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As Way Opens

This past Sunday night First Friends hosted a service appreciation dinner for 8 of our weighty Friends that have spent many years in service and faithful commitment to our community and have served in so many ways over the years (clerks, committees, new ministries, service projects, small groups, spiritual development etc).  This event was started a number of years ago as several folks (led by Jim Donahue) lamented the fact that we don’t share how we really feel about folks until they are gone.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our friends to hear the impact they have had on us now!   These friends and so many before them have sustained First Friends through many changes, have supported the various ministries and have showed us how to live through the joys and sorrows of life.  I am thankful for each person that we recognized last Sunday night and over the last 15 years and their impact on my faith journey.  May we all share our appreciation in verbal and tangible ways to each other.


The same evening, we had 7 of our youth (6th - 10th grade) join us to prep and serve tables, clear away dishes and learn how to run our industrial size dishwasher and wash all dishes and put away our food.  These kids were amazing and everyone attending the dinner felt a sense of hope and future of Quakerism watching these youth work as a team, be helpful and gracious and work their tails off.  I was so proud of them (I know Quakers aren’t supposed to feel pride but sometimes it just pops out) and loved to watch them honor and appreciate these friends in the room.  My heart was full of joy to see the intersection of young and old connecting in a room full of God’s presence.  God knits us all together in a mystical and profound way.



Joys & Concerns

We thank our volunteers for serving at the Mid-North Food Pantry last week: Kathy R, Dan H, Christie M, Tom F, Kathy and Bill F, Linda and Rik L, and Carol and Jim D.

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations

IFCL Meeting ~ Everyone is invited to the next Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) meeting on Saturday, October 6 from 9-11am in the First Friends Parlor. IFCL is in the midst of restructuring and this is an open meeting to any who might be interested in IFCL or in giving feedback. Feel welcome to contact Diana Hadley (Dhadley@franklincollege.edu), Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com) or Ed Morris (emorri@earthlink.net) with questions or suggestions regarding IFCL initiatives. We hope to see you there.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Small Groups ~ We are excited to offer spiritual growth small groups again this fall starting October 15th and continuing for a 5-week period (ending the week before Thanksgiving). In the past our small groups study sessions were an opportunity to deepen connections in a small group with Friends.  We will be studying the book by Richard Rohr called “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.” In his book, Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as "falling upward." In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness. See below for current available sessions. Please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org with your preferred time or sign up on Sundays just outside of the sanctuary when you're at worship. We hope you will join us!

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Slow Church Sermon Series ~ Each Sunday we are going to explore together what a “slow movement” looks like for First Friends. This is an invitation to explore outside of what is labeled “franchise faith” and back into the Kingdom of God – where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church. This will be instrumental in developing an ongoing vision for First Friends. We hope you will plan to join us for this exploration during the Fall months.

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Buddy Bags ~ The Shalom Zone is continuing its support of Allisonville Elementary School and the food insecurity issue by providing Buddy Bags to some of its more vulnerable students during school breaks.  First Friends plans to provide Buddy Bags prior to Fall break.  You can help by taking a tag which will have certain food items listed, purchasing such items in the quantity noted, and putting them into the box on the stage in Fellowship Hall.  The Buddy Bags will be delivered the first week of October, so we will need the items no later than September 28.  Together, we can work to make life in our community a little bit better.  Thanks for your help.

Full Circle Festival ~ Again this year our own Ben W will be holding Full Circle Festival downtown on Saturday, October 20th. Full Circle Fest is an open-air dining experience, an interactive art fair, a zero-waste event, a fundraiser for sustainable community projects, and much more! There will also be local bands, performers, and DJs, engaging games and activities. Every year we focus on a timely community issue to guide the day's events. This year’s focus is “Everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food.” Indianapolis ranks among the worst cities in the country for food deserts (urban areas in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food). Full Circle Fest is in need of your support to help bring this event to life. To donate, please drop your contributions in the offering plate or in the meeting office with the notation “Full Circle Fest”. An anonymous donor will match donations up to $500, so please consider supporting this important cause. For more information please visit https://fullcirclefest.com/.

Underneath It All ~ In the fall some of our thoughts turn toward school children, cooler weather and the importance of underwear. For maybe 8 or 10 years First Friends has been donating underwear to the John H. Boner Center on the near east side. Social workers there have it on hand to give to children in need. This includes some preschoolers on up through high school, so a variety of sizes are needed.  If shopping for underwear is not your favorite thing, a check will be welcomed. There will be a donation box in Fellowship Hall. Questions? Ask Linda L


Shalom Zone movie - The next Shalom Zone Eco Film will be Bidder 70, which highlights the story of University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher, who in 2008 committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of Climate justice.  The film will be at St Pius X Church, 7200 Sarto Dr on Friday October 12th at 7”00 p.m.  Everyone is invited.



