As Way Opens
This week, I was reading a post on the blog, We Get There By Walking that caught my attention. It began with these words.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for summer.
Not for the heat and humidity which, unless I am in the pool, I can do without.
What I am ready for is that different pace
from the rest of the year which summer affords.
A bit slower.
Time away from the usual routines.
Maybe even a few moments when I feel bored.
How about you?
Yes, I am ready for summer. I am ready for vacation. I am ready for a slower, relaxed time away from the usual routines. And I believe First Friends is ready and needing this as well.
I like to look at the summer months as the Sabbath for our Meeting. We go strong for 10 months and then for two we rest, renew, and get out of our usual routines. This Sabbath time is when, as Dan Allender says,
“God delivers us from drowning in the noise and grime of our soiled days.”
This time of the year finds the life of the Meeting more empty than full, and looking for a break. Let’s be honest, we are all in need of a sabbath to replenish our energy, renew our creativity, and find fresh opportunities to connect as a community.
The blog continued…
What if instead of thinking about the upcoming couple of months as summer;
Or, your upcoming time away as vacation;
What if you thought about it and approached it as sabbath.
As time you intentionally carve out from the busyness and business of life as it usually is.
To live differently.
To bring a different attitude and outlook to the moment you have.
To look at your life and the time of your life as a gift.
And, then to see what happens.
And that is just it…as we wrap up the year and thank our volunteers this Sunday, as we celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments, as we conclude our Sunday School classes and small groups and take a hiatus for the summer, let’s look at the coming months at First Friends as our Meeting’s Sabbath – a time of renewal, replenishment, and rest. May God deliver us, over the coming months, from the noise and grime of your soiled days! Rest well my Friends!
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
This past Saturday was our Experiment with Light retreat at First Friends led by Jaime and Dan Mudd. It was a great gathering. Thank you to all who came and participated.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Men’s Threshing Together ~ If you are interested in gathering with other men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and all in a non-threatening atmosphere over a meal, then Threshing Together is for you! Join us for our next meeting TOMORROW, Thursday, May 16 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/2UsqmQv.
Rise Up and Sing ~ ♪ ♫ ♪ Singing in the sun, singing in the rain ♪ ♫ ♪ Sing for the joy of it, sing through the pain. ♪ ♫ ♪ ~ Join our casual, happy group this Friday, May 17, the third Friday of the month, at 7 PM in the parlor. Friends, bring your friends. Led as usual by Jim K.
Sunday School Reminder ~ Please remember that this upcoming Sunday will be our last day of Sunday School for the season. Beginning May 26, there will be no adult or children 9:00am classes throughout the summer until September. Have a wonderful summer!
Grad Sunday & Volunteer Recognition Luncheon ~ Please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 19th when we will recognize and honor our graduates and volunteers. The Christian Education & Connections Committees will put on a luncheon during Fellowship hour to celebrate the end of the school year programming and to thank everyone who’s made each Sunday here at the Meeting so wonderful this year! Please plan on joining us that day.
Quaker Haven Camp ~ All youth are invited to attend Quaker Haven Camp this Summer! This year’s theme is keeping Christ “in focus” (Philippians 3:15-16). The camp dates run through June and July—see dates to the left. If you are interested in having your children/youth attend Quaker Haven, the Meeting will provide for 50% of the cost! If you’re interested please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of May! For more information, please visit https://www.qhcyouthprogramming.com!
The Indy Winds Flute Choir is pleased to present a concert that will take you on a journey through time! Featuring music of the Renaissance through today, you’ll hear classics like the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from his Fifth Symphony, and Danse Bacchanale from Saint-Saën’s Samson and Delila – with a twist! Join us for an afternoon of fun and plenty of musical surprises! It will be held this Sunday, May 19 at 3:00pm. The concert is free and open to the public. It is being held at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 4780 E 126th St, Carmel, 46033. Carl B and Lynda S are both members of the flute choir. For more information, see the event details at https://www.facebook.com/events/440415479838274. We hope you will come!
Come join our merry band of peaceful Weed Warriors! We are planning the following times to enhance the beauty of our meditational woods: May 22 and May 29. We will meet from 9-10:30 am to avoid the heat and damaging sun. If the Spirit moves us, we can go out for coffee or tea afterwards. We don't expect you for every one of these dates, but the more the merrier and many hands make light work! Mid May we'll re-evaluate the frequency. Thank you, ~Mindy S and Mary B, co-clerks
Interfaith Humanitarian Event ~ The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, OBAT Helpers (a humanitarian organization actively working in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp (the largest refugee camp in the world with more than a million Rohingya refugees)), Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and Beth-El Zedeck want to invite you to break bread with them on May 25, 2019 for an interfaith Iftar (a meal after sunset during Ramadan). The interfaith Iftar is being held to raise awareness and funds for Rohingya refugees who after having fled persecution, violence and genocide in Myanmar, are now settled in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. OBAT Helpers, an Indianapolis based nonprofit, addressed this humanitarian crisis by providing initial relief to the refugees through distribution of meals and essential items of daily living, followed by continued efforts to rebuild their lives through provision of shelters, education, empowerment opportunities and health care.
