Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Community Action Calendar

The Midcoast Community Action Calendar began as a cooperative effort to share news of important actions and events occurring in the Lincoln County, Maine area. 

The calendar is being set up so local organizations (including social justice groups, environmental action groups, and area churches) can inform the public about and invite them to join their actions.  We hope it will also help coordinate our efforts and avoid scheduling two events at once. Scroll down to learn how to post and subscribe.

Click on an event to get a more detailed description and a contact person for more information. 
Those wishing to post an event should email the details to  The calendar organizers reserve the right to screen postings for appropriateness. 

You can subscribe to this calendar in several ways:  If you already use a Google Calendar, view your calendar and look down the left column for the "Other calendars" button.  When that is clicked it offers you a search box where you just type in the address.  
You can view the calendar in any web browser using HTML:
If you use ICAL: 

And you can always come back to this blog to view it.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Safety Pin Question

Jogging without a license:

I don't have to worry about anyone questioning my immigration status, so when I jog around my neighborhood I don't always carry any form of identification. That's because I'm an old white lady and I live in a community that is mostly white older people.  No one is going to stop me and ask me to prove I belong, or jail me until I can. No matter where I lived, I've never had anyone challenge my right to be where I am. That's white privilege, also class privilege.  I was born into it and didn't even notice at first that it wasn't that way for everyone.

But Mr. Rogers said:

I've always been told that if I have a problem I could flag down the nearest "authority figure" for help. The "helpers" are those in the positions of authority, wearing uniforms.  Heck, that's what Mr. Rogers said, isn't it?  "Find the helpers," he said, when talking about scary things happening. I told that to my students. No one in my hearing ever added, "but be sure to keep your hands visible and make no threatening moves, because that helper might be afraid of you." Privilege, again.

No medicine for them:

I remember being a high school student in the 70s (in a large city in another state) and going to the "North End" of town, with my best friend, to interview black community leaders there about the discrimination behind the riots happening in my town. I was amazed to learn that there were no pharmacies in the North End, because no one would make start-up loans or insure the stores. There followed a whole list of things, besides getting prescriptions for sick family members, that people in this neighborhood did not have access to. I had been allowed to grow up until this point ignorant of the issues in ethnic neighborhoods in my own town: again, privilege.

People First, except when that denies their identity:

I did try to become more aware of what went on with marginalized people, find ways to be supportive and inclusive, and tried to educate myself on what I, personally, should do. Sometimes, the right thing to do is clear.  Often, it isn't. Like with "people first" language:

The theory behind "people first" is that if you name the person first and then the trait -- say, a "person with a disability" rather than "disabled person" you are emphasizing that the person is a person first.  There are lots of arguments that people first language actually dehumanizes (implying the trait is bad, or not a part of their basic identity) and places the identity apart from the person in a way that does not reflect reality. Plus the grammar is awkward. We don't say "person with Italianness" or "person with offspring." This essay by Jim Sinclair (click here) and this essay by Lydia Brown explain the argument for "identity first" language.

So now, the safety pin question:

After the Brexit vote reports of abuse and intolerance of immigrants went on the uptick. People in the UK began wearing safety pins as a sign of solidarity with the immigrant population. After Trump's election in the U.S., appeals to show solidarity and willingness to protect marginalized groups on Facebook and Twitter by wearing a safety pin began appearing.  Actors and others posted pictures of themselves with safety pins on, along with statements that they would be an ally.  

Then other voices began to surface, suggesting this was a superficial gesture and although it might make the wearer feel better it was not enough to help those marginalized groups unless the wearer was willing to also step up and take action. Actions like intervening when seeing intolerance (there are some lovely guides about how to do that circulating on social media), and offering other ways to be an ally (this article offers some solid strategies for gaining understanding and effectiveness (strong language warning)). 

Both sides of this argument over what to do to be an ally have merit, and I want to both declare solidarity and take action to follow through.  

But there's a third thing to accomplish, and that is to take back some of the public space that we lost to hatred and bigotry.  I want to take some of the air out of the sails of the intolerant or just plain uncaring people who voted for someone who spouts hatred.  I want those emboldened by Trump's public racism, religious discrimination, LGBTQA intolerance, and xenophobia to know that they don't speak for me. The safety pin makes a quick, efficient, and public statement that I think they are wrong and want them to stop. At least, that is what I hope it does.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

World Quaker Day 2016

Sunday the 2nd of October was "World Quaker Day."  We celebrated with a picture, Meeting for Worship, and a Potluck.

