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As Way Opens

This past Sunday morning I showed up to Meeting feeling sad and tired.  It had been a long week full of difficult emotions and a busyness that had left me depleted.  My expectations were low for the day and I felt an emptiness of God’s presence. 

And then I entered into what we Quakers call a “gathered meeting”.  Thomas Kelly describes a gathered meeting as “A blanket of Divine covering that comes over the room, and a quickening Presence pervades us, breaking down some part of the special privacy and isolation of our individual lives and blending our spirits with a super-individual Life and Power - an objective, dynamic Presence which enfolds us all, nourishes our souls, speaks glad, unutterable comfort within us, and quickens in us depths that had before been slumbering.  The Burning Bush has been kindled in our midst and we stand on holy ground.” 

In our semi-programmed tradition, I think a gathered meeting can happen during song, messages, fellowship and open worship.  For me on Sunday It started during Sunday School as the Tinsley girls asked if we could sort stamps for Right Sharing of World Resources.  We all sat around the ping pong table, sorting stamps, talking and singing.  And then Erin Tinsley wanted to sit with me during Meeting for Worship and we joyfully sang Morning Has Broken (one of my favorites) as our opening hymn.  The choir, Eric’s vocal offertory, the children, Bob’s message encouraging us to come alive, the open worship, the closing hymn Come and Go With Me…. the time together was so full of joy and lifted my spirit.  I felt I was standing on holy ground. 

This is why I am a Quaker and why our world needs what Quakers can offer.  I come to worship with all of you never knowing how God’s spirit will move.  I don’t come to be entertained or hear a performance.  I come with an expectant heart listening for God’s voice and being connected with all of you in this amazing faith community.  Thank you all for how you minister to me each week.


Joys & Concerns

Fun & Successful Garden Work Day ~ Several new garden plots are expansions for the First Friends vegetable garden. An enthusiastic crew gathered to build, paint, and ready the space during our Cinco de Mayo work day. The happy crowd wrapped up the day with a feast of authentic Mexican tacos, a tres leche cake, delicious homemade salsa and more. We are trying out a large used wagon to aid in moving water, soil and plants. The compact bin is in use and a small rototiller donated by Culver G is a perfect size for our small plots. Thank you everyone for your work and generous contributions!

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations


Friends Peace Teams: AVP and Healing Communities – Friends Peace Teams, a spirit-led organization working for intergenerational transformation, is holding a workshop. They will be breaking cycles of oppression through investing in people-to-people exchanges and healing trauma. Here you can meet coordinators of the Asia West Pacific initiative: John Machaelis from Sydney Australia, and Nadine Hoover from New York. Please join us at Earlham School of Religion, Quigg Worship Room, on May 24, 2018, 7:00-8:30pm. For more information and to RSVP, please contact jeannemariemudd@gmail.com.

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 and food are enjoyed. This month we will be meeting at Big Lug Canteen. We will meet TOMORROW, Thursday, May 17th at 7pm. The address is 1435 E 86th St, Indianapolis, 46240. We hope to see you there!


The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply.  Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is June 30th, 2018. For an application please contact the office at  office@indyfriends.org.


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 riseupandsing.org. 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 office@indyfriends.org.


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 this Sunday, May 20th. Thank you for your support!


Make Plans for Memorial Day Weekend! Join us on Sunday, May 27th for Worship in the Big Oval! Memorial Day Sunday’s are really special at First Friends Meeting – we gather in Fellowship Hall and enjoy our own ‘Indy 500’ experience in the Spirit! Bring your family and friends and join us at 10:15.


Summertime Special Music! Do you have a musical gift in ministry you’d like to share in our Meeting for Worship?  As our choir takes a well-deserved hiatus for the summer, we are looking for volunteers to share their music. We need performers most Sundays from June 3rd through September 2nd. Please consider signing up for a date when you’d be willing to offer it in Meeting. Your ministry can be a blessing during this season of the year. Thank you!


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 https://www.amazon.com/ISLAND-ADVENTURES-Disconnecting-Caribbean-Pacific-ebook/dp/B07CVL8VJ7


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 INPAWS.org 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.  


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 office@indyfriends.org.  Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website at http://www.sawsramps.org/


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, May 24th, 7pm, at Redemption Aleworks (7035 E 96th St, Indianapolis/Fishers). Join other women of First Friends and enjoy a wonderful night of conversation together. 


AVP Annual National Gathering ~ All are invited to join the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) annual conference held this year at Earlham College in Richmond. It will be on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28. If you’re interested in registering, please visit https://goo.gl/7Mhh9K. In an attempt to bring their work to high school students, AVP is also trying to raise funds to help send some of their students to the conference as well. They have included in the program a youth panel discussion which their students will participate with youth from AVP programs in New Jersey and New York. They have invited the Peace Learning Center to be a part of this as well. This is an exciting opportunity for the students. It costs $100 to send one high school student to the entire weekend conference where they will have the opportunity to meet and learn from experienced AVP facilitators from across the country. If you’re interested in donating, please visit https://avpindiana.org/.


Climate Change Policy Planning Workshop ~ Join us for a workshop on climate change policy. Here is a chance to make your voice heard! Come and give feedback on policies impacting your environment and your future. Pollution and climate change are massive issues that we can only tackle by getting together to show organized support for healthier (necessary) alternatives. We can't expect to change the powerful forces working against this initiative without a little love and attention. It will be held here at First Friends on Tuesday, May 29th at 7:00pm. Dinner is provided. Please join us!


Fifth Tuesday: An Introduction to Human Trafficking in Indianapolis ~ The five churches of the Shalom Zone, Allisonville Christian Church, Cross & Crown Lutheran Church, Epworth United Methodist Church, First Friends Meeting, and St. Pius X Catholic Church, will be sponsoring “Fifth Tuesday Presentation” this year. Each month that contains a 5th Tuesday, a special presentation will be offered. The initial event is May 29, 2018. Subsequent presentations will be scheduled for July 31 and October 30, 2018.

On Tuesday, May 29, join us for our first presentation at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd. The topic is “An Introduction to Human Trafficking in Indianapolis”. An officer from IMPD and Sven Schumacher from Lutheran Child and Family Services will share information about Human Trafficking in Indianapolis.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has said human trafficking—which involves both labor and sex trafficking—is one of the largest and fastest-growing problems in the world, just behind the drug trade. Shalom Zone hopes to raise awareness about human trafficking and provide education on how to address the problem in our community.


Oak Leaf: Meeting for ReadingTruevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy will be held Tuesday, May 29th at 7 pm in the Parlor.  If you'd like to read ahead for the June 26th discussion, the title is In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.


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 office@indyfriends.org. For more information about the parade, please visit https://indypride.org/


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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