Durham Friends Meeting, a Quaker community, is a congregation of members and attenders who seeks to honor the Light within each and every person. We gather for weekly worship in order to listen deeply for the ways we are being called to cultivate the testimonies of equality, peace, integrity, simplicity, and community. We strive to be a welcoming and affirming faith community.
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How are decisions made at DFM?
Since early 2019, Durham Friends Meeting has been experimenting with fulfilling the clerking role as a team effort.
Traditionally in Quaker communities, a member is led to serve as clerk of the meeting. The clerk of the meeting is responsible for various administrative tasks, needs, and functions, which together make up what’s typically referred to as the “business” of the meeting. Friends gather on a monthly basis to practice collective discernment in the meeting for worship with attention to business (or just “business meeting” for short).
See below for more information about Business Meeting and DFM's Clerking Team Experiment.
Durham Friends Meeting's 2020-2021 Clerking Team:
Julie Grubbs (they/she)
Rachel Wilson (she/her)
Kent Wicker (he/him)
Heidi Hannapel (she/her)
The Clerking Team invites Friends to read their “love letter” to the community, which was shared at Tenth Month (October) 2020 business meeting. They invite newcomers to Durham Friends Meeting interested in learning more about us to reach out to any one of the clerks. To reach the clerking team, please email: email@example.com
The 2020-2021 clerking team has named the following statements by way of pledging their commitment to the community:
Welcome members, attenders and visitors with love.
Be listeners -- listening to each one of you and listening for Spirit.
Hold respect for and curiosity about our human experience and imperfection.
Accompany one another in patience and grace.
Recognize and name the many pandemics we are facing together as a community.
Make room for the multiple truths occurring within and among us.
Invite everyone to co-create our space and time together.
Work with Zoom and other digital means for connecting us with one another.
Facilitate the work of becoming an anti-racist community
MORE ABOUT BUSINESS MEETING
Prior to meeting for worship with attention to business, the clerk(s) meet(s) with individuals or clerks of committees in anticipation of the committee reports that will be shared at the business meeting. They also prepare the agenda for the meeting.
During business meeting, the clerk(s) help guide Friends through a process of “discerning the sense of the meeting”. Sensing the meeting involves deep listening; providing space for Spirit; silent worship and prayer; the clerk’s summary of reflections; capturing the meeting minutes; and ultimately, providing a written account of the meeting.
MORE ABOUT THE CLERKING TEAM EXPERIMENT
In early 2019, Durham Friends Meeting was transitioning from Friend Toby Berla’s leadership as clerk of the meeting, with no Friend ready and willing to step into the role after he’d already extended his term by one year longer than his original commitment. At the recommendation of the ad hoc Clerking Transitions Committee, the March 2019 business meeting authorized the formation of an intergenerational clerking team. This was a team of 10 Friends that comprised members with clerking experience and those who had no experience but were led to consider the possibility. These Friends served the meeting for a one-year term as an Interim Clerking Team (from September 2019 through September 2020).
The Clerking Transitions Committee helped the Meeting continue to discern how the clerking team experiment was working. In June 2019, a called meeting with attention to clerking was held where a new, smaller clerking team design was presented to the community. The new model was shared as a diagram outlining the following roles:
Query clerks (2)
The members of the 2020-2021 clerking team began their service in October 2020. As each clerk is led, they will perform one of the four designated roles, collectively supporting each other, and alternating in the roles, to learn and grow their skills.
Durham Friends expresses its gratitude to the following Friends who were deeply involved in this process:
2019-2020 Clerking Team
Christine Houghton and David Haines, co-conveners; Miriam Barnhill-Wright; James Chappel; Jenny Edmonds; Kate Hobbs; Bill O’Connor; Kent Wicker; Diane Wilkinson; and Joyce Frederick
2019-2020 Ad hoc Committee for Administration
Mike Green, clerk; Kate McGraw, Carole McCleery, Tiffany Florestal, and Toby Berla
Ad hoc Transition Committee
2019-2020 Marguerite Dingman, clerk; Betsy MacMichael; and Lee Pickett
2020-2021 Marguerite Dingman, clerk; Betsy MacMichael; and Mike Green