As Way Opens
Last Sunday evening over 30 of us (including lots of kids and young people) visited four of our older friends in their apartments and care facilities to sing Christmas carols for them. This is an annual event that First Friends has done for years (thanks to Carol Donahue for organizing this for so long!) and it is one of the most special outreach gatherings we do for our faith community. As you can see from pictures, we don reindeer antlers, hats and bells while we sing beloved Christmas carols in beautiful harmony. My heart is touched every year to sing with my friends and see the look of joy on the residents of these facilities. Music has a way of moving us like no other medium. Some of these individuals are faced with physical circumstances beyond what they ever thought possible in their lives. They may not remember facts and information from yesterday as well as many years ago. But when they hear these beloved songs, something unlocks inside of them and they sing all of the words with us and connect to something mysterious and wonderful within. It’s part of the mystery of the experience of God. We feel a sense of love and warmth that surrounds us and takes us out of our reality for a few moments.
I will never forget taking my husband Jerry to an Abba tribute concert at Conner Prairie the summer before he passed away. Jerry could not complete sentences or communicate his thoughts well, but he insisted on going to the front of the stage most of the concert and he could sing the words to every song they performed that evening (Abba was always one of his favorite bands). For two hours, Jerry was transported to another place beyond his disease and the mystery of this experience affirms to me that God illuminates our world through music.
My new favorite mystic poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote this about song “I know not how thou singest, my Master! I ever listen in silent amazement. The light of thy music illumines the world. The life breath of thy music runs from sky to sky. The holy stream of thy music breaks through all stony obstacles and rushes on…Ah, thou hast made my heart captive in the endless meshes of thy music, my Master!
May we all experience the break through of God into our lives during this advent season.
Joys & Concerns
Helen D. would like to extend her thanks to all the carolers this past Sunday. She very much enjoyed the caroling, and she said it was nice for her “First Friends” to meet her “Arden Woods” friends. Helen also noted that after the carolers left some of her neighbors approached her and said they loved and appreciated the caroling—some of them were even moved to tears! They don’t often get visitors, especially with such cheer! What a great reminder that even simple gestures like caroling can go a long way to brighten up someone’s holiday season. Thank you, carolers! Also a big thank you to Carol Donahue, who coordinates this event every year!
A big thanks to all our food pantry volunteers: Ed M., Bill F., Ray G,, Carol and Jim D. 39 lbs of food were delivered, and 88 families served!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please note, there will be no Gentle Yoga on Friday, December 23. There will be a class on Friday, December 30 to help usher in the New Year.
Monthly Meeting for Worship to Conduct Business will meet this Sunday, following the Fellowship Hour as we complete work for the current year and look forward to the year ahead.
This Sunday, December 18th during fellowship hour, our kids will be offering soup and cookies in a jar for donations to Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR). The kids worked hard to prepare these holiday themed jars that will make wonderful gifts while supporting an important Quaker organization helping women start businesses in other countries. We will also sell coffee, chocolate and tea on Sunday that will support RSWR. Please come ready to support our kids and RSWR on Sunday!
Our youth group will be working at the MidNorth Food Pantry this Sunday December 18th. The group will be heading over to the pantry after Meeting for Worship and our fellowship time and will eat with the guests at the pantry around noon. Our group will then assist with clients visiting the pantry that day as well as other tasks for the pantry. Krishan C. will deliver checks totaling $2270 that our Meeting so generously raised for the pantry. We welcome anyone to join us this Sunday for this time of ministry in the community. Please let Beth know if you would like to participate with us.
We need volunteers for the Mid North Food Pantry! ~ Due to the holidays, several of the “regulars” will not be able to volunteer at the food pantry on Wednesdays December 21, January 4 and January 18. These are all days that First Friends regularly staffs the pantry. If you are in town and available during any of these dates, please consider volunteering. Let the office know if you are interested. Thank you for your assistance!
Christmas dinner invitation: If you are planning to be in solitary splendor on Christmas afternoon, but would like to share Christmas dinner with someone, please consider coming to Amy and Thad P's home. Come at noon, eat at 2:00. Please let the office know if you are interested.
Christmas Celebrations at First Friends Meeting
Children’s Christmas Pageant
December 18th, 2016 in Meeting
Children of the Meeting share the story of Jesus’ Birth
Christmas Eve Service ~ ‘Finding the Christ Child’
December 24th, 2016 at 5:30 p
Christmas Readings, Children’s Choir, Carols, and Candlelight
Celebrate in Worship with your Family and Friends
Christmas Morning Worship
Sunday, December 25th at 10:15
Breakfast Brunch, Caroling, Christmas Sharing
And Waiting Worship
New Year’s Day Worship
Sunday, January 1 at 10:15
Led by Ed M.
WYM Fundraising Challenge ~ The Western Yearly Meeting Pastoral Ministry Excellence Sustainability Task Group announces that an anonymous donor has offered a $5,000 challenge. If $12,985 are given and/or pledged toward the $100,000 PME Fundraising Goal by Christmas Day 2016, the donor will give $5,000 to complete the goal. WYM is asking for your help to rise to this generous challenge and reach the goal! Pledge cards and more materials on the PME can be found on the table in the Meeting hallway, or ask the office if you’d like information sent to you. You can also visit https://www.westernyearlymeeting.org/pme/ for more information.