As Way Opens

I have been thinking a lot about food security for our most vulnerable friends in the city.  I attended the gathering hosted by Christian Theological Seminary with David Brooks (one of my favorite writers) and Tavis Smiley who spoke about poverty. I then attended a gathering with Rev William Barber from North Carolina at Light of the World church who challenged us that the churches must take the lead during this time of moral crisis.  I have volunteered several times this month at the Food Pantry.  All of these experiences have been stirring something deep within me about how we incorporate the teachings of Jesus, our Quaker testimonies and the desperate need for food for so many people in our city.  One of my spiritual friends at seminary pointed out to me that food pantries used to be a place for emergency assistance to families in need.  However, today it is the source of regular food for so many families.  How did we let this happen?  When I hear statistics that 27 percent of our families live below the poverty level in Indianapolis, my heart breaks and I feel like I need to work to make a difference in these statistics.  

I had an amazing encounter with an 8 year old at the Pantry on October 7th.  She and her younger brothers were sitting in the hallway while her mom shopped in the pantry.  We sang a couple of silly songs together and shared some personal stories.  She engaged with me and we connected on a personal level in those 15 minutes in the hallway.   And then her mom finished shopping and came out in the hallway to tell me that they were homeless and she asked for wipes to take into the bathroom to clean up all of them.  All of a sudden this beautiful and smart young girl hid her head and we were no longer on an even level.  I was now a person that had a home and she did not have a place to live.  

I strongly believe in a sense of responsibility and accountability.  We teach our kids this and many of us have had to make tough decisions to live in this sense of accountability with our family members.  But I had a sense on October 7th that the only way I can help this amazing 8 year old was to help her mother.  I am guessing that her mother has made terrible decisions and it is hard to support her.  But she is the mother of an 8 year old that we need to love and care for so that she can break out of this cycle.  We can’t help young children that deserve our help without assisting their parents that we might reject.  

Food security transcends politics and theology.  I pray that we can all come together to help the Mid North Food Pantry and other organizations that continue to be a positive influence in our city and that we give our time and money to help our most vulnerable children.  I get inspired when I listen to our friends Ed Morris, Linda Lee, Barbara Oberreich and Amy Perry as they are working with the Peace Learning Center in our public schools to help our children learn to constructively deal with conflict and to give them a voice (ask them about what they are doing).  I am so thankful for all of the outreach that our Witness and Service committee is doing that is making an impact in our city.

I ask each of us to discern how we can help support other amazing 8 year olds that need us to be involved and connected.  


Joys & Concerns

We had a very productive Meditational Woods Work day due to the help of four enthusiastic Boy Scouts. Krishan Coffman, Patrick Smith, Jackson Breman, Orion Brown and his father Lance, and Larry Coffman helped remove invasive plants, overgrown shrubs, fallen tree limbs and edge the path.  They even cleaned the memorial plaque and the peace pole plaque!  Other volunteers removed a dead pine and others weeded the peace pole area, meditational circle and courtyard.  Thanks to everyone who helped!

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

GREETERS NEEDED! We are putting together a schedule for Friends willing to serve as Greeters on Sunday mornings. Please contact the office if you are interested in serving the meeting in this way.

Can you spare an easel? Thanks to Nichole, next 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!

This Sunday at First Friends Meeting:  "It was cocoa mainly that we were given. . . . This was warm and sweet, and the memory of that means that the early memory I have of the Quakers is of warmth and sweetness."  This is a quote from a German, remembering the care of Quakers who fed him and other children left devastated after World War 1.  Quakers had been aware of hunger and malnutrition for many years.  “In 1919, Friend Herbert Hoover asked the Service Committee to carry out his massive feeding program in Germany. Hoover had collected large sums of money through the American Relief Administration. This was placed at the disposal of the American Friends Service Committee, and, in four years' time, the AFSC was feeding one million German children per day. Money raised from other sources aided this effort.”  Read more about it here: Discover more about it, and see the thankyou notes from many of the children who were fed, at First Friends Meeting this Sunday, October 23rd in Meeting for Worship with Nichole .  Join us at 10:15. 

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 email the office for further information. 

Shawn has served First Friends for 20 years as both Organist and Choir Director.  He has made the decision to leave his position as Choir Director at the end of this Choir year, in May 2017.  He intends to continue as our Organist.  What a gift he has given, serving First Friends in both positions!  Now, he looks forward to continuing his service to the Meeting, but in a new way.  We are grateful for Shawn’s gifted ministry among us.  The Monthly Meeting is interested to know what your thoughts are about a new Choir Director.  We welcome your comments about the music in worship of First Friends Meeting.  Representatives from the Music Committee will soon be meeting with Ministry and Counsel.

