As Way Opens
This past Sunday morning on my way to Meeting, I was driving east on Kessler Blvd heading close to Keystone Avenue. Off in the distance I saw an older man with a bucket and what looked like a cane as he was leaning over on the center concrete median dividing north and south traffic on Kessler at Keystone. From my distance the man looked homeless and I thought to myself here is another panhandler looking for money to put into his bucket. As I approached Keystone and the man came into my direct vision, what had looked like a cane was actually a metal litter stick and the man was picking up trash on the road. Here he was early on a Sunday morning working to beautify our street and I had assumed he was a panhandler.
How often do we make assumptions about people in the blink of an eye? We assess their race, gender, size, appearance etc. and immediately make a judgement about them. How often is our judgement completely wrong? And how long do we take to allow other information to influence how we see this person?
I remember watching a TV show that was testing the idea of assumptions about people. They set up a pretend situation of a child being dragged down the street yelling that the adult was trying to hurt them to observe how strangers would respond to the situation. Person after person just walked by - most of them looking very respectable on the outside and yet ignoring the situation. Help came from three Hispanic young men with hoodies on and sagging pants. They surrounded the adult and directly confronted him with the child.
Jesus showed us that people are far beyond the boxes and categories that we put them in. During this difficult season of time in our country, I pray that we open our hearts, our minds, our eyes to all folks and to their voices and that we really do live out our Quaker foundational principle that there is that of God in every person.
Joys & Concerns
What a great day at the ballpark! First Friends had a blast at Victory Field to watch the last Indians home game of the season. We had about 40 people -- thanks to all who came out and made the day so much fun!
We are excited to welcome back the preschool co-op to First Friends for the 2017/2018 school year. The kids return next Tuesday for their first week of class. This has been a wonderful relationship that is now entering it’s 5th year. We work well together and have benefitted from the co-op’s presence here. As an example, our Trustees purchased the mulch for our playground and the call was put out to help spread the mulch this week. The office looks forward to the sound of children’s voices in the hallway next week!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please note, in observance of Labor Day the office will be closed Monday, September 4. There will also be no Meditational Worship that day. Have a wonderful Labor Day!
Labor of Love - Join us this Sunday! ~ In response to the atrocities currently taking place in our country, we invite everyone to a peaceful gathering of neighbors and Friends on Sunday, September 3rd in our Meditational Woods. We will gather in solidarity with our community and nation to express our desire for peace, equality, unity and love. As we expect many guests that day, we ask all who are able to please bring their lawn chairs! The event will include responses and opportunities for awareness through story, song, and art, as well as, a message from guest speaker, Malkah Bird, from American Friends Service Committee of Indianapolis and music by Eric Baker. Also, a special time of waiting worship in the manner of Friends will be offered allowing participants to speak out their responses to these difficult times. To conclude we are planning a special sending and call to action to take place around our peace pole.
Spiritual Growth Small Groups ~ We are excited to offer spiritual growth small groups this fall starting Oct 2nd and continuing for a 6 week period. We will be studying the book by Joyce Rupp called The Cup of Our Life that examines the rich symbol of a cup in all its many forms to our everyday life. These small groups will be facilitated by Jim and Leslie Kartholl, Bill Heitman and Sam Ryan, Mary Blackburn and David Beatty, Barbara Oberreich and Beth Henricks, Ann and Steve Rodino. The groups will meet on either Sunday after Meeting for Worship, Monday evening, Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon and Friday evening and will last 90 minutes each time. Please start thinking about your participation in this deepening spiritual time together and watch for sign up soon. Childcare will be provided for the gathering on Sunday.
Underneath It All – A message from Linda Lee - Underneath It All is coming to a close, although I do not plan to deliver your kind donations until I review what the current needs are, making sure to spend your money to the best effect. If anyone is interested in visiting the John H. Boner Center when I deliver the underwear, please let me know. Last second donations are still welcome. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Mid North Food Pantry Drive ~ First Friends is doing its annual fundraising for the Mid North Food Pantry in September, rather than November, this year. The pantry is in need of funds due to heavy demand during a very busy summer. We are, once again, requesting cash donations rather than food items as the pantry can purchase a much greater quantity of food with donated dollars than we can at grocery stores. Children who attend Sunday School can continue to bring in food items. Food insecurity is as great as ever in Indianapolis. Please donate as you are led. Checks can be made to First Friends with a notation of “Mid North” or “Food Pantry”. Thank you.
