As Way Opens
It has been a whirlwind two week period at First Friends. We hosted a wedding, a funeral service, welcomed our new pastor Bob Henry and started our Vacation Bible School with over 30 children in attendance. I think this is what a faith community is all about. Embracing, encouraging, joining together in joy and sadness through the high moments in our lives and the times when we mourn. And then there are all of the daily opportunities in between to connect, pray for, show our love to each other and participate in those experiences where we celebrate our children. Vacation Bible School has been a blast this week and a chance to share, teach and have fun through a program that talks about how much God loves us all. A message we all need to breathe into our being.
These activities are vital to our health as a congregation. I was particularly struck by the service for Gerald Mills. He was one of our “weighty friends” over the last 60 years and his imprint on First Friends will live on in our future. Our Quaker values (testimonies) were lived out in his life every day. Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality were foundational principles in his life. We had a wonderful service on Friday and then had a procession to the gravesite in West Newton where Gerald’s wife Arzella and first son Paul were buried. We traveled a distance in our procession and during a stretch of construction on 56th St, all of the road workers took off their hardhats and put them over their heart. Many cars pulled aside to give a moment of respect for a beloved person that they did not know. Watching this ritual was awe inspiring to me. Total strangers that never knew Gerald stopped their daily routine to honor the life of a man in that moment.
I appreciated being asked by Gerald’s family to officiant at the service. I have lived through losing my parents and my husband and know the many emotions that a family will experience during this time of loss. I was given a poem after Jerry passed away last year that was a powerful expression of loss and I shared it during Gerald's service. I share this with all of you today.
Love Doesn’t Die
Give what’s left of me away
now that I’m gone.
Remember me with a smile and laughter
and if you need to cry…
cry for your brother or sister, who walk in grief beside you.
And when you need me,
put your arms around anyone and give
to them what you need to give to me.
I want to leave you something…
something better than words
Look for me in the people
I’ve known or loved or
helped in some special way.
Let me live in your eyes
as well as in your mind.
You can love me most
by letting love live
within the circle of your arms,
embracing the frightened ones.
Love doesn’t die, people do…
so when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away as best you can.
I’ll see you at home,
where I will be waiting.
Poem by Mary Frye
May we all live today in the reality that love never dies!
Joys & Concerns
A BIG thank you to John M. and Chelsea & Kendal T. for their help in the woods last Saturday. We got the weeds pulled from the Peace Pole area as well as around the Circle. Thank you again to the three of them for their help. All are invited to the next work day, Saturday, September 16 from 9am-12pm. -Mindy & Mary of the Meditational Woods Committee
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply. Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is July 31st, 2017. For an application please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Picnic! All are invited to join us for our annual picnic that is taking place Sunday, July 23rd. Our honored guests will be our new Pastor Bob Henry and his family. If you are able, please bring a dish according to last name; A-J: Desserts ; K-Z: Sides and Salads. There will also be fried chicken, hot dogs (& veggie dogs), rolls, ice cream, and drinks all provided for free. As always, there will be kickball afterward, weather permitting. Please join us!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland book discussion will be held Tuesday, July 25 at 7 pm in the Parlor. All are welcome! Becki H. will be leading the discussion. If you're interested in reading ahead for next month, the August 25th title will be: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.
Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are coming up July 27-30! It is now time to register for the annual session of Western Yearly Meeting in Plainfield, July 27-30. Theme of this year's session is, "Joined by every supporting ligament." Our own Beth Henricks is among the speakers! Other speakers are: Max Carter, Oscar Mmbali (the new minister for Belize), Kathy Luethje, Ann Carter, Keith Glasgow, Jeff Wells and Andrew Heald. A concert by Tim Grimm will be Saturday evening. Registration is only $15 for adults. Yes, there is also activity all days for school-age children. For more information and to register go to: westernyearlymeeting.org and scroll to yearly meeting sessions.
Free Tim Grimm Concert! The Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) will be sponsoring a concert with folksinger and Earlham alum Tim Grimm on the Saturday evening of Western YM's annual sessions - Saturday July 29 at 7:30 pm. The program is open to the public. Please save this date on your calendar, and help spread the word. Western YM's meetinghouse is located at 203 S East St., Plainfield, IN 46168. Admission is free, with the opportunity for a freewill offering to benefit IFCL. For more information about the concert and about Tim, visit https://goo.gl/PgfxW1. Friends who use Twitter are strongly encouraged to check out and follow IFCL's Twitter feed at @INQuakerPolicy. There are many ways to support IFCL and keep abreast of IFCL priorities and activities, but Twitter is surely one of the easiest and best.
Calling all ice cream lovers! First Friends will be working at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, August 12th all day. This is a major fundraiser for our youth programming. We plan to have two 6 hour shifts, 9:30am-3:30pm, and 3:30-9:30pm. It is fast paced but lots of fun! Volunteers will receive a free ticket to the State Fair for that day, as well as unlimited ice cream, shakes and cheese sandwiches. Please let Beth Henricks (email@example.com) know if you’re interested in volunteering, or use the signup sheet in the hallway!
Shalom Zone Electronics Recycling Event ~ If an item runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery, you can recycle it! This includes (but is not limited to) appliances, TVs, DVD/VCRs, gaming consoles, fax machines, Christmas tree lights, calculators, toner cartridges, hair dryers, and more! The Shalom Zone is holding their annual Recycle Force event at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Road, on Saturday, October 7, 10am-2pm. Please bring any items you wish to recycle to Epworth on the day of the event. A $10 donation is requested for CRT type monitors/TVs smaller than 27”; a $20 donation is requested for appliances containing Freon (fridges, freezers, A/C units, etc) and TVs larger than 27”; any other monetary contributions are also greatly appreciated.
2017 Friends Mission Project For FUM - Belize ~ Friends United Meeting (“FUM”)’s Mission project for this year focuses around Belize. There are three ways you can help this project!
FUM operates a small school in Belize which offers a “second chance” for kids failing the high school test to further their education. The FUM vision is to raise $25,000 to expand the school, establish a Quaker meeting where there currently is none, and create a community center.
In addition to renovating the new facility, Oscar Mmbali, a Kenyan Friend, has accepted FUM’s call to serve as the first Friends pastor for Belize. Oscar is traveling among North American Friends raising support for his new ministry.
Finally, we at First Friends are honored to have one of our member families, the Thornburgs (Aaron, Michelle, Kwali, and Meshach), feeling led by God to go to Belize and help with the facility renovation and provide other assistance to the Friends school (come this Sunday for more details). The Thornburgs will need your financial assistance in order to make their Belize leading a reality.
Your prayers and financial support are needed to accomplish each part of this mission project. Your contribution can be to all or any one of the parts of this Belize Project (checks can be made out to First Friends; please designate how your contribution is to be allocated among these 3 needs). Please give prayerful consideration to how you might be led to provide support for this Project.
Jeff Rasley's tenth book, Polarized! The Case for Civility in the Time of Trump was recently published by Midsummer Books. It's available through any bookstore and can be ordered on Amazon. Political polarization has become so extreme and toxic - and yet the norm - that it took the attempted murder of Congressional Representatives at a baseball practice to draw national attention. Jeff's book explores the roots of hyper-partisanship and describes the US's "culture of outrage". “The Case for Civility” offers suggestions for how "regular citizens" can help cure the sickness of our body politic based on the values of civility, tolerance, pragmatism, and moderation.