As Way Opens
Part of getting adjusted to our new community was taking our family to obtain library cards this week. With all of our books in storage for the next couple months, we would go into withdrawal without having an actual book in our hands. A book that I have been wanting to read for some time, but haven’t had the chance with all the transition is Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. Creative freedom and the creative process have always been important and an intriguing study for me, especially in how it relates to our ministry as Friends.
In the first chapter of Imagine, Lehrer talks about a time of struggle, reflection, and surrender for singer and songwriter Bob Dylan. Dylan had lost all inspiration and desire to produce music - so much so, Lehrer says Dylan was literally “sick of his own music.” He was running through the motions and feeling hopeless. Without even his guitar, Dylan left the folk scene in 1965 and drove up to an empty home in Woodstock where he planned to give up music altogether.
The quote by Bob Dylan that opens the first chapter of Imagine is “Always carry a light bulb.” To me that sounded rather Quaker. Don’t we always carry with us a light bulb - that inner light within each of us. For me, the light bulb is a symbol of new and unique ideas, aha moments, and creative inspirations that God is igniting in our souls. Yet, how often do we ignore, forget or simply not acknowledge those light bulbs glowing in our lives? In reality, God may actually be giving us the means to make a difference in our world.
Bob Dylan’s creative desert didn’t last long. In the silence of that empty home and while completely in solitude, Dylan’s “lightbulb” re-lit. In less than a month, Dylan was back to writing music. He said, It’s just this sense that you got something to say...I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me that this is what I should do. The album he was inspired to create would include the song Like a Rolling Stone which many consider a musical and lyrical achievement.
This week remember Dylan’s words, Always carry a light bulb.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Many thanks to those who helped at Mid North Food Pantry last week: Kathy and Bill Farris, Phil Kitchel, Ray Guest, Christie Moulton, Dan Rains, & Carol and Jim Donahue! 91 families were served.
This past Sunday we welcomed Bob Henry and his family after his first Sunday as our Pastor with a special Fellowship Hour. Thank you to the Fellowship Committee for hosting this lovely gathering.
First Friends Members attend the FUM Triennial in Wichita - Every three years, the global community of Friends United Meeting gathers to celebrate life together, to grow in ability to serve the world, and to worship. First Friends members Carolyn H., Ray G., and Norma W, are at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas to participate in this global gathering of Friends. Major presenters at the Triennial include: Miriam Khamadi, C. Wess Daniels, Jan Wood, and Colin Saxton. Other activities include a variety of workshops, reflection groups, social time, and USFW and Quaker Men banquets. Watch for information sharing when Carolyn, Ray and Norma return.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Monthly Meeting Notice: Due to Vacation Bible School and Western Yearly Meeting conflicts, our Monthly Meeting for Business for July has been moved to August 6 which will serve for both months.
Seasoned Friends: Please be advised that the Seasoned Friends Luncheon scheduled for July 26th is being postponed to August. Please keep an eye out for details in the coming weeks!
Vacation Bible School is next week! It will begin this Sunday, July 16 from 12:00-2:00pm and will continue Mon.-Thurs. from 6:00-8:00pm. Lunch will be provided for all who attend on the 16th. We welcome all our kids, grandkids and friends of our kids to participate in this fun and special time of learning that we were created by God and built for a purpose. We’re registering now! To sign up your kids, contact Beth Henricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are coming up July 27-30! It is now time to register for the annual session of Western Yearly Meeting in Plainfield, July 27-30. Theme of this year's session is, "Joined by every supporting ligament." Our own Beth Henricks is among the speakers! Other speakers are: Max Carter, Oscar Mmbali (the new minister for Belize), Kathy Luethje, Ann Carter, Keith Glasgow, Jeff Wells and Andrew Heald. A concert by Tim Grimm will be Saturday evening. Registration is only $15 for adults. Yes, there is also activity all days for school-age children. For more information and to register go to: westernyearlymeeting.org and scroll to yearly meeting sessions.
The Meditational Woods Committee is meeting this Saturday, July 15 to tackle the invasive euonymus (winter creeper) and honeysuckle. Winter creeper is an invasive ground cover that smothers the native wildflowers that we are trying to restore to the landscape. Come join us from 9- 12 noon or any time you have to share. Contact Mary or Mindy for questions.
Church Picnic! All are invited to join us for our annual picnic that is taking place Sunday, July 23rd. Our honored guests will be our new Pastor Bob Henry and his family. If you are able, please bring a dish according to last name; A-J: Desserts ; K-Z: Sides and Salads. There will also be fried chicken, hot dogs (& veggie dogs), rolls, ice cream, and drinks all provided for free. As always, there will be kickball afterward, weather permitting. Please join us!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland book discussion will be held Tuesday, July 25 at 7 pm in the Parlor. All are welcome! Becki H. will be leading the discussion. If you're interested in reading ahead for next month, the August 25th title will be: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.
Free Tim Grimm Concert! The Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) will be sponsoring a concert with folksinger and Earlham alum Tim Grimm on the Saturday evening of Western YM's annual sessions - Saturday July 29 at 7:30 pm. The program is open to the public. Please save this date on your calendar, and help spread the word. Western YM's meetinghouse is located at 203 S East St., Plainfield, IN 46168. Admission is free, with the opportunity for a freewill offering to benefit IFCL. Friends who use Twitter are strongly encouraged to check out and follow IFCL's Twitter feed at @INQuakerPolicy. There are many ways to support IFCL and keep abreast of IFCL priorities and activities, but Twitter is surely one of the easiest and best.
2017 Friends Mission Project For FUM - Belize ~ Friends United Meeting (“FUM”)’s Mission project for this year focuses around Belize. There are three ways you can help this project!
1. FUM operates a small school in Belize which offers a “second chance” for kids failing the high school test to further their education. The FUM vision is to raise $25,000 to expand the school, establish a Quaker meeting where there currently is none, and create a community center.
2. In addition to renovating the new facility, Oscar Mmbali, a Kenyan Friend, has accepted FUM’s call to serve as the first Friends pastor for Belize. Oscar is traveling among North American Friends raising support for his new ministry.
3. Finally, we at First Friends are honored to have one of our member families, the Thornburgs (Aaron, Michelle, Kwali, and Meshach), feeling led by God to go to Belize and help with the facility renovation and provide other assistance to the Friends school (come this Sunday for more details). The Thornburgs will need your financial assistance in order to make their Belize leading a reality.
Your prayers and financial support are needed to accomplish each part of this mission project. Your contribution can be to all or any one of the parts of this Belize Project (checks can be made out to First Friends; please designate how your contribution is to be allocated among these 3 needs). Please give prayerful consideration to how you might be led to provide support for this Project.
Jeff Rasley's tenth book, Polarized! The Case for Civility in the Time of Trump was recently published by Midsummer Books. It's available through any bookstore and can be ordered on Amazon. Political polarization has become so extreme and toxic - and yet the norm - that it took the attempted murder of Congressional Representatives at a baseball practice to draw national attention. Jeff's book explores the roots of hyper-partisanship and describes the US's "culture of outrage". “The Case for Civility” offers suggestions for how "regular citizens" can help cure the sickness of our body politic based on the values of civility, tolerance, pragmatism, and moderation.