As Way Opens
Have you ever spent time on the Britannica Encyclopedia website (www.britannica.com)? For the younger folks, the Britannica Encyclopedia used to be a large set of multi-volume books that most classrooms or libraries had for student research. Actually, you could say it was Google before the internet. (Oh, the irony of looking up Britannica Encyclopedia on the internet.) What I was doing on this site was researching some background information about the season of “summer” which some would say we just entered, even though it doesn’t officially start until later in June.
Not only does Britannica Encyclopedia say Summer is the warmest season of the year between spring and autumn, that it is usually defined as the period between the summer solstice (year’s longest day), June 21 or 22, and the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length) Sept. 22, but it also said this: “The concept of summer in European languages is associated with growth and maturity.”
Obviously, the growth and maturity were most likely focused on plants and crops – not so much human growth and maturity. Yet it made me begin to think about Summer in our culture. We tell our children that Summer is the time to “turn off our brains” because school is out! We go on vacations where we relax and put our cares and worries aside. Summer is time to give education and learning a break and let our inner-child loose! If anything, the season of Summer is just the opposite of that European concept.
Even though Summertime seems to be the opposite of a season for “growth and maturity,” I believe it should afford us some time for personal reflection. I like to take the Summer months to ask myself some deeper queries – ones that may actually allow me to grow and mature in my spiritual journey.
As I head out this weekend with my family on vacation, I would like to challenge each of you to do some personal reflection during the summer months with me. Here are some queries to ponder.
- What’s one joy and one struggle you experienced in your life, recently?
- How would you describe your walk with God this past year?
- Where do you feel you would most like to grow as a Quaker?
- What is something new about God you’ve recently discovered?
- How would you finish this sentence: I feel good about my journey with God when . . . ?
- What have been some of the ups and downs of your spiritual life since you began your journey?
- How has First Friends helped you on your spiritual journey?
- What do you need from this community to continue your maturity?
These queries may be the catalyst you and I need to prompt some needed growth in our spiritual journeys. Take time to process each question (maybe take one question a week and journal your thoughts during the summer months) and let’s see if this Summer can be a season of growth and maturity for us at First Friends!
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
This past holiday weekend we held a special Memorial Day worship in “The Big Oval” in Fellowship Hall. This year, we changed it up and had a labyrinth, an ancient symbol of the Church. As we walked the labyrinth, we meditated on our spiritual journey in life. If you’d like to learn more about the labyrinth and our time on Sunday, you can read Bob’s sermon online at https://www.indyfriends.org/messages/.
The year’s Hope Garden will be in the northeast section of our community garden north of the Meetinghouse. Hope Garden is designed to bring joy and beauty to all by means of a floral display. We invite anyone and everyone to help care for it.
Hope Garden honors our ill and deceased Friends/friends. It is also devoted to the living in the belief that gardens promote growth, healing and hope. People can enjoy the colors, textures and scents and pick the flowers!
Freshly-painted numbers on bricks and rocks are placed in each plot of the community garden to help track which plots belong to which gardeners. AT the beginning of the season when crops are gone, gardeners can more easily identify their plots. When plots are added or subtracted, rocks can be relocated. We can also keep track of each year’s crop layout to aid in planning crop rotations and keeping soil healthy.
Have you noticed our community garden bulletin board in the main hallway? It includes a chart showing when to plant specific crops in our growing zone. You may recognize gardeners featured in the photo display.
Contact Samantha R or Nancy S if you want to help with the Hope Garden once or regularly. Feel free to participate in the seasonal cycle of life and to share nature’s bounty.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Monthly Meeting Notice ~ Due to holidays and events, we will be holding one Monthly Meeting for Business for both June and July. It will be held Sunday, July 1st after worship in the Parlor. Please plan on joining us that afternoon.
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 email@example.com.
Quaker Life magazine is being offered to us for renewal at a group rate of $30.00 per year. Published by Friends United Meeting, issues come out quarterly, that will “inspire, inform and teach you.” The journal is normally priced at $40.00 annually. We keep one copy in our Library. Please let the office know if you would like to add your name to the list of subscribers, or renew if you already subscribe. Thank you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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/.
Native American Crafts Needed! WYM Outreach Board is looking for donations for the Native American table during WYM annual sessions July 12-15. Items they would like: handcrafts (new) food, needlework, etc. Items need to be priced. Contact email@example.com for questions.
VBS Volunteers Needed! This year we are having Vacation Bible School from Sunday July 22nd through Thursday, July 26th. This year’s theme is Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus. We are looking for volunteers that can help either one night or the whole week. On Sunday VBS will be from 12-2pm, and the rest of the week will be from 6-8pm. This is a wonderful event that children look forward to each year and we are able to offer it free of charge thanks to volunteers like you! If you’d like to help, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday June 9th from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Katie & Michael H. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office at email@example.com if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the parade, please visit https://indypride.org/
Seasoned Friends Open Film Showing – Columbus ~ Everyone is invited to this Seasoned Friends event where we will be viewing the film Columbus. This will be in preparation for a field trip Seasoned Friends will later be taking to Columbus, Indiana. It will be held Thursday, June 21st at 6:00pm in the Parlor. Everyone, even those not in Seasoned Friends, are invited. Also keep your eye out for more information regarding the Seasoned Friends field trip to Columbus shortly after the film showing. We hope to see you there!
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for May
Fish Crow – Immigrant: Welcome or Not?
By Brad J
It took me a long time to choose my Bird of the Month for May. After all, the middle of May is the part of the year when one can find the largest number of species in Indiana. Ducks and other early migrants may still be around, while late migrants may have already arrived. Then there are all of the regulars in between. But while sitting in the Meditational Woods, once at the end of April, and again in early May I heard a sound from the north, beyond the woods.
Fish Crows are common on the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast from New England southward. Many years ago they began moving up the Mississippi River, and I remember driving all the way to the southwest tip of Indiana to see the first Fish Crows in Indiana. Since then they have continued northward and have a colony at Eagle Creek Reservoir. Once at the end of April and a second time in early May, I was sitting in the woods when I heard the unmistakable nasal call “Ehn” of a Fish Crow. Quite unlike the “Caw” of an American Crow. Fish Crows have arrived on our side of town! I rushed out of the woods so I could find the bird, which had perched atop the giant power line tower just beyond the meeting’s north property line. Later this bird flew into the neighborhood to the east, calling continuously.
Most species that are forced immigrants, that is, brought in to a place for dubious reasons and released, cause havoc, often to themselves (such as released pet birds), but often to the detriment of other birds. Examples of this are House Sparrow and European Starling, both brought from Europe and released in the United States on purpose.
Fish Crows, on the other hand, have arrived by themselves. They hang around with the American Crows, and, so far, seem to be holding their own. Building a wall won’t keep them out. Besides, I like the addition of their nasal voices to the chorus of all of the other birds which one hears in and from the Meditational Woods. They blend in nicely but retain their identity. I say, “Welcome!”