitution. Now is the time to write your Representative asking them to support this bill. Use the link below to get access to information about how to contact your Representative.

LD 336: Also note that the Wabanaki Alliance does not support LD 336. Let your representative know that you oppose it too. More information about this and other bills can be found on the Alliances Legislative Tracker. The link is below.

Discussion with Former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana, May 22, 6pm at Curtis Library

Recommended by Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

Arts Are Elementary Presents:

A Discussion with Former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana

Mon. 5/22 at 6:00pm

Curtis Library, Morrell Meeting Room

Arts Are Elementary is pleased to bring Former Chief of the Penobscot Nation, culture preservationist, long time educator, artist, and professional basketmaker Barry Dana to Brunswick. He will lead an open discussion about Wabanaki history and culture.

Applicants Sought for Meeting Care Coordinator

(position and announcement approved by Durham Friends Meeting, February 2023)

Durham Friends Meeting, a vital semi-programmed Quaker meeting in southern Maine, is looking for a Meeting Care Coordinator

The job description is below. To apply, or for more information, please contact us at durham@neym.org. Consideration of applicants will start immediately, and the position is open until filled.

Our worship involves music and often a prepared message, as well as time spent in waiting worship. We minister to each other, without a pastor. The Meeting Care Coordinator will assist in scheduling messages and supporting outreach.

We invite candidates (and anyone else) to join us for worship any Sunday at 10:25 AM in person or by Zoom. 

Meeting Care Coordinator (MCC)

Durham Friends Meeting seeks a person to serve a quarter-time (eight to ten hours a week) position as a Meeting Care Coordinator, to be paid $10,000/year, with roughly equal responsibilities in two areas: ministry coordination and outreach. The MCC will be supervised by an oversight committee of two or three people and the Clerk, and will report monthly (and as needed) to Ministry & Counsel.

We conceive of this position as one to provide assistance and support to members of the Meeting who are taking the lead in a volunteer capacity in both of these areas. The Meeting Care Coordinator will be a resource to help keep these responsibilities from growing too burdensome to Meeting members.

Preference for hiring will be given to a person familiar with semi-programmed Meetings and Quaker values.

Responsibilities of the Meeting Care Coordinator

The role of the Meeting Care Coordinator (MCC) is to be a resource to Meeting members who serve in leadership positions, with a focus on providing assistance and support in the areas of Ministry and Outreach.  Supervision will be provided by an oversight committee that will report to Ministry & Counsel monthly.

Ministry: The primary task of the Meeting Care Coordinator will be contacting and arranging for message givers (speakers) for Sunday worship, and to coordinate with tech support as needed and with the pianist regarding hymns. Ministry & Counsel will continue to provide oversight and direction for care of worship each Sunday.  The MCC will help to coordinate prayer groups and prayer partners, as occasions arise, following the guidance of Ministry & Counsel.  If the position of Youth Minister is filled, the MCC will coordinate with that person as needed. 

Outreach: The Meeting Care Coordinator will help follow up with visitors and newcomers to the Meeting, under the guidance of Ministry & Counsel.  The Meeting Care Coordinator will provide assistance in scheduling and announcing in-house events as needed, and will share information with other churches or organizations with similar concerns when appropriate. Examples of outside groups that the MCC may connect with are Lisbon Area Christian Outreach (LACO), local interfaith groups, and the Midcoast Indigenous Awareness Group, or other groups whose missions are compatible with the focus of current meeting committees.

“Separate Is Never Equal,” by Duncan Tonatiuh; Read by Ingrid Chalufour

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 7, 2023

Ingrid Chalufour, clerk of Peace and Social Concerns introduced this morning’s book in this way:

Good Morning Friends!

I will start by asking you to hold the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund Committee in the light this week as they review our proposal and decide if we will receive a grant from them. They meet on Friday and we hope to hear next week.

A part of introducing social justice to young children is introducing them to injustice. Whether it impacts their own lives or the lives of others, whether it is a part of history or the present day, injustice is a part of the package. One of the things we will explore and clarify for ourselves next year is what are the injustices to introduce young children to, when, and how.

