As Way Opens
This weekend I found myself embracing the idea of “reflection” in several different ways. It seems that when God speaks to me, the communication often takes place through art in a multitude of expressions. Whether it is through writing, on screen, in nature, or simply through my own creative process, I have learned to allow these gifts from God to help reflect a greater depth in my soul. Let me explain.
While preparing for bed on Friday night, I found myself engrossed in chapter one of The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault. In the concluding thoughts on chapter one she says,
“He then concludes with this remarkable statement: ‘The knowledge of Jesus Christ is a unitive knowledge; it is the luminosity of my own true and eternal being.’ In other words, to quote Psalm 35, ‘in your light we see light.’ Jesus Christ standing before the Samaritan woman becomes the mirror in which she sees not only the face of God but her own true face.”
This was a rather profound thought since earlier that very day, I had been at the meetinghouse working on the art installation for our Labor of Love gathering. The vision I was given for this piece was of a pillar of mirrors that not only conveyed our reason for the event, but would allow the viewer to see their own selves as part of the creation. The piece is called “Reflections of Peace, Solidarity, and Hope” as a reminder that those three things must start first in our own hearts. It was beautiful to see as people gathered around the installation, and in the photos taken of the event, the way they were reflecting within it. Much like Cynthia described, this was Christ standing before (among) us and literally becoming a mirror in which to see not only the face of God (for there is that of God in us all) but also to reflect our own true face as it relates to peace, solidarity, and hope.
On Saturday night, Sue and I took time for a much-needed date night. I had surprised her with dinner and tickets to the new film, Columbus, an Indie film which was shot in Columbus, Indiana. Part of the night was having the opportunity to interact in a Q&A session after the movie screening with director Kogonada and lead male actor John Cho. As the lights went down and the movie began, silence fell upon the theater. Not in quite some time have I been so riveted by a movie. Actually, it was more than a movie. It again was a mirror, a reflection of the absences in our lives. Through Modernist architecture, and the well-developed characters of Jin and Casey, a mirror was formed for the viewer that reflected the depths of one’s desire for fulfillment and the many absences that one faces in life. If you are a student of Modernist art or architecture, you know that it often portrays an incomplete vision that forces the viewer to seek to complete or discover what is missing. Much like the architecture that is depicted, Columbus is a mirror to our souls that reflects what we hope will be. Again, I saw Christ standing on that screen reflecting to me and the audience the depths of our souls.
Overall, I would describe this weekend like entering a “hall of mirrors.” At each turn I was forced to look at the depths of my own being by the ever present Christ - the mirror to my soul. Our need for awareness is being reflected back to us all the time. The query that remains is, “Are we willing to open our eyes and gaze into the mirror and deal with all that we see?”
Joys & Concerns
What a beautiful day we had for our "Labor of Love: A Gathering of Peace, Solidarity, & Hope!" in our Meditational Woods over Labor Day Weekend. Here are some images from this powerful morning. Thanks to all those who made this response and expression of love to the atrocities of our world so meaningful! May it be a first of many responses and calls to action at First Friends.
A special thank you to Eric B, Jim K for leading music, Catherine S and Leslie K for sharing their writings, Carl B for being on the facing bench and sharing an excerpt from MLK Jr's speech, Malkah Bird for her challenging message, and for Pastor Bob Henry for sharing his art installation. Thanks also to all those working behind the scenes, Beth H for spraying for bugs, Kim H for taking care of the chairs and sound, Dan M for creating the sign on the street, Rebecca L for putting together our programs, and the Fellowship Committee and Susan Rains for the wonderful “Summer of Love” themed fellowship hour. A special thanks goes out to all who joined us from the community and other meetings and churches!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Sunday School Kick-Off! Our Sunday School kick off will be THIS SUNDAY 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 Lee. This class will explore various viewpoints on Christ from George Fox, John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, Rufus Jones, Elton Trueblood and others. Note: This class will begin September 24.
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 Miller 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 join us!
Bake Sale ~ Also this Sunday the 10th during fellowship hour, Lucy K, with help from Kwali T, will be holding a bake sale to help raise money for the Thornburgs’ trip to Belize a reality. They are nearing their goal! 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. Look for the bake sale in Fellowship Hall this Sunday after Worship!
Planting Seeds of Peace & Justice ~ All are invited to a reception that the American Friends Service Committee and Bloomington Friends are holding to celebrate the past and build the future. It is being held this Friday, September 8, at 6:00pm at Unitarian Universalist Church, 2120 N Fee Ln, Bloomington, IN 47408. Please join us for a historically rich pictorial exhibit, the exquisite music of Salaam, refreshments, and rejoicing! Find more information or to register please visit afsc.org/indianacentennial.
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.
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday September 9th from 5:30 - 9:30 and is being hosted by Beth Farris and Jeff Small. 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!
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. The groups will meet on different days of the week and will last 90 minutes each time. The groups will meet each week for 6 weeks. Contact the office for details, and if you’d like to sign up, please see the sign-up sheet that will be in the hallway this Sunday, or contact the office.
The Indiana Daylily and Iris Society invites you! The IDIS is hosting their annual plant exchange right here at First Friends, and everyone is welcome! It is being held this Saturday, September 9, 11am-3pm in Fellowship Hall. This is their annual Pitch-In and Plant Exchange and NCAP Daylily Auction. Lunch will be at 11:45am, and the auction is at 12:45pm. The event is free and everyone is welcome! For details, please visit http://www.indianadaylilyirissociety.org/.
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 (1123 Ivy Lane, Indianapolis 46220).
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 Jim Donahue 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 ASAP which date works best for you. We will notify you which date is selected. Thank you!
Participate in our "Sponsor a College Student" project! Just select a college student off the board set up in the meetinghouse and send them notes, cards, treats, etc throughout the school year so they hear from someone at the Meeting and feel connected.
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.
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!! The Henry’s will be moving in September 21st, so any help until then is much appreciated! Thank you.
Check out our Library! The library committee comprised of John and Ileen M, Lucy B, and Shirley E are working to enhance our library. Thank you to Linda L for writing summaries of the books that were shared in Friend to Friend! Come visit the library and check them out!