Sunday School Kick-Off! Our Sunday School kick off will be on September 10th. We will start the morning with breakfast for everyone in fellowship hall at 8:30. We encourage everyone to come in their pajama's! Our classes will begin at 9:00 a.m. as follows:
PreK - 2nd grade in our large children’s room
3rd - 5th grade in the far northeast room
6th - 12th grade in the basement
We will use a curriculum from Church of the Brethen Press called SHINE that will focus this fall On Being God’s People
The following adult/multigenerational classes will be offered:
Christ and Quakers - Held in the parlor and led by Dan L. This class will explore various viewpoints on Christ from George Fox, John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, Rufus Jones, Elton Trueblood and others.
Seeking Friends - Bob Henry will lead the group through the Brian McLaren book, We Make the Road by Walking. This study will give us an overview of the Bible and guide the group through rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth. Each week will include reading scripture together, study time, and queries to ponder throughout the week.
Wired Word (in Coffee Circle classroom) - will be led by Harold M. to talk about current events from a spiritual perspective.
Choir - will be meeting in the old children’s library. Anyone that has a heart for singing is welcome to join.
Nursery care will be available during Sunday School. Please mark your calendars!
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday September 9th from 5:30 - 9:30. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact Beth if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!
Reunite with Ruthie! Ruthie Tippin will be in town for several days September 13th - 15th. Beth Henricks will host an open house for her so you can have a chance to catch up with her on Wednesday September 13th from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. This gathering will be at Beth’s house (contact the office for address).
Saws Ramp Build ~ Those who are interested in helping with a SAWS ramp build on the morning of either October 14 or October 21 should notify the office as soon as possible. The Shalom Zone is trying to determine which date folks would be available to build a ramp. The date that most folks can attend will be chosen. If you can make one of the dates, notify the office as soon as possible which date works best for you. We will notify you which date is selected. Thank you!
Buddy Bags are here again this year! We are collecting food for the kids at Allisonville Elementary School Fall Break. We are going to have 25 bags this year and they will be delivered on October 4th. What we need from you are the following donations: Microwaveable Entrees, Chicken Salad with Crackers, small jars of peanut butter, 4/packs of fruit cups, vegetables cups, pudding cups, and applesauce: small boxes of raisins, packets of oatmeal, boxes of Pop-Tarts, protein or granola bars, packages of peanut butter or cheese crackers, fruit roll ups and bags of goldfish. Cash or check donations will also be accepted. We all pulled together last year to make this work so I know we can do it again this year! Please contact the office with any questions.
The Thornburgs in Belize ~ The Thornburgs are nearing their goal for their Belize fundraiser! We at First Friends are honored to have 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. The Thornburgs will need your financial assistance in order to make their Belize leading a reality. If you can, please donate to this cause and help the Thornburgs reach their goal!
Casseroles for the Henry family ~ During this time of great transition for the Henry family, it would be most appreciated if anyone could donate a casserole to the family. We need a few casseroles delivered each week, for the next few weeks, until the Henrys have moved into their new house. We ask that the casseroles be delivered in disposable containers, so that the Henrys do not have to return dishes. Also, please avoid pineapple, as Bob is allergic. If you can bring a dish, please let the office know. We are still in need of dishes!! Thank you!
New Library Books Ready for Checkout! The library committee comprised of John and Ileen Moorman, Lucy Beaver, and Shirley Earle are working to enhance our library. To make you aware of the new additions, here are others you may wish to sign out.
The Word Within: Essays on Prophetic Quaker Faith By Patricia Dallmann
The author has ministered and taught among liberal Friends since the mid-1980's. The titles of her essays are intriguing: The Gift of the Scriptures, From Heaven or of Men, The Cross in Quaker Faith, Declaring the New Creation, That All May Be One.
Imagination and Spirit: A Contemporary Quaker Reader Edited and Introduced by J. Brent Bill
This collection gets high praise from the Senior Editor of Atlantic Monthly who writes: Readings that offer both food for thought and a surprise around every corner." From prominent Quaker writers, these fifteen well-selected writings will delight you.
Letters to a Fellow Seeker: A Short Introduction To The Quaker Way By Steve Chase
An excellent read for newcomers interested in Friends. The author pretends he is writing to a person he met at a train station and engaged in conversation about spirituality. His perspective is that of an FGC un-programmed Quaker. He is director of Antioch U. New England's program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability.
SAVE THE DATE! 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.
Earth Care 101: Faith in Action ~ Every faith tradition recognizes the importance of caring for God’s creation. If you would like to learn more about environmental action from a faith perspective, you may consider attending a 4-session workshop hosted by Indianapolis Green Congregations entitled “Earth Care 101: Faith in Action”. This free workshop will be given on 4 consecutive Saturday mornings (September 16, 23, 30, and October 7) from 8:30 to 10:30 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 4600 N. Illinois Street, 46208. Attendance at all four sessions is encouraged, but each session stands alone. For more information and to register, send an email to email@example.com or call Alice Miley, 317-842-7901.