Concerns, Announcements and Devotional Thought
A Weekly Ministry of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting
As Way Opens by Ruthie Tippin
“Will this meeting please come to order?” If you’ve ever been to any civic or business gathering, you’ve probably heard the person in charge call that question out. Not so among Friends/Quakers. Our order of business is quite different… we function under gospel order. As we move toward our Monthly Meeting for Worship to Conduct Business this Sunday, it’s good to remember just what ‘gospel order’ means. It doesn’t pertain to our practice of business alone, but to all of life – to the integrity in which we practice our daily life, in community and in particular.
George Fox used the phrase ‘gospel order’ when he described the early Friends practice of worship, decision making, and daily living in Friends meetings. God was leading these Friends into new patterns of life. Friend Sandra Cronk describes it in this way: ‘”Gospel” does not refer primarily to the intellectual content of faith or a religious message. It is the actual life, power, and reality of the relationship with God… The word “order” reverberates with Friends multifaceted experience of God’s inbreaking order in their lives… the term “order” refers to the characteristics of daily living which flow from God’s life and power and which allow the community to maintain and deepen its relationship with Christ.’ For Fox, this relationship meant covenant… not a contract or an agreement, but a relationship of abiding trust and fidelity with God. Fox based the founding of Friends on this covenant – not only with God, but with one another. ‘God’s new order, gospel order, was present when people lived out of the fullness of their living relationship with Christ. Truth is not found by professing correct beliefs and correct actions while actually living outside the life and power of Christ. Only this life and power makes a church-community part of the true church. Only when the sap of the vine flows through the branches are they living branches.’ [Cronk]
When we gather for Monthly Meeting, we gather with Christ. He is seated with us. He leans into our conversation. He listens to our business concerns. If we are gathered in gospel order, we speak through the life and power of God in our lives, immersed in the Holy Spirit. We do not seek our own way, but rather, God’s way forward. Do we approach our gathering as a covenant with God? As a covenant with one another? Are we willing to trust God and one another? Are we willing to hold a sense of fidelity (faithfulness) to one another and to God to see our concerns through? Are we willing to wait with each other until we sense God’s life and power inbreaking through us? Do we take seriously the joy and meaning of practicing our life in this way? Will this Meeting come to Gospel Order?
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
The Steinway & Organ Concert is this Friday, May 15th at 7 p.m. Randall Frieling and Martin Ellis will be performing a wide variety of concert pieces on our Steinway piano and Casavant organ. It is a privilege to host these gifted musicians at First Friends Meeting, in a concert for all ages. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for those under 18 years and will be available at the table in the foyer the night of the concert. ‘Will-Call’ tickets will be waiting for those who have ordered tickets ahead. Consider inviting friends or family to join you and make an evening of it!
Join us for a Conversation on the Future of Friends, this Saturday, May 16th at 7:00 p.m. Noah Baker Merrill will be here to talk about the future of Friends and projects like Quaker Voluntary Service. All ages are welcome as we share in song with Jim and Leslie Kartholl, listen for the Spirit, and discuss the future. Noah is a founder of Quaker Voluntary Service and in 2009, Utne Reader magazine recognized him as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” In 2012, Noah offered the plenary worship address on behalf of North American Friends at the Sixth World Conference of Friends in Kenya. We are very excited to have him here to discuss the future. Please join us. If you would like to learn more about Noah, you can visit his website at http://anendlesslife.org/. Noah will speak in Meeting for Worship on Sunday, May 17th.
Monthly Meeting for Business is this Sunday following Meeting for Worship! Last Month’s Meeting Minutes are attached for your review.
The Summer Music Sign-Up sheet is on the bulletin board; be sure and add your name to share your music with the Meeting! Tyler Rodino will be singing this coming Sunday in Meeting.
Do you know CPR? We would like to maintain a database of those that are certified. Please contact the office and let us know if you are!
This Sunday, we’ll add fragrance free products to the chocolate and coffee already being sold for the benefit of Right Sharing of World Resources. The new products come through the cooperation of Good Earth Natural Food Co. and include shampoo, conditioner, Herban Cowboy deodorant, sunscreen and a few other products. Be sure and take a look at the table in Fellowship Hall this Sunday!
How Can I Help? Each year, our Meeting comes alive with the anticipation of new ministry and people to serve God in carrying out the work of Friends. If you are curious or interested in serving on any of our committees, please take a look at the attached document, describing what they are and do. The Nominating Committee will meet Monday, May 18th. We would welcome your contact with Clerk Kim Heusel by that time. Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 289-8723.
Mark your calendars for June 14th-June 18th - Vacation Bible School will begin on Sunday from 11:45am to 1:45pm, and will continue Monday thru Thursday 6:30pm-8:30pm. If you are interested in being a part of this VBS adventure, we’re looking for volunteers! All children 5th grade and under are welcome! The program we will be using is Everest: Conquering Challenges with God's Mighty Power. Contact Beth Henricks at email@example.com to register or for more information.
The Poetry Group will conclude the season with a meeting on Tuesday, May 19 at 2:00p.m.in the Parlor. Linda Lee will introduce Shari Wagner, who will share some of her poetry including “The Farm Wife Ruminates on Cows.” Please bring ideas on programs for next year.
Friends Women! You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 21st from 6-8pm for a summer salad and dessert meal. Kathy Rhyne will share her journey with God in her life. Don’t miss this! Did you know that we’re a part of Friends Women who gather around the world every year? The United Society of Friends Women cares for women and children in Palestine, Kenya, Cuba, Jamaica, the USA, and many more places. We’ll be collecting an offering to benefit one of the four project funds of USFWI for 2015. The fund for this quarter is the ‘Love Fund’, which will go to Ramallah Friends School. Please join us for a nice evening with great people. (Our next meeting is set for September 19th at Rita’s Backyard Garden Center and Tea Room!)
The Quaker Haven camp registration early bird deadline is May 23rd - if you are interested in having your children/young people attend Quaker Haven, the Meeting will provide for 50% of the cost if you register by May 23rd. Please send in your application to Quaker Haven with the required deposit and let the office know that your young person will attend. The application and information about the camp is available at http://quakerhaven.com/?cat=3.
Ladies! Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading will be discussing Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior on Tuesday, May 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 2015, please contact Kathy Rhyne at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman is our upcoming book for June 30th.
Join us for the Church Picnic & Worship in the Woods on May 31st. Worship will be at the normal time, 10:15am, in the Meditational Woods. Please bring your lawn chairs! Immediately following will be the church picnic, where we will provide fried chicken, hot & veggie dogs, rolls, ice cream, and drinks. If your last name begins with A-L, please bring a side or salad to share, if M-Z, please bring a dessert to share. Come prepared for fun with Friends, and join in the kickball game!
· The Friends Educational Fund Scholarship for undergraduate African American students
· The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, for members and attenders of First Friends. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply, though undergraduate students will be given first consideration.
The deadline for the applications is May 31, 2015. For an application please contact the office.
Get your tickets now for an evening of storytelling and music with Phil Gulley and Tim Grimm on Friday, June 19th at 7pm here at First Friends! You can pre-purchase tickets for $20 by contacting Bill Chapman at email@example.com or by calling 255-4739. Tickets will also be available at the door for $25. Proceeds will benefit the Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL), which attempts to relate our Faith and Quaker Testimonies to the shaping of responsible policy making by our Indiana government legislators.