As Way Opens
Mark 2:5-12 - When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I have a dear friend with a terminal illness that I have been seeing on a regular basis. Last week I was in her kitchen and saw this colored cutout made by a child with the words, "Stand up, take your mat and walk". I have been reflecting on the many meanings of this scripture from Mark. This is the story of the faith and care of friends of a paralyzed man that bring him to see Jesus and are so determined to have an encounter with Jesus that they make a hole in the roof and lower their friend on a mat in the house. Jesus blesses the faith of these men and tells the lame man to stand up and walk. The religious authorities are questioning Jesus’ words and his claim to forgive sins. And Jesus promptly forgives their sins and tells the man to go home and he does.
I think Jesus is telling us that we have to participate in our faith and our life needs to be in and through God and that we are co-creators with God. We can’t just lay on our mats and say, help me God. We can’t wallow in our perceived limitations, disabilities and sorrows. We must be active, get involved and be fully alive in our faith. I also think Jesus is telling us that we need a community of faith to give us love, support and encouragement and in turn for us to be the hands and feet of God to others. I believe my friend has this cutout on her refrigerator to remind her every day that she is picking up her mat with God, and must keep standing and walking through this valley of the shadow of death.
Joys & Concerns
Congratulations to Chelsea and Kendal T for winning the state First Robotics competition! First Robotics is a worldwide competition that was started by Dean Kamen (of Segway fame). The idea is that high schoolers challenge themselves using science, creativity and hard work to build a competition robot. Each year teams work on fundraising and outreach before the competition goal is revealed in January. After 6 weeks of designing and building, thousands of teams compete to have their robots accomplish various tasks. 36 teams qualified for the State Competition based on their performance in local/district matches. Chelsea and Kendal’s team, the TechHOUNDS recently won at the state level and will be competing against about 400 other teams in the world event this month in Detroit. If you’d like to see more, visit their team’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/Team868. Congratulations Kendal and Chelsea, and good luck!
Welcome Jackie! Congratulations to Katie and Milton F. who are welcoming Jackie to their family. Katie says, “Baby Jackie came home from the NICU this weekend. Thank you so much for the support and prayers from everyone at First Friends. It was really a long road, but Jackie is doing well and we are so glad to have her here safe and sound. We are very grateful for all the wonderful, heartfelt care we have been given.” Congratulations to the family!
Jon and Ruthie T. left Indianapolis almost exactly one year ago today. They have just left their home in Iowa and are unpacking in their new home in Washington State. Contact the office if you'd like their new address.
AFSC’s Gaza Unlocked: Hearing in the Heartland is a special opportunity to learn more about the crisis in Gaza and connect with others working to end the blockade. The event is modeled after a congressional committee fact-finding hearing. You’ll hear from expert witnesses who will share seldom-heard stories from Gaza about the impacts of the blockade and raise critical questions about U.S. policies in the region. Hearing in the Heartland is free and open to the public. After the hearing, join us for a ticketed dinner and celebration of Palestinian culture, featuring food, music, dance, and poetry. We hope you will join us on Saturday, April 21st, 1-5pm at the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E St. Clair St. For more information or to buy tickets for the dinner, visit http://gazaunlocked.org/heartland.
Quaker Voluntary Service at First Friends! Come to Meeting on Sunday, May 6th to learn more about Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS)! QVS is an 11-month experiment, living at the intersection of transformational spirituality and activism. Young adults work full-time in professional positions at community-based organizations addressing a wide range of issues, while living in a cooperative house and worshiping with, and being mentored by, local Quakers. Our guest speaker for the morning message that day will be Christina Repoley, founding executive director at QVS. Currently living in Atlanta, GA, Christina has a rich history of Quakerism and activism. She has carried the leading to create QVS for many years and is thrilled that it is finally coming into being. Christina will also be hosting an open house in our Parlor that day at 4pm. Please join us as we celebrate and learn more about this important program!
