As Way Opens

In preparing to speak this Thursday (6pm) for the Friends in Action Conference at Iglesia Amigos, I reviewed Quaker Parker Palmer’s Five Habits of the Heart. These were introduced to me at a pastor’s conference a couple of years ago. Palmer says they “are deeply ingrained ways of seeing, being and responding to life that involve our minds, our emotions, our self-image, and our concepts of meaning and purpose in life.” I believe keeping these five habits ingrained in our being is key to the ongoing growth and development of First Friends. I hope you will take some time this week to reflect on, wrestle with, and allow these habits to speak and shape how you interact with those in your communities of influence. I suggest printing them out and placing them somewhere you will see them often and where you will be reminded to live them out.   


1. An understanding that we are all in this together.

Despite our illusions of individualism and national superiority, we humans are a profoundly interconnected species—entwined with one another and with all forms of life, as the global economic and ecological crises reveal in vivid and frightening detail. We must embrace the simple fact that we are dependent upon and accountable to one another, and that includes the stranger, the “alien” other.


2. An appreciation of the value of “otherness.”

“…[W]e spend most of our lives in “tribes” or lifestyle enclaves—and that thinking of the world in terms of “us” and “them” is one of the many limitations of the human mind. The good news is that “us and them” does not have to mean “us versus them.” Instead, it can remind us of the ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger…Hospitality rightly understood is premised on the notion that the stranger has much to teach us. Of course, we will not practice deep hospitality if we do not embrace the creative possibilities inherent in our differences.


3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways.

Our lives are filled with contradictions—from the gap between our aspirations and our behavior, to observations and insights we cannot abide because they run counter to our convictions. If we fail to hold them creatively, these contradictions will shut us down and take us out of the action. [Rather,] the genius of the human heart lies in its capacity to use these tensions to generate insight, energy, and new life.


4. A sense of personal voice and agency.

Insight and energy give rise to new life as we speak out and act out our own version of truth, while checking and correcting it against the truths of others. …[It is] possible for us, young and old alike, to find our voices, learn how to speak them, and know the satisfaction that comes from contributing to positive change—if we have the support of a community.


5. A capacity to create community.

Without a community, it is nearly impossible to exercise the “power of one” in a manner that multiplies… The steady companionship of two or three kindred spirits can kindle the courage we need to speak and act…

From Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer


May the Creator grant us wisdom as we make these habits part of our practice of living out the Quaker Way in our neighborhoods and homes!

Grace and peace,


Joys & Concerns

Many Thanks to our Food Pantry Volunteers! We were very busy at the Mid North Food Pantry last Wednesday. We served over 100 families.  But First Friends’ volunteers answered the call.  Volunteers included Derek S, Ray G, Faye H (visiting from New Mexico!), Phil K, Dan H, Beth S, Rik and Linda L, and Carol and Jim D.  Thanks to our volunteers and to all who have helped support the pantry.


Many thanks to José and Rocio for taking the time to do a thorough cleaning of our kitchen. It looks much better! Please help us keep it clean!


Lost some glasses? Some sunglasses were found in Fellowship Hall. If they belong to you, please come to the office lost and found to retrieve them!


Bob & Beth joined the Prayer Vigil today with Faith in Indiana to stop the deportation of Sonia (a fellow Friend from Iglesia Amigos). We also joined in a Jericho Walk around the detention center as a peaceful protest. There were nearly 50 people who joined in the vigil and march from various faith traditions in Brazil, Indiana.

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations

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


Happy Mother’s Day! This weekend we wish a happy Mother’s Day to all who might be mothers, who want to be mothers, those who are a motherly figure to someone, and those who are caregivers alike. Also join us this Sunday May 13th as Beth will be selling chocolate, coffee, and tea to help raise money for youth group. We will see you there!


Mid North Food Pantry - Food Drive ~ Folks from First Friends have financially supported the Mid North Food Pantry for many years. November has been the month when we have typically held our food pantry drive.  For a couple of reasons, we are now having our food pantry drive in May this year.  We have learned that the pantry has its biggest need in the summer since kids are out of school and are not receiving breakfast and/or lunch from their schools during the summer.  A collection earlier in the year also helps the pantry better plan its budget for the calendar year.  Please do what you can to help those who rely on the pantry and donate as you are led.  Checks can be made to First Friends with “food pantry” noted in the memo section. We will hold the food drive through May 20th. Thank you for your support!


Jeff Rasley’s New Book “Island Adventures” ~ “Want a break from angst-causing daily headlines? If you would enjoy an escape through tales of adventure on exotic islands, this little book is for you” (Midsummer Books). Jeff Rasley has a new book out! It is called Island Adventures - Disconnecting in the Caribbean and South Pacific. It is intended to be amusing, informative, and spiritually renewing. The paperback only costs $9.99 and the eBook $3.99.

You can order it through your favorite book store, or find it on Amazon at


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.  


Rise Up Singalong! Enjoy an evening of fun and songs old and new. Experience the retro delight of making music together. The next Sing Along with Jim K and Dan H will be May 18th, 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. Those who want to purchase books may get them directly from Or, if you must, through Amazon. You may save a few dollars from Amazon, but you support the authors more by going directly. Learn more about the books on the website. Contact Linda L if you have questions.


Spring Cleaning in the Woods:  Put on your work gloves and join us in the Woods on Saturday, May 19th @ 9 AM!  We will freshen up the Woods for Spring! Our Woods is becoming a haven for local and migrating birds. Come enjoy the fellowship of working with others to care for creation. If you have questions please contact the office at


Calling All Graduates! ~ As we do each year, we will be honoring our graduates 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.


SAWS Ramp Build- Volunteers Needed! The Shalom Zone is planning another SAWS ramp build for the morning of Saturday, June 2nd.  If you would like to volunteer to help or need more information, please contact the office at  Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website at


The Indianapolis Pride Parade will be June 9th beginning at 9am this year. We will be walking in support of the LGBTQ community. If you are interested in walking with us, please contact the office at For more information about the parade, please visit


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 Hadley. We hope you will join us on that day.

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