As Way Opens

I have been thinking a lot about discernment since we heard the news that Ruthie will be retiring.  We are collectively entering a time of corporate discernment to take a wise and insightful path forward.  Corporate discernment is not easy as we must put aside our own desires and search out a path that is from God.  Proverbs 4:5-6 says Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  Do not forsake her and she will keep you; love her and she will guard you.  But how do we get such wisdom and insight from God?  How do we truly hear God’s voice above our own voice and the voices of so many others?  I think it involves prayer, meditation, deep listening to each other and to the whispers of God within our center, being open to new ideas and never saying something won’t work.  God will not forsake us when we are in this space of searching.  This is not a process to fear but one to enter into prayerfully and with joy as new openings and possibilities could be before us.  We must trust each other and God as we come together in the precious faith community we call First Friends.

I found this quote from Quaker Eileen Flanagan written in 1999- “Spiritual discernment is the process of sifting Divine guidance from other influences:  from internal forces such as fear or selfishness to external pressures and expectations.  A willingness to listen and to let go of our own agendas can help us sift through all the voices we hear and discern how God is leading us.”  


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.

This Sunday at First Friends Meeting we welcome guest speaker Dale Graves! He will be speaking about Belize Friends Mission. “When I took my first trip to Belize, I was part of a FUM short term work project. Since that time I have become more involved and am currently the FUM representative on the board of the Belize Friends School, a school that serves children who are unable to pass the entrance exam into high school. This has given me a chance to begin to make some Belizean friends and to begin — just begin, mind you — to understand some of the issues in the area where the school is located.” Come hear him speak this Sunday, October 30 at 10:15!

Fall Philanthropy for Mid-North Food Pantry – The Meridian Street Preschool Co-op and First Friends are partnering together to help Mid-North Food Pantry as MSPC’s fall philanthropy project. MSPC and FF will be holding this food drive Monday October 31st- Friday November 11th. Donations may be placed into the box in the hallway near the children's classrooms labeled Mid-North Food Pantry.

Shawn P. 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.  Please contact the office for contact info for the music committee members.

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, November 4th, 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!

Free choral concert by VOCE (Carolyn T. is a member) at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church Sunday, Nov 6, 2016 at 3PM. VOCE is a 16 member choral ensemble dedicated to beautiful music that moves people and enriches their life.  VOCE will be performing John Rutter’s Requiem at St. Joan of Arc, located at 4217 Central Avenue, Indianapolis.

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! 

Mark your calendar! On November 12 at 9 am, we will have a meeting to review the previous pastor's search, and look at the meeting survey and other pertinent information from that time. Suggestions and interest in the search are much appreciated! -Dan R, Clerk. 

Follow the North Star! We have made a reservation for 16 to attend the Conner Prairie interactive experience called Follow the North Star on November 18th at 7:15 p.m.  This is a powerful immersion experience of being a slave trying to escape.  You must be at least 12 years old to attend this event.  The cost is $20 (funds are available for support).  We will leave from First Friends at 6:30 or meet at Conner Prairie at 7:00 p.m.  Please contact the office if you would like to join us.

It’s time to winterize your gardens! Autumn is here and the frost is on the pumpkin. If you have a plot in our community garden, please take the time to clean up the plot as soon as possible! In a community garden, each plot can affect other plots and other gardeners, and disease can spread easily. Feel free to use the large blue rolling receptacles behind the kitchen to clean up debris in your community garden. For more tips and information on winterizing your plot (either here or your own at home!) see these tips from Nancy S!

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!