As Way Opens

Recently the Earlham College Choir came to First Friends to present a beautiful night of music.  I enjoyed the entire concert and had a couple of the girls from the choir stay in our home.  My hopeful sense of the future is always reinforced when I talk to young people like these two women who are smart, engaged, and determined to help make our world more just and peaceful.  

The choir closed their performance that night with the song How Can I Keep from Singing.  I have always loved this song but have never experienced anything like their performance that evening. The choir surrounded us in the room and had water goblets filled with various amounts of water to create different tones as they rubbed their glasses.  They had several bells and a drum.  The harmonies and the sounds within our Meeting Room at that moment sent chills and energy through my body and the tears flowed as it felt like a heavenly host filling the room with love.  The words to the song were printed in the program and when I got home I was moved again just to read their words:

“My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, while to that rock I’m clinging.
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

When though the tempest round me roars,
I know the truth, it liveth.
What though the darkness round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear, and hear their death knell ringing;
When friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile, our thoughts to them are winging.

When friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing?
When love is lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?”

Love is Lord of heaven and earth!  That is the good news of the Gospel.   Love is what holds us and binds us together and becomes our rock through the darkness around us.  May this love fill our heart, mind and bodies today.


Considering the Query: Do you welcome the diversity of culture, language, and expressions of faith in our yearly meeting and in the world community of Friends? Seek to increase your understanding and to gain from this rich heritage and wide range of spiritual insights.  Uphold your own and other yearly meetings in your prayers.  From: Advices and queries; Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, 5th edition, @ 1995-2015 Quaker Faith and Practice

Joys & Concerns

Submitted by Amy Perry: A few weeks ago, I stayed after Sunday worship to help in the Children's Library. Around 1:15, I was finished for the day. I saw Erin Tinsley in the side hall near the grandfather clock. Nobody else was around. She was looking for her dad. I approached her and asked, "Did you know that when I was a little girl I had to wait for my father at church too? He had meetings and I had to wait for him outdoors in the cold. But my two brothers waited with me, so I wasn't alone." Erin replied that she didn't know that. She asked my name. Then she said, "But you weren't alone, because God was with you." 

Answering God’s call to universal love, the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications, and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world.  Norma Wallman and Terry Trierweiler are among many Friends gathered in Pisac, Peru just now for the World Plenary Meetings taking place.  The purpose of the Friends World Committee for Consultation is to encourage fellowship among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends. The Quaker community circles the globe, spanning a rich diversity of regional cultures, beliefs and styles of worship. FWCC, through its four section offices, runs programs in different regions, uniting Friends around the world through Spirit-led fellowship.  Please hold Terry, Norma and these many Friends from all forms of Quakerism around the world in your prayers.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities  

Thursday, January 21 2016, 6:30 – 8:00pm; Setting the Record Straight: Facts and Science of Climate Change.  The University of Chicago Alumni Club is hosting an event you might find of interest:   Dinner at the Woodstock Club followed by a presentation by Gabriel Filippelli, Professor of Earth Sciences at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  Cost: $36/person
If you'd like to attend, register at
For more information, contact Jeff Rasley at

Quaker Affirmation Class for Adults will be having its third meeting during Sunday School hour (9:00 a.m.) in the parlor.  We had a great time of sharing and connecting and heard from George Fox and Margaret Fell.  This Sunday, we will be discussing different organizational splits within Quakerism.  All are welcome to attend even if you missed any of the classes!  The class will last through the next 3 months so feel free to come as you can. 


Indiana Senator Jim Tomes has proposed SB 36, which would remove existing restrictions on "alcohol abusers" from receiving a license to carry a handgun. Under current law, an "alcohol abuser" is defined as someone who has had two or more alcohol-related offenses, any one of which resulted in a conviction or in treatment in an alcohol abuse facility within the past three years. 

The bill had its first reading in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with testimony in opposition from The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and a legal expert from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law. In the face of this level of opposition a vote has not been taken yet, but Chairman Senator Steele is planning for a second reading, possibly with some amendments, on January 20 or 21.

If you feel led, please write to or call all members of the Judiciary Committee -- especially if they represent you -- to urge them to vote against SB 36. This bill would allow individuals who have criminal records of alcohol abuse to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public. 

