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As Way Opens

I ran across this article in Bloomington Friends monthly newsletter and it really got me thinking about the web of life, imagination, knowledge and community, and so I am sharing an excerpt from it here.  This writing is from a published article by Professor David Haskell, Biology professor at University of the South in Tennessee - Life is a Network, Not a Self:

"I reach up into a sugar maple tree’s low branches and pluck a leaf.  My fingers hold a seemingly unremarkable leaf, grown on a tree next to a suburban driveway.  This leaf is not what it seems.

I dip the leaf in alcohol, then in dilute bleach, long enough to kill fungi and bacteria on the surface.  Then, with a sterile knife I sliver the leaf and lay the cut segments onto Petri dishes filled with sugar-infused agar.  I’m using this simplest of microbiological techniques to query what might be living inside the leaf.  Maple cells will not grow in the Petri dishes, but fungi will.  I’m luring them out of hiding and, by feeding them, bringing them to a scale that my human senses can apprehend.

Days later, fungal growth spills out of the sliced leaf:  toffee-colored lava flows, bright orange flecks, rippled cream, tangled puffs of white filaments, sulfurous shags, and purple velvet. The colorful growths revealed that my high school and college textbooks had told a half-truth.  Elegant diagrams of leaf cross-sections depicted only plant cells.  But a leaf is a community of fungus, bacteria, protist, alga, nematode, and plant.  Just as diagrams of human skin or gut usually omit the microbes that are essential components of human bodies, our images of plants, seemingly so objective, missed the essential nature of a leaf.  A maple is not an individual made of plant cells, but a community of cells from many domains and kingdoms of life.  Microbe-free plants likely do not exist in nature and, if they could be constructed, would quickly die for want of the vital connections that sustain life…

The colorful fungal growths swarming my Petri dishes have a lesson beyond the immediate practical benefits of managing and studying living networks. Every textbook diagram and every written metaphor shape how we imagine the world.  Microbiology and genetics are calling us to expand that imaginative space.  When we gaze at a maple leaf, we now see not an individual made of plant cells, but a thrumming conversation, embodied network.  The ‘self’ is a society.”


Joys & Concerns


Many thanks to our food pantry volunteers last week - Christie M, Phil K, Dan H, Ray G, Kathy and Bill F, Carol and Jim D.  26 lbs. of food were delivered to the pantry.  Also, a check in the amount of $4,360 was delivered to the pantry.  The folks who manage the pantry were absolutely thrilled and thankful for the monies donated by First Friends.  Thanks to all at First Friends who helped to make this possible.


Our own Tyler R, son of Ann and Steve, is currently living in Nashville Tennessee and has just released his first single! If you’d like to listen to it, you can find it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_1e8vrywQg&feature=youtu.be. We are so proud of you Tyler, great work!  


A message from Mary Ellen L:

“To all my Friends, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support during the last few months. Thank you seems inadequate but I don't know any better expression of my gratitude. Truly, you have lived the Quaker testimony of Community. I know you will be with me as my journey continues. Peace & love, Mary Ellen L”

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 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 Monthly Meeting for Business this Sunday, July 1st after worship in the Parlor. Please plan on joining us that afternoon.


Please note, in observance of Independence Day there will be no Unprogrammed Worship in the Parlor on Wednesday, July 4th. Also due to the holiday, next week’s Friend to Friend will be sent out on Thursday, July 5th. We hope you have a wonderful holiday.


Save the Date! The Shalom Zone plans to have its yearly recycling event with Recycle Force on Saturday, October 13, 2018. If an item runs (or used to run) with a plug or a battery you can recycle it! This year it will be held at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd. Look for more details as we draw closer to the event.


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 this 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.


First Friends Meal Ministry ~ First Friends offers a meal ministry to those who need meals for a short period of time due to illness, the birth of a child, a death in the family or any other situation where meals would be helpful to support the family.  This ministry is a tangible and important way to journey with each other through life’s circumstances.

We need more people to sign up in the meal ministry network for providing meals.  It is easy to do and we only need your email address.  The meal ministry process is online and a notification is sent out asking for meals along with an electronic calendar to be filled in when a need is identified.  If I am in the network, I can see if the needed meals fit within my schedule and can sign up if available.  Meals do not have to be home cooked as there are plenty of options to take out and deliver to the family.  The meals can be dropped off or folks can stay and chat with the person.  It’s all up to you.  Please consider signing up for the network by providing the office (office@indyfriends.org) your email. 


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 applications is June 30th, 2018. For an application please contact the office at  office@indyfriends.org.


Community Garden Update

“Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold….” – Robert Frost

          So far, the green is lush in the Community Garden and the raised beds are thriving while producing oxygen for our environment, food and homes for wildlife, beauty for the neighborhood and food for people. Gardeners are getting exercise and vitamin D from the sunshine. Take a walk and see our garden!

          A few crops we are harvesting include beets, greens, peas, tomatoes, radishes and herbs. Flowers sprinkled throughout add color; some are edible.

          We want to thank Rebecca, our office administrator, for her contributions to our efforts. Her assistance with communications and creativity with graphics help put the “C” in Community. Thank you for your efficiency and skills, Rebecca. Also, thank you to those folks who contribute garden photos!

          Tips from the Garden Committee

·         To pit cherries: Hold cherry firmly and twist a plastic straw through the stem end to the bottom of the fruit. Usually the pit stays in the straw as you lift it out. By not boring completely through the fruit more juice is preserved.

·         Ideas for Radishes:

Radishes are a root vegetable related to cabbage and full of vitamin C. They contain cancer-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids.

Sautee Radishes – Trim and halve them. Add olive oil and cook in a skillet over medium high heat until tender. Stir in baby spinach, lemon juice, pepper and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted. Enjoy!

