Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought

A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting 

As Way Opens by Beth Henricks

This past Saturday night, sixteen of us (including nine of our young people) traveled to Conner Prairie to experience the immersion experience of being a runaway slave with the Follow the North Star program.  I have been filled with emotion ever since and still processing this experience.  During a ten minute period that evening, our group (slaves brought from the South and sent to slave traders in Indiana to be sold) were marched to the woods in front of a roaring fire and were dehumanized, terrorized and experienced something that tens of thousands of our African brothers and sisters experienced 170 years ago.  It was the most disorienting experience I have ever had - a number of men surrounded us and invaded our personal space screaming to keep our eyes to the ground - we could never look up as we were not worthy to look a white man in the eye.  Viewing the world with eyes down at all times takes away our Light, our value and connection with any other human being.  All I saw were guns, large men with flowing coats, and dirt.  These men condemned me as less than human and yet I had no idea what they looked like.  As we broke free from these terrorists, it was shocking that I wanted to keep my eyes lowered as we tried to find a way forward.  

Everyone we encountered encouraged us to travel to the Quaker house.  We walked into the home of this Quaker family and were given food and told to raise our eyes and look directly into their being because there is that of God in each of us.  How amazing to experience this love and courage from these Quakers.  This Quaker family were only concerned about our safety and risked their lives to help us secure our freedom.

As Quakers, we have a tremendous heritage of stepping out beyond the accepted cultural norms and leaning into the flow of equality and love.  Jesus is our example of offering love to all - in fact He commanded us to do this if we really are His disciples.   Are each of us taking a risk stepping out of our comfort zone and leaning into the profound love and acceptance of Jesus?  If we study Jesus’ life, he embraced everyone that was rejected by the culture - are we ready to do this?

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Poinsettias are available for order from First Friends! You can order a red or white Poinsettia in a 6 inch pot for $8.50 each.  All orders must be submitted to the office by this Sunday, November 23rd, as the order will be placed the morning of the 24th. Order forms are available, or you can email your order to the office and send in your check separately. If emailing your order to, please list how many of which color you want, if it is in memory of or in honor of someone, and please put ‘Poinsettia order’ in the memo line of the check when you send it in.

Finals are coming up for our College Students! We are preparing to send out Care Packages for the 21 college students that we are connected to. Boxes will be set up in the hall for you to drop in goodies. They will mail out after Sunday, November 23rd, so please bring treats by Sunday morning at the latest! Anything will be appreciated as the students are working hard to ace those finals!!!

The annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet will be from 6:30 pm to 8 pm tomorrow, Thursday, November 20th at the Indiana Interchurch Center.  Dr. James Lemons, founder of the Riley Mother Baby Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya will be the primary speaker.  This hospital is pretty amazing.  It has the first Newborn ICU in all of East Africa and currently trains one-third of all the doctors in Kenya. Questions?  Contact Kim Kiser at  


Are you tired of all the violence and looking for a way to help make Indianapolis a more peaceful city? You can help by becoming a peace ambassador. The next session, if you didn’t make the one last Saturday, is being held at Shalom Mennonite Church at 6100 32nd St. on Saturday, November 21st from 9am-4pm. Peace ambassadors are tutors or coaches who go into schools, camps, or other community centers and equip people with nonviolent tools and techniques to resolve conflict. To become a peace ambassador, volunteers from our churches must participate in training sessions from Peace Learning Center.  Are you willing? This is a hands on way for you to help make Indianapolis a more peaceful city. Please contact Deb Hejl if interested at

This Just In: Barbara Blackford will be taking a group of Marian University nursing students on a mission trip to Haiti over spring break (March 2015).  The Haiti Team 2015 is having a fundraiser to raise funds for the mission trip.  The fund raiser is the sale of Poinsettias.  Poinsettias are $15 each in 5 different colors - pink, red, marble, ice punch, & white. The poinsettias will be delivered to the Marian University Evans Center on Thursday December 4th.  She would be happy to deliver them to First Friends.  Orders are due by November 24th - please see Barbara Blackford with questions or to place an order.

Food Drive - We are having a food drive competition for the month of November! Please bring in your canned goods to your Sunday School each week and it will be judged at the end of the month by weight. The adult class will win a traveling trophy and bragging rights for a year! The youth class will win breakfast with Pastor Ruthie and bragging rights for a year! We recommend things like canned meat, canned fruit (maybe not pineapple), and canned vegetables. There will be boxes in each class room to store your canned goods. Good luck to everyone!

Blood Drive at First Friends! This Sunday, November 23rd, the Indiana Blood Center will be set up here to accept donations from 9am-Noon. Please sign up with Jim Donahue and come before or after worship that morning to give blood, from 9am to noon.

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, 7:00 pm, Tuesday, November 25; Cross and Crown Lutheran Church. Come join Ruthie, our Choir, and folks from five different congregations – Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, and Quaker - as we offer thanks to God for our blessings!  This was a wonderful service last year, and promises to be again.  An offering will be taken for local food pantries.

Advent Celebrations at First Friends begin Sunday, November 30th.  This year, we will prepare for Christ’s birth with a series of reflections about Anticipation, Hope, Patience, Waiting… in joyful, quiet reverence. Come ready.  Come curious.  Come…  You, your family and friends are welcome at each and all our gatherings throughout the season, and beyond.     

How are things going this holiday season?  Circle of Care will be hosting a gathering on Sunday, November 30th over a light lunch (soup, bread and salad) in the parlor for those who have experienced a loss in the last 12 months. Barbara Oberreich will be facilitating a discussion amongst those who are dealing with recent loss.   

Royal Sensation is visiting First Friends!  The talented Girls Choir from Hamilton Southeastern is led by our very own choir director, Shawn Porter, and they will be joining us in Meeting for Worship on December 7th. All are welcome at our regular meeting time of 10:15am - it’s bound to be a spirited morning!  Vespers will also be sung December 7th!  Our choir director and organist, Shawn Porter has put together a memorable holiday celebration for us, and the choir is already practicing! Please mark your calendars and join us for a celebratory evening.

Does anyone know how to build a manger?  Word has it that a little boy will need one on December 24th… Is there someone out there who could put one together for First Friends by Christmas Eve?  Please call the Church Office or let Ruthie know!