As Way Opens
On Monday, Beth and I attended a pastor’s conference at Earlham School of Religion led by author and pastor Mandy Smith from Cincinnati, Ohio. Mandy and I had met a little over a year ago at a conference in Seattle. On both occasions her talk was on her book, “The Vulnerable Pastor: How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry.” Mandy is focusing on a topic that is not that popular in our world, today -- weakness. Her intent is to help us see how “God’s strength is made known in our weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I don’t know about you, but I do not like to be confronted with my limitations. [Our family even has a sign prominently displayed in our home that reads “Live Without Limits.”] And for that matter, most people rarely find themselves boasting about their limitations or weaknesses, especially in public. Let’s be honest, weakness is often categorized and defined by our fears and lack of trust and confidence. Why would anyone want to talk about those things? Aren’t we a people who are meant to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, suck it up, and be strong - NOT WEAK?
In her book, “The Vulnerable Pastor,” Mandy quotes the late Brennan Manning where he says,
“The American Church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice….We believe that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps -- instead, we can do it ourselves. Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency. Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut...Our huffing and puffing to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our pettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat out denial of the gospel of grace.”
I sense Mandy to be prophetic in her challenge to us as ministers - which remember we ALL are as Quakers. She asks us to take time to reflect on our weaknesses, allowing it to be a process where trust may be built, inner wrestling take place, and humility embraced. When we face persecutions, difficulties, hardships, may we not be left asking, “Why am I not ________enough” (you fill in the blank for yourself), but rather seeking our best ministry and life to grow out of our reliance on God and collaboration with him.
As Mandy states,
“Our call is to see beyond the gloss and comfort of life in the developed world, to avoid the violence of a quick fix, to learn to listen for the sucking sound of that “forever empty.” Our call is to admit how much we lack, how deeply we yearn. It may take losing our influence, our wealth, our connections, our institutions, our technology and everything else that gives us a sense of power for us to finally say, “We need you, God! It will then be our task to wait and watch what becomes of the space we have left for him to fill.”
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
The Thornburgs are heading to Belize! The Thornburgs left for Belize early this morning. After a layover in Atlanta they will be headed directly to Belize. We pray for their safe travels and fruitful work with the school in Belize. They will return on October 15th. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped make this possible!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Gentle Yoga notice ~ Please note that there will be no gentle yoga this Friday, October 6th.
Notice: Since Dan Lee will be out of town for a 10 day work trip, there will be no class for the Christ Among Quakers course for the next two weeks.
Calling all green thumbs! The community gardeners will have a meeting today, October 4th at 7 pm at the meeting house to discuss fall clean up and plans for the next gardening season. Please join if you are a current gardener or are interested in joining next spring! Please contact the office if you have any questions.
October Monthly Meeting ~ Please note, the Monthly Meeting to Conduct Business for October is being moved to Sunday, October 22 (fourth Sunday), so as to not cause conflict with the Festival of Faiths. We hope you will be a part of the festival – see below for more info!
NEW Sunday Yoga Classes - Yoga is a practice well suited to the Quaker experience. (Or, is yoga an experience well suited to the Quaker practice? ☺) We will explore asana practice, meditation, and breathwork as a way to experience inner Light. Several varieties of yoga practice will be explored, such as yin yoga, vinyasa yoga, and restorative yoga. The class is open to all levels and members of the class will help determine the content of the practice. Class will be offered once monthly, on the second Sunday, from 11:45-12:45ish in the Parlor with an opportunity for a pitch-in lunch immediately following. The first session will be this Sunday, October 8. If you’d like to contribute to the class, any goodwill offerings are appreciated!
Shalom Zone Electronics Recycling Event ~ If an item runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery, you can recycle it! This includes (but is not limited to) appliances, TVs, DVD/VCRs, gaming consoles, fax machines, Christmas tree lights, calculators, toner cartridges, hair dryers, and more! The Shalom Zone is holding their annual Recycle Force event at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Road, on Saturday, October 7, 10am-2pm. Please bring any items you wish to recycle to Epworth on the day of the event. A $10 donation is requested for CRT type monitors/TVs smaller than 27”; a $20 donation is requested for appliances containing Freon (fridges, freezers, A/C units, etc) and TVs larger than 27”; any other monetary contributions are also greatly appreciated.
a gathering of men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and beverages are enjoyed.
Please join us for Threshing at the Tap! Bob Henry will lead conversation at various local craft breweries at 7pm every 3rd Thursday of the month. The first gathering will take place October 19th at Blind Owl Brewery, 5014 E. 62nd St. Please join us for this, or any subsequent gatherings! View the flyer here for more info and for future brewery locations: https://goo.gl/NkXUDF.
Silent Auction and Talent Show! ~ Friends, music can lift us all up into the light! We have installed a lift in the choir room which means that the choir room had to move which means that we need a new piano. We are having a talent show/silent auction to raise money for the new piano. Do you have a secret talent? Do you have something to share? We are looking for your talents. Please contact the office about the talent show. Please contact Janis Crawford about the silent auction. For the silent auction we need anything but clothes. Own Colts season tickets you can’t use? Have a son or daughter who can cut grass? Maybe an old piece of furniture you don’t need? Maybe someone else can use these things! Please donate items and leave them on the stage clearly marked for the silent auction. Please plan to attend November 11 at 7pm for Quaker talent night and silent auction!
Youth Invasion! Russiaville Friends is hosting a Youth Invasion on Sunday, October 8th, 5-8pm! Come out and invade the town of Russiaville as Western Yearly Meeting launches their new year-long theme, SPOKEN: In Red Letters. All youth grades 7-12 invited. There will be pizza served at 5pm, and program starts at 6:15. If you love Quaker haven camp then you’ll love this! If you’re interested, please let them know you are coming and how many friends you are bringing: Russiaville Friends Church: 765-883-5986.
