As Way Opens
I have been extremely contemplative this week. If you follow me on Facebook, you will have noticed I have started my mornings in our meditational woods at First Friends. It has been brisk, still, and painted with all the colors of the artist’s palette. Each moment has been filled with wonder and anticipation for the new day ahead. Some mornings the sun has been out and changed the perspectives and experiences. The shafts of sunlight beaming through the trees have been breathtaking and have had me pausing in moments of pure awe.
As the leaves slowly fell to the ground, and I watched the squirrels prepare for winter, I was reminded once again that Fall is a season of changing - physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This morning, I began my day looking at the beauty as I drove to the office, I saw an amazing sun rise that in minutes became a gloomy rainy scene. Life changes sometimes from beauty to dreary and we have a hard time seeing all the good that is still there.
As I was reflecting on this, I was listening to John Mayer’s new album. One of the tracks on this album is a song, “Changing.” As I listened, I was reminded about how there are seasons of our lives. Some are more beautiful and others are rather dreary, yet if we miss the opportunity to see the change in the present moment, we will miss the new life around the corner waiting to blossom. As John Mayer sang, his words spoke to my soul.
I am not done changing.
Out on the run, changing.
I may be old and I may be young,
But I am not done changing.
Folks, we are not done changing. We are experiencing new things, new people, new perspectives all the time. No matter how old or young we are - change is happening, and beauty awaits if we are willing to be patient and have eyes to see. Embrace the moment of change. See it for all it is worth, and remember it when the seasons change to more dreary days. It will be the hope that carries you through.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Thanks to all who participated in the recent blood drive at First Friends. 10 folks participated and provide 11 units of blood. You may have helped to save a life!
We had a packed Meetinghouse last Friday at First Friends as we hosted “Words Matter! Writing for Healing, Action, and Change” (below). We featured four talented writers—Philip Gulley, Diana Ensign, Amber Denney, and Barbara Shoup—and they explored the power of words to spark compassion, dialogue, and positive change.
Last Saturday we had our Talent Show and Silent Auction to raise money for a new piano. Thank you to all who came, especially all those who lent their talents at the show, and those who participated in our auction. Also many thanks to everyone who donated items for the auction! What a great night! Find photos and video on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Indyfriends!
Norma W visited longtime member Marilyn O in Texas. Norma had a good visit with Marilyn. They went through old FF directories that go back to 1948! So glad to hear from this lovely lady!
Happy Birthday! Carolyn H brought this cake for the members of our Wednesday spiritual growth group who have birthdays in November. Ed, Joyce, and Helen. Happy birthday to these three, and thank you to Carolyn for being so thoughtful!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Threshing at the Tap - A few weeks ago, Pastor Bob shared in his sermon that middle-aged men are becoming socially isolated at an alarming rate in our country. To address this trend, we are providing men an opportunity to build some social connection and conversation with a new opportunity:
Threshing at the Tap: (def.) 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.
Threshing at the Tap will take place every third Thursday, 7pm at various breweries in greater Indianapolis.
Our next Threshing at the Tap will be this Thursday night (November 16) 7pm at Four Day Ray Brewing, 11671 Lantern Rd, Fishers.
United Christmas Service Project ~ First Friends is once again partnering with United Christmas Service (“UCS”) to provide a bit of Christmas cheer to families that lack sufficient funds to purchase gifts for their family members. But things have changed at UCS. This year, instead of purchasing gifts for families, UCS is asking that funds be donated so that vouchers can be provided to needy families. UCS is partnering with certain merchants (Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger, Dollar Store, and others) to accept the vouchers. The vouchers cannot be used for alcohol or tobacco products and cannot be exchanged for cash. UCS has determined that this is a better process to allow families to purchase exactly what they need. UCS will distribute vouchers sufficient to provide $30/person in each family. A family of four would receive a voucher for $120. First Friends will begin receiving donations for this project on Sunday, Nov-19. We encourage donations be made no later than Sunday, Dec-3 so that monies collected can be forwarded to UCS and then vouchers sent out by UCS a week or so before Christmas. You can send your donations to the First Friends’ office, put a check in the offering plate, or take an envelope from the Christmas tree and deposit your donation in the box by the tree. Please make checks payable to First Friends and make a notation that the check is for UCS. Thanks for helping to brighten the holidays for a family in need.
College Care packages for our students - It is time to send college care packages to our students as they prepare for their midterms at school. We will have a box out this Sunday for you to provide goodies like nuts, candy, cookies and other treats. If you would rather donate money, the office will purchase items for the boxes. This year we will also be mailing packages to our Friends Educational Fund (FEF) Scholarship recipients. This means we need a total of 39 of each item donated. We will be mailing them December 1st so we need your support this week. If you are bringing in treats, please provide enough for all 39 students.
