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October 18, 2017

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As Way Opens

This past Sunday, First Friends had a table at the Indianapolis Festival of Faiths. The event’s theme was “Sacred Migrations - Sacred Journeys.” Due to the unpleasant weather, we were moved inside of the Indiana War Memorial in rather close quarters for the five hour event. At first, it seemed a bit crowded, but soon something beautiful began to happen. The mission of this event became evident. We were building connections, fostering opportunities, and seeking ways we could serve and civically engage greater Indianapolis.  

I took a stroll around the memorial and visited many of the tables of the other faith communities. My first encounter was a beautiful conversation with an 81-year-old Buddhist woman from Japan who was so excited to find out I was a Quaker. Through very broken English, she shared with me many of our faith’s similarities. She even taught me the chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” (meaning: I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra.) As she taught it to me - she emphasized how my being a Quaker was inspiring hope in others, manifesting unlimited potential, and a starting point for a peaceful society.  After a gentle hug, I left her presence feeling rather good about my faith, but wondering if as Quakers we leave others feeling the same about their faiths.  

My next encounter was with two young Muslim men. They were standing by an intriguing display that read, “What do Muslim’s think about Jesus?” I was warmly greeted and immediately engaged in conversation. We talked about our faiths, and then they said, “Please, ask us any questions you have.” I engaged with one of the young men, who happened to be a student at Butler University, about their stance on terrorism. Both young men quickly and adamantly denounced terrorism and shared with me materials which laid out their peaceful stance. They pointed out that they believe all acts of terrorism, including those targeting the life and property of civilians, whether perpetrated by suicidal or any other form of attacks are haram (forbidden) in Islam. They also made sure to note that their civic duty was to protect the lives of and ensure the security and well-being of their fellow citizens. Another young man who was studying to be an Imam also spoke of Islam’s “peace testimony.” He gave me a book full of letters and documents that Muslims around the world have created and sent to world leaders denouncing terrorism, working to avert disaster, and to chart a course for peace.

The most profound experience for me was being invited by a Sikh man to have my head tied in a turban. You’ve heard the old adage, “walking a mile in their shoes,” well, this was taking it one step further.  As the majority of participants were tied with turbans, the atmosphere at this event markedly changed. It had a “leveling effect.” Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, and many other people of faith were walking around with turbans tied around their heads. After receiving my turban, I began to realize that what it symbolized (equality, dignity, and humanity) was being manifest in that space. The Sikhs were living out their respect for all religions, equality, justice, and dignity of all in a symbolic but beautiful way.  

As I drove home from this amazing event with my turban tied around my head, I received a lot of second and questioning looks. I even wondered if I should remove the turban before getting out of my car so my neighbors did not see me. Yet, it was in this moment I concluded that we don’t understand enough about our sisters and brothers of other religions. Our prejudices, assumptions, and judgments quickly label and condemn those God has called us to love, because we don’t take the time to walk in their shoes (or turbans).  Just maybe, the way we are going to heal this land is by taking the time to get to know and understand those with whom we share this planet.        

Shalom, Namasté, Inshallah, Grace and peace,

Bob


Joys & Concerns

Thank you to all who helped with woods work day this past Saturday, our final work day of the year! Also many thanks to everyone who helped throughout the year— thank you for keeping our woods clean and beautiful!

 

We had a great time at Full Circle Fest! We celebrated culture, diversity, and enjoyed music, art, stories, and food from cultures around the world. A great job done by Ben W, who created and organized the event!

 

Shalom Zone & SAWS Complete Another Ramp Project ~ Many thanks to those from the Shalom Zone who recently built a wheelchair ramp for a disabled Indianapolis resident.  This was the second ramp build for the Shalom Zone which hopes to do more of these projects in the spring/summer of 2018. Thank you!


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

As a reminder, Monthly Meeting to Conduct Business will be held this Sunday, October 22 after Meeting for Worship. All are welcome.

 

Did you know the directory is online? Yes, the directory is always available online to you! You can access the directory at any time, and it works on mobile devices as well. Simply go to our website at www.indyfriends.org, hover over “Attenders” and click “Private Portal.” Enter the password and find the link to the directory there. You can click Ctrl + F to search. This copy of the directory is always kept up to date, so it’s a great source for everyone’s current contact information! Please call the office at 317-255-2485 for the password.

 

Threshing at the Tap - A few weeks ago, Pastor Bob shared in his sermon that middle-aged men are becoming socially isolated at an alarming rate in our country. To address this trend, we are providing men an opportunity to build some social connection and conversation with a new opportunity:

Threshing at the Tap: (def.) a gathering of men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and beverages are enjoyed.

Threshing at the Tap will take place every third Thursday, 7pm at various breweries in greater Indianapolis.

Our first Threshing at the Tap will be this Thursday night (Oct. 19) 7pm at Blind Owl Brewery 5014 E. 62nd St. Indianapolis. 

Please note: This is only a first step, we are also looking to provide similar opportunities for women and mixed groups in the near future at First Friends. Be watching Friend to Friend and the bulletin for more info. We are excited about offering these new opportunities and engaging our local communities.

 

Fall Festival! ~ Meridian Street Preschool Co-Op (MSPC) will be hosting their annual Fall Festival on Saturday October 21st from 4-6pm. First Friends attenders and members are welcome to attend and be a part of this fun evening. There will be a bounce house, their annual chili cook-off, crafts, food, games, prizes, and more! Please join us!

 

Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading ~ Oak Leaf Book Discussion group will meet the 4th Tuesday instead of the last Tuesday of the month because of Halloween. Please join us next week, October 24th at 7:00pm in the Parlor. We will be discussing The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro. All are welcome! Rik L. will be leading the group. If you’d like to read ahead for November, we will be discussing The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier.