I happen to believe that injustice should always be introduced to young children in the context of activists who are working to correct the injustice. We have shared quite a few of those books with you and I have another one today.

I share a book by Duncan Tonatiuh, a prolific author and illustrator of social justice books for young children. This book tells the story of the Mendez family in the 1940s in California. It is a true story and the author did a great deal of research, interviewing Sylvia Mendez and using actual text from the court files. The book is called Separate is Never Equal.

.You can hear the book read here, from Reading Is Fundamental.

Woman’s Society Zoom Meeting Minutes. March 20, 2023

Present: Dorothy Curtis, President, Nancy Marstaller, Treasurer, Susan Gilbert, Secretary,
Kim Bolshaw, Dorothy Hinshaw

Cards: For Friends. Kim will check the current copy of the Advocate magazine in the
Meeting House for names and addresses of Friends ministering in the field, reviving the
tradition of Durham Friends sending them birthday cards. The cards will be available for
group signing after Meetings.

Program and Devotions: Dorothy, Nancy and Kim took turns reading Nikki Holland’s
contribution to Blueprints, Ministering Like a Scuba Diver’’. Scripture:But seek first
his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’’
(Matthew 6:33). Nikki lives in Belize City, where she is Director of Friends United
Meeting’s ministries in Belize. There, learning to scuba dive over the coral reef motivated
her to bring the peace, joy and wonder she found underwater to her life and ministry. She
draws parallels between lessons of safe diving and her everyday life: “Always Keep
Breathing. Stay calm. Care for your equipment. Understand your responsibility. Buddy up.
Rest. Listen to your body. Equalize.’’

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from the 2.20.2023 meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: Nancy has given Dorothy Curtis the money for her upcoming trip to
the USFWI Triennial in Nakuru, Kenya July 2 – 8. She made a correction to the 2.20.’23
minutes: Checking bal. $2314.72, with $2203.67 for triennial expenses, leaving $111.05
available. We decided to send $50 each to Wayfinder Schools and Sexual Assault Services
of Midcoast Maine. The Woman’s Society would appreciate donations by Friends to be
contributed to worthy causes.

Prayers: For Friends

Tedford Meal: On March 6, Dorothy and Kim provided chicken nuggets, salad, mashed
potatoes, oranges, milk and chocolate cake. The April 3 meal will be prepared by Team E,
Nancy Marstaller, team leader. Volunteers to contribute food or donations are welcome.

Other Business: Marian Baker, a NH Friend active in the United Society of Friends
Women International is bringing the message to our Meeting on April 2. Kim told us of her
trip to Cuba. Fritz Weiss presented to Velasco Meeting the gift of a group – created wall
quilt, put together and finished by Dorothy Curtis. Nancy’s creation of a 5 block printed
prayer flag with birds, owl and bee was given and hung in the Velasco Meeting House

Dorothy Curtis ended the meeting with the poem, “Joy of Life” by an unknown author:
The joy of life is living it and doing things of worth,
In making bright and fruitful all the barren spots of earth.
In facing odds and mastering them and rising from defeat,
And making true what once was false, and what was bitter, sweet.
For only he knows perfect joy whose little bit of soil
Is richer ground than what it was when he began to toil.

Letter to Senator Angus King, March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023

Senator Angus King

133 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510

Re: H.R. 6707

Dear Senator King, 

You recently decided not to support passage of H.R. 6707 brought by Representative Golden that dealt with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act when it came before you for consideration. You will recall that his bill would have removed the provision in the Act which states that future Indian legislation does not affect the Maine tribes unless those tribes are specifically made subject to it. A number of our members were disturbed by the statements in your letter which explained why you did not support that bill.

As Quakers, we believe that it is fair and reasonable to give the Wabanaki tribes the same rights under subsequent Congressional legislation dealing with Indian issues as that which is guaranteed to all other tribes. Many scholars have stated that this provision in the Act was not discussed by the parties during the negotiations which led up to the final draft of the Act. Or if it was discussed at all, it was not part of what you describe as “the fundamental position of the State in the negotiations leading up to MICSA.” 

