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August 16, 2017

As Way Opens

I am very excited that we will be offering a small group program this fall to engage us in our spiritual reflection and development.  We will be studying the book The Cup of Our Life and I have been reading the book this past week in preparation for this (you all will hear a lot more about this in the next few weeks).  I was drawn to the chapter that speaks about our readiness to receive in our cup of life.  Lao-Tsu says “Clay is molded into vessels, and because of the space where there is nothing, you can carry water.  Space is carved out from a wall, and because of the place where there is nothing, you can receive light.  Be empty, and you will remain full.”  I have been reflecting on the need to empty my life of the busyness and shuffling that has taken control.  I need to empty my cup so I can become full of God’s spirit.  These thoughts have been whispering in my head and heart and then I heard Bob’s message this past Sunday and it knocked me to my knees.  I need to empty my cup and get out of my boat of fear and step into the water and trust Jesus. 

During our Western Yearly Meeting annual session we had a workshop on Alternatives to Violence.  I partnered with another friend and we had to share with each other what our impression was of our fears.  He shared with me that he had a sense that I was raised in financial security and that I was afraid of risk because I wanted to be secure.  Wow - I have been processing this impression for the last few weeks.  Have I been afraid of really following God’s call because I seek security?  Have I avoided the risk of a radical faith because I want financial security?  Have I played everything safe for me because I am not willing to risk and trust Jesus to get out of the boat and really follow him?

And then I started thinking about my beloved Jerry and how brave he was during our 27 years of marriage.  He stepped into God’s call when it was difficult.  He was fearless in standing against the war on Iraq after 9-11 even when he faced opposition in his own faith community.  He always supported equality, peace, community, integrity and stood with those in the margins of our society.  He gave his money, time, energy, and effort in supporting these causes throughout our life together. 

At times, I have been afraid to stand in God’s truth when it has been difficult.  I have taken a stance of silence in times where I probably should have been vocal.  I have not shared my voice enough in proclaiming our Quaker testimonies.   I have been rattled this week as I reflect on my fears.

Dear friends - I am praying for courage to stand in the message of Jesus.  I am praying that we can make a difference in our communities.  I am praying that our fear of our future will not paralyze us.  We need Quakers to stand up for peace and justice.  Will you step into the water today?

Beth


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Seasoned Friends ~ Join us for the Seasoned Friends luncheon and fellowship for all who are retired or of retirement age on Wednesday, August 23, at 11:30am. Lunch will consist of picnic food. Hamburgers and veggie burgers on the grill, potato salad, and more will be provided. Additional salads and desserts are welcome but not required. Afterward we will hear a presentation from David Frederick of First Friends and the Indiana Historic Landmarks Association on historic churches in Indiana. Please contact the office if you’ll be able to join us. Hope to see you there!

Casseroles for the Henry family ~ During this time of great transition for the Henry family, it would be most appreciated if anyone could donate a casserole to the family. The desire would be for 1-2 casseroles to be delivered each week, for the next few weeks, until the Henrys have moved into their new house. Overflow can always be stowed in the freezer at the Meetinghouse, so exact dates don’t need to be coordinated. We ask that the casseroles be delivered in disposable containers, so that the Henrys do not have to return dishes. Also, please avoid pineapple, as Bob is allergic. If you can bring a dish, please let the office know. Thank you!

The Thornburgs in Belize ~ The Thornburgs are nearing their goal for their Belize fundraiser! We at First Friends are honored to have 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. The Thornburgs will need your financial assistance in order to make their Belize leading a reality. If you can, please donate to this cause and help the Thornburgs reach their goal!

Sunday School Kick-Off! Our Sunday School kick off will be on September 10th.  We will start the morning with breakfast for everyone in fellowship hall at 8:30. We encourage everyone to come in their pajama's! Our classes will begin at 9:00 a.m. as follows:

PreK - 2nd grade in our large children’s room

3rd - 5th grade in the far northeast room

6th - 12th grade in the basement

We will use a curriculum from Church of the Brethen Press called SHINE that will focus this fall On Being God’s People

The following adult/multigenerational classes will be offered:

Christ and Quakers - Held in the parlor and led by Dan L. This class will explore various viewpoints on Christ from George Fox, John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, Rufus Jones, Elton Trueblood and others.

Seeking Friends - Bob Henry will lead the group through the Brian McLaren book, We Make the Road by Walking. This study will give us an overview of the Bible and guide the group through rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth. Each week will include reading scripture together, study time, and queries to ponder throughout the week.

Wired Word (in Coffee Circle classroom) - will be led by Harold M. to talk about current events from a spiritual perspective.

Choir - will be meeting in the old children’s library.  Anyone that has a heart for singing is welcome to join.

Nursery care will be available during Sunday School. Please mark your calendars!

