“Where Am I Going? Live Adventurously,” By Leslie Manning

On July 2, Leslie Manning offered a message that included the Merton Prayer

She also quoted from Advice 27 in Britain Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice:

Live adventurously.

When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community?

Let your life speak.

When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God’s guidance and offering counsel to one another?

Psalm 118

On Sunday, June 25, 2023, worship at Durham Friends Meeting was unprogrammed, and following our regular worship there was a memorial service for Margret Wentworth. Both featured readings of Psalm 118, one of Margaret’s favorites.

Psalm 118 (KJV)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, June 18, 2023 (Draft 2, June 27, 2023)

Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends for the Conduct of Business met at noon on Sunday, June 18th, with 7 people attending at the Meetinghouse and 3 people via Zoom

  1.    Meeting Opening — Leslie Manning                                                                                 

Leslie opened the Meeting with a moment of silent centering.

2.     Approval of Minutes of May 2023 — Ellen Bennett

It was noted that under item #6, the word “to” needed to be added to the last sentence.

               Meeting approved the minutes with the correction above.

3.     Finance Committee — Sarah Sprogell, Dorothy Curtis

The committee reviewed the handbook and offered a suggested addition to bring the entry for the Finance Committee up-to-date. Add one sentence to the end of the descriptions for both the Committee and for the position of Treasurer: “If there is no treasurer,” etc. (Please refer to attachment.)

                        Meeting approved this addition.

The committee also recommended changes to the description for requesting funds from the charity account, specifically with respect to time-sensitive and emergency requests. Please refer to the attached document for the proposed changes.

                        Meeting approved the changes.

The committee presented a request for funds from the charity account to support food security for Bolivian Friends. A Youth Group working under the care of Friends International Bi-lingual Center in La Paz have put together a project to provide seed potatoes, as well as potatoes as a food source. The committee recommends a donation of $500 in support of this project.

Questions posed included the severity and length of the drought conditions and whether there were restrictions placed on who can receive donations.

                     Meeting agreed to preliminary approval of the request with research between now and next month, when the request would return for final approval. FWCC will be contacted about the extent of their current work in Bolivia to determine the extent to which it might touch on the work of the Youth Group.

Meeting gave first approval last month for a donation to the Center for Wisdoms Women.  Request was brought forward for final approval.

                Meeting approved.

Handout was shared of ideas for Parsonage Fund dispersement. Clerk recommends Friends review the suggestions, think about them, including Trustees’ request that money be used to support infrastructure of the meeting, including cemeteries.  Will take this topic up at July MM.

4.     Nominating Committee — Linda Muller

The committee recommendation that Mey Hasbrook serve as contact for FWCC.

                        Meeting approved.

Clerk noted that we need both a Clerk for next year, as well as a Treasurer — two leadership positions that are important. The role of Clerk may be shared among the clerks of current standing committees. However, a single Treasurer to oversee finances and be responsible for bookkeeping would serve to guarantee the fiscal health of the Meeting.

The Meeting voiced its great appreciation of Clerk’s good work, further highlighting the importance of continuity in this position.

5.     Ministry and Counsel update — Renee Cote, Tess Hartford

No report.                                                                                                    

6.     Other business

October 1st Potluck:  This is an idea for reaching out to the wider Quaker Community as well as our local geographic community; a kind of “open house”. Science fair atmosphere was suggested, with tables showcasing the many things the meeting is engaged in, e.g., book project, Cuba Meeting, Woman’s Society, Triennial. A rolling slide show was also suggested. The request was made that the intergenerational events committee continue to work on this.

7      Closing Worship — Leslie Manning

Clerk shared three pieces of correspondence. The first was a thank-you from Robin Mohr from FWCC for a gift that KJ Williams has made in honor of Durham Friends Meeting. Funding will create spiritual and practical tools.

Clerk then read both the Meeting’s introductory letter and Velasco’s response for Kim Bolshaw’s travel to Cuba.

Friends approved Clerk writing a letter of introduction for Dorothy Curtis for her trip to Kenya.

The Meeting noted its appreciation for the gift from the Masonic Lodge to support Dorothy on her travels to Kenya for the Triennial. 

