As Way Opens

I was lucky enough to have friends get me a ticket to join them to see the musical Hamilton last weekend in Chicago.  This is an incredible production and I had to purchase the two Cd’s of the show and have been listening to them in my car every day.  This play has brought the story of the birth of our nation into a real and tangible expression of men, events, ideals, and principles.  While we celebrate our Independence on July 4th, 1776, this was just the beginning of the road to our freedom as a group of colonies of England.  The war lasted a number of years and many men lost their lives and at times winning this war seemed hopeless.  And yet with the bravery of many and the determination for a new type of govt, this revolution of America succeeded in breaking its bondage to England.  As difficult as this war was for our 13 colonies, the really hard part had only begun - how to lead and govern ourselves would be far more difficult than winning our freedom from England.

While all sides in the revolution were united in their pursuit of freedom from England, the ideas of how to set up a govt were varied and our first leaders were very divided in how to move forward.   Listening to this Hamilton depiction of the birth of our nation has given me hope in a time of deep political division today.  The political divisions were profound back in the late 1700’s and yet these great men found a way to come together and create the foundation of this country that has changed the world.  

What gives me hope today is what I observe of our founding fathers.  These articulate and intelligent men were flawed and yet they were able to rise above their frailties and limits and do something everlasting.  We view them as heroes today but in their time they were petty, entrenched in their positions, full of ego, positioning for power and yet they somehow came together to create something that would endure for centuries.  These leaders ultimately understood that they had to compromise.  Alexander Hamilton was a hothead and believed deeply in the need for a centralized monetary system and as Secretary of the Treasury he dug in his heels for what he believed.  The wise President Washington told him that he had to negotiate with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who supported states’ rights and come together for a compromise which he did.   Compromise is essential in governing and leading.  

Since our beginning this has been a country of immigrants that were given opportunities based on their accomplishments and not their family heritage.  This meant that every person had an opportunity for success.  I am grateful today for living in the United States and for the ability to express my satisfaction and deep concern for actions taken within our government and society.  I am thankful for the freedom to choose my job, my spouse, my religion, my destiny.  We have much to celebrate about America and much work to do towards a better union.  This is what our founding fathers were counting on - this country would continue to evolve into something better - and we have!   And each of us is responsible for contributing for our continued evolution.    241 years of freedom!


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Please Note: There will be no gentle yoga this Friday, July 7.

Welcome, Bob! Bob Henry is here! As of July 1st, Bob has begun his work as Pastor of First Friends. He will be giving his first morning message this Sunday, July 9! Afterward we will join for a special fellowship hour to honor and welcome Bob and his family. We hope you will join us!

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 for the new date!

Have some soup cans? We’ll take them! We are gathering metal soup cans for Vacation Bible School. If you have any old or empty soup cans of any size, please feel free to bring them to the meeting and drop them in the bin next to the table in the corner of the hallway. Your help is much appreciated!

Vacation Bible School is only a few weeks away! It will begin on 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, there are registration forms in the hallway! Contact the office with questions or to register.

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.

You’re invited to the wedding! Our beloved organist and choir director Shawn P. and Dr Brett P. invite you to their celebration of marriage on Saturday July 8th with a musical prelude starting at 3:00 and ceremony at 3:30 p.m. This ceremony will be held at Indianapolis First Friends Meeting in the Meetingroom and all are welcome to gather together for this joyous occasion.

Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions are coming up July 27-30! You can find all of this year’s information & registration online at  First Friends will be leading the morning worship service on Friday, July 28 from 9-10:15am, including Beth H., Ben W. , and Paul and Helena R. Online you’ll find all the details of the sessions such as menus, the preliminary program, housing, and more. There are also chances to volunteer for the Festival of Fun and Fellowship, the Indian Table and Interest Groups. In addition, you can see photos and videos of last year's Annual Session. Discounted pre-registration is due by July 13! We hope you are planning on joining us!

The Meditational Woods Committee is meeting 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!

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, 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.

We’re Hiring! First Friends Meeting is seeking a qualified applicant for the job of Music Director at the meeting. The Music Director is a part time salaried position, responsible for developing and leading the worship music, in collaboration with the pastor, in a way that is consistent with the mission, values and theology of Quakers. The applicant need not be a Quaker, but should have a knowledge of, and appreciation for, the worship experience. If you’re interested or know anyone who may be interested in this position, please visit our website at for more information and to apply!