As Way Opens

I am sitting in my office today, watching the rain pour from the sky and feeling sadness and pain as I continue to read more and more about the violent tragedy in Orlando this weekend.  What do we do when faced with this kind of horror?  How do we reconcile the belief there is that of God in each person with the evil we saw on display in this shooting rampage?  

Wanda Coffin Baker shared a wonderful devotional about the Presence in the Midst paintings to a Quaker religious education gathering I attended in Richmond over the weekend.  Most of us are familiar with the original Presence in the Midst painting by J. Doyle Penrose painted in 1916 of Jordan’s Meeting House outside of London.  A contemporary artist name Ron Waddam reimagined the painting and presented Christ in the Midst of Quaker Meeting in an abstract form.  Waddam was born in 1920 and he started working at a London commercial art studio in 1937.  He was drafted into military service and served from 1940-1946.  He continued his work as a graphic artist after the war and became a Quaker in 1978.  The images of war that he experienced made him stop painting for some time.  But as time went on, he began to feel inspired to express his values and concerns through his art. He saw the possibility of living without conflict when we are able to recognize that Christ is in our midst and painted his depiction of the Jordan Meeting House gathering.

I have been sitting with this painting the last couple of days. The fluidity, the connection, the circle joined together with Christ in the center gives me hope of a new possibility.  I don’t want to become planted in a place that says we can’t change things and this is our new normal.  The presence of Christ in our midst changes everything.  Even through tragedy and pain, Christ in our midst holds us together, circles us with love and calls us to action.  I like what Stephen Colbert said on his show Monday night that love is a verb.  It is an action word and requires us to do something.  May we show our love today in big and small ways.  And may we hold in the Light the families and friends that have lost their loved ones in this tragedy.  May they see the presence of Christ in their midst.  


Joys and Concerns

Ruthie is on vacation the next two weeks! Ruthie left for England this past weekend with her husband Jon. She did arrive safely, and even spent the night at Swarthmoor Hall last evening! She will be returning Tuesday, June 28th. As you will find below, we will have guest speakers during Meeting for Worship the next two Sundays in her absence. We wish Ruthie and Jon the most fun and relaxing vacation!

Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened at Pulse in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday, June 12th. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. Please pray for the shooting victims and their families as we grieve over this heartbreaking loss of life.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

IFCL Open Position - The Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) is accepting resumes for the position of lobbyist for the 2017 calendar year.  This is a compensated position. Please contact the office if you are interested and we will put you in touch with the IFCL clerk, Bill Chapman. For more information about the work of IFCL visit

Excel, Anyone?  If you have a little bit of time, and know how to do data entry on an Excel spreadsheet, we’d appreciate your help.  Books have been donated to the Meeting Library, and need to be added to our catalog. Please let the Office know, and we’ll be in touch. Thank you.

Garden News – Looking for anyone who can help around the meeting house with gardening and clean up. Please join Terry at the meeting house 10AM -Noon on Saturday the 18th and the 25th. Learn a new plant, ask gardening questions, take care of a bed of flowers- should be an enriching volunteer experience!

School on Wheels looking for Volunteers! The School on Wheels is the charity for the RUN(317) Race on Broad Ripple tomorrow, June 16 at 7PM. They are in need of volunteers for a variety of jobs/stations during the run. Anyone interested in participating in the run can also register at

Sunday June 19th: Tom Hamm will be speaking in Meeting for Worship
Join us on Father’s Day, June 19th at 10:15 to hear Tom Hamm, who is among the world’s leading expert historians on Quakers in America. He will be speaking about specific times in Indiana History when Quakers made a difference for the better.
He teaches a variety of courses in American and British history.  He has authored many books including: The Quakers in America (Columbia University Press, 2003) 
Earlham College: A History, 1847-1997 (Indiana University Press, 1997)
The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907 (Indiana University Press, 1988) 
Quaker Writings: An Anthology, 1650-1920 (Penguin Classics, 2011)
 "Hicksite, Orthodox, and Evangelical Quakerism, 1805-1887," in Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies (Oxford University Press, 2013).

The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply.  Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is this Sunday, June 19, 2016. For an application please contact the office at 255-2485 or

Restorative Practice Event – You and your colleagues are invited to spend a day immersed in discussion and learning about restorative practices Wednesday, June 22nd. Peace Learning Center, Indianapolis Public Schools, and the Desmond Tutu center are putting together a day of learning, community building, and connections to help encourage participants to use their classrooms, community centers, homes, and more to help grow restorative justice movement right here in Indianapolis. This is a free event open to parents and staff in any school district interested (as well as our friends not affiliated with any school district!) For more information click here or contact the office! 

Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are coming up July 14-17 in Plainfield! We will be gathering for a time of fellowship and communion together...So that Faith, Truth, and Love Might Flourish! Come ready to hear about all the various ministry outlets WYM is involved with and how we are bringing the Light of God to the world! Registrations received by July 1, 2016 will be pre-registered for a fee of $10 per adult which includes a name tag and business packet. Those registering after July 1st will need to pay a Walk-In Rate of $15 per adult. You can register online here: or contact the office if you are in need of a paper copy.

Vacation Bible School is only a few weeks away! It will begin on Sunday, July 24 from 12:00-2:00pm and will continue Mon.-Thurs. from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Lunch will be provided for all who attend on the 24th. We are currently looking for volunteers to help! If you are interested in being a teacher/leader and would like to help, please contact Beth at We welcome all our kids, grandkids and friends of our kids to participate in this fun and special time of learning that Jesus is the Light of the World.  A sign up sheet will be in the hallway starting next week.

German Children's Relief Art Exhibition Marian University - Looking for information on the post WWI and II German Children's Relief Program (Quäkerspeisung) by the American Friend Service Committee.  We have found a book called ‘Quiet Helpers - Quaker Service in Postwar Germany’.  We are looking for more history or personal stories about the artwork or the program itself.  The art work and poems sent back as Thank You’s to Friends will be featured in an Art Exhibit at Marian University.  Exhibit Runs: August 29-October 7, 2016 ; Reception: September 1, 4-6 pm, 2016.  Thank you in advance for anything you think would be helpful for the exhibit.  Please contact Nichole:

“Friends of Nature Kids” ~ Touch Ten ~ With a pencil and paper, wander around and find ten different things that have different textures. Write down the name of the object and a word to describe the texture. See if you can find another ten things with ten new textures. What is the weirdest one to touch? Which thing has the texture you like the most, and why?
 From 52 Nature Activities by Lynn Gordon, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.