                Meeting approved Clerk writing a note of thanks to the the Lodge.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Bennett, Recording Clerk

Ancient York Lodge Contributes $1000 for Dorothy Curtis Travel to USFWI Triennial in Kenya

Wayne Ackley joined Daniel Henton in making an announcement at the end of Meeting for Worship on June 18. The Ancient York Lodge of Masons # 155 (Lisbon Falls) gave Dorothy Curtis a check for $1000 to support her travel to the United Society of Friends Women Triennial Gathering July 2-8 in Nakuru, Kenya.

Wayne had made the motion to the Masonic Lodge, and it was approved unanimously. Dan is the Lodge Master; Wayne is the Lodge Deacon. (And it was Wayne’s first visit to Durham Friends Meeting.)

Meeting members (most especially Dorothy) voiced their gratitude to the Masonic Lodge for their generosity. Dorothy leaves for Kenya on June 27.

“Being a Father,” by Doug Bennett

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, June 18, 2023

Today is Ellen and my 26th wedding anniversary.  It’s a pretty important day in my life.  Most of you know Ellen; perhaps you can understand how very fortunate I feel to have her as my life partner.  Our very best project together has been being the parents of two wonderful boys – men now – who bring us great pride and joy. 

So another thing about today is that it’s Father’s Day.  Today I want to say a few things about fatherhood, which is pretty important to me — being a father myself twice over. 

The Bible might seem to be a place to start; it’s often a place we start when we think about important things.  But the Bible – at least in my reading – turns out to be an odd place to look for understanding fathers.  Think about the New Testament.  Joseph is a most unusual father because he had to adjust to the fact that his wife-to-be was pregnant even before he married her, and not by his doing.  He seems to have been a good father, but he pretty much disappears in the gospels after the nativity story.  Jesus isn’t a father in any human sense.  Nothing is said about the disciples being fathers.  The same with Paul.  And so forth: there’s just not much there about fathers.

There are more fathers mentioned in the Hebrew Testament, but not many positive exemplars.  Moses had a father named Amram.  But his wife, after hiding the baby for a few months, put him in a basket to float him downstream.  Amram didn’t play much of a role in Moses’s life growing up.  Abraham had a son – Isaac – quite late in life.  Then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice the boy, and Abraham was ready to do it until God stopped him at the last minute.

Samuel was the son of Elknah, born after Elknah’s wife, Hannah, had prayed for a child.  When that prayer was answered, she sent the young boy off to serve the priest at Shiloh.  So Elknah didn’t play much of a role as father.  David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons.  He became a shepherd until Samuel came for him and sent him on the road to serving in King Saul’s court. Eventually David became Saul’s successor as king.  I guess Jesse was a good father, but we don’t know much about that.

Get the picture?  There’s not much about what fathers do in raising their children in the Bible.  It isn’t a story about fathers who help mold their children and set them on the right path.  I don’t know quite what to make of that.  But I will say it’s one of the reasons I’m uncomfortable with people saying the Bible has a lot to teach us about marriage or the family.  Its focus is elsewhere. 

And there’s this: the Bible, or at least most translations, keep referring to God as “our Father,” confusing “fathers” with “God.”  The nature of “God” is a beyond-me topic for me, but I’m pretty clear that being a father isn’t being God-like.  I don’t think that’s a good way to think about it.  There are too many mistakes and too much impatience and worry in being a Dad to have it resemble God. 

So let me speak more personally – about my experience.  About being a father.

I’m a father of two wonderful sons, Tommy and Robbie.  I also had a wonderful father, and he had a father.  (The fathers going further back I only know about from family stories and obituaries and census records.) 

My father’s name was Frank, and his father’s name was Frank.  Frank (Senior) always called my dad, “Son.”  Invariably.  I don’t think I ever heard him call him anything else.  Neither Frank was ever given to expressing much emotion (they were men from New England, after all), so it took some years to realize that part of my grandfather calling my dad “Son” was an expression of how important it was that he had a son.  Being a father meant a lot to him, even if he didn’t seem to show that much in an outward way.  I now think it may have been the most important thing in his life. 

