As Way Opens
Not long after I arrived at First Friends this past July, our country suffered several atrocities. These horrors grabbed our attention and demanded our Quaker response. One of the ways First Friends responded was through our Labor of Love event partnering with American Friends Service Committee of Indiana. It was a peaceful gathering of neighbors and Friends in our Meditational Woods where we expressed our desire for peace, equality, unity and love.
Near the time of this event my wife, Sue, felt led to take action by joining the planning committee for American Friends Service Committee of Indiana. Sue and I have committed time and energy to the work of AFSC Indiana. Their work has made us not only more aware of what is going on locally in Indianapolis and in our nation, but also on the global scene.
One thing we have realized is the difficulty Americans have in appropriately responding to the atrocities happening in other countries. A great example of this is the Palestinian Territory of Gaza. For over a decade, the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza have lived under a brutal Israeli-imposed blockade. The impact has been devastating, so much so that the United Nations has said that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 (www.afsc.org).
Gaza is one of the focus areas of AFSC Indiana. A major event has been planned for April 21 at the Central Library in Indianapolis called Gaza Unlocked: Hearing in the Heartland (be watching for details). To prepare us and begin taking action, we are asking you to join us TODAY in a social media day of love for Gaza! To join us in this action of love:
· Download the Valentine to Gaza here: http://gazaunlocked.org/content/send-love-gaza
· Print the sign and take a picture of yourself holding it.
We know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Gaza as it is in our own country – by expressing love to one another through small gifts, flowers, cards, and thoughtful expressions. Your posts TODAY on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media will be seen by Palestinians in Gaza. The hope is that our messages of love will help lift the spirits of those who daily suffer the indignities of life under military occupation and blockade. To learn more about AFSC’s work in Gaza, click here: http://gazaunlocked.org/
Let’s make this our next “labor of love!” Happy Valentines to you and those in Gaza!
Grace and peace,
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Community Soup & FCNL Priorities ~ Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup tomorrow, Thursday February 15 from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Everyone is invited to this very informal dinner. If you’d like, you’re welcome to bring a soup but not necessary. During dinner, starting at 6:30, anyone is invited to join us for our FCNL priority setting. This dialog takes place every two years, to discuss what legislative priorities we would like for Friends Committee on National Legislation to focus on during the next Congress. FCNL seeks the input from all Quaker Meetings and Churches to compile its list of priorities to work on with Congress. We welcome your input and encourage you to join us for soup, discussion, or both!
Threshing at the Tap: (def.) a gathering of men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and beverages are enjoyed.
PLEASE NOTE we are changing the date in February so as not to conflict with Community Soup & the FCNL priorities discussion. It will be held Thursday night, February 22nd at 7pm at Taxman Brewing, 29 S Main St, Fortville, IN 46040. We hope to see you there!
Free Choir Performance ~ If you have been present for the Sunday in December when our Shawn P's Hamilton Southeastern choir performs at First Friends, you know how talented they are. The entire choir program of Hamilton Southeastern High School performs a concert at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on Friday, February 23rd at 7pm. They perform primarily classical, gospel and folk style music. The concert is FREE, but they do take a good will offering as the purpose of the concert is to raise money for a scholarship fund. The church is located at 100 W. 86th St.; doors open at 6:30. We will see you there!
AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) Indiana is planning a Basic Workshop to be held here at First Friends! It will be on Saturday March 3rd from 8:30am to 8:00pm and Sunda arch 4th, from :30am to 7:00p. Lunch and dinner will be provided. They use a sliding fee scale to cover food and expenses of the workshop: $10 to $40, depending on your financial means. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. AVP seeks to help those interested in learning new and creative ways to respond to conflict in personal relationships and groups. The workshops use the shared experience of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to examine the ways in which we respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustrations and anger can lead to aggressive behavior and violence. The training is highly experiential and fun, with participants choosing many of the ways in which the exercises and skill-learning occurs. For more information and to register, visit their website at www.avpindiana.org/registration. They are also looking for volunteers to host out-of-town facilitators and help with food. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the office at email@example.com or at (317) 255-2485. Thank you.
Stamps for RSWR ~ First Friends is now entrusted with a stamp program that benefits Right Sharing of World Resources. RSWR funds micro-enterprise projects with marginalized women in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and southern India. The women then start their own businesses, thus becoming more independent, newly able to send their children to school, and contributors to the local economy. The women repay the loans and the money stays in the country. Beth Henricks serves on the RSWR board, which met at our Meeting last spring. Amy P is coordinating the transition of this program from Earl Walker, a California Quaker, to our Meeting.
Here's how it works: people send us used stamps, which we sort and send to collectors, who purchase them and send the sale price to Right Sharing of World Resources.
A backlog exists of many boxes of stamps. We need a pilot team of at least five people: 1) data entry person(s) to input donor contact information into a spreadsheet; 2) a mailer who will weigh the packages and affix postage at the First Friends office; and 3) as many sorters as possible. Sorting criteria are very simple--there are about five types of stamps. Data entry and sorting can be done anywhere and on your own schedule. Mailing will take a maximum of 1 hour a week. Sorting also will take place the first Monday of the month at 1 pm Mondays, after Meditational Worship.
Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-255-2485 with questions or to volunteer to help. The first five people to volunteer to help will receive a mint (never-used) 3-cent stamp promoting peace: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Scott-1085-Childrens-Stamp-Friendship-Key-to-Peace-MNH-3c-1956
You may volunteer for the pilot team or to help one time.
The only collectible RSWR currently is accepting is stamps. However, First Friends is helping to sell donations of other collectibles made before this restriction went into effect. If you collect used or unused US and foreign postcards and/or old-fashioned postcard-size greeting cards, or if you know of a collector who buys these collectibles, please contact the office.
Eco Film ~ The next Eco-film showing will be Clean Disruption: Energy and Transportation, held on Friday, March 9th at 7:00pm at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd. Clean Disruption: Energy and Transportation features an award-winning presentation by Tony Seba, professor at Stanford University. Dr. Seba presents an amazing and hopeful analysis of new developments in energy and transportation that will revolutionize energy and transportation in the very near future. He explains why a 10x exponential development of renewable energy will nearly eliminate the use of fossil fuels within a decade.
Also keep an eye out for more information on the April showing, which will be held here at First Friends!
Rise Up Singing! ~ The Sing Along will happen again on Friday, March 9, the second Friday of the month, at 7:00 in the parlor. We are using Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. Lyrics for all the songs from Rise Again are on You Tube and many from the older book are also available. If you don’t want to buy the books, charge your electronics and come ahead. You may email song requests and/or book orders to the office at email@example.com. We have an order already for two books, so if three more books are ordered there is a 20% discount on all. The larger size is $29.00, plus shipping. Slightly lower for smaller size. Dan and Beth H, founders of Indy Folk Series, will again be joining Jim K. Three guitars and lots of song and laughter along with the singing. Ends around 8:30. Our voices were tired by 9:00.
RESCHEDULED Family Bowling ~ Due to the icy conditions, both Meeting for Worship and bowling were cancelled last week. We are rescheduling bowling for Sunday, March 11th at noon. Because of the change, please RSVP again and let us know if you are able to attend on this new date. We hope you will join us for this bowling party hosted by the Christian Education Committee at Woodland Bowl, 3421 E 96th St. First Friends will provide 2 games, shoe rental, pizza and drinks for everyone. Please RSVP with the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.