Women’s Fashion Fundraiser For “Right Sharing of World Resources” ~ In order to benefit “Right Sharing of World Resources”, Sara Edgerton will host a fashion fundraiser for First Friends members, attenders and friends on Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th in the Parlor. Mark your calendars, and plan to attend! Two independent stylists from cabi (an international fashion company owned by women) will share the cabi Fall 2017 fashion line during short trunk shows with a pop-up boutique at our church. A portion of their sales during the fundraiser will be donated to “Right Sharing of World Resources”. Please call the church at 317-255-2485 to reserve your spot, or for more information and to receive a cabi invitation.. RSVPs will be necessary. Trunk show times for both days are: 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm at First Friends. Bring a friend along. If you are not familiar with the cabi clothing line, you can visit independent cabi stylist Abby Marmion’s website at: AbigailMarmion.CabiOnline.com to preview the clothes.
Full Circle Festival ~ Please join us downtown for Full Circle Fest on Saturday, October 14, 3-8pm! This is a FREE festival and a fundraiser for refugees in Indianapolis, organized by our own Ben W. It is a celebration of culture, reflecting the diversity of Indianapolis through food, music, and storytelling. We will be using half of the circle to highlight four musical acts and four stories told by refugees in Indianapolis. Food trucks will provide refreshments, non-profits will set up booths to educate about the issue, artists will share their work, and diverse communities will gather in celebration. The festival will culminate with a collective art project. For more information, please visit https://www.fullcirclefest.com/. The festival is also still in need of volunteers, so if you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drumming, Gospel singers, a Jewish wedding, a regal rider on a large white steed, dancers, chanting monks.....and smiling Quakers! These are some of the things you might see at the Festival of Faiths on October the 15th at Veterans Memorial Plaza downtown. Once again we hope to have a good Quaker presence at the festival. We need volunteers to help set up, sit at tables and help take everything down at the end of the day. Set up will begin at 12:00pm and the festival officially opens at 1:00pm. Take down will begin 5:00pm. There will be a poster board sign-up in the hallway at the entrance to the main lobby in the meeting house. SIGN UP FOR WHATEVER TIME COMMITMENT WORKS FOR YOU! You can be there all day as I plan to be or you can sign up for a 30 minute shift. We particularly need people to help set up and take down. If you have any question or comments talk to Ed M. or contact the office at email@example.com.
Fall Festival! ~ Meridian Street Preschool Co-Op (MSPC) will be hosting their annual Fall Festival on Saturday October 21st from 4-6pm. First Friends attenders and members are welcome to attend and be a part of this fun evening. There will be a bounce house, their annual chili cook-off, crafts, food, games, prizes, and more! Please join us!
Friendly Visitors... please plan to join Circle of Care for an Appreciation Luncheon in the parlor this Sunday October 29 after Meeting for Worship in the Parlor to thank YOU for your participation in this important ministry! In addition, if you are not currently a "friendly visitor", but have interest in this ministry and becoming a friendly visitor, please join us at the luncheon and learn more about it! Please RSVP to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are more new books recently added to our library by the library committee and ready for you to check out. By publication dates and themes, one book is an historical classic, one contains the voices of youth, and one in the middle, having been published in 2003.
Friends for 350 Years
By Howard Brinton
Both Brinton and his book are Quaker classics. He was a founder and long-term director of Pendle Hill. His book "chronicles the Quaker movement in its liberal tradition, articulating principles and practices of this non-creedal faith and its testimonies of non-violence. After its 11th printing in 1997, it was reprinted in 2002 with an historical update and notes by Margaret Hope Bacon.
Chapter 10 contains an interesting discussion: "Present day democracies are devolving into the authoritative state because human selfishness cannot produce its opposite which is human inter-dependence. Brinton views Christian religion as a way toward an integrated life of co-operation because people unite in the Light of the holy Spirit.
The appendix contains Queries from Philadelphia 1955 and from 2000.
Citizenship: A Christian Calling
By Lon Fendall
The author is a graduate of George Fox University, holds a PhD from the University of Oregon and worked as campaign manager for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, who is quoted often in the book. Fendall combines Hatfield's comments and quotes from Wilberforce with lively Old Testament accounts where faith and politics collide. Chapters conclude with brief contemporary incidents illustrating each point, such as integrity, truth, prayer, compassion, and loyalty.
Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices
Edited by ten young volunteers connected with QUIP (Quakers in Publication)
A collection of short essays along with some poems and photographs by Quakers across the US and some from other countries. The authors are mostly in their 20's and 30's. Graduates of Quaker colleges and universities are well represented. Sampling a few items, I found them engaging, heart-felt and generous in the sharing spiritual insights and growth.
ICPN Conference ~ You are cordially invited to the Indiana Center for Parish Nursing (ICPN) conference on Friday, November 3, 2017 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The location is Faith Lutheran Church 2200 S. High St., Bloomington, IN 47401. The topic is “Tools for Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers”. The Keynote Speaker is Philip Gulley, author, pastor, & humorist. Additional speakers will provide tools for your ministries. The cost is $25 ($10 students) which includes conference fee, lunch and the ICPN annual dues. You are also invited to participate as an Exhibitor or Poster Presentation. The Vendor fee is $25 which includes 1 lunch, table, & chair. (Discount available for 501C organizations). Vendor names will appear in the handouts given to all participants. See the brochure here: https://goo.gl/brX5eQ, or for more information visit http://www.indianaparishnurses.org/.