Ten clerks of Dover Friends Meeting since I’ve been in New Hampshire … it’s a very hard (volunteer) job

In local Quaker congregation, the head honcho is called a clerk, an important (unpaid) job even when there’s a pastor. (A whole other discussion.)

In a traditional body that observes “unprogrammed” worship like ours, the role carries the added burden of being the official spokesperson for all and the presumed face and voice of the Meeting. (Not that everyone will agree. Not in our pluralistic age. Beware of the back-sniping.)

The position rotates among members deemed worthy, and I have served five years, plus a few others as the deputy recording clerk and also as clerk of our regional umbrella, so I’ve done more than a little. But I’m far from the only one. Nor am I whining.

Here are ten others from the three-plus decades I’ve been in New England and active in Dover Friends Meeting.

  1. Silas Weeks. Replanted from an old Long Island Quaker family and long the steady hand in rebuilding our Meeting. Quite a Character.
  2. Pat Gildea. Quite an administrator. She loved having lunch to discuss things. After marrying, she scurried to England and new challenges. Whew!
  3. Barbara Sturrock. A beloved elder. Now in a retirement center up the coast.
  4. Charolotte Fardelmann. Grounded in her heart. In a retirement center closer by.
  5. Sara Hubner. Now much appreciated in her demanding, detailed work in the yearly meeting office. Membership moved to Gonic Friends up the road. Board games, anyone?
  6. Connie Weeks. Silas’s wife and then widow.
  7. Chip Neal. A New Hampshire public television personality and producer with a gentle sense of wonder who has since moved under the shadow of Parkinson’s, yet still showing flashes of wonder.
  8. Bill Gallot. Deceased all too early and dearly missed.
  9. Jean Blickensderfer. Also deceased and ditto. I never would have made it through my terms in the role if it weren’t for her support, eventually recognized as assistant clerk.
  10. Chuck Cox. Organic farmer. It helps, especially where nurture and patience and more patience are needed. I always lean on his warm smile and twinkling eyes.


As you can see, it’s an equal-opportunity job gratefully sifted by the Nominating Committee. Tell us about similar public servants you’ve known.


5 thoughts on “Ten clerks of Dover Friends Meeting since I’ve been in New Hampshire … it’s a very hard (volunteer) job

  1. fascinating cast of characters! Having spent decades of my own life in similar positions as clerk of council and secretary of major boards, etc., I relate to many of your positions, including newspaper history. It is uncanny how many bloggers and miscellaneous cohorts often seem like family

    By the way, is your Miss Blickensderfer of the typewriter company? My grandfather was a salesman for the company back around the turn of the 20th Century, and I have his own cherished and venerated machine to this day. I have a story that was published in the newspaper I worked for a few decades ago, I’ll have to dig it out of my archives.

      1. The book I ordered Friday arrived via Amazon on Saturday (Home News) I read the edition on smashwords awhile ago…I love having paperbacks to sit on my “authors I ‘know personally’ ‘” shelf. Soooo…I sat out in the driveway by the garage reading your book. Golly it is like deja vu all over again! You could be describing the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram (Ohio) where I worked in various writer categories for 20 years…correspondent, staff reporter, miscellaneous features writer. That was pre-computer, then we were all required to learn the new computer system from scratch. Also flu-shots were mandatory…just sayin’.

      2. Thanks for the kind words. The mean a lot to an author.
        A good friend and former colleague was a photojournalist at the Lorain Journal before we joined up. From everything I’ve heard, your paper and his could have been models for the one I describe. And, as a native Buckeye, I did labor on three different dailies in Ohio in addition to my jobs across the country.
        So what category did you enjoy the most? And why did you move on?

      3. I absolutely loved it all! I did not have any qualifications but I begged the editor to give me a chance and he, having no other choice and a crisis situation…he hired me. I worked as staff reporter, covered everything and eventually married the fire chief off of my beat and reverted to part-time. I covered every community in Lorain County except Lorain and Elyria, and subbed there at times. It was an all-hands-on-deck affair at election time or storms or extra political stuff.

        I supported five kids for at least two years and the Editor let me have all the over-time that was allowed then so my check would be fatter. Women were legally bound to just 8 hours of overtime then.

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