Iftar or breaking of the Ramadan fast will take place at 9:01 pm. This evening meal will be preceded by an hour-long program in which you will hear from representatives of the sponsoring organizations and learn about the impact of the Rohingya crisis. Rabbi Glickman and his wife, the keynote speakers, have both been to the camps and have established a community kitchen for the Rohingya people.
Ticket sales go directly to the OBAT Helpers and their programs to help the Rohingya people. We hope that you will join in this inspirational evening to stand with Rohingya refugees. The Iftar will take place at the Jewish Federation on May 25th, 2019. You can register for the event and find additional info here: http://bit.ly/InterfaithIftar2019
Make Plans for Memorial Day Weekend! Join us on Sunday, May 26th for Worship in the Big Oval! Memorial Day Sundays are really special at First Friends Meeting – we gather in Fellowship Hall and enjoy our own ‘Indy 500’ experience in the Spirit! Bring your family and friends and join us at 10:15.
Happy Memorial Day! Memorial Day Sunday is an opportunity for us to remember those we love, especially those who have died in service to our country—whether in the military or in non-combat support and care of our troops. In observance of Memorial Day on May 27th, please note that there will be no Monday Meditational Worship as the church/office will be closed that day. We hope you have a good holiday.
Your Talent is Needed! ~ The choir is on vacation May 26 through September 1. Please see the signup sheet on the bulletin board in the hallway to sign up for summer music! We are hoping you will come share your talent with the congregation. Be it with your voice by singing or by playing an instrument. You can even do a reading or a dance! Sign up now for any or several of these dates. Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts!
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for May
Black-throated Blue Warbler: Changing My Mind
A person changes his mind. It happens, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. This month the “his mind” was mine, as I went through four different choices of birds for May. The first was a cute warbler left over from last May, and it re-appeared this spring. A few days later two other visitors caught my eye, one because of its color, and then another brought to my mind a good story. That being said, however, the big deal had not happened. Big deal? One must understand that in the middle of May there are more species of birds in Indiana than at any other time of the year, as many as 150 species or more! The summering species have arrived, the migrants are passing through at their peak numbers, and some of the wintering cold weather birds have not left yet. I hoped for a day when the woods would be “dripping with warblers,” as birders would put it, but it hasn’t happened as of this writing. What did happen on a morning last week was that I found exactly two warbler individuals. One was of a common species, good, but hardly of bird-of-the-month quality for May. While I was looking at it, I heard a soft, “zhree” two trees behind me. I quickly found this second individual in one of the small conifers. Then I heard the full song, “zhray, zhray, zhree,” and there it was, a Black-throated Blue Warbler in all of his God-given beauty. As one of my favorite birds, it is also one of the rarer warblers to pass through. He spent many minutes inspecting the eye-level bare branches of the conifers for insects and/or their eggs, especially around the lichens and mosses. Perhaps our conifers reminded him of his home up in the North Country. What are the chances that there would be only two migrants here at that moment, one perhaps the most common, and another so unusual? I ended up having a Big Deal Day after all, but in an unexpected way. Yes, I was patient through my changes of the mind, and I hope you will agree with my final choice.
Stoking the Fire: Stirring up the Embers ~ Friends United Meeting (FUM) invites you to join us as we seek to stir up the embers of our faith, both individually and as a beloved fellowship of Friends. Speakers will include Mary Glazer, Doug Gwyn, Kelly Kellum, Richard Sitati, Katie Ubry-Terrell, and our own Bob Henry! The event will be held from June 7-10 at the Quaker Hill Conference Center in Richmond, IN. The registration deadline is May 31st so don’t delay! For more information or to register, please visit www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/connect/stoking-the-fire-2019
Mark your Calendars for VBS! We can’t believe summer is already approaching, but we sure are looking forward to Vacation Bible School this year! We will kickoff on Sunday, July 14 after worship and have daily sessions the following Monday through Thursday evenings. This year’s theme is “Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good!”
Save the Date! First Friends Women’s Retreat ~ Please mark your calendar for our Women’s Retreat on September 20th - 22nd 2019. The retreat will be held at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove and will start with dinner on Friday and end after worship on Sunday. The theme of the retreat is Know Thy Selfie - Discover More of Yourself and How you Relate to Others. We will be exploring the Enneagram personality program with lots of time for fellowship, quiet time and some fun activities. Keep an eye out for more information as we draw near!
This Week’s Queries
1. How am I demonstrating the Jesus-life and sharing in the world of the creator?
2. What is getting in my way of experiencing the deepness and wideness of God in this world? (pride, prejudice, resentment, hate, lack of forgiveness, etc.)
3. How do I/First Friends/WYM need to be “born from above” or transformed anew?