During Meeting for Worship a theme arose around the joys and challenges of George Fox's quote "answering that of God in everyone" and a more recently quoted "answering that of God in all creation." 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Morning Silences

I arrive at the meetinghouse for 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.  I often encounter a few people leaving from our newly instituted mid-week silent worship.

This brief 30 minutes of quietude was organized by a Friend who felt led to seek a chance to regroup in stillness and silence mid-week.  She invited in several people she knew, none of whom are Quakers, and all of whom gave it a trial. Local Friends have also joined her.

She arrives and unlocks the meetinghouse at 9:30 a.m.  She enters quietly and goes directly to the worship room and others do the same. After half an hour, they quietly disperse.  They may wish each other good day but they do not linger long; there is no expectation of a social time or coffee hour.

True silence is the rest of the mind; and is to the spirit, what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
~ William Penn, 1644-1718

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Children’s Program/Potluck for June
Once a month, a special exploration with children for first day
followed by a family style lunch!

June 5:  Walking in beauty with Miss Rumphius

Since the Meetinghouse is surrounded by lupine in full show, we thought we’d continue our theme of “walking gently” on our earth by sharing the story of the lupine lady.  Some consider this the original “green” story. 

I’m guessing you all know Barbara Cooney’s story about Alice Rumphius and her desire to do three things: live by the sea, go to faraway places and make the world a more beautiful place.  It can prompt discussions on a wide variety of topics (environmentalism, aging, travel, family ties and the many positive aspects of feminism). We’ll try and center down on some concrete things the children can do right now to be “green” (help remember to turn off light switches, compost, garden, etc.).  We’ll add some more footprints to our “walking gently over the earth” display.  Here's the poster we started last month, with our first batch of footprints. 

And I certainly hope the weather will be nice so we can go see those lupine up close!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Can you be a Quaker and a misanthrope?"

I agree with Albert Einstein’s great belief in the power of asking good questions! Questions that are thought-provoking, spark curiosity or start great conversations. 

The Society of Friends has had a long history of making use of queries. A query is a question or series of questions used for reflection.  Queries are can be read aloud at the start of a meeting for silent worship (we do that once or twice a month) and sometimes during business meetings. They were at the heart of a worship sharing session we recently held. 

Here are some of the ways our Meeting has asked questions.

A display on our board poses a set of questions for a Quakerism 101 discussion:  
Can I wear polish on my toenails?  
Do you have to be a pacifist to be a Quaker?
What is a “popcorn meeting”?

During Meeting for Worship, my friend Suzy shared a question that she received in the mail recently:
You are a Quaker.  Can you tell me what that means in 60 seconds or less?

We've also had a worship sharing recently, where we shared three questions:
Do you consider yourself a newer or seasoned attender at Meeting, or somewhere in between?
What excites you about being at Meeting today?
How has Meeting changed your outlook or world view -- and/or how do you hope it will?

The person who breaks Meeting for Worship offers to be available in the meeting room for a while if anyone wants to bring them a question.  That's how I got that question:
Can I be a Quaker and a misanthrope?

How would you answer?  I can tell you, it sparked an interesting conversation about our planet and the effects of human greed on it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Program for Parents and Caregivers ...

Raising Children to Be More Adventuresome!

A workshop for parents on ways to help your children learn how to be risk-taking and creative! 

Presented by Nat Shed, Director of the Friends Camp in South China, Maine
Friday, March 11th
Mid-Coast Friends Meetinghouse
77 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta

4:30 PM  - Questions & Answers about the Friends Camp—Nat Shed
5:00 PM   - Please join us for a Family and Friends Pasta Dinner!!!
5:45 PM—A Discussion about Unstructured Playtime:  Why It’s Valuable and Hard to Achieve—Nat Shed

This workshop provides parents with an opportunity to explore the benefits and risks of unstructured playtime for children, in a world where caution and structured work dominate. Nat has worked with the Friends Camp for more than 30 years and is a member of Vassalboro Friends Meeting. He is the parent of two grown daughters and an uncle to 25 nieces and nephews.

“The most important time for children is when they are left alone and can take full responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of their decisions, it’s a thrilling experience.” Ellen Sandseter, Associate Professor of Physical Education at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Norway.
Sponsored by Mid-Coast Outreach and Peace Center

Contact Sue Rockwood for more information at 207.563.3757