FCNL Anniversary Celebration ~ Join the Friends Committee on National Legislation at Earlham College in Richmond on the weekend of May 11-13, 2018 for a 75th anniversary celebration. The theme will be “Returning to Our Roots” as they celebrate 75 years working for “the world we seek.” The events will begin at 1:30pm on Friday and will include various workshops, panels, receptions, luncheons, and speakers, including Indiana Senator Todd Young. To view the full schedule of events and to RSVP, please visit http://fcnl.org/richmond75. If you have questions, you can contact Anna McCormally at Anna@fcnl.org or (202) 903-2522.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Changing Footprints ~ We appreciate your donations of unneeded footwear for Changing Footprints. Please fill the container in Fellowship Hall in the Donation Station corner. Last year our Indy shoe room location gave more than 46,000 pairs to primarily Indy-area nonprofit organizations. We also helped hurricane victims in Texas and Puerto Rico! Thank you all for your support of this important ministry.
The Ordinance Film Screening & Discussion (Rescheduled) ~ Join the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network, an initiative of Prosperity Indiana and the Indiana Institute for Working Families, for a screening of The Ordinance, a documentary that examines the payday and auto title loan industry while also following a small Texas town fighting for change. After the screening, members of a coalition of consumer advocates will lead a discussion about the film and answer attendees' questions about the payday industry in Indiana. Coalition members include Erin Macey, Indiana Institute for Working Families; Glen Tebbe, Indiana Catholic Conference; Bill Chapman, Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation; and Marie Morse, HomesteadCS. The event was postponed due to weather and will now be held Thursday, April 19 6:30-8:00pm at 1845 W. 18th St., Indianapolis. We hope to see you there!
Threshing at the Tap ~ In April, we are taking our "Threshing" to CHURCH - literally! Join us at St. Joseph Brewery and Public House. Saint Joseph Brewery and Public House was established in 2015, but the building that houses the restaurant and brewery has quite a history. In order to meet the demands of the growing population in the northeast section of Indianapolis, the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis established the parish of St. Joseph in 1873, at that time it was the fourth Catholic parish in Indianapolis. Today, the church is a brewery and public house! We will be meeting at St. Joseph’s (540 N College Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202) on Thursday, April 19th at 7pm.
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 and food are enjoyed.
Rise Up Singalong! The next Sing Along with Jim K and Dan H will be April 20th, the third Friday of the month, at 7:00 in the parlor. Those who have Rise Up Singing and Rise Again, please bring them. We are planning a song list ahead of time and will have enlarged copies of the selections for those who lack books. You are welcome to invite friends. We had sixteen singers in March for a delightful evening.
Recycling Event ~ The City of Lawrence has teamed up with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana to host a Community Shred-It and Electronics Recycling Day on Saturday, April 21 from 10 am – 1 pm at the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St. A $5 per shredding box donation is requested to benefit Crime Stoppers. Recycling personal electronics is free, courtesy of Technology Recyclers. There will be a $10 fee for all TV/Computer monitors.
Education Training ~ The Christian Education Committee will be holding a training session on Sunday, April 22 from 11:30-1:15 in the Parlor. We will view a presentation by Julie Burk from the Indiana Autism Society on tips and strategies on how to teach kids on the autism spectrum as well as discussing our Sunday School and Children’s Worship curriculum. We will provide lunch and childcare for those with kids. Everyone who may be interested is invited. Since we have several children in our faith community that are on the spectrum, it could be very beneficial to attend this training so we are better equipped to provide a positive experience for all of our children. Please let the office know if you'd like to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 10 of our students. Any money donated will be used to purchase additional items for the boxes, and to also mail small gifts and cards to our Friends Education Fund (FEF) Scholarship recipients—29 additional students. We will be mailing them April 23rd so please bring everything in by this Sunday, April 22nd. Thank you for your support!
