As Way Opens
As an alumni of Taylor University, I receive their quarterly magazine and the latest issue had a wonderful article about living out convicted civility in our local community after such a divisive election. The article was a summary of a lecture that J.R. Briggs, pastor, author and speaker from Philadelphia gave to the students in chapel last fall. I am including some excerpts from this because I felt it speaking to me and I hope to all of you.
Our most recent presidential election has bruised just about everyone in its aftermath. We have passed through one of the most divisive election years in modern American history and we need to ask ourselves as Christians how can we move forward with faith, hope and love. The phrase Convicted Civility popularized by Christian thinkers, Martin Marty and Richard Mow, captures the heart of the Christian posture of faithful presence in our world today.
While the scriptures help guide our lives, they are not a step-by-step paint-by number quick-reference almanac to guide our everyday decisions. We must pray for equal measures of wisdom and courage. As the Apostle Paul points out in Galatians 5, kindness and self-control are fruits of the Spirit. C.S. Lewis wrote that “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. When understood properly, other people should be able to look at you after a discussion, debate or disagreement and say, I adamantly disagree with you, but I am deeply grateful that you have respected me through the process"
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that preys upon people’s fears. The political machine thrives on making people scared, and when we are fearful and feel unsafe, we can become unkind. Yes, there are issues, wars, poverty, racism and other complex situations that require attention, concern and care, but we do not need to be afraid. Christians are called to be more than civil - we should be known by our love, kindness, humility and compassion. Jesus said it’s easy to love those like us. But what really matters is how we treat others who aren’t like us at all. This is the way in which we will be known. True Biblical community is not the absence of conflict; it is the presence of Jesus in the midst of the conflict. In this time in our nation’s history, one of the most counter-cultural ways a follower of Jesus can live is to humanize those who are different than you. We must bring a humility and dignity to our conversations with others. This is our call as Christians in this world.
Joys & Concerns
A BIG Thanks to our food pantry volunteers last week: Kathy and Bill F; Jim K; Phil K; Sarah R; Carol and Jim D. 15 lbs of food were delivered. Very busy....101 families were served.
First Friends hosted the 50th anniversary jubilee celebration of Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) last Saturday evening. Over 50 people joined together for a delicious meal with foods representing India, Kenya and Sierra Leone and heard the general secretary Jackie Stilwell share about some of her experiences as well as Colin Saxton. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship and sharing as we all reflected on the abundance of resources that we share here in the US and how we might positively impact women in these countries through RSWR.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please be advised that because the parlor will be in use by another group, Wednesday Night Worship on May 3rd will instead be held in the Seeking Friends room.
Connor Prairie Youth Trip ~ Our youth will be going to Connor Prairie this Friday evening, April 28, for follow the North Star, a participatory experience in which attendees travel back to the year 1836 and assume the role of fugitive slaves that are seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad through Indiana. We have 5 extra tickets and would love to have others join us this evening. We will leave at 6:45 from the Meeting and return around 10:00. Please let Beth know if you would like to use one of these free tickets.
Citizen Lobbyist Training April 29 ~ IFCL is hosting a citizen lobbyist training event on Saturday, April 29 at First Friends in Fellowship Hall, 11am-1:30pm. If you would like to attend please contact the office. The training session and lunch are free but you will need to contact Bill to reserve a spot.
Garden Plots Still Available! Nancy Scott and Sam Ryan want to thank all of the gardeners and helpers who came out last weekend to help fix up the community garden! We've made great progress! A few garden plots are still up for grabs. Contact the office NO LATER THAN SUNDAY APRIL 30TH if you would like a garden plot.
First Friends Library Book Sale ~ For the past several months the First Friends Meeting Library Committee has been removing library materials from the Library as per the guidelines given the committee last year by the Ministry and Counsel Committee.
The sale will be held on Sundays April 30 and May 7 during the Fellowship Hour. Materials will cost $2.00 for Quaker books and $1.00 for non-Quaker books. Proceeds from the sale will enable the purchase of new materials for the Library.
The committee recognizes that some of the material discarded from the collection due to condition, not meeting Ministry and Counsel Committee guidelines, or being duplicate copies in poor condition, will have donation information. The committee understands the sensitive nature of this material and suggests that members purchase such material for their home collections where the recognition may continue to be of personal value.
Community Soup ~ Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup on Thursday, May 4, from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Please note that again we are hosting on a Thursday instead of Friday. Everyone is invited to this very informal dinner. Soups and/or salads are welcome but not necessary. Our motto is: No cooking, no cleanup, no cost! Hope to see you there.
You’re Invited to the Wedding! Carrie S & Shawn H are extending an open invitation to the meeting for their wedding. It is being held Saturday, May 20 at 10:30am in the Meditational Woods, with brunch immediately following in Fellowship Hall (in case of inclement weather, the ceremony will also be held in Fellowship Hall). Dress casually and comfortably according to your delight. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to the office by May 13.
We are excited to welcome Bob Henry, his wife, Sue, and their three sons to First Friends! Bob will begin serving as our Pastor the first week of July. After much consideration, our Pastoral Search Committee, Ministry & Counsel, Clerks' Council, and Monthly Meeting were pleased to extend the call to Bob, who has over twenty years of experience in various ministries, and has most recently served as the Pastor at Silverton (OR) Friends Meeting. Please keep his family in your prayers as they head (back) to the Midwest, and look out for your invitation to a Welcome Picnic for the entire Henry family later this summer!
Furniture for sale! Ruthie left some furniture to the meeting that is for sale. We still have the oak bookcase available; it’s currently on display in the office hallway. It is 7ft x 3ft x 1ft, selling for $50 or best offer. If you’re interested in purchasing, please contact the office. The purchase price will be donated to First Friends.
An Opportunity to Support Changing Footprints: Changing Footprints, a local nonprofit group that collects gently used shoes for those less fortunate, has applied for a grant sponsored by Gannett (owner of USA Today and The Indy Star). Could you please help us get the votes we need? Just do this (you can vote every day through May 12):
1. Use Google and type in act.usatoday.com.
2. Click on A Community Thrives-USA Today, then click on Vote Now.
3. Find our entry by clicking on the magnifying glass, then type Changing Footprints next to the magnifying glass.
4. Click on the “Vote” button on our entry page, and fill out the required information.
We appreciate the past support you have given Changing Footprints. Please continue to donate the footwear you no longer need in our Donation Station bin in the corner of Fellowship Hall! Thanks!