Well, “Son” (Frank Jr.) had a son – that’s me – and now I have two sons.  And the older one has two daughters.  So it goes on, and on, and on.  Today, on Father’s Day, I miss my own Dad more than I could ever tell you, and I miss my grandfather, too.  And today, especially, I get why it was a big deal for my grandfather to have a son — two sons, actually — how proud he was, and how many big expectations he had for his sons.  (I also miss Ellen’s dad, a very special man, and I know she does, too.)

Big expectations: I’ll come back to those. 

Time has passed; I’ve grown up and, well, grown old.  I called my mother’s father, at his request, simply Bob or Bobby. That was just who he was. He was delightful.  I called my father’s father (Frank, Sr.) “Dad’s Dad.”  It seemed perfectly straightforward, until I began to realize that my friends had various other names for their grandfathers, but none of them had a “Dad’s Dad.”  When I became a grandfather, my son Tommy asked me what I wanted to be called, and it was immediately clear as day: I wanted to be “Dad’s Dad.”  And so I am.  Once I had a Dad’s Dad; now I am Dad’s Dad.  If my granddaughters were here today, they might tell you I do a lot of “goofin’ around.”

It’s more than just the name or the title.  I’ve begun to look like my Dad’s Dad.  My walk looks like his, and so on.  I’ve stepped into the role, and there’s nothing more important to me than being a Dad and a Dad’s Dad. 

So what do Dads do? 

I once heard a child psychologist talk about being a father.  I love this pithy sentence from him:  “My job is to love my children unconditionally and to design consequences.”  The loving your children unconditionally is big and mysterious in some ways, but I think you get that part of his instruction.  “Designing consequences?”  I think he meant children need to learn that what we do has consequences, some good, some terrible, and in growing up we need to be aware of those consequences.  We don’t want our children to experience what happens if they get hit by a car so we tell them they shouldn’t play in the street and that there will be a consequence if they disregard that guidance. They might have to go to their room, or sit on the front steps for a while.  We design consequences, mild, instructive consequences that show them the way.

Being a father is about providing, about supporting, about teaching.  Sometimes it is about comforting your children when they are sick or sad, and sometimes it is about setting limits when you think children may cause harm to themselves or others. 

Being a father is also about tickling and about singing silly songs.  It’s about “goofin’ around.”  It’s about walking your child back to sleep in the middle of the night.  It’s about building Lego castles and cars, about special birthdays and birthday cakes, about helping your child ride a tricycle and then a bicycle and then (if you’re lucky) a unicycle and then watching him ride a very tall unicycle (that’s a giraffe) in big parades.  Or so it was for me.  It’s about helping with math homework and showing how to drive a stick shift car.  And then it’s about having him show me things. 

A very hard part of being a father is having expectations for your children.  Expectations.  In a word or two: it’s important to have expectations and it’s just as important to let them go. How do you know when it’s right to do each, having expectations and letting them go? That’s a toughie.  I realize how important it was to me that my dad had expectations for me: high expectations.  He wanted me to do well in school, and perhaps become a chemist like him.  I know that it was hard for my dad when I veered off in directions different from his expectations. 

We had some tough conflicts over his expectations and my choices.  I’ll spare you the drama;  we got through them, eventually.  And again, I want to say that I’m glad he had those expectations, and even gladder that he could let them go.  He let me make my own choices.  I still live within the framework of some of his expectations – those expectations I chose to accept.  I try to be someone he’d be proud of. 

Fatherhood: having expectations, presenting those expectations day-by-day, and then letting them go, or at least some of them.  That’s the deal, along with unconditional love. 

Maybe that’s what I find so strange about the dads in the Bible.  There’s nothing said about their expectations for their children.  Not Joseph for Jesus.  Not Amram for Moses.  Not Abraham for Isaac. Not Elknah for Samuel.  Not Jesse for David.  For Jesus, for Moses, for Isaac, for Samuel, for David what’s in the Bible is all about God’s expectations for them, and the importance of embracing those expectations. 