Removing this provision seems consistent with the concept that Federal law should always be considered in light of present-day conditions. As the attached article makes clear, the Wabanaki currently are significantly poorer than other American tribes. Removing this provision would go a long way towards equalizing their status relative to the other tribes.

Thank you for your consideration of this. If you wish to discuss the contents of this letter further, please contact Cushman Anthony, a member of our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and former chair of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission; or contact our Clerk, Leslie Manning at the above address.


Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

The attached enclosure can also be found at https://theconversation.com/tribes-in-maine-left-out-of-native-american-resurgence-by-40-year-old-federal-law-denying-their-self-determination-198386

Legislative Alert from Peace & Social Concerns — April 28, 2023

This would be a good time to let your legislators know of your interest in the well-being of the Wabanaki. There are a number of bills that are of potential benefit to the Tribes, we will highlight three of them here. We are also providing a link to the Wabanaki Alliance Legislative Tracker. There you can find further information about each bill and access to contact information for your legislators.

LD 1642: An Act to Strengthen the Teaching of Wabanaki Studies in Maine Schools

The previous bill from 2001 was an unfunded mandate to teach Wabanaki history and culture in Maine schools. This bill will establish a Wabanaki Studies Commission and provide permanent funding for resources, materials, and continuing education for teachers.

LD 78: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to Article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations

This bill restores language regarding Maine Indian Treaty obligations to all printed copies of the Maine Constitution. The legislature is going to vote on this bill soon so now is the time to let your representatives know of your support.

LD 1115: An Act Regarding Economic Development Funds for Federally Recognized Indian Tribes

This bill would require the Department of Economic and Community Development to allocate 10% of the available economic development funds in the Community Development Block Grant Program to Tribes in Maine.

NOTE: There is one bill that the Alliance opposes. LD 336. You can see their reasoning on the website.

Here is the link: https://wabanakialliance.com/131st-bill-tracker/

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, April 16, 2023

Ellen Bennett — Recording Clerk

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends for the Conduct of Business met at noon on Sunday, April 16th, with 11 people attending at the Meetinghouse and 5 people via Zoom.

1.     Opening Worship

Clerk shared the music of Bayard Rustin to open the meeting — songs from the civil rights movement.  

2.     Approval of Minutes of March 2023 — Tess Hartford

With thanks to Tess for taking the minutes, the meeting approved the minutes. It was noted that the dates for the upcoming listening sessions will be corrected later in the agenda. See item 7 for these corrections.

3.     Ministry and Counsel — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

Regarding Zoom access, people are asked to send comments or questions to Rene or Tess. They will then be forwarded to Mey Hasbrook.

The issue of masking in the meetinghouse will be taken up at a future date, waiting to hear from Portland Friends Meeting as to their current guidelines. Clerk shared an update on masking from Vassalboro meeting.

No one has been hired for the MCC position as yet, which means there are unspent funds in that budget line that may be used for another purpose, including advertising the position.

4.     Approval of Selection Committee for MCC position

Meeting approved those individuals brought forward to serve on the search committee for a new MCC:  Doug Bennett, Rene Cote, Ingrid, with Leslie as Clerk.

5.     Trustees — Sarah Sprogell                                                                          

Trustees are looking at the “use of the meetinghouse” as it appears in the handbook. The handbook needs to be updated. The Meeting agreed that it would be a good idea to have some handbooks available in the meetinghouse.

Sarah agreed to contact committee clerks reminding them to bring forward any changes needed for their handbook descriptions.  The Clerk confirmed that changes should be approved by the monthly meeting before being put into the handbook.  Once approved, Doug will update the handbook posted on the website.

Trustees and Finance had a joint meeting to clarify accounts and insurance overlap issues. The committees plan to do this once a year.

The Meeting expressed its deep appreciation for this collaboration and coordination.

[Note that the Finance Committee will bring a quarterly report at the next meeting for business.]

