Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought
A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting
As Way Opens by Ruthie Tippin
I was sickened this week to learn of young men gathered in their fraternity, raising their voices in spirited chorus with racist intent. It is doubtful that a chapter of SAE on the University of Oklahoma is the only place in our country where this kind of behavior occurs. Doubtful, and alarming. How many more persons are chanting, singing songs of exclusion and hatred? And not just in frat houses, but homes of their own, businesses, public gathering places. What terrifies me is not those who are making their voices heard, but those who are not making a sound. The Irish statesman Edmund Burke once wrote, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.’ Those who refuse to stand for and with the oppressed, who remain silent in the face of cruelty are worse than those who shout and sing of hatred.
Friends are well known for our concerns for the oppressed, for peace and justice, for freedom of conscience. “What canst thou say?” asked Margaret Fell. What can we say to a world full of vitriol and hatred? What light do we have to bring to this furious darkness? For me, the light we bring is the question we dare to ask… “Who do you love?” No matter what the response, no matter the person named, we must affirm that someone loves the ‘other’, the hated, the oppressed, the belittled person, just as they love. Often times, we’ll discover that the person questioned loves no one – not even themselves. Ah, but they are loved… by Someone. Can we say that? Can we speak of love where only hatred has been sung? Can we dare to bring powerful voices of love, meaningful experiences of care, deep understanding of compassion from God to others? We can’t afford not to.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Rufus Jones is visiting First Friends Meeting for Worship this Sunday, March 15th. Don’t miss this chance to hear from one of the most insightful Friends of our recent past, and to share in worship and experience with him. We’re so glad the trains from Haverford are still running!
Day of Remembrance this Sunday: As we look toward the celebration of Christ’s resurrection this Easter, we have made it our custom to remember those who have passed from this life into God’s presence during the last year. We will remember them this Sunday with a candlelighting service.
Our choir director and organist, Shawn Porter, is celebrating his 50th birthday on March 13th. You are all invited to share in the celebration during Fellowship Hour this Sunday, where the choir will be providing cake. Be sure and wish him a Happy Birthday!
Monthly Meeting for Business is this Sunday following Meeting for Worship! Last Month’s Meeting Minutes are attached for your review.
The Affirmation class will be visiting Beth-El-Zedeck synagogue for their service on Friday March 13th. We invite anyone to join us that is interested in experiencing a Jewish service and to speak with one of their leaders afterwards. We will meet at Beth-El Zedeck (600 West 70th St) at 5:45 as their service starts at 6:00. The service will last about 75 minutes. We will meet with George Kelly, Religious Education Director after the service to have a question and answer time as we learn more about Judaism. If you would like to travel from the Meeting, we will assemble at First Friends at 5:00 p.m and drive over together. Let Beth Henricks (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you want to join us.
Join us for an Eco-Film Series here at First Friends, at 7p.m. on the second Friday of each month through April. The next one is Friday, March 13th at 7p.m. called “Til The River Runs Clear”. This is the story of the grassroots effort to clean up the Hudson River. An amazing story led by folksinger Pete Seeger and the tireless advocacy of a community to return a river to its once wondrous beauty. An inspirational account of activism at its best. (30 minutes.)
Join us for the first 2015 Woods Work day, this Saturday, March 14th from 9 am-12 noon! We're inviting everyone to join us as we continue to care for our Meditational Woods. This year, we will concentrate on eliminating non-native invasives like amur honeysuckle and wintercreeper ground cover. These plants take over the area and crowd out the native plants that feed our birds and insects. After removing these invasive invaders, we will be planting native species to improve our biodiversity. All volunteers are welcome. We welcome any volunteers who would rather make some healthy snacks instead of digging weeds. Bring some tools and a cheerful spirit and we will have fun while we work. If it’s raining, please call Mary Blackburn or Mindy Sommer to see if it’s cancelled. Future 2015 workdays are as follows: April 18, May 9, September 26, and November 7.
Easter is right around the corner! The order forms for Easter flowers will be available this Sunday. We’ll be offering a variety of flowers, including Easter Lilies, Daffodils, Hydrangeas and more. We need to place the order by Wednesday, March 25th, so please turn them in as soon as you can!
Goodies are needed for the Easter Egg hunt! Please bring in goodies to fill the eggs! All candy must be individually wrapped, but we’d love to fill the eggs with other items as well, erasers, stickers, etc. There will be a basket in the hallway to put donations. All donations are appreciated!
Community Garden - Is there a Friendly person willing to be an advisor to the people who will organize and carry out community garden efforts this year? Advice is needed about how to prepare the garden for planting, natural fertilizers, and tomato blight for starters. The advisor does not need to have a garden plot, just knowledge of gardening. Please contact Linda Lee at email@example.com if you are the person.
Women’s Self Defense Course. A colleague of Anna Riley’s teaches a 2 hour Women’s Self Defense course and would be glad to teach a group of us on a Sunday or Saturday in April. Cost $10. Please contact Anna Riley if interested by phone or email, 317-506-4970 or firstname.lastname@example.org and provide dates and times that you are available. Teenagers welcome if accompanied by their mothers.
The next Poetry Group gathering is at 2pm on Tuesday, March 17th. Jim Winters will present ‘Life and Poetry of T. S. Eliot’. All are welcome to join this discussion-style group.
Join us to see our talented Friends perform here at First Friends on Saturday, March 21st at 7:00 pm in the Talent Show! The show is free to attend and refreshments will be provided. If you want to participate in the show, please contact Beth Henricks at email@example.com and let her know.
Mark your calendars for ‘A Friend from Guatemala’ on Saturday, March 28th at 7:00 pm. Iglesia Amigos of Indianapolis will be hosting a concert right here at First Friends with Pianist Jonatan Pinto. Jonatan was taught a love of God and music from his parents, Samuel Pinto and Alma Castañeda de Pinto, who are both pastors of Guatemala Yearly Meeting of Friends. He is the director and founder of “Centro Musical Base” in Chiquimula, Guatemala, which is an Academy of Music with more than a hundred students.
Ladies! Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading will be discussing Ian McEwan’s The Children Act on Tuesday March, the 31st, 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 2015, please contact Kathy Rhyne at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson is our upcoming book for April 28th.