As Way Opens

I have been considering my spiritual disciplines and practices that bring me into awareness of God’s presence each day.  I have set up different plans over the last few years to push myself into yoga, meditation, journaling, and other practices that I have embraced with great enthusiasm in the beginning but have not been able to sustain.  I am taking a class on spiritual formation in public ministry this semester at Earlham School of Religions (ESR) and I have been exposed to some different opportunities to consider as part of our spiritual practices.  Music, dance, cooking, art, needlepoint, tithing, personal relationships are all practices that can be just as meaningful as the more traditional practices we think about.  This opened my heart to consider how I experience God in these activities.  What is most important for all of us is that we become aware- aware of the beauty of each day - aware of God’s presence in all aspects of this life - aware that our trials bring us closer to God.  The Muslim poet from the 13th century Rumi says that our adversities are our spiritual practices.  As we all wrestle with our challenges in our personal lives, our families, our communities and our country, may we be aware of how God is moving and changing all of us to become our best selves.  Here is one of my favorite Rumi poems that I share with you.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Joys & Concerns

Thanks to all who responded to God’s call to assist Paula G. in her move to her new apartment.  It truly does “take a village” to accomplish such things.  Bill and Kathy F. and Ruthie helped Paula find her new residence.  The actual move was the result of the efforts of the following individuals: Ruth K., Tim W., Bill and Kathy F., Sue M., Kim K., Tim and Noell K., Bill C., Judy C., and Carol and Jim D..  Paula has contacted me and asked me to thank all at First Friends who helped with the move and all who prayed that this move would go smoothly.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

New Date for Community Soup!

Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup tomorrow (THURSDAY), February 2, from 5:30 pm – 7 pm.  Please note the change from Friday to Thursday.  We’re trying a new day of the week to see if it will help attendance at this event.  Everyone is invited to this very informal dinner.  Soups and desserts are welcome but not necessary.  Our motto is: No cooking, no cleanup, no cost!  While this is Groundhog Day, the Community Soup will go on no matter if it rains or shines.  Hope to see you there.

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.  If you would like to contribute towards a gift for her, please send in your contribution to the Meeting for this purpose.

Regarding Recycling: Friends, the light bulb bin in the recycling area is intended for CFLs (Compact Florescent Lights) only. Also, please do not bring in any egg cartons until further notice. Be aware that Styrofoam containers cannot be recycled and are environmentally negative. Cardboard containers are biodegradable and can be put in the trash. Of course both can be reused.

Thank you, Ed M.

Missing Money – An envelope with some cash inside was found in Fellowship Hall last week. If you believe this is yours, please contact the office!

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 participate in local community issues, activities, and problems?  Please provide your thoughts on the query (or any other feedback on the search process) to Jim D., who will be looking forward to hearing from you just outside the Meeting Room after Meeting for Worship this Sunday, February 5th!

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:

2017 Eco-Film Series Begins Feb. 10 with “The Last Mountain”

Please join our area faith community for film and discussion- 7 p.m. in the parlor at First Friends

In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. It is a battle over protecting our health and environment from the destructive power of Big Coal.

For more information please contact the office.

Scout Sunday February 12th ~ Current and former Scouts, please submit your information to the office so we can recognize you on February 12th. Please send your name, Scouting Organization, Troop number and Scout rank. Email or call 317-255-2485.

Mark your calendars! Youth Group will be meeting Sunday, February 12 from 11:30-1:30. Don’t miss it!

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

Meridian Street Preschool Cooperative will be having our annual silent auction on February 18th.  First Friends has been such a wonderful place to call home for our preschool. MSPC appreciates all you do to support us. We would like to invite anyone who is interested to donate to the silent auction. Do you have a small business to promote? This is a great opportunity to do so. Don't own a business? Think about a handmade item, a gift basket or offering a class. If you or someone you know have any items, good or services to donate, you can contact the office. Thank you!

Join the new Art Committee! Nichole M. is looking for (but not limited to) anyone interested in art, history, or preservation who would like to be a part of the Art committee.  This committee would focus on looking after the German Children's/American Friends Service Committee historical collection here at First Friends. 

Possible Committee Goals:

  • Decide where the collection goes next
  • Look into better sign and boxes for transportation
  • Possible numbering to make sure pieces aren't lost
  • Contact the venue and arrange for pieces to be delivered there
  • Decide permanent homes for parts or all of the collection

Please contact the office if interested. 

Earlham School of Religion is looking for volunteers! ESR has created 5 short videos on the theme of reading the Bible responsibly. This series is presented by Nancy Bowen, Professor of Old Testament. Each video is between 10-15 minutes long. ESR is looking for volunteers to make a commitment to review the videos, engage in discussion about the topics, and then provide feedback on their usefulness. They’re requesting all those interested respond by February 13, 2017 by contacting Miriam Brunner at or 765-983-1687.

The Meditational Woods Committee is announcing their work days for 2017.  Starting on March 18, one Saturday each month will be an opportunity for Meeting members to help keep our woods in good condition.  We will be working hard at removing winter creeper (euonymus fortunei) an invasive ground cover that smothers the native wildflowers that we are trying to restore to the landscape.  Put on your gloves and come work with us!
Also, if you have shade tolerant native plants such as may apples, trillium and Virginia bluebells, please let Terry T. know.  She is helping coordinate our native plant restoration.

  • March 18, 2017
  • April 22, 2017   Earth Day!
  • May 13, 2017
  • June 10,2017
  • July 15,2017
  • August- off
  • September 16, 2017
  • October 14, 2017 – last work day

 ~Mary B. & Mindy S.

The Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) board will be holding their semiannual board meeting at First Friends from April 18th - 20th.  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 18th and going through April 20th - 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 18th, lunch on April 19th and lunch on April 20th.   Please contact Beth if you would be willing to help.

We have walkers available! Thanks to a donation from Danny H., First Friends now has walkers available for anyone who may need to use them. These two walkers will be stored inside the closet immediately to your left after entering the East door. Those who discover that they need one can borrow one from us, rather than renting one from a medical supply company. Thank you!