6.     Peace and Social Concerns — Ingrid Chalufour

The committee report is an update that recommends several individual actions that people can take themselves. The report with links to the information about each action is available on the Meeting website. Please refer to the report for additional information.

Nat Shed, a former director of Friend’s Camp and a Brunswick city councilor, is coordinating a “Go Fund Me” account for arriving immigrant families to help them set up their apartments. He expressed appreciation to DMM for bringing this to the Meeting’s attention.                                                                                                                                              

7.    Save the Dates:

        April 23:   Finance Committee Discussion of Parsonage Sale Funds  12 noon

        April 30:   Community Conversation about Outreach  12 noon

        May 6:     All Maine Gathering, South China Community Church, from  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Falmouth Quarter is hosting, so please contribute to the potluck lunch. This is an over-20-year tradition, and the first to be held since Covid. George Lakey will be there.

8.     New Business

        Proposed Minute on Reproductive Health — Leslie Manning

Clerk read the minute aloud.

                Meeting approved sending the letter to FCNL.

9.     Closing Worship

Clerk read a letter from Sara Hubner, administrator at New England Yearly Meeting, thanking DMM for its continued monetary support. Clerk then asked for silent worship, with gratitude for the faithful and consistent lives of those seeking a world of peace, hope, and opportunity for all.

Respectfully submitted, Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk


Meeting Agenda

Draft Minutes from 23.3.19

Ministry and Counsel Report

Draft Letter to FCNL Regarding Reproductive Health

Trustees Report

Attachments here

“Who Do You Say I Am? A Shift in Understanding,” by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon

Notes for the message at Durham Friends Meeting, April 23, 2023

Shifts in our understanding. 

Who do you say I am?  A question asked to elicit recognition and confirmation of Jesus.  A shift in understanding.  Who do you say you are?  Who do you say we are?

Christ, son of man, son of God, messiah, Adoniah, prince of peace, heretic, abba.

Quakers, seekers, religious society of friends, friends of Christ, seekers of the truth. 

Each defines how we respond to life and others, how we behave, how we live out our faith.

Musician Tommy Sands brought a group of kids together with other musicians to sing outside the building where the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement was being hammered out the Thursday before the Friday.  The children present reminded the politicians and negotiators of that which is important.   There was a marked shift in talks after the children sang. 

“700 days of failure, one day of success.”  George Mitchell.  

Who do you say I am?

Commentator on the 25 year Good Friday Agreement anniversary said there was a significant shift in the negotiations when the participants shifted their focus from – What do you kill for?  To what do you live for?

I add the following.

What do you hate?   What do you love?

What do you criticize?  What do you support?

What do you take power from?  What do you give power to?

Find your truth, share your truth, live your truth. 

— From Humankind, by Rutger Bregman

*She was not alone.  Kitty Genoese.  1964.  Her neighbor had a friend call the police and then ran to be with her as she died.  There were 38 people in the area but only one real witness who saw and heard anything. 

The lord of the flies is not necessarily a real outcome. A real 15 month outcast shows different.  June 1965. A group of boys washed ashore a deserted island near Tonga.  They were out to see the world.  They created a working, cooperative system to successfully live on the island for 15 months.  

Images that fill our minds.  Identities of a nation, of a people.

Elizabeth Schrader. Called to study Mary.  To learn who she was.   She read original manuscripts. And worked for a PHD in Biblical studies.  She found that the village of   Magdala does not exist.  The one claimed to be the village is speculation.  Did not exist back In the time.  There were many towns named Magdala, the present day Magdala was not a village but a city as evidenced from digs being done now and was likely called Teracaya. Elizabeth came to the belief that Magdalene was a title.  Mandala means tower.  like the rock. Truth denied. 

Also in the Initial story Martha was not present.  It was just Mary. Martha added to dilute the focus on Mary.  Elizabeth found early scriptures that did not include both women.  And then found later scriptures with evidence of changing the participants of the story.  The reason to put Martha in and explain that Mary is from Magdala rather than Magdala being a title is to have power over the truth.  Sometimes one needs to come forward with new understandings to shift the truth.  To fully know the answer to Who do you say I am?  Who do you say we are?  Sometimes this shift comes through the voices of the young.   

