As Way Opens
Bob and I have been attending a “north side” clergy breakfast the last few months at the invitation of our friend from Nur Allah Islamic Center, Iman Mikal Saahir. This group includes pastors from Second Presbyterian, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, St Luke's Methodist, Meridian St Methodist, First Congregational Church of Christ, Beth El Zedek and a few others. It has been a wonderful interfaith exchange to build relationships and share faith experiences. This group has had an ecumenical Thanksgiving service each year and we were invited to join them last evening at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation synagogue. Since our Shalom zone service occurred at the same time, I attended this service and participated with a reading and I was so inspired to experience the breadth of God in our respective faith traditions. We started the service with a haunting Jewish melody with the words "In this home, sacred space, we are one, together we pray”. What a sight to sing and pray together with our Jewish, Muslim and Christian friends united in our love together. What an impact to see Iman Mikal Saahir come to the Bimah (the raised platform where the table of the rabbi is found) and share a message that gratitude is really about humility and challenged us to share the harvest with everyone. I was asked to share a reading from Debbie Perlman on the month of Kislev (in the Jewish calendar).
Slowly You ease the chill upon us
Letting noon sun continue to warm us.
Through the shattered glass of yesterday’s pain,
You move us ahead into winter’s dark.
Balance the dark with Your light, O Eternal,
Balance the cold with the warmth of Your care…
Balance our questions with Your clues, O Eternal;
Balance our unnamed fear with Your comforting hand.
And in the grip of this month’s deepest cold,
Light so brief we could swallow it in one gulp,
Balance the darkness with shining eyes,
Smoothed windows cleared
To broadcast the growing light,
Pinpoints of Your living flame,
Answers to our winter yearning.
Friends, this is our hope for the future. That people of faith join together across all of our boundaries and embrace the common home that we share. This is our hope for shalom, the peace we will experience when we our bound together in God’s love and recognize the Divine in each one of us and share the harvest with all.
With a grateful heart,
Joys & Concerns
Thank you to our Mid North Food Pantry volunteers – Kathy and Bill F, Ray G, Linda L, Bob H, Carol and Jim D. 96 families were served!
Coburn Place donation ~ Several people from First Friends visited, toured, and offered a check of financial support to the Coburn Place where our own Samantha Ryan serves those trying to transition from domestic violence situations.
Announcements, Reports & Opportunities
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you plan to attend. This event is hosted by our Circle of Care.
Poetry Group ~ Our next Poetry Group meeting will be on Tuesday, November 28th at 1:00 p.m. in the Parlor. Linda L will present a program for us (title to be announced). Her presentation last year was enthusiastically received. We hope you’ll join us!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vespers Annual Concert~ On Sunday, December 3 at 5:00pm 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!
Annual Christmas Tea ~ Please join us on December 10th immediately after worship in the parlor for the annual Christmas Tea. There will be lots of cookies and punch and fellowship. If you can donate two dozen cookies, please drop them off either Saturday between 10 and 11 or on Sunday morning before worship.
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!
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.
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