 

Valley Mills Friends invites you to a Quaker Concert with Annie and Peter Blood Patterson Thursday, August 24 at 7pm. If you know the songbook "Rise Up Singing" that has been used at many fun Quaker sing-alongs, you might know of Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-Patterson who compiled it. They are released Friends who travel in Quaker circles bringing their ministry of community-building through singing together. Committed to fostering Hope, they are coming to Indiana in August. This is a fundraiser for Valley Mills Friends and the Blood-Pattersons' with a suggested donation at the door and opportunity to buy songbooks and CD's. The concert & singalong will take place in the meeting room of Valley Mills Friends, 6739 W Thompson Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46241.  Refreshment to follow. For more information, see the flyer here: https://goo.gl/f814qw, or visit www.riseupandsing.org/events.

Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading:  The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty book discussion will be held Tuesday, August 29th at 7 pm in the Parlor. All are welcome! Ruth K. will be leading the group.  If you're interested in reading ahead for next month, the September 26th title will be: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor.

Indians Ball Game with Friends! Join First Friends on Sunday, August 27th at 1:30 PM to see the Indianapolis Indians! This is a time of fun for anyone to join in from First Friends and ticket costs will be free! Friends are encouraged to carpool with each other to save on parking, and we will all meet at the ballpark. It’s also the last home game of the season and kids 14 and under eat free! We have 3 tickets left! Contact Beth Henricks if you’re interested (beth.henricks@indyfriends.org). Please RSVP as soon as possible—first come, first served!

IFCL New Brochure – Please take a look at IFCL’s brochure here: https://goo.gl/ZTVZH4. This new brochure cites recent IFCL statistics and unsolicited quotations from legislators which encapsulate IFCL's vigorous, effective, and bipartisan influence in being a positive voice for our Friends' community at the Indiana Statehouse. All interested are always encouraged to follow IFCL's Twitter feed at @INQuakerPolicy.  This is the portal through which an exponentially growing number of followers seek to learn of IFCL news, outlooks, and priorities.  Starting with only 40 followers about a year ago, we now have over 2300 engaged citizens who find this type of social media to be a worthwhile part of their day.  See how IFCL's faith-based, bipartisan advocacy elevates public discourse, and seeks to improve the lives of all Hoosiers. Please join with us to be informed and inspired by IFCL's Quakerly dynamism - and thank you for your ongoing support!

Beneath it all some children go bare.
Those kids need some underwear!
So go and shop because Quakers care.
Briefs and bras, undershirts and camisoles,
socks for the feet, new things without holes.

Underneath It All – First Friends ninth annual underwear drive has begun and goes on until August 31st! We are asking for donations of new underwear, as well as socks, t-shirts, bras, etc, from toddler to adult sizes! Cash or checks are also accepted and may be made out to First Friends and placed in offertory plates if labeled as donations to the Underwear Drive. Contact Linda L if you have questions.

SERVING THE LORD WITH GLADNESS - USFW Women’s Fall Retreat ~ All women are invited to participate in the 46th Annual Fall Retreat of the Wester Yearly Meeting USFW and Indiana USFW, September 11-12th at Quaker Haven Camp (111 EMS D16C Lane, Syracuse, IN 46567). The theme this year is ‘Serving the Lord with Gladness.’ Ruthie Tippin will be the Keynote Speaker! Deadline for reservations is August 29th. Please contact Liz Nielander to make your reservations and requests: call 765-513-7439, e-mail Lnielander@aol.com or write to 1503 S. Union, Kokomo, IN 46902. The cost is $70 and your check should be made out to WYM-USFW. This includes a night's lodging and 3 meals (please bring your own bedding and towels.) We hope to see you there!

Earth Care 101: Faith in Action ~ Every faith tradition recognizes the importance of caring for God’s creation.  If you would like to learn more about environmental action from a faith perspective, you may consider attending a 4-session workshop hosted by Indianapolis Green Congregations entitled “Earth Care 101: Faith in Action”.  This free workshop will be given on 4 consecutive Saturday mornings (September 16, 23, 30, and October 7) from 8:30 to 10:30 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 4600 N. Illinois Street, 46208.  Attendance at all four sessions is encouraged, but each session stands alone.  For more information and to register, send an email to greencong1@gmail.com or call Alice Miley, 317-842-7901.

Did you know the Quakers helped the Japanese after WWII? All are invited to visit a small exhibit at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center in Indianapolis to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the signing of executive order 9066, which sent Japanese Americans into the internment camps. Around the country, and here in Indianapolis as well, Japanese families had to start their lives over. As it turns out, Quakers, who could see the injustice of this incarceration of innocent people, stepped in and helped many Japanese families restart their lives during this time. The exhibitor herself, Anne Moore, was part of a family that was helped by the Quakers. Come see her exhibit--running through October 1, 2017. More details can be found at http://www.discoverirvington.com/venue/bona-thompson-memorial-center/

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