What we focus on we give life to.  When willing to grow and learn more about a situation or person, faith expands.  To include more, The great I am.  The larger picture of those involved.  

Shift to embrace more. Shift to possibilities of understanding beyond where we are now.   

May we stand on the foundation of the rock and look to the light of the tower.   

State of Society Report, 2022

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends continues to worship as a semi-programmed meeting, receiving planned messages, ministering to each other and offering service and witness beyond our faith community.  We are strengthened by the presence of God among us, even as we also have struggled with the challenges of loss, disunity, and grief.

We are drawn together by vocal ministry that comes from a living faith that helps us to remain steadfast when faced with problems.  We are lifted up by a rich music ministry. We remind ourselves that even the simple act of “showing up” can help us face challenges and difficulties with hope and faith. During times of disunity we have been nourished by the forbearance that our elders modeled so well, reassuring us that we will find a path forward.

Joys, Learnings, Strengths, Outreach

In the spring we joyfully returned to the meetinghouse, and were able to offer hybrid worship through the efforts of a core group of volunteers, to whom we are grateful. To prepare for this time, members lovingly contributed their time developing Covid protocols and guidelines for use of the meetinghouse. After a year of hybrid worship, we have learned that technology has its distractions and at times dilutes the worship of those providing the technical support during meeting.  However, we remain committed to the benefits that hybrid worship offers for those who worship with us, and those who bring us messages from afar. As one member said, “I don’t like the squares but I like the people in the squares.” At the same time, we value the physical space and the experience of sitting together in the meetingroom.

Early in the year, our heating system was dramatically improved through the use of heat pumps. With thanks to our trustees, we can now celebrate our lower carbon footprint through conversion away from fossil fuels. During the summer, the stone pillars at the Lunt Cemetery were beautifully restored through the generosity of the Clarkson family. The green burial area has become an important addition to the cemetery, and is a testament to the vision of a Friend who passed from us during first year of the pandemic.

In the fall we held a listening session to remind ourselves of why we came to Durham and why we remain.  It was a time of connection, reflection, and nourishment.  We plan additional sessions in the future, reflecting on stewardship and other aspects of our community and our values.

Also in the fall, the memorial services of two Friends, lovingly planned and attended, reminded us of the importance of our meetinghouse to so many beyond our worshipping community.

Several members regularly contribute their exceptional musical gifts to our worship. Music at meeting for worship has always been important to us, and became more so as we wrestled with the changes brought on by our physical separation.

We have provided support committees for the spirit-led work of our members.  One works in our state prisons and with formerly incarcerated people, hoping to make our communities more welcoming and their returns more successful. Another has brought forth a wonderful book about group decision making.

Additionally, several members have worked with refugees and asylum seekers who are being resettled in Maine, including supplying household kits to those who have new housing, offering low cost housing, providing occasional transportation, and donating funds for the housing aid.

Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee has focused on two important community concerns.  One is the Social Justice Enrichment Project. This project provides selected teachers with a set of books that teach the values of diversity, kindness, love, and affirmation.  The project works with eleven teachers in pre-K through second grade classrooms in four local schools. 

Another area of focus is on legislation that supports the sovereignty of the Wabanaki people living in Maine.  This includes expanding our knowledge and understanding of the tribes and their contributions to our shared environment.  Taking local action, we have proposed that the Town of Brunswick consider renaming a local riverside park to more fittingly honor and recognize its historical importance to the Wabanaki tribes.

Internationally, our relationship with our sister Meeting in Velasco, Cuba remains strong. For the first time in a number of years, we have supported the preparation of a member’s journey to Cuba with Puente de Amigos to visit Velasco Friends and attend Cuba Yearly Meeting in February 2023.

Locally, we were happy to support one of our young people as she enthusiastically attended Friends Camp this summer, her “favorite place on earth.”

