As Way Opens
On Sunday after Meeting for Worship, Sue, Sam, and I traveled to Chicago for our second round of college visits. As we arrived in downtown, we quickly found many of the roads blocked by snowplows and extra police, especially around the Magnificent Mile. As well, there seemed to be more people than usual walking in every direction. In our day and age, this site can be rather alarming. As we waited in the traffic jams, it seemed more like a regular weekday in downtown than a Sunday evening. It wasn’t long until we noticed many of the people passing in front of our car were wearing prize medals around their necks. With a quick search on our smart phones, we concluded that earlier that day, the running of the Chicago Marathon took place and we were arriving during clean-up.
At breakfast the next morning, Chicago was hopping with people from all over the world who had come to run in the marathon. We waited longer than usual for a table. Yet as we waited, it was hard not noticing how many people were visibly in agony, having difficulty walking, actually groaning, and even hobbling or limping along. Most of them were still proudly displaying their medal around their neck as they winced in pain over their first sips of coffee. We watched one woman walk to the restroom as if she was preparing to mount a horse and another man who hobbled with his hand on his back like he was 30 years his senior.
Personally, I have never been a runner, nor do I plan to take it up anytime soon. And as I looked around the restaurant, I wasn’t being encouraged by what I was seeing. That is when our son who has spent some time learning about running said, “This just shows that many of these people do not know how to run. Maybe they are doing it because it is a fad. They probably ran with bad posture, the wrong shoes, without enough or the proper training, and their body was clearly letting them know what it thinks.”
Well, my son’s words sent me pondering. I sense this is how many people see their faith. The focus is about getting the “medal” or “prize,” instead of learning to run well or with endurance (Heb. 12:1). Every once and a while, we all need some adjustment in our worship “posture” and a reminder of the resources within our community for training. Because when we get too focused on the “prize” and forget about our “training” or when we run through the motions just because it makes us feel good or because everyone is doing it, the Body of Christ can suffer and feel the pain. I am happy that we have many opportunities at First Friends to do spiritual “training,” whether that is in small groups, Sunday school classes, Experiment with Light groups, Shalom Zone activities, youth group, serving at the food pantry, and the list goes on.
I challenge you this week to take some time to “train,” to try on a “new pair of shoes,” and to learn to “run” well this way of faith rooted in love!
Grace and peace,
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, October 17 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/ThreshingFall2019.
SING ALONG With JIM and the BAND! In October we are back to our regular third Friday, October 18th. A few of the songs on this month’s menu are: Put Your Hand in the Hand, Penny Lane, Standing in the Need of Prayer, Take me Home Country Roads. Come at 7:00 to the parlor for 1 1/2 hours of fun. Song sheets in large print are provided.
Calling all handbell lovers! If you want to try playing handbells but aren’t sure what all it involves, please join us on Sunday October 20th after Meeting for Worship to give it a try. We’ll have the handbells out and will teach you how to play; and then try a couple of songs. Meet us in the meetingroom right after Meeting for Worship. Plan to spend 40-45 minutes with us. Questions? Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Discussion Invitation ~ Pat Engel, diaconal minister at Epworth, will lead a book discussion on Mondays, beginning on October 21st from 5:30-6:30pm (note the new time!). They will be reading the book by Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation To Solitude And Silence, which “provides wonderful spiritual companionship on the quest for intimacy with God” which seems to have some overlap with our own Quaker beliefs. These sessions will run for 6 weeks, lasting for an hour each. It will be held at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd, 46220. If you have questions, please contact Epworth at (317)251-1481.
Community Garden ~ Hear from some of our gardeners:
“For me the garden is really cool because we have been trying to grow new plants like arugula and watermelons. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but it’s fun to take them home and use them to cook meals that we’ve never made before.” —Chelsea, Girl Scout Gold Star Candidate and Community Garden Project Volunteer
“I enjoy working in the garden because it’s fun to watch our plants grow. Having a garden plot has let me connect with nature and fellow gardeners.” –Kendal
Come Meet Right Sharing Representatives! We will welcome to our Meeting Samson Ababu and Lotan Migaliza, field representatives for Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) in Kenya on Sunday October 27th.Samson and Lotan will share about the work in Kenya as well as information about the project we are sponsoring during the Sunday School hour on October 27th in the parlor (we will have a combined Sunday School class). Samson and Lotan will share about their personal spiritual connection to this workduring the first part of our worship service that Sunday.And Samson and Lotan will be available during fellowship hour to talk more about the projects, the work, the women and the communities. Please mark your calendars for this special opportunity to meet these individuals and hear more about RSWR. Beth will also be in Fellowship Hall after Meeting for worship, selling coffee, tea, and chocolates for RSWR.
Shalom Zone’s 5th Tuesday Event: Bread for the World ~ Join your Shalom Zone neighbors and learn about Bread for the World, an organization with an international, national and local presence. It will be held on Tuesday, October 29 from 7:00-8:30pm at Allisonville Christian Church, 7701 Allisonville Rd. Bread for the World provides a collective Christian voice urging our state and our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Our presenter will be Mark Lynch, and following the presentation, a letter writing exercise will provide an opportunity to send letters to your congressional representatives. Please consider joining us for this event.
Do you have a new baby or young child you would like to have dedicated? We are seeking out families who are interested in having their child (children) dedicated to God during an upcoming Meeting for Worship. For those who may be unfamiliar with Baby/Child Dedications, they are intended to be a public testimony by the parents/family that they will train their children in the Quaker faith. The Meeting will also be asked to affirm that they, as a faith community, will seek to encourage and support the parents in bringing up the child in the Quaker faith. Quakers believe a direct experience with God is open to people of all ages. Our hope is that this dedication will set your child on a path to experience their Inner Light and the Spirit’s leading. The idea of dedicating a child to God can certainly be found in the Bible. Hannah was a barren wife who promised to dedicate her child to God if He would give her a son (I Samuel 1:11). And in Luke 2:22 you will read the account of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple after forty days in order to dedicate Him to God. If you would like to have your child dedicated, please contact Rebecca at the Meeting Office (email@example.com). We hope to have multiple dedications during a Meeting for Worship in November.
Fall Festival! ~ Maple Seeds Preschool Co-Op (MSPC) will be hosting their annual Fall Festival on Saturday October 26th from 4-6pm. It will be held here at First Friends—All MSPC and First Friends families are welcome to come and be a part of this fun evening. There will be face painting, pumpkin decorating, a bounce house, a chili cook-off, a raffle, and more! Costumes are welcome! We hope you will join us!
Greetings to all the women of our meeting! Please join us in the parlor on November 10th for a meal to further discuss the Enneagram test that we found out about during the Women's retreat a couple of weeks ago. We would like to discuss how it affected you and what we want to do from now on to sustain this group. If you would like some more information or would like to take the test for free, please go to Enneagram Tests: https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test. During this meeting, we will also discuss reviving the Women at the Well but in a different way. We are going to meet right after worship so please RSVP to office so we can plan on the correct amount of food - firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-255-2485.
This Week’s Queries
What lately has caused my eyes to be wide open?
Do I carry a “genocide card” in my pocket?
What atrocities are we facing, today, and how might the Church help instead of
hinder? What might be First Friend’s role in addressing these atrocities?