As Way Opens

I was reminded this past Sunday that while most of our lives are a collection of ordinary and mundane moments, there are a few times where we have big and important decisions to make that can send us down one path over another or can have a lasting impact on our life and our family/community. We heard on Sunday about Mary Bateman Clark, an indentured servant living in Vincennes IN in the early 1800’s who decided to challenge the establishment and file a lawsuit against the State arguing that indentured servitude was illegal in IN.  She won the case at the Indiana Supreme Court and likely prevented slavery from becoming legal in IN. Mary had a moment to decide to just get along and live with the way things were and wait for change, or to stand up and say I will challenge the status quo for justice.  Her decision helped change the future course of this state in terms of slavery.

I thought about this as I saw our previous pastors Stan Banker, Ruthie Tippin and our new pastor Bob Henry lined up together in the aisle on Sunday.  We have had moments of decision in the last 27 years that have set our Meeting on a course for the future.  Choosing to build a meditational woods, opening our building to a preschool co-op, investing in a Quaker Affirmation curriculum for our youth were all decision points that will have a lasting impact on our faith community.  We all know that we stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us and I pray that in those moments of big decisions that we choose for the future.  That we don’t let fear, conserving resources, tradition and fitting in overcome our sense of future, destiny and purpose.  Quakers have a strong tradition of making decisions that go against the establishment, against the accepted norms and leading our communities to changes that result in a more loving and just world.  As our new pastor Bob joins us this summer, may we continue on a path of impacting Indianapolis with love, acceptance and service.

Joys & Concerns

Many thanks to Joyce B, Helen D, Amy P and of course Nichole M. for their work with the German children exhibit items! These ladies have been working hard salvaging and preparing these items for preservation and exhibition. It is wonderful that these items will be taken care of as the historical treasures they are.

Thank-you to our Mid North Food Pantry volunteers: Phil K, Jim K, Bill and Kathy F, and Carol and Jim D. Your work is greatly appreciated!

The Medidational Woods plaque had a makeover! We’d like to send a big thank-you to all who helped revamp the plaque near the entrance of the Meditational Woods, including Mary B, Dan M, Amy P, Mindy S, and Terri T. They planted switchgrass, foxglove beardstongue (AKA smooth penstemon), purple coneflower, and smooth aster on the mound. They planted wild stonecrop as a ground cover just in front of the plaque. All five species are native to Indiana, in keeping with the meditational woods committee's philosophy. They aimed for a Quaker-like, simple, low-key appearance, medium height so it wouldn't block the view of the butterfly garden, and for successive blooms of different colors for beauty.

Ben W, our youth leader has been selected to join the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) advocacy corp team to help mobilize communities to influence members of Congress.  15 individuals from across the country were selected to take part in the year long program kicking off with a 12 day summer intensive training in August in Washington DC.  The program runs September through May and participants do receive a small stipend for their work.  We are really excited for Ben and look forward to his work here in Indiana.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Make Plans for Memorial Day Weekend! Join us Sunday, May 28th for Worship in the Big Oval! Memorial Day Sunday’s are really special at First Friends Meeting – we gather in Fellowship Hall, and enjoy our own ‘Indy 500’ experience in the Spirit!  Eric B. will provide music and Beth will be speaking about forgiveness. 

Please note: There will be no Monday Meditational Worship at First Friends on Memorial Day. You are, as always, welcome to worship wherever you are. The Office will be closed.

Temporary Home Needed for Our New Pastor! Bob and his family have found a home in Fishers but they can’t move into it until September 1st.  Does anyone know of a need for house sitters for the summer or have room for a family of four or know of a place to rent?  They will need this from July 1st to September 1st.  Please ask around and contact the office if you have any possibilities.

The Pastoral Excellence Fund of Western Yearly Meeting depends on donations to fund its benefits to WYM pastors, which have including Stan, Beth, and Ruthie, and will benefit Bob if funded adequately. Please send donation to the office for PME, or place in the offering.

Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan will be held Tuesday, May 30th at 7 pm in the Parlor. All are welcome! Vicki W. will be leading the discussion.  If you'd like to read ahead for next month, the June 27 title will be: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Friends Education Fund is a Quaker college scholarship program for African American students. If you know of a student who might be interested in applying, please ask them to contact the Meeting Office or visit our website at Applications are being accepted through June 2nd, 2017. The selected applicants will be celebrated later in June.

Join us for Worship in the Woods on Sunday, June 4th. Worship will be at the normal time, 10:15am, in the Meditational Woods. Jim and Leslie K. will be leading the service. Please note that we will not have a church picnic at this time. Keep an eye out for news on a picnic in July, after Bob arrives!

We need volunteers for the Mid North Food Pantry! ~ A few of our “regulars” will not be able to volunteer at the food pantry on Wednesdays, June 7 and 21. These are all days that First Friends regularly staffs the pantry. If you are in town and available during any of these dates, please consider volunteering. Let the office know if you are interested. Thank you for your assistance!

Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday June 10th from 5:30 - 9:30. 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!

Volunteers for WYM Pancake Breakfast - Dale Graves is asking for each meeting to send one or more Quaker men to assist with the pancake breakfast at Western Yearly Meeting. This would be Saturday, July 29, starting at 7 am to set up, and continuing to 10:30 or so. YM sessions start at 9 am and men are excused if attending the sessions. Please let the office know if you will do this, and we will connect you with Dale. 