Our Friend Doug Smith from Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) has written an article about the organization for Western Friend, the official publication of Quakers in Pacific, North Pacific, and Intermountain Yearly Meetings. In the article he shares an experience he had here at First Friends Meeting during RSWR’s Jubilee celebration in April this past year. He talks about the children’s message that day (given by Beth) and how clearly it illustrated the idea behind RSWR. You can read the article in full here: https://goo.gl/BEmWpo
Vespers is Fast Approaching! Vespers is coming December 3rd. If you would like to participate but can’t come to choir on Sundays, please come November 18th at 10:00AM to learn the music with the choir. We would love to have you join us for this joyous occasion! ~Eric & the Choir
Oak Leaf: Meeting For Reading ~ Anyone interested is invited to attend our 4th Annual Potluck Lasagna Holiday Dinner at Ruth K’s house on November 28th at 6:30 pm. We will be discussing The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. Bring a friend, a side dish and a book from home for our annual holiday book swap. Read ahead for next month, our next discussion will be The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian on December 26th at 7 pm in the parlor.
Royal Sensation Choir Performance in Meeting ~ On Sunday, December 3rd, we are pleased to welcome the Royal Sensation choir from Hamilton Southeastern High School. Royal Sensation is under the direction of Shawn P. Please join us in Meeting that day to hear their performance. An offering will be taken to help support their choir.
Calling All Gardeners! Please clean up your garden plots. Let Samantha R or Nancy S know by Thanksgiving if you want to retain your plot for next year. Inform us if you are willing to trade plots. List what you planted so we can keep records to help monitor insects, disease and to assist with crop rotation. To winterize:
· Put diseased crops & weeds in the trash bin.
· Put healthy garden waste in the compost bin beside the garage.
· Sanitize your garden tools, tomato cages, etc.
· If you want, dig in dead leaves to fertilize.
Better care now makes a healthier garden next year!
This Little Light of Mine after Charlottesville ~ The poem Catherine S read at the Labor of love Meeting for Worship has been published. To access the poem, visit the link below and follow instructions to access an internal link. The poem is in page 9 of the publication. http://indymenno.org/2017/11/power-fall-issue-of-mennoexpressions/ Enjoy!
Ecumenical Thanksgiving ~ Tuesday evening, November 21st at 7:00 is the date and time set for our annual Shalom Zone Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, this year at St. Pius X Catholic Church (7200 Sarto Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46240). Everyone is welcome! First Friends, Cross and Crown, Allisonville Christian, and St. Pius congregations will join together in worship and song, as we give thanks to God for the many gifts and graces we receive. Join us in thanksgiving!
Grief Gathering on Sunday November 26th after Meeting for Worship - Circle of Care is hosting a lunch and discussion for those who have experienced a loss of a family member or cherished friend. This lunch and time together is a tangible way our Meeting is demonstrating our care for each other during times of sadness. We will also be featuring guest speaker Dan Mosley, author of Lose, Love, Live: The Spiritual Gifts of Loss and Change. We invite anyone that is interested in gathering with others to share and reflect on the experience of loss. Feel free to bring any family members. Please contact the office (email@example.com) if you plan to attend. This event is hosted by our Circle of Care.
Greening the Statehouse ~ Don't miss the largest annual gathering of environmentally-minded citizens in the state! It will be held Saturday, December 2nd, 9am-4pm at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds! Greening the Statehouse (#GTS2017) will be a day full of opportunities to become a better advocate for the environment, public health, and a sustainable economy. This year GTS will be a day of how-to’s: how to organize in your community, how to engage with lawmakers, how to communicate with the media, and so many more; we will focus on practical and necessary skills that should be in every advocate’s toolbox! Don't miss out on the chance to get informed and inspired by Mitch Hescox, one of the most well-known conservative advocates for the environment in the country, who is working tirelessly to engage Americans across the political and faith spectrum. Tickets are $25 each ($10 students). For more information and to register, please visit www.hecweb.org/get-involved/gts2017.
Vespers Annual Concert~ On Sunday, December 3 at 5:00 pm we invite you to attend our annual Vespers concert, that will preview the many talented musicians, singers, and artists of our Meeting. Our choir and hand bell choir have been practicing hard for this concert, and it should be quite a delight. Following the concert there will be a complimentary light buffet, hosted by our Fellowship Committee. Plan to join us for the evening!
Christmas Calendar at First Friends Meeting
‘Royal Sensation Choir’ in Meeting
Vespers at 5:00pm
Complimentary Light Buffet following concert
Christmas Tea just following Worship
Children’s Christmas Pageant in Meeting
Take your poinsettias home!
Unprogrammed worship in the Parlor at 10:15am
Christmas Eve Service at 5:30 pm