As Way Opens

I have been reading the Parker Palmer book The Company of Strangers over the last week.  This book was written in 1981 (it might have been his first book) and is very relevant for today as he talks about the need for the church to have a public life and that we all need to interact with strangers.  God often speaks to us through the stranger.  And yet we have become a people that want a perceived personal relationship with everyone.  We want to know the personal lives of our celebrities, sports heroes and others that we admire.  We think we know them but we really have no idea about who they are as a human being - and that is ok.  Facebook has created a false sense of friendship.  I don’t think we need to have a personal relationship with everyone.  Living a public life with strangers is a rewarding and transformative experience.  We come together in the public square to work on issues that benefit all of us. While individual accomplishment is important, there are so many elements of our life that we are dependent on the community.  We will never be able to individually provide for our safety, protect our homes from fire, build roads for ourselves, provide education for our children etc.  The list goes on and on.  I fear that we are becoming so isolated and so fearful that we won’t engage with the stranger in our public life.  We are fearful to encounter someone different than we are because they might hurt us or our families.   It is discouraging to see how entrenched we have become in the public square in terms of politics.  All of this can bring despair in our lives.  But I hold onto the scripture in Hebrews 11: 13-16 that references some of the great men of faith like Noah and Abraham.  "All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them.  But they confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.”   Palmer wrote, “This is an important passage in part because it reminds us that God’s promises take long years to work themselves out, that to stand in faith is to stand in patient trust that those promises will someday be fulfilled.”  Martin Luther King Jr believed in this promise and knew that he might not see it personally but the mountaintop would be reached and God’s promise fulfilled.  May we all have faith to believe and stay engaged and reach out to the stranger.


 Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

 Meridian Street Preschool Cooperative Silent Auction!

MSPC will be having their annual silent auction this Saturday, February 18th. If you or anyone you know is interested in attending MSPC’s auction, please feel free to RSVP! The auction is at The Riviera Club, 5640 North Illinois Street, and opens at 5pm. Cocktail casual attire encouraged. A light dinner will be served. Please note, this is an adult only event. RSVPs are $10 each. If you’d like to attend, please contact the office.

Pop-Up Coats and Warm Clothing Collection ~ We are collecting coats and warm clothing for the John H. Boner Community Center. The center serves some of the poorest neighborhoods in Indianapolis. Before winter ends, please consider donating. Please place coats and clothing in the labeled box in Fellowship Hall. But hurry! You only have one more week! If you have any questions, please contact the office. Thank you!

An Evening with Carrie Newcomer airs on WFYI television tomorrow, February 16th from 8:00-9:30 pm.  Carrie is a folk singer/songwriter and a local Quaker! Be sure to tune in!

The Pastoral Search Committee invites you to contemplate and provide feedback on the following query this week: In your opinion, how can our new pastor best involve everyone in the planning and programming of events?  Please provide your thoughts on the query (or any other feedback on the search process) to a pastoral search committee member, who will be looking forward to hearing from you just outside the Meeting Room after Meeting for Worship this Sunday, February 19th!

First Friends Game Night:
Saturday, February 25 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM At the Meetinghouse

Informal gathering for board games, card games, etc.
Bring a game along.
There will be snacks!
We will need volunteers to bring snacks.
First to choose to bring snacks and/or drinks will be chosen!

We will kick off with the ISH group!

For further information – contact the office.

The Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) board will be holding their semiannual board meeting at First Friends from April 20th – 22nd (please note the corrected dates!).  Our Meeting approved hosting this Meeting with Quakers from around the country.

We need some folks to be willing to open their home for RSWR board members to stay with them.  This will be for 3 nights starting April 20th and going through the night of April 22nd/morning of April 23rd - it includes a bed for these evening and breakfast each morning - please let Beth know if you would be willing to provide home hospitality.

We also need people to help with lunch and dinner on April 20th, lunch on April 21st and lunch on April 22nd. Please contact Beth if you would be willing to help.

Opportunity to Volunteer ~ On Sunday, March 5 from 1-3 p.m., we would welcome volunteers from First Friends to help sort donated shoes at the Changing Footprints shoe room.  We are located at 9302 N. Meridian St., Suite 382.  We are on the northwest corner of 93rd St. & N. Meridian St. at the stoplight.  Park behind the building and enter the main door.  Take the elevator to the third floor.  Please contact the office if you are interested!

Please hold the date of Sunday March 26th for Ruthie’s goodbye celebration.  We will have a pitch in lunch and program right after Meeting for Worship.  To show our appreciation for Ruthie’s time and energy here at First Friends, we welcome any love offering or contribution for this purpose. Please send in your contribution to the office or with your regular offering identifying it is for Ruthie.

Are You A Quaker? QuakerSpeak recently released a short video, ‘Are You A Quaker?’ which briefly discusses Quakers and how most people would likely identify with Quaker beliefs. It’s a great video to share with your friends, especially anyone who might be considering the Quaker faith. It even features our very own Norma W! Watch and share the video here: