Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought

A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting


As Way Opens           By Beth Henricks

This past Saturday sixteen of us traveled to the Levi Coffin House and a visit to the campus of Earlham College for our first field trip with the Quaker Affirmation Class.  Many of you have heard the story of Levi Coffin and his significant role in the Underground Railroad.  The guides told us that he may have been responsible for helping more than 2,000 black men, women and children during a twenty year period as they traveled through Indiana on their way to Canada for freedom.  


Levi took the Quaker testimony of equality seriously and believed that God's law of equality trumped any man made law.  What was inspiring in touring his and Catherine's home, was to observe and hear about how they acted so strongly and forcefully in living out this testimony.  God called them to take this action and they risked much for acting on this principle.  But what really struck me on this visit, was the description of a Quaker community that surrounded Levi and Catherine with this leading and created a "cocoon" setting for them.  Their town was full of Quaker families and some of them owned slaves or did not take the same kind of stand that the Coffin family did.  But even though some in the community disagreed with the Coffin's approach, they created a supportive and safe community where Levi and Catherine knew that no one was going to turn them in to the authorities.    


What a wonderful story of community.  Maybe some of us are called to lovingly support and provide a safe place for others to live out a leading from God?  Is First Friends this kind of community?  Do we create a network of support and safety to examine and act on testimonies like the issue of equality for all?   God's call to each of us is different.  I think there might be a Levi Coffin among us - but others are called to be that community of support.  I encourage all of us to spend time listening to God's voice and call.


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities


Tonight!!!  Wednesday, November 5th:  All interested Friends are invited to come to West Newton Friends Church to hear David Zarembka share information about the peace work in Kenya (and surrounding countries) being done by Friends there.  David, a member of Baltimore YM, started the Africa Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) several years ago and the organization continues to do pro-active work to teach peace-making skills and promote reconciliation in areas of conflict.  AGLI continues to be an important collaborative element in the Friends Church Peace Teams formed after the post-election violence in 2008.  You'll be amazed at David's personal accounts of the impact Friends are having and may learn a few peace building ideas that we can use, too. A light supper will be served at 6:00 and David's interactive presentation will begin at 6:30. 


New 2015 Pocket Directories are now available. Indianapolis First Friends meeting has just received a new shipment of updated pocket directories. These directories have current contact information for our members and attenders alike. We encourage you to pick up a new directory in the main hallway (one per family please). An electronic version (PDF) and a larger print paper list (not a booklet) are also available by contacting Amanda Bow at 255-2485 or email


Please join us for Community Soup on Friday, November 7th, anytime between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.  Enjoy soups, bread, and dessert in a relaxed atmosphere.  No cooking, no dishwashing, and no charge. Stay after dinner for a movie, “The Loving Story”. In 1958 Mildred and Richard Loving left their home state of Virginia to marry in Washington D.C. When they returned to Virginia they were arrested for the crime of “co-habitating as a man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Virginia”. Little did the state of Virginia know when they convicted the Loving’s that the power of love between two people can bring down a mountain of intolerance. As we see dramatic changes in equality happening in our state and nation the “Loving Story” offers valuable lessons for us to think about today. The power of love, the humanity of an activist U.S. Attorney General and the power of a U.S. Supreme Court willing to come together across ideological lines to tackle the issue of whether the state can control who one chooses to love.


Indy First Friends Young Adult Fellowship. Hungry? It’s soup season; something warm and comforting is good for the body and the soul. Join us at 7pm on Wednesday, November 12th from 7-9pm for a casual dinner and the first of several discussions covering various Christian mystics; what did they have to say? Are they relevant to living a spiritual life in the 21st century? How are they similar and how do they differ from traditional Quaker thought? All 20-30 somethings are welcome!


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. 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.  The first session is being held at First Mennonite Church at 4601 Knollton Rd on Saturday, November 15th from 9am-4pm, or if you can’t make that, at Shalom Mennonite Church at 6100 32nd St. on Saturday, November 21st from 9am-4pm. 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


Nov. 13 "Books and Basics" Party Will Welcome Baby Comacho.  Introducing...Valerie Elizabeth Flores, born to Rocio and Jose on Thurs., Oct. 9th. Rocio is our cherished custodian and friend, and we invite you to celebrate Valerie's birth at a party on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, in the parlor. Refreshments will be hearty snacks, and, in keeping with the Quaker commitment to equality, this celebration is not gender-limited.  All are welcome! If you would like to welcome Valerie with a gift, here are three ways to do that:

{C}1.    {C}An assortment of excellent children's books will be on display at the party.  You may purchase one or more as your gift.  That's the "books" part of the party.

2.    As for the "basics," you could bring a package of disposable diapers, in a size that is likely to fit Valerie sometime between now and her first birthday.

3.    As our community gift, we are going to purchase a high chair.  If you would like to participate in this purchase, you may give your contribution to Amanda, in the office.

Please RSVP to Amanda Bow at or by calling 255-2485, to help those who are preparing refreshments.


Join us for an Eco-Film Series at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450  Allisonville Road, at 7:30 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. The next one is Friday, November 14th at 7:30 p.m. called “Plastic Paradise”. Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it’s become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents.


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!


Conversations 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. Two Conversations on Same-Sex Marriage are planned on Sunday evenings, November 16 and December 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. The purpose of these sessions 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 conversations on November 16 and December 14.  Everyone is welcome!


The Poetry Group is meeting on Tuesday, November 18th, at 2:00 pm. in the Parlor. Tom Davis will be presenting his poetry.


Ladies!  Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading will be discussing Jim Pym’s Listening to the Light on the Tuesday, November 18th, at 7 pm in the Parlor.   If you would like to be on the email list or need a copy of the book list, please contact Kathy Rhyne at Front Porch Stories by Phillip Gulley is our upcoming book for December.


Blood Drive at First Friends! On Sunday, November 23rd, the Indiana Blood Center will be set up here to accept donations from 9am-Noon. There is no need to sign-up beforehand, simply show up before or after worship that morning to give blood. This is an easy way to help others!


Upcoming Holiday Events

Tuesday, November 25th

7 pm Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Cross & Crown Lutheran Church

Sunday, December 7th

10:15 am Royal Sensation in Meeting for Worship

5:00 pm Vespers Service followed by a reception

Sunday, December 14th

11:30 am USFW Tea

Caroling-time to be determined

Sunday, December 21st

10:30 am Christmas Pageant

Wednesday, December 24th

5:30 pm Christmas Eve Service



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