Friend to Friend
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought
A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting
As Way Opens
Just before a meeting this morning at Christian Theological Seminary, I paused for a moment of quiet reflection and prayer in the Chapel. No one was there. The high ceilings allowed in the gray light of morning. Water bubbled and fell from the baptismal fountain. The lectern and altar were spread with Christmas trim. And it was quiet. Very quiet. I was glad for a place to rest in silence.
So much of our world is filled with fear. We call out against the darkness of those things we cannot control and do not understand. We try naming things, people, institutions, in order to make them comprehensible. We try to differentiate ourselves from others in order to find comfort in who we are.
Out of this dark, confused, frightening chaos comes a voice, ringing out, again and again: “Do not fear!” “Do not fear!” The angels sang it long ago: “Do not fear… for unto you is born this day a savior…” God is born, the One who saves us from… our fears! Today, and every day! Just as God told the shepherds, God has come! God is with us! In humankind, through humankind, for humankind. God who knows our fear and anguish is also the one whose presence we know and can trust in. How do we respond to fear? Do we allow it to grow larger, or do we expose it in the light of God’s power and light? Do we run from fear, naming it over and over again? Or do we acknowledge our fear, trusting God to help us find a way through it? Do we hold ourselves and others accountable, changing fear into faith? God gave us the answer to fear when he gave us His Son. Christ did not live in fear. We need not either. Emmanuel – God is with us. Hallelujah!
Considering the Query:
‘Do not assume that vocal ministry is never to be your part. Faithfulness and sincerity in speaking, even very briefly, may open the way to fuller ministry from others. When prompted to speak, wait patiently to know that the leading and the time are right, but do not let a sense of your own unworthiness hold you back. Pray that your ministry may arise from deep experience, and trust that words will be given to you. Try to speak audibly and distinctly, and with sensitivity to the needs of others. Beware of speaking predictably or too often, and of making additions towards the end of a meeting when it was well left before.’
From: Advices and queries; Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, 5th edition, @ 1995-2015 Quaker Faith and Practice
Joys & Concerns
Many, Many Thanks to Shawn Porter, Lynda Sherer, Pat Price, the Choir, the Handbell Ringers, our Children's Choir, the flautists, drummer, soloists, guitar, harpist, violists, the readers and presenters for a very moving and lovely evening spent together Sunday night at Vespers. Dan Mitchell, Leslie Kartholl and the Choir Crew prepared the Meeting Room beautifully for the season. First Friends is blessed to have talented people with gifts to share, and the willingness to share them. Thank you all for ministering to our Meeting and to the extended community.
The Vespers Buffet brought over 150 people to Fellowship Hall for a delightful spread of wonderful food and drink. Thank you so much to our Fellowship Committee for the elegant centerpieces, the beautiful decor, the delicious food, and the chance to spend time together with friends and family. Laughter, conversation, and reminiscences, all gave a wonderful sense of celebration, and a great way to end our Vespers Evening.
Dr. Lowell Renshaw turns 95 on December 10th. Lowell has been a beloved member of First Friends for at least 50 years and we still occasionally see him when he drives to our Meeting from Columbus. Let’s send him a whole lot of birthday cards to let him know how much he means to us.
Jeff Rasley wrote an article that will be published in the December issue of Friends Journal titled, ‘Yes It Does Take a Village’ discussing poverty, wealth and crime. It is a great article and we are glad that Jeff calls First Friends his faith community. Watch for your upcoming issue!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Help Close the Giving Gap
December is the biggest shopping month of the year. For many retailers this month represents their entire "bottom line" for the whole year. You probably already knew "Black Friday" means the day retailers go out of the "Red Ink" and into the "Black". Perhaps a little more heart-warming at Christmas time... It's also the biggest giving month of the year. For most not-for-profit organizations it's the month they close the gap between expenses and donations.
First Friends is no exception. Each year we come into December counting on the "Faith Factor" to close the gap in our budget. This year we need to bring in $56,000 in the month of December to close our budget gap. It's a large number, but it also nearly the same number we came through with last year. This is the money we use to pay our staff, heat our building, remove the snow from our parking lots, and all the regular needs of our meeting. Your giving is what keeps First Friends running.
I hope that First Friends has been a big part of your Christmas celebration and helped to keep you connected to the best of Christmas - family, friends, and Christ's love in your life. I hope our Meeting has helped close any gaps for you this season and you can remember our Meeting with some extra generosity this month.
Finance Committee Clerk
Would you like to help out in the office on Thursday afternoons?
We have been overwhelmed with gracious offers of help in the office like licking envelopes, or opening mail, and we have figured out some great ways to get some helpers involved. We are in need of some bulletin stuffers, and copy makers on Thursday afternoons when we print the Sunday Bulletin. If you are interested email the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can get you on a volunteer list. We would need our helpers at around 4:00 p.m. Thank you again for all your support during this transitionary time!
