As Way Opens
In my readings for class I came across a parable that the mystic, writer and teacher Cynthia Bourgeult quotes in her book, The Wisdom Way of Knowing - "Once upon a time in a not-so-far-away land, there was a kingdom of acorns, nestled at the foot of a grand old oak tree. Since the citizens of this kingdom were modern, fully Westernized acorns, they went about their business with purposeful energy; and since they were midlife, baby-boomer acorns, they engaged in a lot of self-help courses. There were seminars called "Getting All You Can Out of Your Shell". There were woundedness and recovery groups for acorns who had been bruised in their original fall from the tree. There were spas for oiling and polishing those shells and various acornopathic therapies to enhance longevity and well-being.
One day in the midst of this kingdom there suddenly appeared a knotty little stranger, apparently dropped "out of the blue" by a passing bird. He was caplets and dirty, making an immediate negative impression of his fellow acorns. And crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, "We… are… that!” Delusional thinking, obviously, the other acorns concluded, but one of them continued to engage him in conversation: "So tell us, how would we become that tree?" "Well", said he, pointing downward, "it has something to do with going into the ground… and cracking open the shell," "Insane," they responded. "Totally morbid! Why then we wouldn't be acorns anymore.”
I have not been able to stop thinking about this story since I read it. It connects so much with the book we are reading for small groups by Richard Rohr, Falling Upward. To find out true selves we must go down into our deepest crevices and begin to crack open the shell that we tell everyone is our true self but it’s not. We must become aware of our light and our shadows and embrace all of them. We must look into ourselves and appreciate our uniqueness and recognize that God calls each one of us into perfect communion and transformation with Christ and it is through this understanding that we can become our individual oak trees, our deepest and best selves and that is how we will each change the world in our destined way. What do you need to crack open to begin to find your oak tree?
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Affirmation and Youth Group ~ We completed our second Affirmation class this month finishing up Quaker history in America. We have 9 young people taking the class and I appreciated their interest in our history. Our next class will study our testimonies and Dan Lee will lead this class. We are heading to the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati this Saturday. We will begin to do some fundraising for our trip to Philadelphia next summer. Stay tuned! ~Beth
Talk to Congress – Letter Writing Project ~ On the last Sunday of each month (starting this Sunday, October 28), Witness and Service is offering an opportunity for you to contact Congress. We will provide information and a sample letter, which addresses a specific issue that is on the Senate and/or House of Representative radar. You are welcome to write/call your legislators about this topic, or any other that might be on your mind.
The topics are chosen by Quaker Pastors, Ron and Pam Furgeson, who minister at Winchester Friends here in Indiana. They choose which topics to address based on relevance to our Quaker Testimonies. A writing station will be set up in Fellowship Hall for you to use after meeting for worship. You are welcome to write your thoughts on cards that are provided, take the material home to send later, or (if technology cooperates) send an email from the computer that is set up at the station. Your views are always private. The important part of this effort is to give you an opportunity to speak with those who decide the laws of the land, and to give Quaker/Faith Community input into their decision-making.
The featured topic for October is encouraging Congress to support The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act. This bipartisan bill is designed to improve U.S. capacity for reducing and addressing the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility across the globe. For more information and a sample letter, please visit https://goo.gl/WaH6YU.
Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading ~ Join our Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading book group for Tuesday October 30th’s pick ~ The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams. The discussion will be led by Bob Henry. Click on this link if you’d like see the New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/books/review/the-hour-of-land-by-terry-tempest-williams.html. Interested in being on the Oak Leaf email list or would like the book list? Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oak Leaf meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Parlor at 7 pm. Come one, come all!
"I was a stranger and you welcomed me"
Immigration and the Meaning of Welcome: Sharing the Stories from Our Community
Please join members of the Shalom Zone churches for a discussion about immigration in our community and how we as Christians can help to welcome immigrants and refugees. Joining us to share their stories will be members of several immigrant communities in the Indianapolis area. An overview of some of the key issues about immigration, immigrants, and refugees will also be provided by our own Tim W, from Catholic Charities/Refugee Program. It will be held on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00pm at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 5233 E. 79th St., Indianapolis, 46250. We hope you will join us for this important topic.
