As Way Opens
For some reason, this year I am experiencing mixed feelings about the holidays. It may be both the current condition of our world and the angst of all the extra stuff added to our schedules during the month of December. Sadly, I know several people who are actually looking forward to the holidays being over before they even begin. If holiday anxiety already has you in its clutches, maybe it is time to embrace the Quaker Way of pausing to center yourself and reflecting on just what this season truly offers and how you are being called to respond. Our Friends at New England Yearly Meeting have put together a set of Christmas Queries that have helped me reflect and prepare as I enter the Holidays. I encourage you to spend some time in the coming days utilizing them to mind your Inner Light and prepare for this holy season.
In this time of commercialism, how do you reflect values of simplicity? In what ways do you and your family reflect on the significance of Jesus' life and his teachings regarding simplicity? Is your gift giving in line with these values? Have you been able to find rituals that enhance the experience of the Inner Light?
At this time of year, there is more attention given to "Peace on Earth." Is there significance in the birth of Jesus, the "Prince of Peace" that calls us to actively seek peace? What do you do to promote peace in the world? Are you able to find inner peace in the midst of everyday business? Do you walk gently and peacefully on the Earth, seeking that of God in others and in nature?
In this time of winter darkness and cold, where do you find Light in your Life? As the shepherds waited for the good news, do you wait with an open heart for revelation? How do you and your family seek the Light and share it with others? Have you been able to find rituals that enhance the experience of the Inner Light?
How does your family get ready for Christmas? What do you wish your family did around Christmas? At what age did you start giving presents to other people? Did someone work on them with you?
Grace and Peace,
Joys & Concerns
Many thanks to Leslie K & Barbara D who decorated the Meetinghouse so beautifully for Christmas. What a blessing to have her set up our space for the upcoming holiday season! We hope you will join us in December to come see Leslie’s decorations!
This past Sunday was our Service of Remembrance and grief gathering following Meeting for Worship. We welcomed Rev. Marsha Hutchinson to our pulpit and to help facilitate our gathered time. During the service we lit candles to honor those who died this past year. Thanks to all those who participated in this beautiful time.
Thanks to our food pantry volunteers! Last Wednesday, First Friends had more volunteers than ever before in the many years of its helping at the Mid North Food Pantry. Volunteers included: Christie M, Dan H, Tom F, Kathy and Bill F, Ray G, John , Rik and Linda L, Kathy R, Carol and Jim D, and Chrissy, Trent, Graham, Berlynn and Foster Lee (the youngest person to ever volunteer at the pantry) S. While it was an unusual day in that the pantry was not very busy, all volunteers were very much appreciated. Also, a check from First Friends in the amount of $990 was provided to the pantry. The pantry thanked First Friends for its generous contribution and many loyal volunteers.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is proud to share that Beth H’s written piece about the role the US is playing in the Yemen crisis was recently published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette! You can find her piece online at http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/20181127/us-complicit-in-saudis-war-atrocities-in-yemen.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
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 email@example.com.
Help a family in need this Christmas! This year we are partnering with Easterseals to help two local families this holiday season. We will soon have a tree in the foyer of the Meetinghouse with tags that you can take. Simply buy and wrap the gift and bring it back to the Meetinghouse. Please help us make this year a special one for these families!
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.
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday December 8th from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Kathy R & Beth H. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!
Please support our Affirmation class! Please see us in Fellowship Hall after Meeting for Worship on Sunday, December 9 where Beth H and our youth will be selling cookies and soup in a jar as well as fresh-baked bread to raise funds for affirmation class. All of these items make great holiday gifts! We hope to see you there!
Vespers Annual Concert~ On Sunday, December 9th at 5:30pm we invite you to attend our annual Vespers concert, “A Season to Celebrate.” 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. Childcare will be provided. Please plan to join us for the evening!
Talk to Congress – Letter Writing Project ~ Thank you to everyone who participated in our letter writing project for November. Please note, we won’t have letter writing in December, due to the holidays. Have a Merry Christmas!
Get rid of your ugly Christmas sweaters! Shawn P’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!
Bake with Us! Want to slow down while learning how to make delicious, nutritious sourdough bread?! Join us Saturday, December 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 3:00pm 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.
Youth Christmas Party! We invite all of our youth to join us on Friday, December 14 for our annual Christmas party! It will be 6:30-9:00pm in the basement. We will have games, activities, dinner, and a gift exchange! Please bring a wrapped gift ($5 or less). It promises to be a magical 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!
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for November:
Like other folks, I have in the past been confused by people who are similar in appearance. That is, I’m talking to someone and suddenly realize my conversation is not making any sense because I have confused that someone with someone else. This has happened in the hallway at First Friends, and with my students, and even one time in college when I mistook a girl I was dating for another girl I had known in the past (but I digress). There is never an easy way out of this situation; perhaps one should just apologize, and admit the confusion.
The Bird-of-the-Month for November has an almost twin, and causes confusion in identification. It is a chickadee, and has a black cap, but is NOT a Black-capped Chickadee. It is, instead, a Carolina Chickadee, and frequents our Meditational Woods. It is especially noticeable this time of year when it searches for food in the absence of most other species. So what makes it different from its look-alike? Besides very minor differences in the bib and in the amount of white in the wing, there is a difference in the song. Black-caps sing, “fee bee-bee” (“He did it.”), while Carolinas sing, “fee-bee fee-bay.” There is also a difference in the way each calls, “chick-a-dee-dee-dee.” Finally their range differs. Imagine a line across Indiana from Ft. Wayne west to north of Lafayette. North of this line are Black-capped Chickadees, while south of the line, where we are, is Carolina Chickadee country.
You are forgiven if you mistakenly call our birds Black-capped, just as I hope you will forgive me next time we talk in the hallway, and I’m not making any sense!! ~ Brad J
Mark your calendars for Oak Leaf book club titles for 2019! If you’d like to be on the email list for the group please contact the office at email@example.com
January 29 ~ A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
February 26 ~ Less by Andrew Sean Greer
March 26 ~ On the Brink of Everything by Parker J Palmer
April 30 ~ The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
May 28 ~ Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
June 25 ~ Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
July 30 ~ The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
August 27 ~ Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L Friedman
September 24 ~ Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
October 29 ~ The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama XIV and Desmond Tutu
November 26 ~ Educated by Tara Westover
December 30 ~ The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
The group meets at 7pm in the Parlor. All are invited!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!