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As Way Opens

I have lately been thinking a lot about our definition of God.  I have met a new friend that has written a couple of folk tale books that reflect on our ideas of God and our place in the world.  We have been engaging in discussion about some of the deep philosophical questions about evil, the kingdom of heaven on earth and our perceptions of ourselves and the universe.  He believes that "God is a shorthand term we’ve coined to collectively refer to the mysterium tremendum and now have come to mistake it for a being or entity.  Because language is seductive to our way of thinking, the less we say about it, the better: to ascribe values, attitudes or predispositions to God is the ultimate commission of hubris.”  In the scriptures, God is defined as Love so we should be still and know love.

I can appreciate this viewpoint but language is our human attempt to describe things we cherish, experience and question.  Jesus came to earth to show us in flesh and blood the character of God. While God is eternal and transcends our humanity, we still need adjectives and descriptors that we can relate to express this mystery and share our experience of the Divine. 

Ever since our own Eric B sang the Bob Dylan song Blowin in the Wind during Meeting for Worship, I have been reflecting on how powerful the description of wind is for me in thinking about God.  The wind is real but we never actually see it or can contain it.  What we see are only the results of the wind.  Even when we don’t feel the wind, it is present.  The wind is constantly changing and can be both powerful and gentle.  The wind creates and destroys.  The wind comforts me and helps me remember my humanity and connection to all creation.

How do you describe God?  Is your idea of God big enough to blow like the Wind?  And does our description of God challenge us in the Wind to love our brothers and sisters, value all life and seek peace?


How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?

Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly

Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind


Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist

Before it is washed to the sea?

Yes, and how many years can some people exist

Before they're allowed to be free?

Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind


Yes, and how many times must a man look up

Before he can see the sky?

Yes, and how many ears must one man have

Before he can hear people cry?

Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows

That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind

By Bob Dylan



Joys & Concerns

Thank you so much to our food pantry volunteers last week:  Ray G, Linda L, Phil K, Christie M, Kathy and Bill F, Carol and Jim D.  It was very busy and our volunteers worked hard as about 100 families were served.

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations

IFCL members are taking a breather as the Legislature is not in session at this time. However, our hard-working underpaid lobbyist continues to stay connected to our state legislators. Summer study committees will be meeting this Summer. If you would like a study committee information sheet, please contact Ed M at meeting or contact the office at office@indyfriends.org. Our next meeting will be on July 7th at the Meetinghouse from 9am-11am.

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.


Is He Dead? Community Performance ~ The Carmel Community Players presents, “Is He Dead?” A “new” comedy by Mark Twain, adapted by David Ives. All are invited to performances June 8th-24th. Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for seniors. Come see one of our newer attenders, David B, as he plays a number of roles in this performance. Held at Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy, 10029 E 126th St D, Fishers. For more information, visit www.carmelplayers.org or call 317-815-9387.


Seasoned Friends Open Film Showing and Field Trip: Columbus ~ Everyone is invited to our Seasoned Friends events this month. First, we will be viewing the film Columbus, held Thursday, June 21st at 6:00pm in the Parlor. Soup and salads will be served during the film. If you are interested in attending the showing, please let the office know at office@indyfriends.org so we can be sure to have enough food for everyone.

The following week, on Wednesday, June 27th, we will be taking an actual field trip to Columbus, Indiana. We will meet at the Meetinghouse and leave at 8:45am and will return around 5pm. We will be touring the town and having lunch there as well. Please contact the office if you’d like to RSVP. We still have space available on our 90-minute walking tour (walking no more than 8 blocks) at $10 per person.  We will also eat lunch together and tour one of the churches in Columbus. We hope to see you there!


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 will be June 22nd, at 7:00 in the parlor. Please note that this month we are holding it on the fourth Friday of the month as opposed to our usual third Friday of the month due to scheduling conflicts. Those who have Rise Up Singing and Rise Again songbooks, 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.


First Friends Library Books for Summer Reading Pleasure

Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality
By J. Brent Bill
WM B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI 2005, revised and expanded 2016

An exploration of silences, Brent Bill "uses a practical tone to anchor reflections on what is essentially a matter of mystery: how God speaks in and through individual and communal silence." (Publishers Weekly)

Brent Bill has written about a dozen books at his home in Mooresville, IN and many articles, plus a blog. I'm hoping the library has or will have his book about Bad Quakers.


The World Within: Essays on Prophetic Quaker Faith
By Patricia Dallmann
Foundation Publications, PA, 2009

Dallman uses scriptures as a guide to self-transcendence in a series of essays on topics such as discernment, prophetic ministry, the cross in Quaker faith, spiritual unity. She has taught among liberal Quakers in Philadelphia and Europe and edits the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Hope bulletin on social justice.

Citizenship: A Christian Calling
By Lon Fendall with an introduction by former Senator Mark Hatfield
Barclay Press, 2003

Through lively biblical and modern stories Fendall delights, encourages, and instructs people as they find ways to become more politically involved. He is dean of biblical studies at George Fox college. He served as Hatfield's campaign manager and director of peace studies.


