Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought
A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting
As Way Opens by Ruthie Tippin
‘Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.’
It is not always easy to give thanks… there are many times in life when thankfulness would not be the first way we would describe our attitudes, hearts, minds. God does not ask us to give thanks for all things… instead, we are asked to give God thanks in all things. Gratitude is a way of seeing life in the midst of struggle and pain. It is a way of discovering treasure, buried deeply beneath the overwhelming sense of lostness, loneliness, or fear. It is a way to discover God’s presence in seeming absence, to discover a centered place in the midst of chaos. It is a way of finding yourself loved – not abandoned. As we discover this truth for ourselves, we find it in those around us.
Before you sit at the table of thanksgiving this week, find time to purposefully bring your mind and heart to God, center yourself there with God, wait to discover the many gifts of love, presence, purpose, and personhood that are yours in God, regardless of your circumstances, and begin to celebrate with joy. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Joys & Concerns
Thank you for your gift of life this past Sunday! Thirteen people were able to donate blood in our Thanksgiving Blood Drive, and we hope to do this again next year.
Many friends will be traveling this Thanksgiving holiday, or welcoming friends and family who will be coming their way. Let us hold one another in prayer for safety, ease of travel, and a blessed time shared together with family and friends.
If you were not able to attend the Interfaith Memorial Service for Abdul Rahman Peter Kassig, you may view it on the web at this address: http://www.cloweshall.org/events/event/715-remembering-abdul-rahman-peter-kassig
What changes should we make in our own reactions to attitudes about racism, violence, care and concern for others, and the understanding of ‘that of God in every person’? Let us pray for the people of Ferguson, Missouri who are struggling with answers to these questions, and much, much more.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Food Drive – This Sunday is your last chance to help your Sunday School class win the Food Drive contest! Please bring in your canned goods – the competition 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 are boxes in each class room to store your goods. Good luck to everyone!
Advent Celebrations at First Friends begin this 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 of 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 twelve months. Barbara Oberreich will be facilitating a discussion amongst those who are dealing with recent loss.
Please join us for Community Soup on Friday, December 5th, anytime between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Enjoy soups, bread, and dessert in a relaxed atmosphere. No cooking, no dishwashing, and no charge. All are welcome.
Babysitting at the Meetinghouse on Saturday, December 6th from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. will be provided for our families. We will provide dinner for the kids. Please let Beth Henricks know if you are joining us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 at 5pm! Our choir director and organist, Shawn Porter has put together a memorable holiday celebration for us, and the choir has been practicing! Please mark your calendars and join us for a celebratory evening. A light buffet reception will follow.
Greetings Friends! You are all invited to the USFW Christmas Tea this year after meeting for worship on December 14th. Please come and enjoy the huge variety of tasty cookies baked and brought in by our members. It is a great time to get to know our many new members and also get reacquainted with old friends. If you would like to donate at least 2 dozen cookies, they can be dropped off on December 13th from 10-11 or the morning of the 14th. If you have any questions, please contact Jody Long at email@example.com. Please join us for a great time and good cookies!
Please join us for Christmas caroling on Sunday, December 14. We will meet at 4:20 p.m. at The Stratford, 2460 Glebe St., Carmel. We will sing there, at Marquette Manor, and at The Forum. After caroling, we will eat at Steak ‘N Shake at 86th and Westfield Blvd. Everyone is welcome, both children and adults. Musical talent is not required! If you have any questions, please contact the office or Carol Donahue.
Oak Leaf Ladies and Reading Friends! Please join the Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading at Ruth Kelly's home for a Holiday Lasagna Dinner on December 16th at 7 pm. We will be talking about Front Porch Stories by Phillip Gulley, we thought it might be fun to tell some of our own stories that evening as well! Bring a side dish and a book from home for a Holiday Book Swap. People who haven't previously attended book discussion are MORE than welcome to come join us! Please contact Ruth on her mobile at (812) 322-9954 or via her email Rgkelly4@att.net for directions!
Conversation on Same-Sex Marriage - Friends hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and have equal access to the “inner light.” This profound sense of equality leads Friends to treat each person with respect, looking for “that of God” in everyone. We welcome all persons whatever their race, religious affiliation, age, socio-economic class, nationality, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation or mental/physical ability. We are now forming a Team of five to eight individuals from across the congregation to revisit how First Friends Meeting will recognize same-sex marriage while building a stronger community of faith. All proceedings will be guided by listening to others, inviting the loving presence of God, and encouraging everyone to share their perspectives in a supportive environment. The second Conversation on Same-Sex Marriage is planned on Sunday evening, December 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. The purpose of this session is to encourage dialogue about this issue, and provide a pathway for those interested in serving on the Team in 2015. Please contact Andy Cunningham, Mary Blackburn, John Beede, or Ruthie with any questions, comments or concerns. Please come join the conversation, everyone is welcome!
Finance Committee Report – 10/31/2014
For the 10 months ending October 31, 2014, expenses exceeded income by $14,475. Please consider whether you could make an EXTRA contribution before year-end so that our income will cover our expenses! Our 2015 budget was approved at the November 16th Monthly Meeting. We appreciate the financial support that many of you have indicated for next year. Although our committees, pastor, and staff continue to be prudent in their use of resources, we are including a “faith factor” of $24,000. This represents the shortfall between anticipated income and expenses. We hope that you will feel led to give as much as you can to support our growing programs and services.
Would you like to receive a copy of each First Day’s sermon? Simply sign-up for Wednesday Word by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Meeting Office at 317-255-2485. The sermons are also available both in text and audio on www.indyfriends.org.