As Way Opens
Last evening I participated in an interfaith Thanksgiving service with our Jewish, Christian and Muslim friends from the Northside clergy group. Our service was held in the magnificent sanctuary at St Paul’s Episcopal church. Many of us shared scripture, poem, songs and readings together. There was much ritual to the service but for me last night it was a part of the experience and in our Quaker term “we had a gathered meeting”. The St Paul’s choir sounded like a heavenly chorus and Rabbi Brett Krichiver from Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation shared an inspiring and challenging message to never put creed and doctrine above love and relationship. It was a beautiful service that represented our deep bonds of faith and hope together as spiritual seekers. As the Rabbi said in his message, we all have different names we call God but we are all connected and all are our brothers and sisters in the Divine.
I shared this poem during the service and brought us into silence as part of the worship experience for a few moments. And while in that silence the bell chimes rang and we could all feel the moving of the Spirit in the room. It felt like we were experiencing the kingdom of God here on earth. I am hopeful that during this busy weekend you will take time for silence and reflection and look for that peace within ourselves.
A Prayer for Simplicity and Peace
by Michael Leunig
We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace.
Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty.
Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom,
of joy, inspiration, and renewal,
places where all creatures may find acceptance and belonging.
Let us search for these places in the world,
in ourselves, and in others.
Let us restore them. Let us strengthen and protect them,
and let us create them.
May we mend this outer world
according to the truth of our inner life
and may our souls be shaped
and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom.
Joys & Concerns
Our own Mary B received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Hoosier Environmental Council! Congratulations Mary! Go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Indyfriends to see the video of her accepting the award! For more information you can also read the press release here: https://goo.gl/JHt8Ri.
Several folks from Indianapolis First Friends gathered on the steps of the State Capital representing Quakers and Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL), which is part of a coalition working for redistricting reform in Indiana. The father of gerrymandering, Elbridge Gerry, made a special appearance, along with a brass jazz combo, all to send an upbeat message: Hoosiers want fair redistricting for the state legislature and congressional districts. In addition, you can sign a petition at www.allinfordemocracy.org encouraging Gov. Holcomb to put redistricting reform high on his legislative agenda next session.
Youth fun at Greattimes! We had 11 youth join us on Sunday for a trip to Greattimes Fun Park for go-karting, putt-putt golf and an arcade. Everyone enjoyed themselves and Beth is thankful to see how our youth are developing relationships with each other.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Thank you for your pledges! First Friends is deeply grateful for the generosity of Friends in support of our ministries and extends a big ‘thank you’ to all of who have turned in pledge cards for 2019. This indication of support for 2019 is helpful as we plan a budget for the New Year. If you haven’t yet pledged, you can fill out and submit a pledge card online at https://goo.gl/forms/aEQnYpXva2a0MvWo2. The pledge cards will also be available at the Meetinghouse this Sunday November 25. You can place filled out cards in the offering plate during Meeting for Worship or send to the office. We have appreciated your support of all the ministries here at First Friends this year with your time, talents and financial resources. As we close out 2018, we hope you will consider including First Friends in your year-end giving.
Singalong Notice ~ Friends, please note that we will not hold our monthly Singalong in the Parlor in December. We will begin again in January. Happy holidays!
Poinsettias are available for order! You can order a red or white Poinsettia in a 6-inch pot for $8.50 each. All orders must be submitted to the office by Monday, November 26th. Order forms are available, or you can email your order to the office and send in your check separately. If emailing your order to firstname.lastname@example.org, please list how many of which color you want, if it is in memory of or in honor of someone, and please put ‘Poinsettia order’ in the memo line of the check when you send it in.
College Care packages - It is time to send care packages to our college students as they prepare for their final exams at school. We will have boxes out this Sunday for you to fill with goodies like candy, cookies, cards, and other treats. Please bring enough for all 8 of our students. Any money donated will be used to purchase additional items for the boxes. We will be mailing them November 26 so please bring everything in by Sunday, November 25. Thank you for your support!
Grief Gathering on Sunday November 25th after Meeting for Worship - Circle of Care is hosting a lunch and discussion for those who have experienced a loss of a family member or cherished friend. This lunch and time together is a tangible way our Meeting is demonstrating our care for each other during times of sadness. Rev Marsha Hutchinson, retired Pastor of Care Minister at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, will facilitate our discussions that day. We invite anyone that is interested in gathering with others to share and reflect on the experience of loss. Feel free to bring any family members. Please contact the office (email@example.com) if you plan to attend. Circle of Care at is also exploring other ideas to meet the needs of our members and attenders and would like to know other ways we can support those at First Friends who are dealing with loss and grief. If you have some time, we ask that you please complete a short survey, found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8L273QQ. Thank you for your feedback!