Loss, Sorrow, Struggle

We lost several beloved members of our Meeting in 2022: Margaret Wentworth was a bridge to our past while remaining very involved in the life of meeting right up to the end. Charlotte Ann Curtis was a beloved and memorable member of this Meeting. Helen Clarkson remained connected to us through Zoom before she passed away. Sue Wood gave us the gift of her music and gentle presence.

Serious illnesses marked a difficult passage for some; we keep them in our prayers.

We experienced disunity and deep concern within our Meeting community during tender periods of time over the past year.  Finding our way through these times has not been easy.  We have had to consider, at times painfully, what is required to keep everyone safe with the coronavirus remaining present in our world.  As we “emerged from hibernation” brought on by the pandemic, we faced further transitions in the form of the departure of several Friends.  We were grateful for the prayerful support of Friends outside of the meeting when we experienced an unexpected change of Clerk.  Similarly, we were grateful to all those who supported the process of replacing our gifted treasurer upon her departure.

We are saddened by the lack of children and young families in our midst, yet continue to remain hopeful.


We are comforted by the knowledge that despite the challenges of the past year, we continue to find joy in the worship, the witness, and the work we share as part of a beloved community.  We continue to look to the Light of God to guide us forward in Love.

George Lakey Events in Maine

“George Russell Lakey (born November 2, 1937) is an activist, sociologist, and writer who added academic underpinning to the concept of nonviolent revolution.[1] He also refined the practice of experiential training for activists which he calls “Direct Education”.[2] A Quaker, he has co-founded and led numerous organizations and campaigns for justice and peace.” That is from George Lakey’s wikipedia page

George will be making a number of appearances in Maine over the next few weeks, including a session at the All-Maine Quaker Gathering on May 6 in South China. Here is the full itinerary:

  • April 21: Maine Calling with Jennifer Rooks
    Friday April 21, 11 AM-Noon, Maine Public Radio
    Streaming thereafter on mainepublic.org

  • May 3: College of the Atlantic Workshop:
    “Effective Action for Social Change: A Workshop with George Lakey and Sue Inches”
    Wednesday May 3, 2:15-4:00 PM

    Gates Auditorium
    Open to the public
  • May 3: Jesup Memorial Library, Bar Harbor
    “Finding Hope in the Face of Polarization and Climate Change”
    6:30 PM
    Open to the public
  • May 4: Wilson Center, Orono
    Thursday Dinner and Dialogue Series
    6:00-8:00 PM

    For more info:  Click
    Open to All
  • May 6: All Maine Quaker Gathering
    “Quaker Stories, Past, Present and Future”

    South China Community Church, 9:00-4:00 
    246 Village St, South China
    Open to Quakers and the “Quaker curious”
    Registration: durham@neym.org

  • May 7: Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick
    Finding Hope in the Face of Polarization and Climate Change
  • An Intergenerational  Conversation
    4:30-6 PM
    Open to the public

Finance Committee to Hold Discussion, Sunday, April 23 after Worship

This coming Sunday, April 23, there will be a meeting after Meeting for Worship hosted by the Finance Committee.

For those attending via Zoom, please use the standing DFM worship link.

The Finance Committee asks us to consider if we wish to continue our practice of tithing 10% of bequests to the Meeting’s Charity Fund and to brainstorm ideas for the use of the money from the sale of the parsonage.

No decisions will be made at this meeting; it is for sharing ideas.

If you are unable to attend but have thoughts, please call or write Nancy Marstaller: (207) 725-4294 or marstallern@gmail.com. We hope to see you there. 

“A Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington,” by Carole Boston Weatherford & Rob Sanders

Today’s worsip at Durham Friends Meeting involved a reading of one of the books from the Social Justice Enrichment Project. The book was A Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington, by Carole Boston Weatherford & Rob Sanders

From the National Park Service tribute to Bayard Rustin:

Bayard Rustin was a brilliant strategist, pacifist, and forward-thinking civil rights activist during the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 as a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Rustin planned the “Journey of Reconciliation”, which would be used as a model for the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s. He served as a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the practice of nonviolent civil resistance, and was an intellectual and organizational force behind the burgeoning civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. He organized protests in England and studied Ghandian principles in India. His life as an openly gay man, however, put him at odds with the cultural norms of the larger society and left him either working behind the scenes or outside of the movement for stretches of time.

