As Way Opens

This week we will have a guest writer for “As Way Opens” – our own John M! 

Several months ago, I talked with Bob about my father’s life experiences. He asked me to write about him for the weekly meeting newsletter. I said no, I was not ready. However, after a recent message: “Now, What Are We To Do?” it came to me that now was the time.

At the beginning of World War II, my father received conscientious objector status for the draft. I know that this was not popular in either his family (son of a Methodist minister) or my mother’s (daughter of a prominent farmer/ entrepreneur), both conservative Nebraskans. He had a Ph.D. in cytology and was a college professor.

He was eventually called up and assigned to a Civilian Public Service Camp in North Dakota. After considerable thought about the work he and other camp members had been assigned (busy work of no importance to anyone) and a strong belief that his medical related skills were needed elsewhere to help those who were suffering due to the war or other situations, he walked out of the camp. He was quickly arrested, had a trial (after a year’s delay- due to federal court sessions only once a year), and sentenced to three years in prison. He had an unusual and understanding judge and was put on probation after his sentencing to work for the American Friends Service Committee in India. This was the first time any convicted CO had been allowed probation after conviction. He did not know this would be result of his action when he walked away from the camp and was willing to accept what course the law required. As such, his actions caused some relatives to disown him and my mother and many relatives never spoke to, or acknowledged, their existence from that time on.

Previously, he had been fired from a college because he caught the star quarterback cheating on a final exam and refused the college president’s command to give him another exam.

During the Vietnam War he became vocal in his opposition to the war, including articles in the local paper. A member of the College’s Board of Trustees, also the member of Congress for the local congressional district, demanded that he be fired, although he was a tenured professor.

At this time, my parents left the United States and went to Canada. My father taught at a Canadian university until he retired. My parents lived in Canada, as naturalized Canadian citizens, until their deaths.

Would I have had the strength of his convictions and taken a similar course of action? That I do not know. The question is particularly relevant today.

What action(s) is Christ asking us to take in this hurting society and world to acknowledge, speak to, and uphold, that of God in every person no matter their color, lifestyle, financial situation, location, personal belief, or anything else that makes them different from us?

Where are you?

John M

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations


Quaker Voluntary Service at First Friends! Come to Meeting this 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 be giving the morning message on Sunday at 10:15, and 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


We are preparing for the spring with our community garden. Please reach out to the office at or 317-255-2485 if you are interested in having a garden box and participating in the organic community garden by Friday, May 4th. We'll have a community garden work day on May 5th starting at 10 am to get the season started! We’ll have a pitch-in Cinco De Mayo picnic at 12:30. Also if you can, please bring tools to share (be sure to write your name on them)! We’ll be building new raised beds and adding compost to the plot. Can't wait to see you all there!


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 today, 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. You can find additional information at


Community Soup ~ Witness & Service will host the next Community Soup, this 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 this Sunday ~ Calling all youth! We will hold Youth Group after worship this Sunday, May 6 at 11:30, led by Aaron and Michelle T and Ben W. 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!


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.  


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.


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!


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 email 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 or 317-255-2485.  Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website at


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.