As Way Opens
I have reflected on this message and struggled with what to say today with the continued gun violence and death of officers and victims and the significant personal mourning that I have been experiencing over the last week. I tried to separate these feelings but I just can’t write anything today that doesn’t bring all of this together.
We are mourning the death of so many - the officers in Dallas and victims killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. We have no idea of the number of deaths every day in each state that are the result of guns, hatred, drugs and a lack of understanding of being a beloved child of God. I don’t know what to do. There is a sense of hopelessness. And then I am hit with a deep sense of personal mourning related to the projected selling of our home that we built 19 years ago (which no one has shown interest in), the loss of memories, the loss of my husband, the sense that I am no longer married and disappointments in some relationships. I am mourning on a national and personal level. It can be hard to move forward with the weight of this reality. I have struggled to find balance. I realize that I am grieving personally and collectively.
I have found that when we are down, God often gives us a book, a call from a wise friend or an insight that is just what we need at that moment in time. I experienced this over the weekend as I started reading Anne Lamott ’s book Traveling Mercies - Anne is deeply spiritual, full of simple insight and irreverent in her comprehension of our lives. This book was what I needed over the weekend. In particular I was touched by her concept of grace: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” Wow - that is the kind of grace I need right now. I will be transformed by this grace and my life won’t be what it was because God’s grace has found me.
How do we move forward with the realities of this evil world? How do we live with the grief of our losses and changes? How do we know that we are going to be safe?
We put one foot in front of the other with the grace of God that will give us a glimmer of hope in our darkest of times. Even when we don’t see any way forward, there will always be a third way. We must have faith in this possibility because of grace. We can have this faith because we have experienced it and seen it before. When we experienced many dark moments, we can look back and see that a way opened that we could not have expected. We must hold onto the idea that even when we feel despair, there is a third way.
I am praying that we can all experience God’s grace that changes hearts and minds and gives us a way forward that we could not have imagined. Do not lose hope, because grace is powerful.
Joys & Concerns
I’m home, and glad to be so! It was an honor to travel to sessions of Friends General Conference and United Society of Friends Women International during these past ten days, presenting workshops and messages at each one. I look forward to sharing about these visits with you all! -Ruthie
A big thank you to Maltie and Larry who hosted 22 of us at the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana last Sunday. We had a wonderful learning and sharing experience of this ancient religion. The Hindu’s have a variety of shrines that are different representations of the Deity and based on one's family background and location, one worships a specific representation of God. It is interesting that we all have a bit different representation of God and create our own image to worship based on many factors. A reminder that our different world religions are more alike than we can imagine.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please note! Due to Western Yearly Meeting there will be no Monthly Meeting this Sunday.
Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are coming up this weekend July 14-17 in Plainfield! Here’s a schedule of some of the major events you might enjoy coming to. Check out the WYM website here for more information.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 9:30: Scott Wagoner, North Carolina Yearly Meeting will speak; Scott presented at WYM Spring Retreat
Thursday, July 14th:
7:00 Piano/Organ Concert by Joe and Tom Roberts
7:30 Quaker Lecture with Jonathan Vogel Borne; ‘The Mark of True Discipleship – The Flourishing of Faith, Truth, and Love Among Us’
You’ll find information about Jonathan here: http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2014/documents/about-jonathan-vogel-borne-and-his-keynote-address/
Friday, July 15th:
1:45-3:15 Alternatives to Violence/Help Increase the Peace Workshop with Jonathan Vogel Borne and his wife Minga Caggett Borne. An interactive and informative time together.
7:00 Dessert and Dialogue at the Conversation Café; Young Friends will host a discussion about topics to strengthen our multi-generational relationships and the Yearly Meeting.
Saturday, July 16th:
6:00 Mission Banquet USFW will gather in the Dining Hall. Quaker Men will gather at Friends Apartment Homes on the Yearly Meeting Campus.