Born 1912 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Rustin was raised a Quaker and his family was engaged in civil rights activism. He attended Wilberforce University, Cheney State Teachers College, and City College of New York. A charismatic man, he earned a living as a spiritual singer in nightclubs while living in New York City. He took a brief interest in the Communist movement and was a life-long pacifist, due to his Quaker upbringing. His commitment to civil and human rights came at a personal cost. He was arrested multiple times and twice went to jail.

In the 1940s he met A. Philip Randolph and worked with him on various proposed marches on Washington, D.C. to protest segregation in the armed forces and the defense industry. Because of their experiences together, when Randolph was name to head the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, he appointed Rustin as Deputy Director and overall logistical planner. In 1947, Rustin and George Houser, executive secretary of CORE, organized the Journey of Reconciliation which was the first of the Freedom Rides. The Rides were intended to test the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on racial discrimination in interstate travel. Rustin was arrested for violating state laws regarding segregated seating on public transportation and served twenty-two days on a chain gang.

With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, his talents and tireless work were transferred to human rights and the gay rights movement. In the 1970s and 1980s he worked as a human rights and election monitor for Freedom House and also testified on behalf of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill. Bayard Rustin died from a ruptured appendix on August 24, 1987 at the age of 75.

Agenda and Materials for Durham Friends Business Meeting, April 16, 2023

Materials for this Meeting for Worship for Business are available at this link

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business, Durham Friends Meeting, April 16, 2023

Opening Worship

Approval of Minutes

Ministry and Counsel Report

Approval of Selection Committee (if accepted):

Proposed: Doug Bennett, Ingrid Chalufor, Renee Cote, Leslie Manning

Trustees Report

Peace and Social Concerns Report

Save the Dates:

  • April 23   Finance Committee Discussion of Parsonage Sale Funds  12 noon
  • April 30   Community Conversation about Outreach  12 noon
  • May 6     All Maine Gathering, South China Community Church  9-4 — Falmouth Quarter hosting potluck lunch

New Business

Proposed Minute on Reproductive Health

Closing Worship

All Maine Gathering, May 6, 2023


The All Maine Gathering (our first since the pandemic) will be held on Saturday, May 6 from 9-4 at the South China Community Church (formerly the South China Meetinghouse, home meeting of Rufus Jones).  Our presenter will be Quaker activist and teacher, George Lakey, whose most recent book is Dancing With History.

Our theme is “Our Quaker Stories”.

All ages are welcome, but we ask that those under 16  pre-register by contacting durham@neym.org.

The church is located at 246 Village St., South China (parallel to Route 202) about an hour and a half from Portland.

Since we in Falmouth Quarter are hosting this event, we ask that you bring something to contribute to our pot luck lunch. For more information, you can contact us at the same durahm@nedym.org with questions.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Further information:

Falmouth Quarter hosts All Maine Gathering

Friday -Saturday, May 5 – 6, 2023 in person.

South China Community Church
246 Village St
South China, ME 04358

The theme is “Our Quaker Stories, past present and future.”

The All-Maine gathering is an opportunity to celebrate our communities as Quakers in Maine, to build relationships and to share and support our ministries. There are some very exciting possibilities. We will have a rich and wonderful time together. We welcome all ages, Quakers and Quaker-curious! Pre-register or just show up! We especially encourage those under 16 to pre-register so we can plan engaging activities for all by contacting durham@neym.org.

Our presenter will be Quaker activist and teacher, George Lakey, whose most recent book is “Dancing with History: A Life for Peace and Justice,” It is a memoir of a Quaker activist and master storyteller on his involvement in struggles for peace, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, labor justice, and the environment. His life will be the subject of a new documentary film.