Oak Leaf: Meeting For Reading ~ Anyone interested is invited to attend the 5th Annual Potluck Lasagna Holiday Dinner at Ruth K’s house on November 27th at 6:30 pm. We will be discussing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Bring a friend, a side dish and a book from home for our annual holiday book swap. Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need directions. The next discussion will be American Fire by Monica Hesse on December 27th at 7 pm.
Get rid of your ugly Christmas sweaters! Shawn Porter’s Hamilton Southeastern school choir’s holiday performance this year includes a song about ugly Christmas sweaters and the choir is in need of donations. If you have an ugly Christmas sweater that you no longer need, please consider donating it. If you have a sweater you’d like to give, please pass them onto Shawn on Sunday morning or bring them to the meeting office. Thank you for your help!
Work Needed ~ Please see this message from Janice H: As Career Coach at Hawthorne Community Center, I have a client who fled Rwanda on a tourist visa with her two young children a few months ago because her husband disappeared, and people were trying to kill her entire family. She is staying at a shelter and filing for asylum through Ind. Legal Services. She will not have a work permit for 5 months or more and has no pocket money. In the meantime, she is willing to clean houses or do whatever as long as it is a safe situation. She speaks and understands some English and is fluent in French and her mother tongue. Both her children will soon be in school during the day. She doesn't have a car, but Hawthorne has bus passes. She has a bachelor’s degree in management and economics from her homeland. Another need she has is for a spiritual community. If you know of any Haitian or other congregations where French is spoken, I would love to connect her with one. If you know of any work or social service assistance besides the Immigrant Welcome Center and the Exodus Refugee Center, please let the office know at email@example.com.
Talk to Congress – Letter Writing Project ~ On the last Sunday of each month (this time being Sunday, November 25), 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 November is encouraging Congress to end military involvement in Yemen. For more information and a sample letter, please visit https://goo.gl/aiBAz4.
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 the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Royal Sensation Choir Performance in Meeting ~ On Sunday, December 2nd, we are pleased to welcome the Royal Sensation choir from Hamilton Southeastern High School. Royal Sensation is under the direction of Shawn P. Please join us in Meeting that day to hear their performance. A goodwill offering will be taken to help support their choir.
Bake With Us! Want to slow down while learning how to make delicious, nutritious sourdough bread?! Join us Saturday, Dec 8th from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Meeting house and you'll learn how to make your very own bread! Bring a sturdy spoon for stirring, a large bowl that can hold at least 3 quarts, and a digital scale, but if you don't have some of these things you are still welcome. We'll finish the process with bread shaping and baking Sunday morning at 9 am before meeting for worship. Our bread will be ready after meeting for worship. We can hold about 16 people in the Meeting kitchen. Please RSVP to the office at email@example.com.
The Indy Winds Flute Choir will present their winter concert on Sunday December 9th at 3:00 at Roberts Park United Methodist Church. There will be a combination of Christmas music and other classical music. Carl B and Lynda S will both be performing. Lynda will be the featured soloist in a beautiful arrangement of “O Holy Night”. The concert will run about two hours, but if you’re worried about getting to Vespers on time, there will be an intermission around 4:00.
Vespers Annual Concert~ On Sunday, December 9th at 5:30pm we invite you to attend our annual Vespers concert. Our performers have been practicing hard for this concert, and it should be quite a delight. Following the concert there will be a complimentary light dinner, hosted by our Fellowship Committee. Plan to join us for the evening!
Children’s Pageant ~ Join us during our Meeting for Worship on Sunday, December 16 as our children depict and read the story of Jesus' birth. As well, the congregation will join in with singing hymns together. This is an annual tradition that you do not want to miss!
Annual Christmas Tea ~ Please join us on December 16th immediately after worship in the parlor for the annual Christmas Tea. There will be lots of cookies and punch and fellowship. If you can donate two dozen cookies, they can be dropped off 10-11am, Saturday, December 15th or the morning of Sunday, December 16th in the parlor. For more information contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy holidays!
Christmas Caroling ~ Fa La La La La! Joy to the World! Deck the Halls! It's time to clear your throats and get ready to bring some Christmas cheer through singing some carols! Join us on Sunday, December 16 in the evening for some caroling. Make sure to bring the kids as we will again be heading to Steak and Shake after caroling for dinner! This should be a fun night for the entire family! Keep an eye out for more details coming soon.
Festival of Carols ~ The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir Presents Festival of Carols! Dan R and Bill P are both part of this group. Make 2018 the holiday season you will forever remember! With 5 performances to choose from, the Midwest’s beloved holiday tradition includes your favorite carols and Christmas music featuring the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and musical surprises for kids from 1 to 92. Performances will be December 9 at the Warren Performing Arts Center and December 21-December 23 at the Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts. For more information or to buy tickets, visit indychoir.org!