Oak Leaf Friends:  We will be meeting in the parlor with Carolyn to discuss “All Fall Down" by Jennifer Weiner on Tuesday, October  25th at 7 pm.  For those interested, bring your E-Readers to explore the technology (wifi available), Carolyn will share her knowledge about Kindle, Goodreads and Bookbub.    If you or a friend are interested in being on the mailing list for the Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading please contact the office. 

‘Streams of Living Water’ sermon series has ended, but there will be one last Sunday School class to summarize and discuss all that we’ve learned these past weeks… Join Mary Ellen Lohr and the class this Sunday in the Coffee Circle Classroom! 

Would you like your car detailed?  Our young people are offering their services to detail your car on October 30th during the Sunday School hour (9:00 - 10:00 a.m.) Several of our young people practiced this service on Beth’s car and they did an amazing job.  Please contact the office if you would like to make a reservation.  The service will be provided for a donation to the youth group (a check can be made to First Friends designated for the youth group).

We need your blood! We are having a blood drive on November 6th from 9am-1pm in Fellowship Hall. The Blood Mobile will be everything necessary including cookies and juice so please save your blood donations until November 6th.  Please bring a picture ID for your donation. Every pint you donate can potentially help 3 people!

Community Soup! We will have Community Soup on the first Friday in November, Nov-4, from 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Soups, rather than salads, will be featured.  Everyone is welcome to bring a soup and/or dessert. We hope to see you there!

Join Us at Area Meeting Gathering for Central and West Central Areas on Sunday, Nov 6th.  Two areas will join together at 3:30 pm. at Valley Mills Friends Meeting.  Representatives and Friends from Amo, Fairfield, Hadley, Mooresville, Plainfield, West Union, First Friends, Second Friends, Valley Mills, and West Newton will all have a chance to do business together, hear Dale Graves speak, and do a Christmas Card project for Belize School students.  And… we’ll enjoy a pitch-in supper together.  What used to be set aside for an entire weekend is something we’ll enjoy together in just a few hours… don’t miss it!   Our hosts?  Marilee Gabriel and Della Stanley Green. 

Did you know? “Joined together through our shared experience of God and united in common ministries, FUM forms a beloved fellowship that is powerfully at work in our local areas and through cross-cultural service.  From the Caribbean to Palestine, Africa to North America and scattered places in between, Friends United Meeting is building a global partnership in a season of history when much of the world is being stretched and strained by cultural, political and geographic differences. We are a collection of Christ-centered Quakers, embracing 34 yearly meetings and associations, thousands of local gatherings and hundreds of thousands of individuals.”  Save the date now for WICHITA 2017… the next Friends United Meeting Triennial – July 12-16 – with Quakers gathering from around the world!


Chicken Yassa Recipe –There have been some requests for the Chicken Yassa (Senegalese Stew) recipe that Sue Mills brought to World Quaker Day.  Here it is!  Have fun!

Chicken Yassa (Senegalese Stew) from West Africa:  Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast.  Serves 4-6.  (I doubled for World Quaker Day)


1 ½ pounds Chicken Tenders, cut into bite-size pieces.  (Can also use whole chicken, beef, lamb, or fish) 

2 large Onions, sliced

¾ c. Lemon Juice (I used), or juice of 4 lemons

3 T. Dijon mustard

½ c. Olive Oil

2 t. minced garlic from jar (I used) or 1 head garlic

1 can (14.5 oz) Chicken Broth

1 t. Black Pepper

1 T. Chili Powder

1 Bell Pepper – Red or Yellow


1. Marinate the chicken with 2 T. mustard, half the garlic, ½ the lemon juice, and black pepper.  (I used a plastic bag).  Marinate for 1-2 hours (I did), or overnight.

2. Marinate the onions and bell pepper with 1 T. mustard, ½ the lemon juice, and black pepper.  (Plastic bag).  I did for a few minutes.

3. Heat chicken on the stove with 4 T. oil on high heat.  Remove when brown and set aside.

4. Heat 4 T. oil in a cooking pot and stir-fry the onions and pepper for a few minutes.  Add the remaining garlic.

5. Place onions and pepper in pot with the chicken.  Add 1 can chicken broth and chili pepper.  Simmer for 30 min. or until chicken is done and liquid is mostly absorbed. 

Serve with jasmine rice or couscous.