As Way Opens

Since Christmas, I have spent several of my days off at Newfields (formerly the Indianapolis Art Museum) taking in the collections. Not only does art inspire me, it also allows me to center myself and find renewal in my ministry, family, and artistic life.  

On a recent visit, I found myself drawn to the Eiteljorg Suite of African Art on the 3rd floor at Newfields. As I meandered through the exhibit, I was not expected to be moved so deeply by one unique piece of art. The piece was titled The Healing of the Abiku Children by artist: Twins Seven-Seven (1973). On further research of this piece, I learned it was made from a large wooden plaque intricately carved and dyed with pigment to depict an important Yoruba ceremony.  

As I pondered the interesting scene, I found a seat where I could study the piece in greater detail. I was moved by the colors, the faces, the story being told, and the native culture represented. I could not help but think of our faith tribe, the Quakers. Many early Quakers did not fancy art and at times discouraged artists by calling it a frivolous pursuit. As an artist, I find this a bit problematic, because I believe our art speaks volumes to who we are, what we believe, and the progress we have made.

At a recent conference on Racial Justice and Your Congregation, we heard about the importance of art in our places of worship and how it can help or hinder people feeling welcome. It had me taking a closer look at the art in our main hallway at First Friends. Next time you enter the Meeting, take a moment to consider what the message, the colors, the stories of our art conveys to people of other races, nationalities and cultures, our Native American sisters and brothers, or to those simply not having a background in Quaker history? Does our art welcome, represent, and inspire all people as they enter into our Meetinghouse?

The Light Shines Forth by Bob Henry will be on display at First Friends beginning this week.

The Light Shines Forth by Bob Henry will be on display at First Friends beginning this week.

These are just a few of the reasons, I have decided to begin creating new Quaker art. In my first, The Light Shines Forth (20”x20” acrylic on canvas) I utilized a similar style to that of the African piece that had inspired me by Twin Seven-Seven. Not only did I want it to convey our Quaker distinctives, I also sensed a need to tell a story of our rich history of social action while including faces from several different cultures and races. I chose the historic Quaker grays to represent the equality among us and yellow to represent the importance of the Light throughout. As well, the simplicity and rudimentary design of the artistic style is befitting our Quaker heritage. You may also note that Margaret Fell takes a slightly higher position in the center over George Fox to show the importance of the leadership of women from the very beginning among Quakers.

My hope is that new art will offer welcome, representation, and inspiration for a new generation within the Society of Friends. If you are an artist, of any medium of form, I challenge you to consider joining with me in seeing how your art can reflect our Quaker heritage and values and be a welcoming presence in our present day.

Grace and Peace,


Joys & Concerns


A big thank-you to our food pantry volunteers! Sue M, Susan R, Dan H, Ray G, Beth F, Linda L, Carol and Jim D.  Thanks to all the volunteers who “stepped up” when some of our “regulars” were not available.

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations


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!


Friends in Action – “Let Your Life Speak” ~ All are invited to attend the Friends in Action conference on Thursday, May 10th at 6:00pm hosted by Iglesia Amigos. Come hear what Quakers are doing in these times of confusion. We will hear from our own Bob Henry about our grounding of social justice in scripture and in our Quaker tradition. We will hear from Brian Young and Lamont Hulse and their experience of defying power and also what Friends in Muncie are doing with Neighbors for Justice. We will also have delicious food and good fellowship. Held at Iglesia Amigos, 831 N. Edmondson Ave, Indianapolis, 46219. For more information, please call 317-719-5015.


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 If you have questions, you can contact Anna McCormally at or (202) 903-2522.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities


Calling All Graduates! ~ As we do each year, we will be honoring our graduates next month on Sunday, May 20th. If you or someone in your family is graduating from high school or college, please notify the office so we may acknowledge them! or 317-255-2485.


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. 


MSPC’s Rummage Sale ~ All are invited to Meridian Street Preschool Co-op’s rummage sale, happening Saturday April 28th from 10am-2pm! It will be held just outside of our building. In case of rain, the sale will be moved to May 5th from 10am-2pm. We hope you will come to help support MSPC!


All are invited to join in the City Nature Challenge! This challenge, created by the March for Science, is an effort for cities to find and document as much urban nature as possible by challenging residents to become citizen scientists: Residents are asked to explore their area (backyard, playgrounds, parks, etc.) for plants and bugs/animals, document their findings (take a photo), and report them (via the iNaturalist website or app). The underlying objective of this event is to develop a new baseline of a city’s biodiversity and to monitor how exactly change is accelerating. The City Nature Challenge will be April 27-30, 2018 and will be undertaken in dozens of cities across the world this year, and Indianapolis will be one of those cities competing in this international event! For more information and to join the challenge, please visit This event has the potential to the largest citizen science event in Hoosier history, so sign-up today and make history!


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!


A callout for some native shade tolerant plants!  If you have some extra wild ginger, may apples, trillium, etc that you’d love to donate to the Woods, please bring them this Sunday or anytime it’s convenient.  Don’t know what’s native?  Check out the website.   We are trying to recreate a native habitat that will nurture our native birds and insects.  Having native plants provides pollination for fruits and insects provide protein for any nesting birds. Drop Mary B a line if you have any questions.  


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 Completed applications should be emailed to Applications are being accepted through May 1st, 2018. The selected applicants will be celebrated later in June.


Worship in the Woods – Mark Your Calendars! Please note that our annual Worship in the Woods and picnic will be held Sunday, July 8. We will also hold a dedication of the new Mediational Woods path, in memory of Bob H. We hope you will join us on that day.


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 with any questions at Thank you for your service!


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:

USA stamps:
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.

Foreign stamps:
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!


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 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?


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.


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!


"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.  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


Broad Ripple Park Master Plan Open House ~ Broad Ripple Park is our closest public park. The City of Indianapolis and Indy Parks is continuing the process of developing a comprehensive Broad Ripple Park Master Plan with public open houses. This plan will guide future development and partnership opportunities in the park. There are two remaining public comment meetings to discuss future planning and development. The next meeting is May 2 from 6-8 pm at Broad Ripple High School Auditorium. For more information, please visit


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 or 317-255-2485. Co-sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan and People of Faith for Access to Medicines.


Community Soup ~ Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup, Friday May 4th, from 5:30 pm – 7 pm.  Please note that we have changed the date back to Friday instead of Thursday. Everyone is invited to this very informal dinner. If you’d like you’re welcome to bring a soup or salad but not necessary.  Our motto is: No cooking, no cleanup, no cost! Hope to see you there.


Youth Group Sunday ~ Calling all youth! We will hold Youth Group after worship on Sunday, May 6 at 11:30, led by Aaron and Michelle T and Ben W. See you there!