As Way Opens

How do we connect our inward and outward selves?  I have been reading Parker Palmer’s book The Active Life and reflecting on the story he shares from Chuang Tsu called The Woodcarver:  "Khing, the master carver, made a bell stand of precious wood.  When it was finished, all who saw it were astounded.  They said it must be the work of spirits.  The Prince of Lu said to the master carver:  What is your secret? Khing replied:  I am only a workman:  I have no secret.  There is only this:  When I began to think about the work you commanded I guarded my spirit, did not expend it on trifles, that were not to the point.  I fasted in order to set my heart at rest.  After three days fasting, I had forgotten gain and success.  After five days I had forgotten praise or criticism.  After seven days I had forgotten my body with all its limbs.    By this time all thought of your Highness and of the court had faded away.  All that might distract me from the work had vanished.  I was collected in the single thought of the bell stand. Then I went to the forest to see the trees in their own natural state.  When the right tree appeared before my eyes, the bell stand also appeared in it, clearly, beyond doubt.  All I had to do was to put forth my hand and begin.  If I had not met this particular tree there would have been no bell stand at all.  What happened?  My own collected thought encountered the hidden potential in the wood; from this live encounter came the work which you ascribe to the spirits.”  I have been unpacking the elements to this story over the last week as I reflect on my life.  Why am I doing what I am doing?  Do I move from an internal sense of authority or driven by expectations of others?  Do my fears paralyze me from action?  How am I spending my time to nurture my inner being?  How do I develop an inner awareness to really listen to God?   Important queries to ask ourselves as we seek to live into an authentic, spirit filled life of meaning and action.


Joys & Concerns  

Thanks to all who contributed to the FUM Summer Project...Power To Pastors.  Individuals of First Friends gave $1,068.38 to this project and this total will be matched by monies from the Howard Taylor fund.  That’s over $2,100 towards this worthy cause.  A big THANK YOU to all who helped to make this effort a smashing success! 

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities  

Our 3rd through 5th Grade Sunday School Class is in need of a teacher.  Class begins Sunday September 11th. It will be from 9:00 - 10:00 and we have a curriculum provided for volunteers. If interested, please contact the Office. Your help is appreciated!

Travel with Tippin! ~ Sunday, August 28th during Fellowship Hour:  Jon will be sharing stories and pictures from the Tippin’s recent trip to England, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Barra.  Of particular interest are pictures from ‘1652 Country’ – the area of England where Quakerism began.  Grab a cup of ‘joe’, and visit Jon… in the Parlor!  

Underneath It All – First Friends eighth annual underwear drive ends August 31st!  We are asking for donations of new underwear, as well as socks, t-shirts, bras, etc, from toddler to adult sizes! Cash or checks are also accepted and may be made out to First Friends and placed in offertory plates if labeled as donations to the Underwear Drive.  Contact the office if you have questions.  

Tutors needed! - We are looking for volunteers to help tutor children in grades 1, 3, and Kindergarten. Tutoring is done at the Lawrence North Library, helping kids with reading and homework. Time slots are available on Mondays and Thursdays, 4pm-5:15pm. Any time you can give is appreciated, even once per week, twice per month, etc. Anyone who wants to volunteer for any number of times is appreciated. It all helps! If interested, contact the office.

Which stream do you swim in most easily? - Sign up for discussions about six different streams of faith, as we move through “Streams of Living Water’ in sermons and study this September/October.  It all begins Sunday, September 4th!

Streams of Faith, The Prayer-Filled Life – Contemplative Tradition
The Virtuous Life – Holiness Tradition
The Spirit-Empowered Life – Charismatic Tradition
The Compassionate Life – Social Justice Tradition
The Word-Centered Life – Evangelical Tradition
The Sacramental Life - Incarnational Tradition

Contact the Office or Ruthie if you’d like to lead or join.

Adult Sunday School at First Friends Meeting begin Sunday, September 11th at 9:00am.  Here are the choices for Fall Semester.  Take a look and see what interests you most!

  • Coffee Circle/Wired Word; current news events discussed in the light of scripture, and our response as Quakers to what’s happening in the world today.
  • Seeking Friends; ‘Our Life is Love – The Quaker Spiritual Journey’ describes the transformational spiritual journey of the first Quakers, who turned to the Light of Christ within and allowed it to be their guide. Focusing on ten elements of the journey, this book is a guide to a Spirit-filled life that affects this world.
  • Old Testament Overview; a consideration of the writings of the Old Testament - their stories and significance in our lives today.  
  • Couples Tune-Up; a chance to check ‘under the hood’ and consider challenges that all couples face.  A query-based group discussion class.  
  • Choir, directed by Shawn Porter: rehearses each Sunday morning at 9:00 in the Choir Room

Oak Leaf Ladies:  Book club will be meeting at Pat's home to discuss “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout on Tuesday, August 30th at 6:30 pm.  Please feel free to bring a friend.  Pat will be serving a lovely dessert for all to enjoy during the discussion.   If you plan to attend, or if you are interested in being on the mailing list for the Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading please contact the office.

MSPC has some openings! Meridian Street Preschool now has two available spots for children in the Tuesday/Thursday 3/4 class for the 2016-2017 school year. Interested families can email 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 make our water supply last?
Tip #1: We can turn off faucets so they don’t drip.
Tip #2: We can take shorter showers – and baths with less water – and still get very clean.
Tip #3: We can save water when we brush our teeth – by turning it off until we need to rinse.
Tip #4:  We can take good care of our clothes so they don’t need to be washed so often. 
rom 16 Things Kids can do to Help Care for the Earth, by Dana Kester-McCabe, 2006.