This Earth Day, April 22, 2018, we will celebrate the wonder of God’s creation. The earth where we live and breathe and have our being is a miracle of creation. According to Genesis we are not separate from the earth, but we have our origin out of the elements of the cosmos and we will return to that at the end of life.
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Gen 3:19
In his message on Easter morning, Pastor Bob shared about the role of the gardener in both the Old and New Testaments. He gave many illustrations of how gardening and earth care are essential parts of our spiritual and physical lives. When Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb on Easter morning, she mistakes Jesus for the gardener. The New Testament authors wanted to emphasize this connection between the simple acts of earth care and the resurrection. (You can listen to his message online at https://www.indyfriends.org/sunday-morning-messages/).
This month of April, you are invited to consider how you can take little steps to care for this amazing blue ball that exists within the magnificence of the heavens by remembering this credo: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The first step is to reduce the amount of waste that we create. Simple things like taking your own bags to carry home purchases, planning menus to reduce the amount of unused food or helping us at Meeting when we choose to use the tableware and dishes to decrease the amount of material we recycle. This week, what could be your one step to take to reduce waste?
Help keep our kitchen clean! In an effort to keep our kitchen clean and pest-free, and to ensure the health of all of our congregation, please help us by keeping the following guidelines: If you leave food in the kitchen, please make sure it is labeled and properly dated, to ensure food is not kept longer than is safe. If you bring food to share during fellowship hour, please take leftovers home with you, as things left in the kitchen may not be served or discarded in a timely manner. We will occasionally clean out the fridge and dispose of anything not labeled or that is too old, so if you wish to keep anything, please take it home on a timely basis. Thank you!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading: A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter will be held Tuesday, April 24 at 7 pm in the Parlor. Nancy S will be leading the discussion. If you'd like to read ahead for the May 29th discussion, the title is Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy.
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. It will take place every fourth Thursday of the month, and our next gathering will be on Thursday, April 26, 7pm, at Cooper Still (917 Conner St, Noblesville). Join other women of First Friends and enjoy a wonderful night of conversation together.
In the Footsteps of Jesus’ Pilgrimage ~ Please join us on Sunday, April 29th at 9:00am as we combine our Sunday School classes to view a presentation by our own Gary W. Come see a scripture-based tour of the highlights of Gary & Cheryll's eleven-day pilgrimage in Israel. Gary will present just a small portion of the things seen and the places walked on their Pilgrimage. We will see you there!
Free VOCE Concert! ~ VOCE and Friends presents A Concert of Favorite Opera Choruses. VOCE is a vocal group of which our own Carolyn T is a member. They will be putting on a free concert on Sunday, April 29th, 3:00pm at Marion University, 3200 Cold Springs Rd, Indianapolis, 46222. Their performance will feature works by Giacomo Puccini, Georges Bizet, Guiseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Henry Purcell, Charles Gounod, Douglas Moore and Leonard Bernstein. A free-will offering is appreciated. We hope to see you there!
Friends Education Fund is a Quaker college scholarship program for African American students. If you know of a student who might be interested in applying, please ask them to visit our website at www.indyfriends.org/friends-education-fund/. Completed applications should be emailed to FriendsEducationFund@indyfriends.org. Applications are being accepted through May 1st, 2018. The selected applicants will be celebrated later in June.
Give us your stamps! The Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) stamp project is happy to accept used stamps of many types from all over the world. You can leave your stamp donations in the box in Fellowship Hall. Please note that while in the past we have accepted and sold collectibles in addition to stamps, we are now only able to process and sell stamps. In order for the stamps to be salable, please follow these guidelines:
Cut or carefully tear the corner bearing the stamp(s) from the body of the envelope. If more than one stamp has been used for postage, remove the stamps as a group on the paper (do not remove separately). Leave a border of 1/8-1/4 inch around the stamp or group of stamps.
Especially desirable are:
- Harry Potter or other popular culture stamps (television, movies, singers, comic books, etc.)