I listen for God’s expectations, too. That’s supremely important.  Most weeks that’s what we’re here talking about, God’s expectations for each of us and for all of us.   Still, I would have wanted Jesus and Moses and Isaac and Samuel and David to have earthly dads, too, who had expectations for their sons, high expectations —and then let them find their own way. 

Happy Father’s Day one and all. 

Also posted on River View Friend

Agenda and Materials for Durham Friends Business Meeting, June 18, 2023

The materials for the June 18, 2023 Meeting for Business can be found at this link.

Proposed Agenda for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, June 18, 2023

Opening Centering

Minutes of Previous Meeting, May 21, 2023

Finance Committee

Nominating Committee


— Ministry and Counsel

— Peace and Social Concerns

Closing Worship

Meeting for Listening: The Spiritual Life in Our Local Meetings, June 24, 9am to 3pm

On June 24th, “Meeting for Listening: The Spiritual Life in Our Local Meetings” is an opportunity for Friends across New England to reflect together on the spiritual life in our local meetings:  to dream together; to identify the resources meetings have to offer each other; to unpack themes in State of Society reports, as well as trends from statistical reports; and to explore what’s possible now.

From 9am to 3pm, Friends can gather together in-person or Zoom in. You can register for the event here online. There will be a local cluster participating at Midcoast Meeting House in Damariscotta, ME.  This is a smaller group of Friends connected to the other participants via a shared Zoom connection.  If you are interested in participating from this site, please contact clerkmfm@gmail.com.  If you plan to attend on-site in Concord, please register by June 20th, if possible.

Meeting for Listening: The Spiritual Life in Our Local Meetings

Saturday, June 24, 2023, 9am to 3pm, Concord Friends Meeting (NH) and also via Zoom from Midcoast Meeting.

​Join us for a day of worship, prayer, celebration, and discovery. Come together to explore the gifts and paths that our meeting’s challenges have offered us the past year. Let’s see where Spirit is alive in our communities. 

​We will reflect on the life in our local meetings to see where we can inform the Yearly Meeting on how to best support local meetings through programmatic priorities.

​Together we will:

  • ​Dream together
  • ​Identify the resources meetings have to offer each other
  • ​Unpack themes in State of Society reports as well as trends from statistical reports
  • ​Explore what’s possible now

​A guiding quote for the day will be the following:

​“Friends are most in the Spirit when they stand at the crossing point of the inward and outward life.  And that is the intersection at which we find community. a place where the connections felt in the heart make themselves known in bonds between people, and where the tugging and pullings of those bonds keep opening our hearts.” (Parker Palmer, A Place Called Community, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #212, 1977)

​This meeting will be planned and hosted by the clerk of Ministry and Counsel, the clerk of the Meeting Accompaniment Group, and by the Program Director.

​Participants can participate in this event on-site at Concord (NH) Meeting, via Zoom, or gathered with a local cluster connected via Zoom.

​There will be a local cluster participating from Midcoast Meeting in Damariscotta, ME. If you are interested in participating from this site, please contact clerkmfm@gmail.com

​ If you plan to attend on-site in Concord, please register by June 20th, if possible. This will help us comfortably accommodate everyone.

​We are looking for volunteers who are willing to serve as event greeters and tech assistants. If you are interested in volunteering, email Nia (nia@neym.org).

​Questions? Suggestions? To contact the gathering hosts, email Carl Williams (mc-clerk@neym.org)

Covid Precautions for this event

​All in-person participants over the age of 4 years must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (with boosters strongly encouraged for all eligible). Friends are encouraged to test at home before the event.  Stay home if you are experiencing Covid symptoms. Participants who have recently tested positive must follow the CDC guidelines for isolation and exposure. Masks are optional and the choice to mask will always be respected. There will be indoor and outdoor dining spaces.

“A Flag for Juneteenth,” by Kim Taylor

The message at Durham Friends Meeting this week was a reading, by Cindy Wood, of A Flag for Juneteenth, by Kim Taylor (Holiday Books, 2023). This message was part of the Social Justice Enrichment Project being carried through by our Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

Expert quilter Kim Taylor shares a unique and powerful story of the celebration of the first Juneteenth, from the perspective of a young girl.