 

Friendly Visitors... please plan to join Circle of Care for an Appreciation Luncheon in the parlor Sunday October 29 after Meeting for Worship in the Parlor to thank YOU for your participation in this important ministry! In addition, if you are not currently a "friendly visitor", but have interest in this ministry and becoming a friendly visitor, please join us at the luncheon and learn more about it! Please RSVP to Damian Walter at damwalt@gmail.com or at 317-405-7845.

 

Blood Drive! Please join us for a blood drive held in conjunction with the Indiana Blood Center on Sunday, November 5th from 9:00am-1:00pm in Fellowship Hall. Walk-ins are welcome, but anyone interested is encouraged to RSVP here: https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/111168Donors must be 17 years old (16 with signed parent permission slip), meet height /weight eligibility requirements, be in good general health, and present a photo I.D. at registration. To view eligibility, visit http://www.indianablood.org/Donors/Learn/Pages/Eligibilty.aspx. If you have any other questions, please contact the office (office@indyfriends.org)

 

Good Reading from First Friends Accessible, Welcoming Library

More new books each on with Spirit in the title. (Thank you to Linda L for writing these summaries.)

Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists. By Sally Roesch Wagner.

Of the three women pictured on the cover, Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott were Quakers, Matilda Cage opened her home to fugitives traveling the underground railroad. There is an interesting and important listing showing how Iroquois women were much more free and empowered than their European conquerors. Rights and freedoms on that list are expanded with examples throughout the book. (Donated to us by Mary Blackburn)

 

Fresh Winds of the Spirit

By Alan Kolp

Kolp is a member of First Friends Richmond, a Benedictine oblate, and professor of religion. This is a new edition of a book that has been popular in the past. He wants to keep the fresh wind of George Fox's thoughts to continue inspiring us. Each chapter expands upon one of Fox's most frequently quoted words.

 

Radicalizing Spirit: The Challenge of Contemporary Quakerism.

By Jeffrey Dudiak

The driving message in this book is the origin of the word “radical”, which is “root,” but also radical can mean breaking tradition, to grow in ways that fulfill what the root would have been in its originally intended form; before being distorted by the cement of laws, rules, customs. So the deeper message of Christ attracted early Friends to spread love and kindness through the hard laws and customs as Jesus did. Dudiak explores the tension between tradition and change inherent in the word radical.  He applies this to the divisions within Quakerism. "He urges mutual appreciation, more meaningful community, and shared calling."

Bob Henry found this book useful in his recent sermon, “Radicalizing Spirit.”

 

NEW Sunday Yoga Classes - Yoga is a practice well suited to the Quaker experience. (Or, is yoga an experience well suited to the Quaker practice? ☺) We will explore asana practice, meditation, and breathwork as a way to experience inner Light. Several varieties of yoga practice will be explored, such as yin yoga, vinyasa yoga, and restorative yoga.  The class is open to all levels and members of the class will help determine the content of the practice. Class will be offered once monthly. Please note we have changed the date from the second Sunday of the month to the first Sunday of the month, from 11:45-12:45ish. We’ve also changed the location from the Parlor to the basement. There will be an opportunity for a pitch-in lunch immediately following. Please join us at our next session on November 5th. If you’d like to contribute to the class, any goodwill offerings are appreciated!

 

Poverty: A Community Responds ~ The Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary kicks off its second year with a free panel discussion featuring national speakers on poverty on Wednesday, November 8 from 7:00-9:00pm. It promises to raise challenging questions and offer innovative solutions. The Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary connects, inspires and empowers faith communities and others to implement effective solutions for people confronting poverty. Through annual public events and grants, the Faith & Action Project seeks to ignite a collaborative, interfaith and inclusive movement for well-being and justice in our community. The seminar is at Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 West Maryland Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225. For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poverty-a-community-responds-tickets-37739678394?aff=es2

 

Words Matter! Writing for Healing, Action, & Change ~ Indianapolis First Friends Meeting is hosting a workshop for the Spirit & Place Festival this year! Join four talented writers—Philip Gulley, Diana Ensign, Amber Stearns, and Barbara Shoup—as they explore the power of words to spark compassion, dialogue, and positive change. Words are powerful! Written language imparts knowledge, shapes thoughts, spurs ideas, and provokes action. Words inspire, uplift, and motivate. Misused, words can be a tool for manipulation or bullying. It matters how we use them. Do our words create positive change in the world? Do our words send waves of fear and anger? Or do our words unify? This panel presentation will examine the power of words and will ask attendees to answer in writing, “How have you been inspired to use your words to create change?” Selected responses will be published in NUVO. Prior to the panel discussion and after the discussion enjoy music by classically trained guitarist Michelle Qureshi. This will be held Friday, November 10, from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM in the Meetingroom. This is free and open to anyone! Walk-ins welcome, but RSVPs encouraged by Nov. 10. Please RSVP here: https://goo.gl/27bwng.

 

Silent Auction and Talent Show! ~ Friends, music can lift us all up into the light!  We have installed a lift in the choir room which means that the choir room had to move which means that we need a new piano.  We are having a talent show/silent auction to raise money for the new piano.  Do you have a secret talent?  Do you have something to share?  We are looking for your talents.  Please contact the office about the talent show at office@indyfriends.org.  For the silent auction we need anything but clothes.  Own Colts season tickets you can’t use?  Have a son or daughter who can cut grass?  Maybe an old piece of furniture you don’t need?  Maybe someone else can use these things!  Please donate items and leave them on the stage clearly marked for the silent auction.  Please plan to attend November 11 at 7pm for Quaker talent night and silent auction!

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