- Stamps bearing values greater than 50 cents
- Zazzle and personalized stamps
Please do not donate USA flag stamps, USA nonprofit stamps, or USA stamps from mail sent before 2000. These cannot be profitably sold.
If the envelope is intact, leave the complete envelope, Otherwise, cut or carefully tear the corner bearing the stamp or group of stamps, leaving a 1/8-1/4 inch border.
Thank you for your support of this important ministry!
Reducing Electrical Consumption and our carbon footprint: Did you know that CFL and LED light bulbs use about 75% less electricity then incandescent bulbs? One of the environmental theme words for April is "reduce". We at First Friends Meeting are doing our best to reduce our use of electricity by changing out our incandescent and CFL light bulbs for LED bulbs. In doing so we reduce our carbon footprint by 100lbs. of CO2 per light bulb in addition to reducing our electricity bill. We are almost complete with the change out which is ongoing throughout the building. We are not using CFLs because they do contain mercury and must be disposed of properly so as not to pollute the environment. If you bring your used CFL bulbs to the recycle are in Fellowship Hall and put them in the bin we will take them to one of the city's Tox Drop sites.
Now a word about batteries. Be aware that non-rechargeable batteries are not recyclable. They are considered toxic waste and we take them to one of the Tox Drop sites where they are disposed of by the city. You may bring them to the meeting house and we will take care of them for you.
Spring Small Groups ~ Last Fall over 40 First Friends attenders and members gathered over 6 weeks at different times and locations to explore a book study and hold space for sharing parts of our spiritual autobiographies. It was a deeply enriching for those that were able to join! This Spring we have 1 more small group studies available to those that are able and interested in deepening their connections in a small group with Friends. Contact the office at email@example.com with your preferred time or sign up on Sundays just outside of the sanctuary when you're at worship. We ask that you commit to missing 2 or fewer sessions during the 5-6 week journeys together to build cohesive connection. Your presence is needed!
Exploring Your Spiritual Garden
Led by Linda L and Ed M
Location: Linda and Ed's home
Time: 6:30pm Wednesdays May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Instead of a book, we will have five focus questions: Examples might be: What nurtures your heart? How has forgiveness been important in your life? Has anger been helpful and when? What seeds do you want to grow more of?
"The Daughters of Z" Musical at Allisonville Christian ~ All are invited to "The Daughters of Z", a new musical based on 5 Sisters who are fighting for their inheritance at a time when such a thing was unthinkable. The musical is based on a short story of the same name from the book But God Remembered: Stories of Women from Creation to the Promised Land written by local Rabbi and writer Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. Sometime near the end of the Exodus, the 5 daughters of Z (Zelophehad) defy the law and convention of the day to petition for their father’s inheritance and land. The story has been adapted for the stage by Indiana writer Georgeanna Smith and set to music by local composer Stephanie Caress. Performances will be April 27 at 7pm, April 28 at 2pm and 7pm, and April 29 at 2pm at Allisonville Christian Church, 7701 Allisonville Rd. Tickets are $10 per person, $25 per family, or $7 per person for groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit www.allisonville.org.
We are in need of volunteers for the Mid North Food Pantry! ~ Several of our “regulars” will not be able to volunteer at the food pantry on Wednesday May 2nd. If you are in town and available, please consider volunteering. The food pantry is located at 3333 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, and is open from 10am-2pm. You are welcome to stay the whole time or part of the time as you are able. Please contact the office if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your service!
Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point ~ Why do we Americans pay the world’s highest health care costs that leaves many Americans vulnerable? An entrepreneurial businessman explores the high cost of coverage for his employees. Join us for a screening of the documentary film Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point, and a discussion to follow. Our discussion will be led by Rob Stone, M.D., a palliative care physician and director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan. It will be held Thursday, May 3rd at 7PM in the Parlor. Please contact the office with any questions at email@example.com or 317-255-2485. Co-sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan and People of Faith for Access to Medicines