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army delivered the message that African Americans in Texas were free. Since then, Juneteenth, as the day has come to be known, has steadily gained recognition throughout the United States. ln 2020,a powerful wave of protests and demonstrations calling for racial justice and equality brought new awareness to the significance of the holiday.

A Flag for Juneteenth depicts a close-knit community of enslaved African Americans on a plantation in Texas, the day before the announcement is to be made that all enslaved people are free. Young Huldah, who is preparing to celebrate her tenth birthday, can’t possibly anticipate how much her life will change that Juneteenth morning. The story follows Huldah and her community as they process the news of their freedom and celebrate together by creating a community freedom flag.

Debut author and artist Kim Taylor sets this story apart by applying her skills as an expert quilter. Each of the illustrations has been lovingly hand sewn and quilted, giving the book a homespun, tactile quality that is altogether unique.

Woman’s Society Zoom Meeting Minutes, May 15, 2023

Present: Dorothy Curtis, President, Nancy Marstaller, Treasurer, Susan Gilbert, Secretary, Kim Bolshaw, Mey Hasbrook.

Cards: Kim will send cards to Friends.

Program and Devotions: Kim read from Blueprints “Abounding in Hope’’, by Nancy McCormick. Scripture: Psalm 96: 1-4. Hymns: Like the Woman at the Well and Great is Thy Faithfulness. This was the theme at Cuba Yearly Meeting, which Kim attended during her recent visit to our Sister Meeting in Velasco, Cuba. She found the Cuban Quakers joyful in the face of difficult, hard lives, also happy, helpful, and encouraging. She described them as not apologetic, welcoming her and including her as “one of the gang.’’ We discussed times in our lives when we  felt hopeful.

Minutes: Susan read the minutes from our 4.17.2023 meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: There is $11.05 in the account. We discussed fundraisers. The annual plant sale beginning May 25 and a silent auction beginning August 13 will benefit the Woman’s Society with proceeds from the plant sale going to the United Society of Friends Woman International children and youth projects.

Prayers: For Friends.

Tedford Meal: The June 5 meal was prepared by team A. July 3 will be brought by team B, leader Nancy Marstaller. Food or donations for Tedford House meals are welcome. 

Other Business: The WS will not meet in July. On August 21 we will have a pot luck supper at the Meeting House. Charities the Woman’s Society supports – New Beginnings (Lewiston kids needing help), USFWI (children and youth projects), Tedford House (shelter), Belize School Feeding Program, Ramallah School (special needs students), SASSM (victims of sexual assault) LACO (food pantry), LIHEAP (heating assistance). Wendy Schlotterbeck and Kim set up the plant sale. Kim made an informative sign for the Meeting House shed door listing charities. The Silent Auction will begin August 13 and end at the WS potluck on August 21. All are welcome to attend the potluck.

Thanks to all who contributed to the plant sale.

Dorothy ended the meeting with a quote:

Give thy heart’s best treasure,

And the more thou spendest,

From thy little store,

With a double bounty,

God will give thee more.

              — Adelaide A. Proctor 

Respectfully Submitted, Susan Gilbert

Eden Grace Has Passed Away

[Updated 23.6.13, and again 23.7.19]

Any who wish to attend Eden Grace’s Memorial Service at 1 PM on Saturday, July 22 over Zoom are invited to gather together at the meetinghouse.  The link is 


Meeting ID: 820 7515 1413; Passcode: 301733

Eden Grace, a resident of Maine, a member of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, a longtime key staff member at Friends United Meeting passed away at the end of May at a hospice center in Scarborough.

A memorial service for Eden will be held on Saturday, July 22 at 1pm, under the care of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting in Boston.  There will be Zoom access; details will be posted here when available.

“God freely gave us the life of Eden Grace. Freely,” her husband Jim posted a few days after she passed. “This realization overwhelmed and enveloped me last night in a period of wakefulness. God had no obligation to give us this life. Like all of God’s gifts it was freely and abundantly given.”

Eden gave a message at Durham Friends on September 6, 2020 titled Telling the Truth About Whiteness. A collection of her essays can be found here.

From 2013 to 2020 she was Director of Global Ministries at FUM. Prior to that, she served FUM in Kenya.

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.