Our babysitting sitting co-op will take place on Saturday December 12th from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Kathy Rhyne and Cindy Kitchel will host this gathering and plan some fun crafts and games. Dinner will be provided for the kids. We welcome anyone to bring their kids for a night of free babysitting. The co-op takes place once a quarter and parents rotate hosting. It is a great way to get to know other families and their kids and enjoy an evening out. Please contact Beth Henricks (email@example.com) if you would like your children to attend.
Christmas Caroling on December 13th - Please join us for Christmas caroling on December 13th. All ages and abilities are welcome. We will meet at 3:20 at the Stratford in Carmel in the Retreat Lobby. We will also sing at American Village and the Forum. After caroling, we will have dinner at Steak and Shake.
If you have any questions, please contact the office or Carol Donahue.
United Christmas Service Project- First Friends is partnering with the United Christmas Service to sponsor a family this Christmas. The Rice family has been assigned to First Friends and has 10 members, 4 children and 6 adults. Names of the family members and suggested gifts are noted on tags on the “Christmas Palm Tree” in the foyer of First Friends meetinghouse. Please take a tag or two, purchase and wrap the gift(s), write the name of the family member on the gift(s), and bring the gift(s) to First Friends by Dec 13. We plan to deliver the gifts to the family on Dec. 20 after Meeting for Worship. All are invited to participate in delivering the gifts. Thanks to all for helping to brighten the Christmas for the Rice family.
The USFW Christmas Tea is coming, December 13th after worship. Please join us in the parlor for delicious cookies! At this time of the year, we are focusing on the USFW Joy Fund. The JOY FUND commemorates Eliza Armstrong Cox's joyous service to the Women's Missionary Union (now United Society of Friends Women International), and was established in 1935. Honoring Eliza's special interest in Native Americans, the recipients of this year’s Joy Fund are workers with the three Friends Native American Centers: MOWA Choctaw (Alabama); Mesquakie (Iowa); and Kickapoo (Oklahoma). There will be a free will offering at the Tea for this fund. Please let the office or Jody Long (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you can help us with a couple of dozen cookies.
Sunday, December 20th – Our Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant
Presented in Meeting for Worship @ 10:15
A unique, incredible look at the Christmas Story, we know and love so well.
Invite your friends, family, grandparents, and neighbors.
It promises to be a blessed time of worship together.
Young Friends Youth Fellowship will be volunteering at Mid-North Food Pantry, next Sunday, December 20th. We will meet in Fellowship Hall after Worship, and leave to make our way over to the pantry by 11:30. Please email the office or Hayley Adams (email@example.com) with any questions.
Shopping with a Purpose - December 20th - Our children will be making ‘cookies in a jar’ and ‘soup in a jar’ for your donations to Right Sharing of World Resources (www.righsharing.org) on December 20th after Meeting for Worship in Fellowship Hall. Coffee, chocolate, tea and olive oil will be for sale with some of the proceeds benefitting RSWR. Fragrance free products will be for sale benefitting RSWR. Sylvia Noble will have pies for your donations to support the ministries in Belize. John Noble will have some of his pottery for sale. Mark your calendars for this day of giving to support important Quaker ministries and getting some great gifts to give during the holiday season.
Everyone is welcome to join us on Thursday Evening at 5:30
December 24th for our Christmas Eve Service
A simple, lovely expression of welcoming the Christ Child
Carols, Waiting Worship, Children’s Choir, Flute Solo,
The Christmas Story
Family and Friends are All Welcome to Come!
Thanks to all the GENEROUS friends who contributed gently used toys for children of the food pantry. We have given toys for three pantry days and have seen many smiling faces! Your generosity has contributed greatly to the giving spirit of Christmas.
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading ~ Ann Panah is preparing dinner on Tuesday, December 29th at 7 pm in her home for our year end discussion of I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Please RSVP to Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you need directions. If you are interested in being on the Oak Leaf email list please contact the office or Kathy Rhyne at email@example.com.
Mark your calendar for upcoming 2016 titles:
January 26 - All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
February 23 - Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe
March 29 - Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
April 26 - Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
May 31 - Still Alice by Lisa Genova
June 28 - Beloved by Toni Morrison
July 26 - Lila by Marilynne Robinson
August 30 - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
September 27 - The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
October 25 - All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
November 29 - The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
December 27 - The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
As you change to the 2016 calendar, reserve the date of Wednesday, Jan. 13 for the next Seasoned Friends Luncheon. Thank You!
“Friends of Nature Kids” ~ The Nature of Words:” Take turns thinking of words or phrases that refer to things in nature. Here are some examples: to ‘branch out’, to hide ‘under a rock’, to ‘turn over a new leaf’. Think of single words that are used, like a company has many branches, and people ask to hear the dirt. What words and phrases can you think of?