As Way Opens
Hello Friends! After two weeks of travel, Jon and I have returned home. We had an incredible trip, revisiting some places and seeing new sites that we’d never seen in England, Scotland, the Isle of Barra (in the Outer Hebrides), and the Isle of Man. It was wonderful to see again the places where George Fox and the early Friends gathered, to visit castles and coastlines, to meet new people and make new friends. Wherever we went, there was always one conversation going - Brexit. It didn’t matter where we were – the news broadcasts and personal conversations were centered on the referendum of the United Kingdom's membership in the European Union. What would it be… to Leave or Remain?
On Friday morning, June 24th, Jon and I woke up at Dylan and Elspeth MacNeil’s home on the tiny island of Barra – now a bed and breakfast – to discover that the UK had voted to leave. After breakfast, the news came that the Prime Minister had resigned. So much change in just a day! We couldn’t believe it. Dylan and Elspeth were surprised. I think everyone was. Scotland voted to remain, but the UK had chosen to leave. ‘Many Britons are scrambling to apply for passports from countries within the E.U., as a way to stay in the bloc even as their country waves goodbye.’ Their world was topsy-turvy.
This all stands to remind me of how interconnected we are – politically, economically, personally… Even when we part company, relationships matter. How do we disentangle reliance and interests we’ve held with others? Hopefully, with grace and care. Friend Joshua Rowntree wrote in 1913: “All enlargements of the circle of man’s life bring their fresh difficulties. The early Friends worked ever from the centre of life to the circumference. Their work came out splendidly true, and it was never shallow.’
It is our work to do to respond rather than react to change. The Quaker ideal of remaining centered regardless of the shifts in our personal lives or the lives of our community, our nation and our world depends on our willingness to listen, until we’ve heard God speak. What does our experience of God teach us? What does our understanding of ourselves in a larger context tell us? Are we rehearsing our own thoughts or are we truly listening for God’s voice? How do we connect, even in times of stress? How do we hear what others are saying?
Whether we’re on the Isle of Man or in the island of our own family and friends, we are connected. Regardless of the results at the ballot box, we are all a part of humankind – God’s created expression of the image of God. In this time of partisan politics, hate speech, and cruel acts against those considered ‘other’, we must remember to live and work from the Center out, and not from the circumference in. The closer we come to the Center, the closer we become to one another. I vote to remain in the Center.
Considering the Quote:
In the afternoon the people gathered about me, with several of their preachers. It was judged there were above a thousand people; to whom I declared God's everlasting truth and Word of life freely and largely for about the space of three hours. I directed all to the Spirit of God in themselves; that they might be turned from darkness to Light, and believe in it; that they might become the children of it, and might be turned from the power of Satan unto God, and by the Spirit of truth might be led into all truth, and sensibly understand the words of the prophets, of Christ, and of the apostles; and might all come to know Christ to be their teacher to instruct them, their counsellor to direct them, their shepherd to feed them, their bishop to oversee them, and their prophet to open divine mysteries to them; and might know their bodies to be prepared, sanctified, and made fit temples for God and Christ to dwell in. In the openings of heavenly life I explained unto them the prophets, and the figures and shadows, and directed them to Christ, the substance. George Fox, 1652 at Firbank Fell
Joys & Concerns
Happy 4th of July! We hope you have a fun and safe Independence Day weekend! Please note the office will be closed Monday, July 5th in observance of the holiday.
Pray for Istanbul. Pray for the World. Not only glass and metal, but families have been shattered, lives have been lost, and the pervading fear of terrorist attacks continues. We pray for those who were injured, and whose families have lost loved ones in the bombing of the airport in Turkey. We pray for an end of terror and fear. And, we continue to work for peace. Let us be courageous.
This past Sunday, 16 adults and young people from First Friends and from the Muslim community joined together to serve clients and stock shelves at the Mid North Food Pantry. A big thank you for all who helped serve. The leaders of the Food Pantry were so pleased to see our faith communities come together in support of helping the clients of Mid North.
nnouncements, Reports, & Opportunities
Calling all ice cream lovers! First Friends will be working at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday August 13th all day. This is a major fundraiser for our youth programming. We plan to have two 6 hour shifts, 9:30am-3:30pm, and 3:30-9:30pm. It is fast paced but lots of fun! Please let Beth (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you’re interested in volunteering!
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 at email@example.com. For more information about the work of IFCL visit www.quakerifcl.org
Vegetable Garden - We are in need of a galvanized garbage can to help our vegetable garden! This garbage canister may be large or small but it will need to have a tight lid. It will be used to sanitize tools and will need to keep fumes inside. Our community garden also has flowers if anyone is interested in helping with those. If you’d like to help out, please contact the office.
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.
Hindu Temple Visit—Friends will be visiting the Hindu Temple (www.htci.org) at 3350 N. German Church Rd on Sunday July 10th. We will meet at the Temple at 9:15 and get a tour and will join their service at 10:00. Maltie who is a member of the Temple will join us there. If you would like to caravan from the Meeting, please be in the parking lot at 8:45 a.m. Let Beth know if you want to attend—firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seasoned Friends for all folks somewhere around retirement age will be Wednesday, July 13. This is our annual picnic with fried chicken, potato salad and other salads provided. Please RSVP to Kathy (email@example.com) so we can know how much chicken to buy. While you're marking your calendar, put October 12 down for the fall seasoned friends with our annual weenie roast!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: http://www.westernyearlymeeting.org/wymsessions 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 the office.
Take me out to the BALL GAME! Join First Friends on Sunday, August 7th at 1:30 PM to see the Indianapolis Indians! This is a time of fun for anyone to join in from First Friends and ticket costs will be free! Contact Beth if you’re interested (email@example.com).
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 www.festivaloffaiths.com.
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 the First Friends office to do this). More info regarding this event will be provided closer to that day.
Quaker Kids Book Club! Join the club – check out a book! The Children’s Library has been moved to a great new spot, and we have LOTS of wonderful books for kids to read. Be sure to watch for the red Quaker “Q”, showing books about Quakers! They’re great. If you sign out a book, you’ve joined the club! Here’s a bit about one of our new books: Maria’s Comet, by Deborah Hopkinson. “Loosely based on the childhood of Quaker Maria (pronounced ma-RYE-ah) Mitchell, America’s first woman astronomer, here is an exquisitely told story of a girl who years for adventure beyond her limited circumstances, and sets out to follow her heart.” Check it out!
NEW ~ Leave a green footprint! ~ For the next 16 weeks, we will be featuring “16 Things Kids can do to Help Care for the Earth.” Each week we will be a new tip that you can try with your children to help keep the Earth healthy!
The Earth is an amazing and beautiful place. All its riches will last, so long as we learn to use only what we need.
How can we best use the Earth’s gifts?
Tip #1: We can appreciate our food, and try not to waste it.
From 16 Things Kids can do to Help Care for the Earth, by Dana Kester-McCabe, 2006.