Meditational Woods Bird of the Month: September

Ruby-throated Hummingbird – A Energetic Friend


This little guy (yes, I drew the male with its red throat; the female lacks the red patch) can be seen flying across the parking lot and Parker Street to visit the two houses with hummingbird feeders. I also have seen hummingbirds visiting the flowers in the garden and sitting on power line wires above the east edge of the parking lot. Because they fly into the meditational woods, it is possible they nest there, especially in the pine trees. A nest has yet to be discovered. Maybe next year! As you read this most hummingbirds will be leaving to make their way south for the winter.

Those folks who put out feeders will attest to the fact that hummingbirds are quite jealous and can expend both time and energy to keep others away from a feeder. While there are usually four perches on a feeder, one bird may chase away any others that try to occupy even just one of the other perches. With a species so dependent on getting energy for their fast-moving wings, one would think the idea would be to conserve energy and share as a community! But no! It reminds me of humans (like me) who likewise seem to expend much energy in needless worry and wasted overactivity that may freeze up the mind, making things worse. There’s a sermon in there somewhere. I’ll leave that to other Friends.

I often hear hummingbirds before I see them. It’s not the hum of their wings I hear. It is a chattering sound they make in flight. It is quite distinctive, unlike any other sound in nature. By the time I spot the individual, usually it has flown on by. Hearing it chatter while it is feeding among flowers gives a better chance to observe this little friend.

~Brad J

SAVE THE DATE! We need your blood on Sunday, December 2nd. We are having a blood drive from in Fellowship Hall. Keep an eye out for more details in coming months!

SAWS Ramp Build ~ The Shalom Zone is planning another SAWS ramp build. Please note that the date for the ramp build has been changed to Saturday, October 6th.  SAWS is an organization that builds ramps for low income folks who need a ramp to enter/exit their homes.  If you would like to volunteer to help or need more information, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org.  Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website: http://sawsramps.org


The Creation by Haydn Indianapolis Symphonic Choir Performance ~ All are invited to the Indianapolis Symphonic choir’s performance on Sunday, October 7th at 6pm at Hilbert Circle Theater. Dan R and Bill P will both be performing. The 82nd season begins with Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, vividly depicting through the human voice and orchestra the creation story. Eric Stark conducts the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in this performance that begins with the famous musical painting of void, chaos and all that follows. If ten or more people from First Friends go there is a 20% discount on tickets. Stay tuned for more information, or see Dan R.


The Rohingya Refugee Crisis ~ Last August the government of Burma forced a million Muslim Rohingya from their homes in Burma into Bangladesh. The United Nations calls this genocide and a crime against humanity. On Wednesday, October 10, 7:00-8:3pm, the Indianapolis Peace & Justice Center invites everyone to come hear John Clark, board of the Indianapolis-based OBAT Helpers, one of the few nonprofits working in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. This event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St. For more information, please visit www.indypeaceandjustice.org.


Recycling Event! The Shalom Zone plans to have its yearly recycling event with Recycle Force on Saturday, October 13 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. If an item runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery you can recycle it! This year it will be held at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd. A $20 donation is requested for appliances containing Freon (fridges, freezers, ac units and dehumidifiers) and televisions. Other monetary contributions are greatly appreciated. This is a great opportunity to clean out your basement, garage, closets, attic and responsibly recycle unwanted electronics and appliances.

Alternatives to Violence Mini Workshops ~
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Indiana is hosting mini workshops using participants’ shared experience, interactive exercises and games to examine the ways we respond to situations where frustration can lead to anger and aggressive behavior through leadership development, community building and creative conflict management. These workshops are free and are for anyone who is interested in learning new and creative ways to respond to conflict in personal relationships and groups. The sessions are on the following Saturdays at Indianapolis Public Library branches:

October 13, 12:30-4:30pm at West Indianapolis Library, 1216 Kappes St, Indianapolis 46221

November 10, 10am-1:30pm at Brightwood Library, 2435 N Sherman Dr, Indianapolis 46218

December 8, 12:30-4:30pm at Wayne Library, 198 S Girls School Rd, Indianapolis 46231

For more information and to register, please visit https://avpindiana.org/registration-2/


First Day of Fall:  A Boon for Community Gardeners

It is a joy to work outside on a cool autumn day when the sun is shining.  Thanks to the people who showed up on the first day of fall for the Community Garden Work Day and Harvest Picnic! We were blessed with a gorgeous day, perfect for gardeners.  A few people who are not regular First Friends gardeners also came. Rick donated a weed eater to the Meeting and then stayed to help.

Workers applied butcher oil on raised bed frame wood and pulled up rotted wood from frames needing repair.  Children and adults participated by sorting our seed library; photographing and mapping garden plots for future reference; planting oat cover crops to overwinter and enrich soil; labeling and cleaning tools and equipment; weed eating overgrown plots and aisles; disposing of diseased and buggy plants and composting healthy, spent crops.  Some gardeners preferred cutting and leaving spent crops in place, and then digging them under or covering them. Thanks to Dan for keeping the garage tidy. We shared mini bouquets, tomatoes and herbs with the Meeting.  Here is a peek of our day.        –Nancy 

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