As Way Opens
I am still basking in the glow of our special services on Sunday. In the morning, Shawn brought the choir from Hamilton Southeastern High School and they were fantastic. These young women’s voices carried us all a bit closer to the Divine center and I am so appreciative of Shawn and these students coming to sing for us.
Sunday evening was our Vespers service and I felt such a sense of reverence and worship throughout the evening. The songs, the bell choir, the spoken words all touched my heart and brought me to a place where I felt a sense of hope during these difficult times. The song that really got me was I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, a haunting rendition of this traditional Christmas carol. The choir sings:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
and mild and sweet their songs repeat
of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
And in despair I bowed my head,
There is no peace on earth I said,
For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
Then our children’s voices sing out in a clear strong tone -
Peace on earth
Peace on earth
In response to the hope of these children’s voices, the adults sing:
Then rang the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep,
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, goodwill to men.
Then ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day.
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime.
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
I was reminded as I sang that night, that God is not dead, nor asleep and that what is right and true will prevail. The darkness has covered so much of our society that it feels like we can’t see how truth and justice and love will prevail. But our children show us that peace on earth is possible and our faith community shows us that peace is possible. I loved the last lesson that Bob shared with us Sunday evening called Che Jesus from Argentina:
They told me that you came back to be born every Christmas. Man, you’re crazy! . . . with this stubborn gesture of coming back every Christmas you are trying to tell us something:
That the revolution that all proclaim begins first of all in each one’s heart. That it doesn’t mean only changing structures but changing selfishness for love. That we have to stop being wolves and return to being brothers and sisters, That we . . . begin to work seriously for individual conversion and social change / that will give to all the possibility of having bread, education, freedom, and dignity.
That you have a message that’s called the Gospel, and a Church, and that’s us -- A Church that wants to be servant of all, a Church that knows that because God became human one Christmas there is no other way to love God but to love all people. If that’s the way it is, Jesus, come to my house this Christmas, Come to my country, Come to the world of humanity.
And first of all, come to my heart.
Joys & Concerns
This past Sunday we had a moving and joyous Vespers service. Thank you to Eric B, our Music Director, Shawn P, organist, our wonderful choir, handbell ringers, and all our performers who helped make this year very special, including Jim & Leslie K, Eric B, Anna Riley, and Selina G. Also many thanks to Kathy Rfor taking pictures!
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!!
CAR NEEDED: The Henry’s are urgently in need of a reliable but affordable car for their oldest son, Alex. This week, Alex was notified about an internship in Wabash with Warner Brothers/Looney Tunes for his January Term this coming year. This would be an amazing opportunity and great for his resume. If you or someone you know is selling a reliable car for an affordable price, please contact Bob at email@example.com. Alex needs to let the internship know by this weekend if he is able to participate.
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.
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening this Saturday December 9th from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Ann & Andy C. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office 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!
Christmas Candlelight Service in Noblesville ~ Noblesville First Friends Church cordially invites you to hear the message of the angels and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Sunday, December 10 at 6:15pm. This year we will listen to several very talented musicians plus sing many of the familiar carols and hear the story of the birth of Jesus. Refreshments will be served following the program. They are located at 1055 East Division Street in Noblesville. If you have questions, you may call them at 317-773-3686.
Children’s Pageant ~ Join us during our Meeting for Worship on Sunday, December 17 as 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. Donations will go to support "Right Sharing of World Resources."
Threshing at the Tap - A few months 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 Thursday night, December 21st 7pm at 20 Tap, 5408 N. College Ave, Indianapolis.
Christmas Eve Service ~ Bring your family on Christmas Eve at 5:30pm to usher in the birth of Jesus with a special Christmas Eve Meeting for Worship featuring Jazz musical arrangements, Christmas reflections, silent meditation, and all in the beautiful ambiance of candlelight.
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
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