As Way Opens

My heart was broken last week to hear of the senseless deaths of 17 students and teachers from Marjory Stoneland Douglas High School in Parkland Florida.  I feel so many emotions to this tragedy. Pain, sorrow, regret for those families experiencing the horrible death of their children, anger and outrage.  How can we as a society not address and do something about this issue of a public shooting in a school setting that impacts our children?   And that this is a regular occurrence.

I am praying for these families but feel disgust that our leaders offer thoughts and prayers and yet offer nothing to our society that will positively impact this dilemma.

I sat with our young people last Sunday and our junior and senior high kids feel fear.   They believe it is possible to have a school shooting in their schools.  When I was growing up, we used to have air raid drills because of our fear of the Russians.  Today we have active shooter drills so our kids know what to do in this situation.  I heard that half of Carmel High School students did not attend class last Friday because of a series of events and threats and their absences were excused due to mass hysteria.  Really?  We are the trusted stewards of our young people and we are failing them.

We need to embrace a policy of yes/and.  There is no one answer that will solve this problem.  We need gun safety restrictions and reject the idea that limiting certain guns is some kind of rejection of the 2nd amendment.  We need real, affordable access to mental health services for our citizens.  We need to secure our schools.  We need to have a significant background check for obtaining a gun. 

I have felt such anger during these last few days.  But I also have felt hope with the number of young people that have come forward. I heard an amazing interview with a young man from the school that passionately advocated for gun safety.  We can dismiss this passion as idealistic, but it was this kind of passion from young people that helped change the dynamic of our views of the Vietnam War during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I have been praying for our students, our families, our legislators and government and I refuse to give up hope and faith that we will come together to make changes that will positively impact this critical public safety issue.


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

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!


Women at the Well – Discussion for Women ~ For several months now, the women of First Friends have been asking for their own Threshing at the Tap. We are proud to introduce Women at the Well -a gathering of women who ponder current issues and topics, where differing views are discussed, no decisions are made, and food and drinks are enjoyed. Our first gathering will be on Thursday, February 22, 7pm, at Matt the Miller’s Tavern (11 City Center Dr. Carmel, IN 46032). Join other women of First Friends and enjoy a wonderful night of conversation together.  


Monthly Yoga (not to be confused with weekly Gentle Yoga on Fridays) will be this Sunday February 25th at 11:30 in the basement, led by Kristyn G. This is to make up for the missed yoga session on February 4th due to illness. Several varieties of yoga practice will be explored, such as yin yoga, vinyasa yoga, and restorative yoga.  The class is open to all levels and members of the class will help determine the content of the practice.


The Earlham College Group “Students for Justice in Palestine” has developed a resolution asking that the college divest all investments in businesses that operate in the Occupied West Bank. The students are holding a rally. The rally is taking a place this Friday, the 23rd of February. They will start at 3:30, and finish by 5. They will have posters, music, copies of the resolution, and a petition for people to sign up. Any in support of this cause are welcomed to join. Feel free to share this with your networks of Earlham Alumni to ensure we encourage any visitors from Richmond and the broader community show up for the rally. 

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!


Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading:  The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson book discussion will be held Tuesday, February 27th at 7pm in the Parlor. Wilkerson was interviewed by Krista Tippett for On Being on NPR recently ( She was also interviewed by Terry Gross for Fresh Air in 2010 when the book was first published ( Everyone is welcome.  If you're interested in reading ahead for next month, the March 27th title is: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.


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 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 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 Perry 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 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:

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 Amy Perry. 


Eco Film ~ The next Eco-film showing will be Clean Disruption: Energy and Transportation, held on Friday, March 9th at 7:00-8:00pm 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. Often our environmental films focus on problems. No doubt it is controversial as the author makes some very bold predictions.  We’ll have a short discussion afterward.

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 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. 


Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday March 10th from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Jeff & Beth S. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact Beth ( if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!


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