Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought

A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting

As Way Opens   by Beth Henricks

 What a joy to be with our children each evening last week to experience Wilderness Escape - Trusting God Vacation Bible School.  There were so many wonderful volunteers that hosted tents, were Tribe Leaders, led our singing, helped decorate fellowship hall and brought the stories of Moses to life.  I am so thankful for all of their help to create a special experience for our kids.  The picture here is of our dear Helen Davenport helping with our snack table.  Just as meaningful was her inspiring prayer during our Monday meditation for our children and the impact that Vacation Bible School will have on them.  As my mother would often say, the things we do for our children nurture their root system - but we often don't see the blooming above ground for some time - we need to trust God that the root system is growing deep and strong for the future.  

What I enjoyed most during the week was to experience the pure joy and happiness that our children easily and naturally display.  I experience God's presence in such a profound way through our children - they are a wonderful conduit of what God's love and acceptance is all about.  I so agree with Art Linkletter (who remembers him?) that "kids' say the dardest things".  I love their insight and ability to cut to the heart of a matter.  They are also great examples of what trust means and often remind me that I should not take myself too seriously.  God's love was abundant during the week and I am thankful for these children and their families.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Lonnie Valentine, Trueblood Professor of Christian Thought and Professor of Peace and Justice Studies at Earlham School of Religion will be our Guest Speaker in Meeting for Worship this coming Sunday.  Lonnie is a member of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting.  It will be a joy to welcome him to First Friends.  Mary Blackburn, Clerk of Ministry and Counsel, will serve on the Facing Bench.  Jon and Ruthie will return from their travels next week, after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with friends and family in Oregon.

Don’t forget, Meditational Worship in the Woods is held every Sunday at 9am! Everyone is welcome to join us outdoors for this beautiful time of unprogrammed worship.

If you loaned us a blanket or basket for Vacation Bible School, please pick them up from the table in the hallway of our educational wing! Thank you!

On August 17th at 4:00 p.m., the Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation will meet at First Friends.  We ask all interested parties in Indiana to join us to discuss the future of this organization, determine a governing board and seek individuals in making a difference within our state as Quakers.

Ladies!  Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading will be discussing Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief on the third Tuesday of August, the 19th, at 7 pm in the Parlor.   If you would like to be on the email list or need a copy of the book list for 2014, please contact Kathy Rhyne at Shakespeare Saved My Life, by Laura Bates is our upcoming book for September.

Come join us on August 23rd from 9:30-12:00 for a work day in our woods. We need some help pulling weeds and placing mulch around the fountain area. The weed wrench needs to be used on the ever invasive honey suckle, along with some stick clean up and general clean up along the road way. This is in preparation for our worship in the woods August 30. Please come help as long as you can.  We don’t ask that you need to stay the whole time. Thank You now from all of the Woods Committee for you time in helping us. Mindy Sommer & Mary Blackburn, Co-Chairs

The choir is always looking for new members, and you don’t have to be a professional to join us! Our first choir rehearsal is August 24th at 9am. There will be no rehearsal on Aug. 31st, and we’ll start singing September 7th. Anyone interested in singing, please join us.

Mark your calendars for August 24th and our Quaker Affirmation fundraiser lunch after Meeting for Worship - this will be our Quaker hoedown as we will provide BBQ chicken and pork, baked beans and corn for a delicious lunch for your donations.  

Jon and Ruthie invite you to an Open House!  The date is set for Sunday, August 24th.  Drop in any time from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at 2031 Mystic Bay Court, near Keystone at 80th Street. 'We're getting settled in, and would love to share our home with you.'    

The 7th Annual Underwear Drive ‘Underneath It All’ has begun! Please donate NEW underwear, socks, tshirts, and bras. All sizes are needed from Toddler sizes to Adult sizes for High School Students– they all need socks and underwear! If you don’t have time to shop, you can also donate by cash or check to First Friends, designated for Underneath it All. All donations will go to the John H. Boner Community Center, which serves some of the poorest neighborhoods in Indianapolis. Boner Center staff and volunteers work with five elementary schools every day during the school year and for six weeks in the summer. Social Workers will distribute the donated items to families as needed. Please place donations in the labeled box in Fellowship Hall.  Cash or checks may be placed in offertory plates if labeled as donations to the Underwear Drive. Begins now and ends Sunday, August 31. Contact Linda Lee if you have questions.

Western Yearly Meeting (WYM) and Friends United Meeting (FUM) 2014 Projects

First Friends, Indianapolis is just one of many Friends’ Meetings that comprise WYM and FUM.  WYM and FUM exist to bring Quakers together to do work that individual meetings are not able to do alone.  Each year WYM and FUM each sponsors a fundraising project which typically helps Quaker mission work.  Set forth below are brief descriptions of the projects for 2014.  Please help as you are led and able.  Both projects are equally endorsed by First Friends’ Witness & Service committee.  Your contributions should indicate which project (or both) you wish to support.  Checks should be made out to First Friends.  Thank you for your support.  Please refer to the websites of WYM and FUM for further information about these Quaker organizations and these projects. 

  • WYM 2014 Special Project. This project is titled “Movin’ on Down the Road” Belize.  WYM runs a Belize Friends School that helps challenged 8th grade boys pass a required test to obtain further education (the “further education” is equivalent to our high school).  Without such “further education” these boys would typically have little direction for their lives, mostly ending up in a gang and doing what is necessary to obtain money to live.  The Friends’ school in Belize assists approximately 20 students each year but would like to expand to include additional students.  The goal of this project is to raise $10,000 for the expansion of this school ministry.  You might recall that about a month ago, First Friends, Indianapolis hosted Dale Graves who asked for financial assistance for his anticipated expenses to go to Belize and be chief administrator of the school for the next year.  This WYM project complements the efforts of Dale to help the school expand to accommodate additional children.  The boys who desire to attend the Belize Friends School appreciate any help that you are able to provide.
  • FUM 2014 Summer Mission Project. This project is titled “Education for Esther.”  While visiting a Friends’ school in Turkana, Kenya, Quaker Eden Grace discovered that girls begin school in the first grade about the same rate as boys, but almost all drop out by the 8th grade.  They drop out for several reasons...1) parents can’t afford to send them, 2) they are needed to work in the home, 3) they don’t have sanitary towels so they stay home one week each month, fall behind, get discouraged and leave school, 4) they marry in their early teens and begin having babies.  Esther was the only girl in the 7th grade and it was unlikely that she would stay in school long enough to complete 8th grade let alone proceed to further education.    Eden Grace promised Esther that if she would stay in school and complete 8th grade, we would send her to high school.  FUM would like to ensure that all the girls who passed and qualified for high school would be given the necessary funds to continue their education in a Friends’ school in Turkana.  It costs $400 per year to cover fees for one student.  The promise that such fees will be available is a great incentive for these girls to stay in primary school and go on to high school.  The goal of this project is to raise $20,000.  Esther and many other girls in Turkana appreciate the help you are able to provide.

 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 or call the Meeting Office at 317-255-2485.