As Way Opens
On Sunday we celebrated the conclusion of our wonderful week-long Vacation Bible School with a special VBS Meeting for Worship. Our traditionally unadorned meetinghouse was filled with brightly colored gears, robots, paint buckets, singing children, and yes, even a rocket! If you weren’t there, it was a sight to see!
As part of our worship we sang a long-time VBS favorite, which most Friends know, “Joy in my Heart.” Not only does it have a familiar tune, I find it’s simple lyrics unforgettable.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy…
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding…
I’ve got the wonderful love of my blessed redeemer…
[Where?]...down in my heart.
Much like watching our children singing and doing the actions to this song, true joy, peace, and love should be contagious and extremely hard to contain. Yet just saying we have love, joy, and peace “down in our hearts” is just the first step. Once we recognize it inside ourselves, we must proceed to see it activated and filtered out into our relationships, communities, and workplaces.
If there is one thing children are able to do it is activate joy, peace, and love without much resistance. This was evident all week at VBS. What a child’s heart feels and experiences is often immediately manifest in their actions and words - a response to what they know inside. At VBS we witnessed children of all ages engaging what was “down in their hearts.” Children befriended guests and included everyone. They shared uplifting qualities, encouraged, and cheered each other on. As they worked together on lessons and games you could see that they had embraced the theme of the week that they were created by God and built for a purpose.
Watching our children interact was a great reminder to me of the importance of knowing what’s down in our hearts and allowing it to become observable in our outward lives.
It seems as we grow older too many things get in the way and block what is at the depth of our being. So much so, that we create resistance and no longer respond from that place. For some of us, what is “down in our hearts” may have slipped too far away to tap. That timeless VBS song should be a reminder for us to re-engage, to seek again our inner light and teacher and respond to our world out of a deep sense of joy, peace and love.
If you need another reminder this week, take some time to watch a child and see their activated joy, peace and love emerging from their depths.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
VBS – A Success! We had a great time during Maker Fun Factory, this year’s Vacation Bible School. We had 32 kids in attendance. We had so much fun learning about how we were built by God, and made for a purpose. Also thank you to our many volunteers who helped make VBS possible this year: Bob H, Jim K, Chelsea T, Kendal T, Meshach T, Lucy K, Rik and Linda L, Carolyn T, Katie H, Jane W, Beth F & Jeff S, Amanda C, Erin T, Michelle T, Aaron T, Beth K, Logan K, Trent S, Chrissy S, Megan W, Tim W, Cindy K, Ruth K, Kim H, Nancy S, Dan M, and Rebecca L.
Many thanks to our volunteers who helped at Mid-North Food Pantry last week: Bill and Kathy F; Ray G; Phil K; Beth, Sylvie and Emerson S; Jim K; Carol and Jim D. We are grateful for your service!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
This weekend all are encouraged to attend Western Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions. As such, this Sunday, July 30, we will hold unprogrammed worship in the Parlor at the usual time of 10:15. Thank you to Mary Blackburn for leading this time of worship.
Free to a good home! The meeting has a few young Phalaenopsis Orchids which are looking for a home! Please let the office know if you are interested.
Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are this weekend, July 27-30. The theme of this year's session is, "Joined by every supporting ligament." Our own Beth H 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.
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. For more information about the concert and about Tim, visit https://goo.gl/PgfxW1. 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.
The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply. Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is July 31st, 2017. For an application please contact the office firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us for Community Soup on Thursday, August 3, anytime between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Since it is summertime, we will serve, and are asking folks to bring salads rather than soups. No cooking, no dishwashing, and no charge.
Calling all ice cream lovers! First Friends will be working at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, August 12th all day. We have one more spot open, from 3:30-9:30pm. It is fast paced but lots of fun! Volunteers will receive a free ticket to the State Fair for that day, as well as unlimited ice cream, shakes and cheese sandwiches. Please let the office know if you’re interested in volunteering, or use the signup sheet in the hallway!
Valley Mills Friends invites you to a Quaker Jamboree with Annie and Peter Blood Patterson Thursday, August 24 at 7pm. If you know the songbook "Rise Up Singing" that has been used at many fun Quaker sing-alongs, you might know of Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-Patterson who compiled it. They are released Friends who travel in Quaker circles bringing their ministry of community-building through singing together. Committed to fostering Hope, they are coming to Indiana in August. This is a fundraiser for Valley Mills Friends and the Blood-Pattersons' with a suggested donation at the door and opportunity to buy songbooks and CD's. The concert & singalong will take place in the meeting room of Valley Mills Friends, 6739 W Thompson Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46241. Refreshment to follow.
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.
Shalom Zone Electronics Recycling Event ~ If an item runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery, you can recycle it! This includes (but is not limited to) appliances, TVs, DVD/VCRs, gaming consoles, fax machines, Christmas tree lights, calculators, toner cartridges, hair dryers, and more! The Shalom Zone is holding their annual Recycle Force event at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Road, on Saturday, October 7, 10am-2pm. Please bring any items you wish to recycle to Epworth on the day of the event. A $10 donation is requested for CRT type monitors/TVs smaller than 27”; a $20 donation is requested for appliances containing Freon (fridges, freezers, A/C units, etc) and TVs larger than 27”; any other monetary contributions are also greatly appreciated.