October Bird of the Month
Merlin – It was Magic
Last week I was prepared to draw the bird I had selected weeks ago for October, and, yes, the story was mostly complete in my head. However, I stopped mid-week to check on something with the stamp project, and decided to take a listen in the woods, just to find out what was around. As I was leaving the woods, I happened to glance down the power lines to the north, and saw a bird sitting motionless on one of the wires about halfway to the garage. It had not been there when I had arrived several minutes earlier. At first I could not judge its size; if it was small, it could be a bluebird. If it was large, it was likely to be an American Kestrel, a member of the falcon family. I decided to check it out. The day was overcast, and bird’s colors and patterns were difficult to discern against the white sky. Quickly I saw it was too large to be a bluebird, and it had a hawk-like bill. So it was a Kestrel, a species I have seen before on the property, especially around the power lines and towers. But wait!! Where was the strong double-lined facial pattern of a kestrel? Not on this bird!! Where was the kestrel’s reddish brown back and tail? Also not here. Oh my!! This was no kestrel. This was the much rarer Merlin, a falcon with an all-dark bluish-gray back, black blotches on the sides of the belly, a subtle cheek mark, and a bluish-gray tail with dark bands. This was by far the rarest bird I have seen here on the First Friends property.
In fact, in my 45 years of birding, I have never seen a Merlin well-enough on my own to identify it…until now. When people have shown them to me, they are usually far off in flight or seen in poor weather. This one, in the middle of migration, allowed me to approach it, pass it, and even get a look from behind. When I walked down the sidewalk back to the woods, I turned to give the bird one more look, but the Merlin was gone, just as it had appeared…like magic.
Community Garden: Our season in review
Thanks to the ushers for saving coffee grounds for the compost bin, and thanks to Breanna Cooper for helping ready the garden for next season. What a joy to look over the garden throughout the year and see the change of the seasons and the fruits of our labor!
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
Community Soup ~ Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup on Friday, November 2, from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Everyone is invited to this very informal dinner. As the weather is cooling down we will be serving soup. If you’d like you’re welcome to bring a soup but not necessary. Our motto is: No cooking, no cleanup, no cost! Hope to see you there.
Riley Children’s Hospital Fundraiser ~ A message from Heather DeRudder: I'm on a mission to save kids and I need your help. Riley Children's Hospital treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few. This is my third year participating in this huge worldwide celebration of the social impact of gamers of all kinds. Our team will play video games to board games and even tabletop RPG's to raise money and awareness for Riley Children's Hospital!
Since 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $40 million to help children's hospitals provide critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment, research and charitable care. It's my sincere hope that you'll find it in your heart to support my efforts with a monthly pledge or one-time gift that will go directly to my hospital. Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.I need your help to reach my goal "For The Kids". Please make a safe, easy donation online today. You can click the following link to make a safe and easy online donation. Thank you so much for supporting my efforts! https://goo.gl/3dt8i4
Sing around the campfire on Friday, November 9 from 6:00 to 8:30pm. Connections is planning this weenie and marshmallow roast. Jim K will provide music and Leslie K will assist as anyone who wants, chimes in. The event will take place in the Meetinghouse courtyard and Fellowship Hall. Bring your voice, an instrument if you can play, and wear warm clothes. If you’d like to come, please RSVP with the office at email@example.com or 317-255-2485 by Wednesday, November 7. See you then!
Deodorant needed for MNFP! Currently, Mid-North Food Pantry (MNFP) is collecting deodorant for men and women in need. If you would like to help out, please place unopened sticks of deodorant in the donation boxes either in the hallway by the Sunday School rooms, or in Fellowship Hall. Thank you!
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.
Blood Drive! Please join us for a blood drive held in conjunction with the Indiana Blood Center on Sunday, December 2nd from 9:00am-1:00pm in Fellowship Hall. If you would like to schedule a time, visit https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/124166. Donors must be 17 years old (16 with signed parent permission slip), meet height /weight eligibility requirements, be in good general health, and present a photo I.D. at registration. To view eligibility, visit https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/124166. If you have any other questions, please contact Kristine Pierce (firstname.lastname@example.org).