As Way Opens
This Past Saturday I had the honor of conducting the funeral service of my cousin Leland Boren from Upland IN. He led an amazing life as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and man of deep faith. He and his wife LaRita (who preceded him in death 7 years ago) were incredibly generous with their resources and have touched many people’s lives across the country. Colleges and not for profits across Indiana have been the recipients of their generous support. And yet Leland was a complicated man. I worked for him the first three years out of college and it was not an easy time. He challenged everyone to be their best but sometimes his approach with people was difficult. He never attended college and went to work in a manufacturing company and worked his way up to become president of that company. He then acquired many other companies and built quite a significant group of businesses. What is inspiring to me about Leland is that he never allowed himself to be defined by what he was not. He lived out his faith in the ways he felt called by God.
During the service, his dear friend Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band sang several songs and Bill shared remembrances about his friend and business partner. Prior to the start of the service, I introduced myself to Bill and in five minutes he shared a story about a time 40 years ago when his brother in law challenged his faith and Bill began to question what he really did believe. He was traveling the country with his musical family and could share songs of faith with his eyes closed and began to wonder if he was a fraud. Elton Trueblood became inspirational to him during this crisis of faith. Here is an icon of Christian music and he was describing his own “dark night of the soul."
I think about these two men and their impact on our world and observe how God uses us in our complications, our weaknesses, our limitations and our crises of faith. All of our heroes of all time were flawed and yet they never allowed themselves to be defined and held down but what they lacked. I think sometimes we embrace our weaknesses and limitations as excuses to why we don’t listen to God’s calling. The world hungers for each of our special gifts and I pray today that each of us will listen to how God calls us to impact our community.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Choir Notice for Sunday ~ Please note, in preparation for the busy upcoming Sunday, the choir will meet at 8:30am this Sunday December 9th instead of the usual 9:00am.
Sunday School Notice: Sunday, December 16 will be our last day of Sunday School this year. There will be no Sunday school on either Sunday, December 23rd or 30th. Happy Holidays!
Help a family in need this Christmas! This year we are partnering with Easterseals to help two local families this holiday season. We 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!
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening this 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!
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.
Please support our Affirmation class! Please see us in Fellowship Hall after Meeting for Worship this 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~ This 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!
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!
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—we’ll meet at the home of Tom & Pat P at The Stratford in Carmel. We’ll start caroling at 3:30, then move to American Village at 4:30 and The Forum at 5:30. Make sure to bring the kids as we will again be heading to Steak and Shake afterward for dinner! This should be a fun night for the entire family!
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for November: Carolina Chickadee
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!
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!