As Way Opens

I feel many emotions as I write today, knowing this is our last week with Ruthie here.  I remember being on the search committee six years ago and traveling to West Branch Iowa with Brenda Rodeheffer and Mary Blackburn to visit with Ruthie and Jon.  I remember the clarity I had that God was calling Ruthie to our Meeting.  I had no idea at that time that I would join the First Friends staff and work together in ministry with Ruthie. Ruthie has nurtured me in ministry and I am deeply grateful for our time together.  She has been a role model and mentor for me in how to be in public ministry.  My time on staff here has been joyful and heart opening because Ruthie treated me as a trusted and respected colleague. 

Ruthie brought her whole self to us and she lit a spark of God’s spirit within our faith community.  The ease that she connects with people, listens to them and prays with them is a living example of Christ’s love to us.  She has walked beside us through births, deaths, marriages, illness, surgery and other significant moments in our lives.  She honored many of our traditions here at First Friends but also created some new ones that have become part of our community fabric.  Her contagious laugh, her beautiful voice and her insights have made their impact here.  We all have our own “Ruthie” stories where she has touched us in significant ways.  I have many but the one that comes to the forefront of my mind is the day that I lost Jerry.  Ruthie came to visit him as he was slipping away that day.  Ruthie took off her shoes and climbed into bed with him.  She started talking to him and then started singing to him.  Jerry was unconscious at this point but that didn’t matter.  The moment was so intimate and so full of genuine love that I shall never forget it.  

The one thing that is certain in our lives is change.  Nothing will ever stay the same and we must embrace change in all its sadness and anticipation.  First Friends has been changed by Ruthie’s ministry in many ways.  We know that God brought her here because we needed her skills, energy and vision during this past five years.  We are deeply grateful to Ruthie for her passion to First Friends, her care for us and her love.


 Joys & Concerns

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Kris and Erin P. who were married in our Parlor on Tuesday evening, March 21st in a joyful family ceremony by Pastor Ruthie.  Shirley P. was the proud and delighted mother of the groom, and blessed new mother-in-love! 

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Ruthie’s goodbye celebration is coming up this Sunday, March 26th.  We will have a pitch in lunch and program right after Meeting for Worship. Please bring a dish; sides and salads for last names A-M, desserts for N-Z. (Feel free to bring more than one dish!) If you can, we’re asking that you send in a copy of a photo of meeting activities and people during Ruthie's tenure (for her to keep). Send or drop off your photos to the office; if you’re unable to get the photos to the office in time you may bring the pictures that day, to put on a board at the party. We will also be collecting notes for Ruthie in a memory jar. Please share fond memories you have, and be sure to mark on your note whether it may be read aloud. To show our appreciation for Ruthie’s time and energy here at First Friends, we are also welcoming 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.


There will be a Called Meeting for Business on Sunday April 2nd right after worship to discuss a pastoral candidate. The Pastoral Search Committee will report at this Meeting the results of their search and their recommendation for the new pastor.   We encourage members and attenders to join us that day.


Poetry Group will meet on Tuesday March 28th at 2:00 p.m. in the ParlorLinda L. will be reading some of her poems along with poetry by other contemporary poets living in Indiana.


Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving will be held next Tuesday (March 28) at 7 pm in the Parlor. All are welcome.  Pat P. and Dan R. will be co-leading the discussion.  Feel free to join us!   If you'd like to read ahead for next month, the April 25th title is: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. 


The Indiana Daylily and Iris Society invites you! The IDIS is now hosting their monthly meetings at  First Friends, and everyone is welcome! Their second meeting of the year will be Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30. The presentation, “Daylilies” will be given by Scott Elliott from Maneki Neko Gardens in Georgia. Please join us in the Parlor!


 The early-bird registration deadline for the Friends United Meeting Triennial is coming soon! Register before March 31st and save $30! To register, please visit:

Every three years, the global community of Friends United Meeting gathers to celebrate our life together, to grow in our ability to serve the world, and to worship Christ our Lord!  Along with our Triennial host, Great Plains Yearly Meeting, FUM invites and welcomes Quakers from all over the world to join us in Wichita, Kansas, on July 12–16, 2017. We will meet on the campus of Friends University, and look forward to seeing you there.  Messages will spring from Thomas Kelly’s book, “The Eternal Promise.”


 Meridian Street Preschool Co-op Movie Night!
What: MSPC family movie night
When: Friday March 24th, 6pm
Where: MSPC/FF basement
Cost: $10/ family
RSVP: by Wed March 22

Please join MSPC for a fun filled evening. Pizza, drinks and the viewing of Toy Story are all included in your "admission". Wear your p.j.'s and bring your favorite stuffed animal too.  Feel free to bring blankets to stretch out on also. 


Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) board will be holding their semi-annual board meeting at First Friends from April 20th – 22nd.  Our Meeting approved hosting this Meeting with Quakers from around the country.

Beth (who serves on the board) needs 4 or 5 more homes to be available for 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 a few people to bring in a pot of soup or salad on April 20th and 21st.  A sign up sheet is in the front hallway or contact Beth.


"Would you like to help a guy earn his Eagle?" Purchase Spring Flowers, Vegetables & Herbs and Help Support an Eagle Scout Project! Fritz C. has begun his Eagle Scout project and needs to raise funds for a trail of trees that he will be working on this summer at Koteewi Park. Visitors to the park will be able to follow the trail and learn about 16 native Indiana trees and how the Native Americans used them as tools, clothing and even transportation. You can place orders online here: Thank you for your support!


April Worship Schedule

Come join us in April for guest speakers and a wonderful time of worship sharing!

April 2nd – Message by Beth Henricks
April 9th – Message by Dan Lee
April 16th – Message by Beth Henricks
April 23rd – Message by Bruce Birchard, former General Secretary of Friends General Conference and the Clerk of the Right Sharing of World Resources Board
April 30th - Worship Sharing


‘Disturbing the Peace’ Film Showing ~ All are invited to attend a film debut at West Newton on April 5th.  DISTURBING THE PEACE, a film that follows former enemy combatants - Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters - who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough." This film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. It will be premiered in Indianapolis at West Newton Friends Meeting 6800 S. Mooresville Rd, Indianapolis on April 5th. The evening will begin with a soup supper at 6 p.m. and then follow with the film and discussion at 7:00 p.m. The film runs approximately 90 minutes. There is no charge for the film or the supper, but donations will be accepted to help pay for the food and film. A trailer for the film is available here:


Western Yearly Meeting is having its annual Spring Retreat at Quaker Haven Camp on April 28th-April 30th. This year’s retreat will be led by Joyce Shroeder, M.S.. She was the keynote speaker at the Earlham School of Religion Leadership Conference in both 2012 and 2015. In 2014, She was the Plenary Speaker at New York Yearly Meeting’s Summer Sessions. Working as a consultant, she has a masters degree in Organizational Development and Leadership. She has been a member of Purchase Friends Meeting (New York YM) for nearly 20 years. This year’s retreat theme is Flex Your Mind, Build Your Body. For more information or to register, please visit or contact Della Stanley-Green ( The registration deadline is April 15.