As Way Opens
I make it a priority every morning to take a walk through my neighborhood before heading off to work. It is a practice that centers me during this busy season. There is something about walking alone as the sun is just rising, as people are getting ready to head out for their day, and as life seems to be awakening from its slumber. Even the morning sky presents a peaceful palate of beautiful colors - blues, pinks, and oranges. It is like the sky is announcing through the silence and in vivid color, “Good morning, world!”
Most morning walks are filled with very little movement other than my own. On occasion I meet a set of slumbering ducks on my path making their way to the pond, a bus picking up a handful of nearly comatose children, or the last of the dry brown leaves falling from the trees that line our streets. Most of my walks could be described by an ambiance of stillness and silence affording my mind an opportunity to reflect on and ponder what this day will bring.
I am considered a stranger by many in my neighborhood. Most people simply wave or nod their head as I pass, but keep the silence of the morning as if to say, “Be at peace, friend.” On occasion my walk is interrupted by a dog barking frantically, as if I’m its only hope of salvation. It is often unsettling, but it makes my steps more brisk.
For me, the still quiet of my walks are a reminder of that first Christmas, where the world was just awakening to a new day of possibilities. It was a pregnant moment of new birth and hope for a busy world. Out of the darkness and silence came a stranger and a light, one whose example would engage our senses and draw us to act, and one who would bring peace amidst the world’s barking dogs.
As Christmas quickly approaches again this year, it would be good to take a moment to embrace the dawning of a new day, to engage the silence and reflect, and allow hope to be born in our lives again. Consider a walk in the silence today and be awakened to all that Christmas brings.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
This past Sunday we had a great time Christmas Caroling at American Heritage to Shirley Proctor and at Coburn Place. We ended the night with a great tradition - Steak and Shake!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please be advised, there will be no Monthly Meeting for Business for December. Monthly Meeting will resume in January. Have a happy holiday season!!
This Coming Sunday is the last day for Sunday School! Please note that this Sunday will be the last day of Sunday School this year. There will be no Sunday school on Sunday, December 24 or Sunday, December 31st.
Vespers DVDs ~ Did you enjoy our Vespers service this year? Or maybe you missed it and would like to see it? DVDs of this year's Vespers service are now available. People can send orders to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are $1 each. Also thank you to Norma W. who provided the camera and did the filming.
Youth Christmas Party! All youth are invited to join us this Friday, December 15 at 6:30pm in the Meetinghouse basement for a Christmas party! We will have dinner together and play some games including catch phrase and Pictionary. There will also be a gift exchange, so please bring a wrapped gift $5 or under appropriate for a girl or boy. The party will last until about 9:30. We will see you there!
Join us this Sunday in Meeting for Worship ~ We hope you will join us during our Meeting for Worship on Sunday, December 17 for our annual Children’s Pageant, where our children depict and read the story of Jesus' birth. As well, the congregation will join in with singing hymns together. This is an annual tradition that you do not want to miss! Also, our children will be selling "Cookies in a Jar" and "Soup in a Jar" after the service in the Fellowship Hall. Beth will also be selling coffee, chocolates and tea. Donations for all this will go to support "Right Sharing of World Resources" (RSWR).
Sunday Yoga Class – Remember that monthly yoga for December has been moved to this Sunday, December 17th. 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. Meet us in the basement after worship at 11:45am. Goodwill offerings are always appreciated!
Warm Clothes for a Cold Winter ~ We are again collecting used outdoor winter clothing. Coats, gloves, mittens, hats. For children and adults. Here is an opportunity to give without spending more money! In Fellowship Hall look for the box for J. H. Boner Center.
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 Thursday night, December 21st at 7pm at 20 Tap, 5408 N. College Ave, Indianapolis.
Christmas Eve Service ~ You are not going to want to miss this year’s Christmas Eve Service at 5:30pm. Throughout the holidays we have worked to give you several unique worship experiences at First Friends - and this Christmas Eve will be no exception. Our music director, Eric B has put together a jazz ensemble to accompany this special candlelight service. Our theme, The Light Has Come, will have us looking at five thoughts on the subject of light. As well, we will provide opportunities throughout the service for silent reflection in the manner of Friends. There will be a special reading of the Christmas Story for the children, and the service will conclude with a traditional singing of Silent Night in candlelight. Our hope is that the ambiance and beauty of this service will usher you into your Christmas celebrations. Childcare will also be provided. We hope you will join us.
The Quaker Welcome Center has opened! The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is proud to announce the opening of the Quaker Welcome Center in Washington, DC. An article was published in The Washington Post on Sunday, November 26 (print and digital editions) about the center and one of the first events held there. FCNL hopes to host bipartisan discussions between members of Congress as well as the general public. To read the article in full, please visit https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/new-space-in-dc-intends-to-play-host-to-bipartisan-dialogue/2017/11/25/8501db0c-cb0a-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html?utm_term=.076d34ee29f7
Do you know anyone who would be interested in a Quaker Fellowship? Quaker Voluntary Service is a year-long Fellowship program in which young adults between the ages 21-30 live communally, work full time at social service and social change agencies, and explore themes of spiritual and personal growth with local Quakers. An ideal QVS Fellow brings an openness to working with diverse community members, a willingness to explore questions of spirituality, and an ability to function well in a professional setting. Fellowships are available in Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Philadelphia, PA and Portland, OR. The program year is from August 26, 2018 – End of July, 2019. Interested candidates can find more information or apply by March 15, 2018 at www.quakervoluntaryservice.org/apply.
Christmas Calendar at First Friends Meeting
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