Hello, my name is Nutmeg.  My beloved owner passed away last week.  I am 13 years old.  I am cared for by the VCA hospital at 4030 W. 86th Street.  I eat Hill's CD wet and dry food, and am currently taking one medication, which is mixed in my food. I have been living alone for nearly two weeks, although I am an affectionate and playful cat.  I have been depending on the kindness of strangers to feed me, toss my toys for me, and, sometimes, let me sit on their lap. I'd do best in a home without other animals, but a girl can't be too picky. Look at my big eyes and give me a thought, please. Contact the office if you know of a home.

Quaker Life magazine is being offered to us for renewal at a group rate of $30.00 per year. Published by Friends United Meeting, issues come out quarterly, that will “inspire, inform and teach you.” The journal is normally priced at $40.00 annually. We keep one copy in our Library. Please let the office know if you would like to add your name to the list of subscribers. Thank you!

Vacation Bible School is coming up this July! We will kick off on Sunday, July 16 from 12:00-2:00pm and will continue Mon.-Thurs. from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Lunch will be provided for all who attend on the 16th. We are currently looking for volunteers to help! If you are interested in being a teacher, station leader, or bringing snacks, please contact the office.

IFCL News ~ Now that the 2017 Indiana General Assembly session has concluded, the Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) would like to report to Friends on the legislative accomplishments of our bipartisan Quakerly lobbying. We are positively surprised and elated by the effective influence that our faith-based IFCL organization has been able to have at the Statehouse - both in terms of substantive impact on legislation, and in terms of building personal relationships and mutual respect with lawmakers (on both sides of the aisle) that should pay rich dividends for years to come. We want to share IFCL's good news with you, and to thank you for your interest and support of IFCL - now flourishing in its 46th year.  To read the legislative summaries, visit

Shalom Zone Garage Sale ~ On Saturday, June 3, from 8:00 am to noon (set up beginning at 7 am) the Shalom Zone churches (Cross and Crown, Allisonville Christian, Epworth, First Friends and St. Pius X) will be sponsoring "garage sale" and “craft sale” opportunities for individuals in the Cross and Crown parking lot at 79th and Allisonville Road. You will be able to reserve a space for $10 in advance ($15 day of sale). The rest is up to you - bring your own table or use the trunk of your car. You get to keep whatever you earn.  The adjoining neighborhood of Ivy Hills will have its annual garage sale the same day so there should be no shortage of folks looking for a deal.  The Shalom Zone will donate the reservation fees to School on Wheels, a voluntary program which tutors homeless children throughout Marion County.  For more information or to reserve a space contact the office.

Indy Pride Parade - It is now, more important than ever that we stand-up for what is right in our community.  We will be walking as Quakers of Indy in the Indy Pride Parade on June 10 in support of the LGBTQ people we love.  If you are interested in walking with us, you can contact the office.  We will be meeting downtown around 9am.  Hope to see you there!

SCHOOL ON WHEELS ~ The School on Wheels (which provides tutoring help for homeless children) is, once again, sponsoring the Run 317 through Broad Ripple on Thursday, June 15 and needs the help of over 100 volunteers.  Details for the volunteer positions as well as signup can be found here:  Thanks for your consideration.  

Rise Up – A Youth Empowerment Summit – This summer Peace Learning Center will be hosting the Youth Empowerment Summit, Rise up!, on Thursday, June 15 from 8am-2pm. It is free and open to ages 8-12. Because it is free it does fill up quickly, interested individuals and groups are encouraged to register in a timely fashion! Breakout sessions will include peer norming & bullying, upstander skills, restorative practices, and peer meditation. Along with all the learning that takes place it is very neat for students to be able to enjoy a catered meal through the Rathskeller Restaurant! For more information and to register, visit

SAWS ~ The Shalom Zone has scheduled a SAWS build for Saturday morning, June 24, 2017.  SAWS (Servants At Work) is an all-volunteer organization that designs and builds (with YOUR help) wheelchair ramps to homes for lower income individuals at no cost to such individuals.  No prior construction experience is necessary.  Details of exactly where and what time to meet on June 24 will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, if you would like to participate in this build (or any build in the future), you need to be registered with SAWS.  You can complete the volunteer form, located on the SAWS website (  When registering, please indicate that you are with Shalom Zone and would like to do builds in Marion and surrounding counties.  Those who have previously registered need not register again.  Children under 16 are welcome but need to be accompanied by a parent.  We need to know who is available to help with the June 24 build.  If you are available to help on the morning of June 24, please notify the office as soon as possible so we can coordinate the Shalom Zone team.  If enough folks are available, we could form 2 or more teams and build multiple ramps at different locations.  Please consider if you are able to help with this worthwhile cause.

2017 ESR Leadership Conference--Online Registration Now Available! The compelling urge to create new venues for service and ministry rises from deep within. A call beckons with an invitation to consider something new—a different path, a fresh venture, a new vocation. With courage the entrepreneur moves forward into a mysterious unknown with as many questions as answers, but with a certainty that the risk is worth taking. Join with others who wrestle with such callings at this year's ESR Leadership Conference, August 11-13. For more information and to register, visit

AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) Indiana is planning a Community Basic Workshop to be held in Indianapolis. It will be at West Newton Friends Meeting (6800 S. Mooresville Rd.) on Saturday and Sunday, August 26-27. They will meet from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm both days. Lunch and dinner will be provided. They are using a sliding fee scale to cover food and expenses of the workshop: $10 to $40, depending on your financial means. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. AVP seeks to help those interested in learning new and creative ways to respond to conflict in personal relationships and groups. The workshops use the shared experience of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to examine the ways in which we respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustrations and anger can lead to aggressive behavior and violence. The training is highly experiential and fun, with participants choosing many of the ways in which the exercises and skill-learning occurs. For more information and to register, visit their website at Please register by August 18.