As Way Opens

In The Story of Doctor Dolittle, he finds an unusual animal in Africa - the pushmi-pullyu ("push-me—pull-you") - a "gazelle-unicorn cross" which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body.  The creature usually only uses one of its heads to talk, reserving the other for eating, thus allowing it to eat while speaking without being rude.  (This comes in very handy for pastors – who do a lot of eating, and a lot of speaking – often at the same time!)  But, along with their two heads, the creature comes with two sets of front legs… when one half wants to move forward, the other half has to move backward.  Do you see the dilemma?  

By now, most all of you have received a personal letter, telling of my intention to retire, leaving First Friends in March of 2017.  This has not been an easy decision to make, and yes, there have been many tears shed already.  I so love this Meeting.  I am so thankful for my call that came almost five years ago to this Meeting.  

At the same time that I feel pulled closer toward you, I feel pulled toward my life with my family.  How I wish we could all live together in Africa, or Indianapolis, or Wyoming, or Washington, or Oregon - with all our families, our beloved Meeting, near the Pacific Ocean, Mount Hood or Mount Rainier… but those things cannot be.  And so, as my family grows (we have two grandchildren now, and a new grandson due around Thanksgiving this year), as retirement beckons, as practical responsibilities for another home we own in Iowa mount, as Jon’s mother ages and needs more care, as personal concerns meet up with joyful daily practices in ministry and we share together here, something has to change.   

But there is one thing friends, that never changes, and you know what that is… God’s faithfulness.  God’s love for each one of us, and especially today, God’s love for this Meeting.  Before I came, long after I’m gone, and even yet while I’m here, God has blessed our Meeting, God will bless our Meeting, God will continue to bless us. And for that, you and I will always be grateful.  We have time still to celebrate our love for God, for one another, for the world that needs God’s love so much, and for what God has in store for this Meeting.  Let’s not waste a minute.  


Joys & Concerns

Dear Friends,
     It is with sadness that Ministry and Counsel acknowledges Pastor Ruthie's letter of intent to retire from active ministry as of March 31, 2017. Sad that we will lose such an inspiring and able pastor who has brought us so much spiritual growth and inspiration. Sad that we will lose her caring ministry to all members of the meeting. But there is also joy for her because she will now be able to realize her desire to be more available to her family and especially to her grandchildren. We celebrate the turning of her life in the direction that God is leading her now. But there is also the potential for excitement and enthusiasm for us because now we have the opportunity to evaluate where we are and re-envision our mission and future; to ask, where is God leading us now?
     Ministry and Counsel in conjunction with the Clerk of the Meeting are ready to move forward in the process of discerning what is next for us. I think it is safe to say that we intend for this process to be expeditious but not hasty. We invite you to join us in this next phase of our journey together with prayer and enthusiasm.

Ed Morris
Clerk, Ministry and Counsel
Daniel Rains
Clerk of the Meeting

Thanks to all! ~ Thanks to all who helped to make the buddy bag program a success.  Thirty buddy bags were delivered to Allisonville Elementary School (“AES”) last week to go to kids who need food assistance during fall break.  The administrators at AES were amazed at the food that was in the bags and mentioned how much the kids would love them.  You at First Friends made this possible.  Thanks for your help.  And a special thanks to Jody for organizing this endeavor.

The MidNorth Food Pantry still has a great need for volunteers for the first Monday and Friday of each month.  If you could help support this need please let the office know.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Opportunity to serve! We are currently in need of 2 ushers to serve every 5th Sunday (only 4 times a year!) and at least 2 others to be available on an as-needed basis when our current ushers cannot serve their scheduled time. Next to the minister, the organist, and choir, the ushers have the most important task to perform in the worship service.  The ushers are the representatives of First Friends to the people who come to worship here. The role of the usher should be seen as a ministry to men and women in fulfilling the call to be a servant like Jesus.  Please contact the office for further information.  

CPR/AED Defibrillator Training ~ Are you interested in becoming CPR/AED certified? Then join us Thursday October 13th at  6:30pm at the meetinghouse. The cost is $35 per person (Please, cash or personal checks only). This is an adult, infant, and ch ild CPR class as well as the AED Defibrillator training. The certification is good for two years. Please RSVP to the office.

Last Week!!! ‘Streams of Living Water’ theme for this Sunday will be the Incarnational Tradition: Sacramental Life.  This is the last of this sermon/study series.  Nancy Scott will lead the Sunday School Class in Coffee Circle and Ruthie will speak about this in Meeting for Worship. ‘We are creatures of sense and of spirit, and we must live an amphibious life.’   Evelyn Underhill 

Participate in our "Sponsor a College Student" project!
We still have 2 students that need to be sponsored! Just select a student off the board in the meetinghouse and send them notes, cards, treats, etc throughout the school year so they hear from someone at the Meeting and feel connected. Please call the office if you would like to participate in this important ministry.