Sunday, July 17th:
9:30 Faith, Truth, and Love in Music! Ruthie Tippin and Shawn Porter will lead a concert of Yearly Meeting Friends, including Jim and Leslie Kartholl and Jon Tippin from First Friends Meeting.
10:30 Meeting for Worship; Scott Wagoner speaking. Recording Recognition of Beth Henricks and Katherine Murray.
Back at First Friends, Amy Perry will convene unprogrammed worship in the parlor this Sunday from 10:15 - 11:15. Children are welcome to head to the nursery with Tom and Lori Heusel for games and play outside.
Drivers needed - We have invited children from Iglesias Amigos (Quaker Spanish Church) to join us for Vacation Bible School. They have come the past couple of years and it has added to our experience. This year, Karla Moran is not able to drive them because she is getting married in Kansas. The children have no way to get to First Friends. We are looking for anyone who is available to pick up kids in the Westfield area around 6:00pm and bring them to First Friends and take them back to the church in Westfield at 8:30 (Monday - Thursday)? We also need a pick up kids from the Irvington area at 6:00 to bring them to First Friends. Beth will take this group of kids home each evening (Monday - Thursday). Please let Beth (email@example.com) know if you could help in this way.
Wednesday Supper before Worship - Since the closing of the Broad Ripple MCL, Friends have been searching for a new location to meet to eat before Unprogrammed Worship on Wednesdays. For those interested, Friends will be meeting for supper Wednesday evenings between 5:30 and 6:00 pm at the Marsh Supermarket's Soup and Salad Bar at 2350 Broad Ripple Avenue, at least through the month of July before Silent Worship. The worship gathering begins at 7:00 in the Parlor.
Vacation Bible School is only twelve days 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 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. We’re registering now! To sign up your kids, there are registration forms in the hallway! Contact Beth with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading women will be gathering Tuesday July 26th in the parlor at 7 pm. Catherine will be leading the discussion for the novel Lila by Marilynne Robinson. If you are interested in being on the email list please contact the office.
Future 2016 Oak Leaf novels will be:
August 30 - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
September 27 - The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
October 25 - All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
November 29 - The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
December 27 - The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
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 (email@example.com) know if you’re interested in volunteering!
Trunks of Treasures - Shalom Zone Garage Sale - On July 30 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.
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. We’d also like to extend our thanks to the gardeners who are weeding and mowing!
Save the Date! IFCL Film showing! IFCL Presents the documentary film “Quakers – That of God in Everyone”. This 90-minute documentary will introduce you to untold stories of Friends from the American Heartland who profoundly influenced the course of American history, simply by seeing that of God in everyone. The IFCL will be showing the film on Friday, August 19 at 7:00pm in the parlor. Quaker scholar and author Paul Buckley, who provides commentary throughout the film, will lead us in discussion at the conclusion. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Picture it: A Jewish wedding – “l'chaim, mozeltov!” Buddhists chanting, a turbaned Sikh on a large white stallion, dancers, songs and prayers in different languages........and a large array of Quakers with messages of peace, love and light. These are some of the things you might see and hear at the Festival of Faiths on September 18 at the Veterans War Memorial from 1:00 – 5:00pm.
The idea is to have a large Quaker presence including First Friends Meeting, Plainfield, Fairfield, Valley Mills and others as well as AFSC, FCNL, IFCL and other Quaker organizations.
We are inviting everyone to attend and we are asking people to help with the Quaker area representation. We need a few people to help set up, take down and attend the booth. It is not necessary to be present the whole time. Come anytime that works for you and any time you can give will be appreciated. If you are interested in helping or want more information contact the office.
Leave a green footprint! ~ 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.
Tip #2: We can take care of our toys and games and share them when we are done with them.
NEW TIP: Tip #3: We can wrap presents with the Sunday news comics to reduce the number of trees cut for paper.
From 16 Things Kids can do to Help Care for the Earth, by Dana Kester-McCabe, 2006.