Members of Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senator Brent Steele, Chair:, 317-232-9814
Senator R. Michael Young, Ranking Member,, 317-232-9517
Sen. Rodric Bray, Majority Member,, 317-232-9400
Sen. Michael Delph, Majority Member,, 317-232-9541
Sen. Susan Glick, Majority Member,, 317-232-9493 
Sen. Randall Head, Majority Member,, 317-232-9488
Sen. Joseph Zakas, Majority Member,, 317-232-9490
Sen. Lonnie Randolph, Ranking Minority Member,, 800-382-9467
Sen. John Broden, Minority Member,, 800-382-9467
Sen. Greg Taylor,, 800-382-9467

Grace Miller in Print! Friends Journal Article featuring someone from our First Friends Family! 
Harold and Ellen Miller’s daughter and Sam Miller’s sister, Grace is featured in the January issue of Friends Journal in their article, “A Quaker Voice in Indiana – Interview with Grace Miller of Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation”.  It’s a wonderful article about the power of Quaker faith and action, and how each one of us can make a difference.  IFCL is seeing a new burst of enthusiasm, and we are happy to see Grace Miller, Bill Chapman and others from First Friends becoming more active and interested in how Quakers can change the world! Grab the Journal, and check pps 17-19!

If anyone is interested in volunteering at Hoosier Environmental Council as an environmental advocate, please contact Sylvia Andrews or Amanda Shepherd at HEC.  Some of their major concerns during this legislative session include the “Right to Harm Bill, SJR 12” and the Mounds Greenway.  If you have ever felt the desire to do more for the environment in Indiana than just donate money this is your chance.  Host a Greening Your Community party, call others about legislation, and attend legislative Third House meetings. 

Oak Leaf:  Meeting for Reading
will be gathering in the Parlor this Tuesday, January 26th at 7 pm to discuss All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  If you would like to be on the email list please contact the office or Kathy Rhyne at  Our next novel is February 23 - Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe.  

Parent Cafe Workshop on the Near East Side! East Tenth United Methodist Children and Youth Center will be hosting a Families First Parent Cafe beginning Jan 11 to help families build stronger, healthier families. We need VOLUNTEERS for our Parent Cafe. There is need for table hosts to help facilitate discussion and for volunteers to help with childcare. If you're interested in volunteering please email Chisato Sakamoto at or call at 317-644-7207

Brrr!  It’s Cold Outside! Please continue to bring donations of winter clothing for the Boner Center. The box is in Fellowship Hall on the stage in front of the curtain. They appreciate what we are doing to help the homeless and others in need of clothing. 

Calling all Singers! Dan Forrest’s ‘Requiem for the Living’: A beautiful new setting of the Requiem by Dan Forrest will be presented on Sunday,            March 20th @ 3pm by singers from our Shalom Zone* churches, invited by Allisonville Chancel Choir & Orchestra.  This powerful five-movement work projects a wide range of meaningful expression, from a biting essay on the vanity and pain of mankind to a plea for mercy, and finally a celebration of eternal light. ALL are welcome to join us as we prepare this choral masterpiece.  Rehearsals will begin on Monday, February 1 @ 7pm and will continue as follows:
Monday's @ 7pm-9pm on February 1, 8, 15, 22 & March 7, 14
Thursday’s @ 7:30-8:15 on February 11, 18, 25; March 3, 10
Rehearsals with Orchestra on Thursday, March 17 - 7pm-9pm and
Saturday, March 19 - 1pm-3pm
*First Friends Meeting, Epworth UMC, Cross & Crown Lutheran, St Pius X, Allisonville Christian 
Contact Matthew Tippel, Director of Music, at 317-408-4904 or if you like to join or have any questions.  

Sunday, February 7th, we will host “Souper Bowl Sunday”
after Meeting for Worship in fellowship hall.  Soup will be prepared for all to enjoy for a free will donation to Second Helpings.  Both Statia Murphy and Vicki Wertz work at Second Helpings and we want to support this important organization for those less fortunate in our city.  Start your Super Bowl Sunday by eating soup at the First Friends “Souper Bowl” party and learn more about Second Helpings.

Quaker Spirituality
is presented by Steve Angell, Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion. Fairfield Friends Meeting will be hosting several Quaker Spirituality talks from the perspective of Margaret Fell, Isaac Pennington, Caroline Stephen, Thomas Kelly and Margery Abbott.
Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM
Fairfield Friends Meeting
February 16, 2016—Margaret Fell
February 23, 2016—Isaac Pennington
March 1, 2016—Caroline Stephen
March 8, 2016—Thomas Kelly
March 15, 2016—Margery Abbott
Free of charge but a one-time donation of $10.00 for ESR is suggested. For further information, contact Sarah Lookabill (

Friends of Nature Kids” ~ The Food Chain~ Think of what the smallest creature you can think of eats and then think of what eats that creature. Keep building up who eats who until you can’t think of any creature that would come next. Try starting your food chain with a bug one time and then a plant or a small animal another time. How long a food chain can you make? From 52 Nature Activities by Lynn Gordon, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.