The schedule for Saturday is:

  • 9:00 Arrival
    • Visiting – welcoming, coffee/tea and snacks will be available
    • Singing in the meeting room
  • 10:00 worship 
  • 10:30 Morning Program – including George Lakey facilitating a whole community conversation, small group focused conversation with themes of Standing on the threshold: finding clarity to say yes or no, and what sustains and nourishes our continuing faithfulness.
  • 11:30 Break and lunch prep
  • 11:45 lunch and visiting 
  • 1:00 Afternoon program An open invitation to share stories of witness, of discernment, of joy and of struggle.  Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy will bring a concern and we expect to hear of Maine Quakers engagement with climate, racial justice and asylum seekers.
  • 3:00 break
  • 3:20 – 4:00 closing worship

! Friday Evening: !

On Friday some Friends will gather at the Belfast Coop parking lot at 123 High St. Belfast at 5:00 PM and share a picnic dinner and will then join the Belfast First Friday Community Dance and Contra Dance.

Here are the details about contra dancing Friday eve:

Belfast Flying Shoes presents the First Friday Community Dance and Contra Dance Series. The evening kicks off at 6:00 with a warm-up session for the All Comers Band, led by Willy Clemetson & Benjamin Foss and open to all musicians, instruments, and skill levels. Tune list available on the website. At 6:30, Chrissy Fowler & Lisa Newcomb call a community dance featuring music by the All Comers Band. The contra dance featuring a guest caller & musicians starts at 8:00 pm. Shoes will fly in the Fellowship Hall of the First Church in Belfast, UCC, 8 Court St, Belfast ME. Community Dance admission is $1 kids & $2 adults; Contra Dance admission is $15 suggested. Masks available for those who wish to wear them. For the BFS community care policy, First Friday FAQ, and more info:www.belfastflyingshoes.org or  belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com.

For Friday overnight accommodations in Vassalboro Meetinghouse with teens or in private homes, contact: Holly Weidner <weidnerholly@gmail.com>

Action Items from Peace and Social Concerns, April 2023

For April 2023, here is what our Peace and Social Concerns Committee is urging us to do:

P&SC is asking you to be advocates for our Wabanaki neighbors this legislative season. When there are bills we feel are important we will post a “Legislative Alert from P&SC” on the web and in the Tuesday email. Please look for them. We will share a link to the Wabanaki Alliance Legislative Tracker that gives information on the current status of the bill and a link to help you contact your legislator.  If you would like to check it out now here is the link: https://wabanakialliance.com/131st-bill-tracker/. We are currently following LD 336, which the Alliance does not want to pass and LD 1115 which would bring important Community Development funds to the Tribes.

We encourage support of Brunswick’s preparation for the 60 New Mainer families coming to live in our community. You can give money to the GoFundMe account at this following link. These funds will be used to set up the 60 apartments being built for the families. There are also opportunities to be on a family support team through Family Promise in Portland. The link is: michelle@gpfamilypromise.org.

The Social Justice Enrichment Project will close out this school year with one more session with Linda Ashe-Ford. It will focus on introducing children to the Civil Rights Movement through books about Ruby Bridges. We will also conduct feedback interviews with the teachers in May. We will hear about the Obadiah Brown Grant in mid-May. We have begun talking with teachers about it and many of this year’s teachers are interested in continuing to work with us if we get the grant. It would definitely benefit the project to have teachers who have been with us for one year.

Cuba Delegation Presentation, April 16, Portland Friends Meeting

At Portland Friends Meeting House this Sunday, April 16th, at the rise of meeting, the Cuba delegation — Hannah Colbert, Kim Bolshaw, Fritz Weiss and I — will be sharing photos, answering questions, and telling stories about our trip.  Please plan to stay and enjoy lunch with us.

If you feel led to bring a dish, here are some of the common ones we enjoyed: black beans and rice, cole slaw (without mayonnaise – and sometimes with grated beets or carrots), salad of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, plantains – fried and mashed, potato salad with hard boiled eggs, and tropical fruits such as pineapple, bananas and papaya.

 It’s not necessary to bring a dish, and of course, anything you might want to bring is welcome!

From Susan Calhoun of Portland Friends Meeting