As Way Opens
Two years ago, about this time, I was totally “geeking out” in anticipation of the new Star Wars movie. If you remember, the trailers and commercials were all saying, “There has been an awakening.” It was a broad statement that had many people wondering just what was awakening. Star Wars fans worked hard to prepare for what this new installment would bring.
I think we could say that currently in America there has been an awakening. Unlike with Star Wars, it has not brought much excitement or anticipation, but rather a reality check to how starved our nation is to seeing our neighbors, friends, and colleagues as human beings rather than mere objects or means to our gain. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is a problem that goes back in our history, and many have been advocating relentlessly throughout the years for these awakenings, but we have to admit something is happening.
As we move into this season leading up to our celebration of Christmas (what some call Advent), we must remember that it too is a time of awakening. When Jesus arrived into this world, he was awaking the world to a new way of seeing and reconciling the people to God and to their neighbors. He awoke the people of his day to see the blind, the poor, the widows, the orphans, the women, the outcasts, the neglected, and the people from other cultures and races. He was awakening a world to God’s Kingdom where ALL people were included and respected, and loved.
How are you preparing for the awakening that is happening in this world? Who around you is being neglected or treated poorly? Who is in need of a little respect or a blessing of love? May these be our gifts this Christmas season and throughout the New Year!
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
A BIG THANK YOU to the men who helped prepare the meetinghouse for the holiday season after worship on Sunday! You all made quick work of raising the piano and the Christmas wreath. Thank you.
During Meeting for Worship this past Sunday we had a beautiful “time of remembrance” for those who have passed from this life during the year. Candles were lit as the names of the deceased were read aloud. After Meeting for Worship we continued this theme by having our annual Grief Gathering in which 10 participants, Pastoral Staff, and our guest speaker, Dan Mosley shared stories and personal experiences. Thank you to our Circle of Care for putting on this event each year.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Sing Along Again ~ This Friday, December 1st, at 7PM in the parlor, Jim K will again lead in singing songs from Rise Up Singing and Rise Again; the same books used when the editors led a larger group at Valley Mills. The quality of your voice is not important. Just your happiness with singing.
Food Pantry Toy Drive ~ First Friends is gathering used toys which will be passed out at the Food Pantry this holiday season by our volunteers. A large box has been placed in Fellowship Hall, and is marked for toy donations. These toys are to be “gently used toys,” which families are wanting to get rid of, but which still are in good condition for reuse.
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 this Sunday, December 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!
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday December 9th from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Ann & Andy C. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that 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.
Christmas Caroling ~ Fa La La La La! Joy to the World! Deck the Halls! It's time to clear your throats and get ready to bring some Christmas cheer through singing some carols! Join us on Sunday, December 10th at 4:20pm as we meet up at American Village (Washington Manor Entrance) 2026 East 54th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220. Make sure to bring the kids as we will again be heading to Steak and Shake after caroling for dinner! This should be a fun night for the entire family!
Greening the Statehouse ~ Don't miss the largest annual gathering of environmentally-minded citizens in the state! It will be held this 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