IFCL presents a conversation on Islam and the Refugee Crisis with Michael Birkel and Cole Varga. Michael Birkel is a Quaker author, and Earlham School of Religion professor. Cole Varga is Executive Director of Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. Join us this Friday, October 14 at 7:00PM in the parlor at First Friends Meeting. For more information, contact the office.

You are invited to see ‘Blood on the Mountain’, a showing at Epworth United Methodist Church this Friday, October 14, 7-9pm. Blood on the Mountain is an Eco-Film and searing investigation into the economic and environmental injustices that have resulted from industrial control in West Virginia. This new feature documentary details the struggles of a hard-working, misunderstood people, who have historically faced limited choices and have never benefited fairly from the rich, natural resources of their land. Blood On the Mountain delivers a striking portrait of a fractured population, exploited and besieged by corporate interests, and abandoned by the powers elected to represent them. This showing is free and open to the public! 

Meditational Woods Work Day ~ October 15, 2016 9am-12pm ~ Meet us in the Woods to help care for our trees and outdoor worship spaces! We will be picking up the fallen limbs and brush from our recent storms, removing weeds and invasive plants and edging the walking path. Wear long sleeves and bring your favorite gardening gloves and tools. You can help Terry Trierweiler tidy up the patio garden, assist Norma Wallman and Amy Perry weed the Peace Pole area or just help out where you prefer. Come join us afterwards at ThreeWiseMen where we will convene for lunch. Go West on Kessler to Compton and turn left into the parking lot before you get to Broad Ripple Avenue.

Fall Festival! ~ MSPC will be hosting their annual Fall Festival on Saturday October 15th from 4-6pm.  First Friends attenders and members are welcome to attend and be a part of this fun evening. There will be a bounce house, their annual chili cook-off, crafts and more! Info on RSVP’ing coming soon!

Poetry Group will hold its 2nd meeting of the season on Tuesday, October 18, at 2:00 p.m. in the Parlor. This is everyone's chance to bring his or her original poems and/or favorite poems to share with the Group. This type of program has been a pleasure in the past!

Can you spare an easel? Thanks to Nichole , on Sunday, October 23 we will be hosting the “Giving Voices to Ghosts” exhibit items. We will have the items on display throughout the meeting to view on your way into the Meeting and during Fellowship hour. We are asking everyone if we may ‘borrow’ their easels! Any size works—from standing easels to table easels! If you have a spare easel, we’d appreciate if you could bring it to the Meetinghouse by Thursday, October 20 so we can set up the displays! Thank you for your help!

Are you subscribed to Western Work?  Did you know that Western Yearly Meeting has their own newsletter? It’s called Western Work and it goes out monthly. They have information about the happenings at other Meetings, event photos, reports, announcements, and upcoming events. The September issue is available on the desk in the hallway, in the magazine holder. If you’re interested in subscribing, please contact the office if you’d like to subscribe! Let us know if you’d like to receive the print or electronic edition!

Indianapolis Center for Congregations Seminar at First Friends! Supporting and Encouraging Creativity in Congregations ~ You're invited to explore creativity and the arts in congregations. In this highly interactive workshop, you will gain confidence to lead your congregation into a more imaginative and creative culture while learning how to cultivate the "creatives" already in your midst. Because this workshop is using the First Friends Meetinghouse, we have been given 5 slots open for our members/attenders to attend for free! The workshop is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, 2016 in Fellowship Hall. Please let the office know if you are interested in attending. It will be first come first serve. For more information, please visit

Ecological Guidance and the Sense of the Divine (By Keith Helmuth) ~ The fate of the human now hangs on our engagement with ecological guidance; the task Thomas Berry calls “the Great Work.” The sense of guidance provided by the ecological worldview is not unlike a new revelation, perhaps even a new sense of the Divine. We may not have an adequate name for this new sense of the Divine, and that’s probably a good thing. A little caution is in order after several millennia of such certainty, and the often unfortunate results of this mindset. Rather than clamping onto a new sense of certainty, authentic ecological guidance seeks a fully rounded understanding of the Human-Earth relationship; it grows from a sense of presence and beauty; it responds with respect, cooperative reciprocity, reverence for life, and an ethic of right relationship. Read more at

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Leave a green footprint! ~ The Earth is an amazing and beautiful place. All its riches will last, so long as we learn to use only what we need. 
How can we help take care of the Earth?
Tip #1: We can start at home: doing chores, cleaning, and picking up our own things.
Tip #2: We can recycle cans, plastic, paper, and cardboard.
Tip #3: We can hold on tight to our plastic bags, balloons, toys, and other stuff outside, so they do not end up in trees or streams.
Tip #4: We can help pick up other people’s trash in our neighborhoods and parks.

 From 16 Things Kids can do to Help Care for the Earth, by Dana Kester-McCabe, 2006.