Sautee Radish Greens – Wash, chop and cook over medium-high heat. In approximately two minutes they will wilt. Add minced garlic, lemon juice and herbs. Add roasted radishes if desired. Yum!

Roast Radishes – (Roasting calms the peppery taste of radishes and brings out their sweetness. They have fewer carbs and calories than potatoes. Roast radishes with other types of root veggies for a super tasty treat!) Coat radish halves with butter or ghee, garlic, salt and pepper and then roast sliced-side down on a foil-covered baking sheet. Roast at 400 for about 15 minutes until radishes are golden brown. Then top them with lemon juice and fresh parsley, dill or chives. Create a side salad by adding foods such as green onions, peas, almonds, avocado, poultry and dressing.

Fresh summer veggies are so delish!


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.


Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for June

Red-shouldered Hawk


Have you ever worked at a place that had an Anonymous Angel, that is, someone who anonymously did positive things around the office that made others’ lives run more smoothly? For example, on a day when the person who normally made coffee was gone, the coffee still got made. At our school one of the guidance counselors slipped out in the afternoon after a mid-day ice storm and scraped all of the car windshields. Everyone tried to guess who the angel was! The secret was revealed after the third ice storm!!

We have such an angel in the garden patch here at First Friends Indy! I do not know if our gardeners have noticed the lack of rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and other lesser known rodents that otherwise would have fed on the crops. Three different mornings in the last few weeks I have arrived early (before 6 am) to walk the woods and hear the dawn chorus. Each time I saw this large hawk in the area. Once it flew from the woods to the back lot, and the other times it was already there. It sits on the garage roof or the basketball backboard or the large blue trash can, waiting for breakfast to show up. Now don’t feel too sorry for the animals consumed by the hawk. If they all survived, we would be overrun by them.

Red-shouldered Hawks are recognized by the black and white speckling on the back, reddish patch on the shoulder, red bands on the front, and black and white bands on the tail. Its call is, “Kee-yurr, kee-yurr, kee-yurr,” which I have heard here once or twice. Once the hawk flew into a tree between the street and the parking lot and was negatively greeted by one of the Fish Crows I wrote about last month. [By the way early in June I saw a Fish Crow carrying a large stick, which is a good sign of a nesting attempt. This hawk would be considered a threat to any fish crow nestlings.]

I have pictured the hawk on its perch on the basketball goal. Say hello next time you see it and say thank you if you have a garden here.

Brad J


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. If you are able to bring your own folding chairs, please do. 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!


WYM and FUM 2018 Summer Mission Projects ~ Western Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting have announced their mission projects for 2018.

The FUM project is “Rebuilding a Friendly Place.”  In the early 1900s, a school was started in the Cuban town of Puerto Padre by Quakers from Wilmington Yearly Meeting.  In 1961, all private schools in Cuba were nationalized.  The school subsequently fell into ruin.  In 2014, the Cuban government agreed to return control of the school to Cuba Yearly Meeting.  Although it’s in disrepair, it can be refurbished... “Rebuilding a Friendly Place.”  Your contribution will help FUM achieve its goal of $25,000 for the restoration of the Wilmington School. For more information, visit http://www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/assets/2018-smp-cuba_4pg.pdf

The WYM project is to assist Tanzania Yearly Meeting continue to grow and develop as a yearly meeting.  In 2009, the yearly meeting had only seven Quaker meetings in Tanzania, all in the Mara region along the Kenyan border.  Today, Tanzania Yearly Meeting covers eight regions and includes 26 meetings...and continues to grow.  Monies will be used to train Kenyans interested in mission work in Tanzania, scholarships for one year for 4 students in a pastoral ministry program at Friends Theological College, Kenyan mission outreach in Tanzania, and regional workshops in Tanzania in discipleship and Quakerism.  WYM’s goal for this Tanzania project is $14,000.  These are the major Quaker missionary projects for 2018. For more information, visit the WYM website at https://www.westernyearlymeeting.org/missionsandprojects/   

Please prayerfully consider how you are able to help our fellow Quakers who are trying to establish and reestablish themselves in Tanzania and Cuba.  Checks can be made payable to First Friends with a notation for the WYM and/or FUM 2018 projects.  Additional information about these projects is under the Witness & Service section of the bulletin board.


Adopt an Apartment! Coburn Place is a local nonprofit organization that offers supportive services and housing options to survivors of intimate partner violence. They have an Adopt an Apartment program, which is a great way for individuals and groups to become involved in providing a welcoming home to new Coburn Place families. $1500-$5000 covers the cost of completely readying an apartment for a new family to move in for one year. First Friends has for the past two years “adopted an apartment” at Coburn.  FF has also decorated an apartment earlier this year.  Thanks to all who have helped make Coburn a safe and helpful place for those who have been subject to domestic abuse. For more information about this program, you can read their latest news here: https://goo.gl/jJkXQx or visit their website at www.coburnplace.org


VBS- Registration open! This year’s theme is Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus. At Shipwrecked Vacation Bible School, kids discover how Jesus rescues us through life’s storms. Shipwrecked is filled with incredible Bible-learning experiences kids see, hear, touch, and even taste! Sciency-Fun Gizmos, team-building games, cool Bible songs, and tasty treats are just a few of the standout activities that help faith flow into real life. Be sure to register your children for this life-changing adventure! This year we will kick off on Sunday July 22nd from 12:00-2:00pm, and then VBS will take place 6:30-8:30pm Monday July 23rd through Thursday, July 26th. If you are interested in signing up your children or would like to help with snacks, please see forms on the table in the hallway corner outside the Meetingroom or email the office at office@indyfriends.org

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