As Way Opens

Last year I met a woman named Gilda that came into our lives through an agency that provides companion care for individuals in their home.  We initially met around our dining room table with the agency owner, Gilda, my husband Jerry and me.  Gilda had beautiful hair and such a clear complexion for being in her 60’s.  She was African American and had worked in several doctor’s homes as a housekeeper for over 30 years.  She didn’t have much education but she was really smart.    And her smile and laugh lit up the room.  

Jerry was having a lot of trouble with words and he was trying to share with her a story that I had heard a hundred times before but she couldn’t understand it at all.  It’s a story about how Jerry’s dad displayed some prejudice in his life but he wanted to ensure that his son had none in his life.  After struggling for several minutes he came out with the words “I love black people" and started crying.  It moved all of us around the table and we all had tears in our eyes.  That was the start of our relationship with Gilda.  For many months she came over and stayed with Jerry, cooked for him, looked at his thousands of pictures and took care of unpleasant tasks with a smile.  Even though our backgrounds and life experiences were very different, Gilda and I were connected in the heart.  We shared hopes, dreams, our faith and fears together. 

As time went on, it became apparent that Jerry would need to move into a memory care unit.  We said goodbye to Gilda but she and I stayed connected through texting and sharing how things were going etc.  And then one month after Jerry moved, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Our beloved Gilda was given less than 6 months to live.  I started visiting her in her home and the hospital.  She started taking chemo but it was difficult and she kept getting sick.  But every time I would see her, we would laugh and cry and she was most concerned about the burden she was to her husband and daughter.  She was not afraid of dying and her faith was strong.  

I texted her 3 weeks ago and never heard back from her.  I heard from her daughter last week that she had passed away.  The daughter realized after the funeral that she should have contacted me but I was not in the circle of their family.  Our relationship was unique and special and we both said that God brought us together. 

God speaks to us and shows us the capacity of love in the ordinary, in the common place and in relationships that don’t make sense on paper.  I am thankful that God brought Gilda to me and I will honor and cherish her life and the love she gave us.   How has God spoken to you in  the routine of life and the people we come in contact with?  Who are you thankful for today?  Tell them that you love them. 


Joys & Concerns

A big ‘Thank You’ to Tom Hamm! He was our guest speaker this past Sunday, June 19th. He shared with us some important Quakers in Indiana history, how they made a difference for the better, and what we can learn from them! Our sincerest thanks to Tom!

Our friend Phil Goodchild recently had a letter to the editor published in the Indianapolis Star on June 11th. He wrote about our mass incarceration problem. Read his letter here or find it in the paper!

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 IFCL clerk, Bill Chapman at 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 25th. Learn a new plant, ask gardening questions, take care of a bed of flowers- should be an enriching volunteer experience!

Our member Marshelle will be speaking in Meeting for Worship this Sunday. Marion Superior Court Magistrate Marshelle is originally from Richmond, Indiana, as is her husband and high school sweetheart, Jonathan.  A Butler grad, she earned her law degree from IU.  Marshelle spent her first seven years as an attorney at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  She then worked for the City of Indianapolis and briefly in private practice before being appointed to the bench.  She currently presides over domestic violence and domestic relations cases.  We look forward to hearing from her! Please join us on June 26th!
FUM Summer Mission Project: Power to Pastors - This year’s FUM Summer Mission Project is to support Friends Theological College (“FTC”) located in a rural area in western Kenya.  One of the challenges FTC has is frequent power blackouts.  This inhibits the ability of students to check out library materials, access items at the library, do research, and use the computers.  FTC plans to install 32 solar panels (costing $1,500 each) to help alleviate this power shortage problem.  Friends United Meeting (a global organization of which First Friends is a part) has set a goal of $20,000 to help FTC acquire the needed solar panels.  Please help as you are able.  Witness & Service will match all contributions from folks at First Friends (up to an aggregate match of $1,500.00) which are given for this project.  Checks may be written to “First Friends” with a notation of “FUM-Power to Pastors”.  Your support is appreciated.  

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.

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.

Shalom Zone Garage Sale – Mark your calendars! On July 30th from 8:00 am to noon the Shalom Zone churches (Cross and Crown, Allisonville Christian, Epworth, First Friends and St. Pius X) will be sponsoring "garage sale" and “craft sale” opportunities for individuals in the Cross and Crown parking lot at 79th and Allisonville Road. You will be able to reserve a space for $10 in advance ($15 day of sale). The rest is up to you - bring your own table or use the trunk of your car. You get to keep whatever you earn.  The adjoining neighborhood of Ivy Hills will have its annual garage sale the same day so there should be no shortage of folks looking for a deal.  The Shalom Zone will donate the reservation fees to School on Wheels, a voluntary program which tutors homeless children throughout Marion County.  For more information contact Jim Donahue or Bill Chapman.

Save the Date! The Indy Festival of Faiths is coming up on Sunday, September 18th from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Veteran’s War Memorial. The Indy Festival of Faiths is an annual gathering in downtown Indianapolis designed to recognize, highlight, and celebrate the diverse religious landscape in central Indiana. For more information, visit

Shalom Zone Recycle Force Event - Our friends at Recycle Force will be picking up used electronic and appliance items at St. Pius X on September 24.  If it runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery you can recycle it!  Larger items can be dropped off and stored in the First Friends garage prior to September 24 (contact Jim Donahue, Bill Chapman or the First Friends office to do this).  More info regarding this event will be provided closer to that day.

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” ~ Sentence Search ~ Someone says a sentence, like “This is fun.” Then everybody else tries to find things that begin with the first letter of each word. In this case, maybe you’d find a thistle (T), an iris (I) and a fountain (F). Start with short sentences and then try some longer ones.
 From 52 Nature Activities by Lynn Gordon, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.