Down a Winding Road: A Life-Story from Missions
By Betty M. Hockett, George Fox Press, 1985

One of a series about the "feet on the ground" experiences of  Tina and Roscoe Knight who began their mission work in Bolivia in 1945. Eventually they set up Friends schools and did missionary work in Peru, Mexico, and other places.

This little book is an easy read of risky, adventurous, faith-led and faithful Friends.


American Friends Service Committee: A Centennial History
By Gregory A. Barnes, Friends Press, 2016

A chronological, thoroughly researched account of what the AFSC was and is doing to improve this world wherever help was needed. Food relief, education of men about rape, peace building, emergency supplies, etc. Two maps, one 1942 and another 2008, show the world-wide reach of AFSC, with brief descriptions of accomplishments.

Barnes researched this 450 page book at Friends Center in Philadelphia. He is the author of four other books.


Community Gardening Practices and Resources ~ From drought to flooding, gardening is fraught with challenges. In the Indianapolis area we have clay soil which needs infrequent watering, while adjusting for individual plant needs. One can dig down to observe and feel the soil’s water-holding capacity.

           Fortunately, the raised beds in our community garden help drain water faster. Many gardeners have transformed the clay into a rich loam by adding lots of organic matter. Practices include hand picking pests, plant rotation, mulching and composting. Ingredients can include aged organic fertilizers; sawdust; ground bark; grass clippings and fall leaves; peat moss; wood ashes; eggshells and coffee grounds. Sometimes we use cover crops like hairy vetch and clover to add soil nutrients between seasons.

           In our community garden we rely on one another to learn more. Our soil has been professionally tested and pronounced lead-free. In the current weather conditions our plots are more vulnerable to fungi, rot, disease and insect damage so it is important to weed well, watch and share information. We use our local extension office City Gardener Program at (317) 745-9260 and the Marion County notebooks in the Meetinghouse and garage. Happy gardening!


Women at the Well AND Threshing at the Tap ~ A gathering of women/men who ponder current issues and topics, where differing views are discussed, no decisions are made, and food and drinks are enjoyed. This month Threshing at the Tap and Women at the Well will have a COMBINED gathering on Thursday, June 28 at 7pm. That means all women and men are welcome! It will be held at Rick’s Café Boatyard (4050 Dandy Trail, Indianapolis). Join other men and women of First Friends and enjoy a wonderful night of conversation together.


What’s Your Plan? Carmel Friends Church invites everyone to a relaxed interactive event that helps people prepare for their day of passing. It will be held on Saturday, June 23rd at 11:30am. This is done in conjunction with Bussell Funerals, who have a close relationship with their church. Donna Bussell with some of her staff will share all the information needed to help be prepared for the time when we are "promoted to glory"! This is not a sales pitch for Bussell Funerals, but more of an information sharing event, with an interactive and relaxed talk about the things that will help take away uncertainty for you and your family and give you peace of mind. This is for people of all ages! A light lunch is included, so RSVPs are required. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by Wednesday, June 13 with Carmel Friends Church, 651 West Main St, Carmel, 317-846-5090 or carmelfriends@aol.com.


Join us in Honoring our Friends Education Fund Scholarship Recipients! On Sunday, June 24th we will honor our scholarship recipients in Meeting for Worship and also hold a special reception to honor them, hosted by the Friends Education Fund Committee. We hope you will join us that day!


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 just a few more people to volunteer! We are in need of group leaders and people to bring snacks. 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 can help, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.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!


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.


Worship in the Woods & Path Dedication~ Join us on Sunday, July 8th at for our annual Worship in the Woods and picnic. We will start at our normal time, 10:15am, in the Meditational Woods. We will also hold a dedication for the new Meditational Woods path, in memory of Bob Hadley. Afterward, we will have our picnic! Rolls, fried chicken, hot dogs (beef and veggie), ice cream, drinks and some macaroni and baked beans provided. Anyone with last names of A-I are asked bring desserts; J-Z sides and salads, though feel free to bring both! We hope to see you there!


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 Norma Wallman or Terry Trierweiler for questions.


Save the Date! Shalom Zone Garage Sale ~ On Saturday, July 28, from 8 am to noon (set up beginning at 7 am) the Shalom Zone churches will be sponsoring “garage sale’ and “craft sale” opportunities for individuals in the Cross and Crown parking lot at 79th and Allisonville Rd.  You will be able to reserve a space for $10 in advance ($15 day of sale).  The rest is up to you – bring your own table or use the trunk of your car.  You get to keep whatever you earn.  The adjoining neighborhood of Ivy Hills will have its annual garage sale the same day so there should be no shortage of folks looking for a deal.  The Shalom Zone will donate the reservation fees to School on Wheels, a voluntary program which tutors homeless children throughout Marion County.  For more info or to reserve a space contact the office at office@indyfriends.org


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!

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