As Way Opens

Ahoy, mateys! Word on the deep seas is that our Vacation Bible School, Shipwrecked! is well under way, and we’re all really feeling the motion of the ocean as we weather life’s storms and come upon a desert island, learning that God is always with us, even through the toughest waters.

At Shipwrecked, kids discover that Jesus rescues them! Kids participate in memorable Bible-learning activities, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, make and devour yummy treats, experience one-of-a-kind Bible adventures, collect Bible Memory Buddies to remind them of God’s love, and test out Sciency-Fun Gizmos they’ll take home and play with all summer long. Plus, kids will learn to look for evidence of God all around them through something called God Sightings. Each day concludes with the Sail Away Sendoff that gets everyone involved in living what they’ve learned.

Kids at Shipwrecked are also joining a mission effort to help raise funds for Friends United Meeting’s summer mission project, helping to restore the Friends’ Wilmington School in Cuba.

Joys & Concerns

Many thanks to our Food Pantry Volunteers last week: Dan H, Kathy and Bill F, Phil K, Rik L, Carol and Jim D. Thank you for your service!

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities


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, July 26th, 7pm, at Rush on Main (112 Main St, Zionsville). Join other women of First Friends and enjoy a wonderful night of conversation together.


Need a Boy Scout Shirt? Ann has an almost new Adult size Large Class A Boy Scout shirt that she no longer needs. If there is a Scout or Scouter in the Meeting that would like to have this shirt, she would like to give it away at no cost. They're normally about $40, so this could be helpful to someone on a budget! If you are interested in the shirt, please contact the office at


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


Join our Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading book group for July’s pick ~ Testimony by Scott Turow.  The discussion on Tuesday, July 31st will be led by Rhonda C. Visit this link if you’d like to take a look at the New York Times review: If you are interested in being on the Oak Leaf email list or would like the book list, please contact the office at Oak Leaf meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Parlor at 7 pm, we would love to see you there.  


Shalom Zone’s 5th Tuesday Event
 Art and Spirituality: Interpreting, Seeing, and Engaging the Divine

In this 90 minute gathering put on by the Shalom Zone churches for the Fifth Tuesday Gathering on Tuesday, July 31 at 7pm at First Friends (3030 Kessler), Bob Henry, pastor of First Friends and local artist will engage the participants in an exploration of the importance of interpretation in one’s spiritual journey, present ways to see from new perspectives, and experience the Divine through art. Bob plans for this to be an interactive experience as well as a teaching, so bring an open mind and your creativity.    


Community Garden Update

          Have you taken that walk in our community garden yet even the gardeners are expressing surprise at its prolific growth. Shelly found eight little watermelons in her 4’x4’. Dan, perplexed about how to mow around all the wandering vines is relieved that Sarah told him not to worry about that area—just let it grow. Later she said she didn’t know the plants would get SO big! Amy can’t believe how her garden is bursting its boundaries; she is pleased by the ripe clusters of yellow pear tomatoes. Nancy is happy about the success of her canopy fencing with asparagus beans dripping down, begging to be picked.

          Meanwhile, more plants stretch out beneath the airborne beans, snug in the shadowed loam. Arturo is growing everything from a lovely purple cotton plant to skyscraping stalks of corn. Josh and Heather’s cucumbers hide beneath huge green umbrella-like leaves.

          The crops are lush and so are the weeds! A strangling vine (bindweed?) and crabgrass are constant visitors to many plots. Other uninvited weeds appear. We may not know their names, but we recognize them. Gardeners must be vigilant weeders. We get our exercise, so who’s complaining?

          Leeann loves harvesting and finding visitors like the chipmunk with a shovel in plot 3, the Hope Garden. It is the plot anyone can work on, where Friends are welcome to snip flowers or pick lettuce. Soon little tomatoes will appear on the two red-edged plants. The Hope Garden is small and simple, but pretty. It is a reminder of how blessed we are when we choose to notice. It is a space meant to be shared in the same way we share one another’s burdens and joys, love and friendship.

          Neighbors walk through the community Garden with their friends and families. They bring their pets and sometimes volunteer to help with garden projects. They comment on the garden’s year-to-year differences and how it beautifies the neighborhood.

          Our Community Garden is symbolic of the way we can choose to nurture friendship and love, choose to work and play together. Sometimes you will see some of our delectable crops on the kitchen counter (cucumbers and squash last Sunday). Please take them home.

Our Community Garden is symbolic of how each one of us is a part of life’s unstoppable process. Invite a friend to walk through the garden! Delight in the many forms and endless seasons of God’s recreation.


Birds of the Meditational Woods:

Red-eyed Vireo - “Preacher Bird”


This little fellow is common in Indiana forests, and although a singing male visited our woods several times in the spring and early summer, it decided to nest in the neighborhood to the east. As the pair needed to feed the nestlings, red-eyed vireos came back here from time-to-time looking for insects and spiders on the bark of the trees of the Meditational Woods.

Yes, this vireo does have a red iris, which can be seen from close up and in good light. The bird gets its nickname “preacher bird” from its song, which consists of phrases of two and three syllables. It sounds like, “Don’t sin, be good, go to church, Sundays. Don’t sin, be good, do good deeds, every day. (and so on)” The males will sing all day long, so that, on a hot summer afternoon, when all other birds are silent and napping, one can hear the red-eyed vireo still “preaching” from the shade of the canopy of the big sugar maple.  I hesitate to use the terms “monotonous” or “seemingly never-ending” as some bird guide books do. In fact, this is in no way intended to be a criticism of the fine messages one hears at First Friends on a First-Day morning.

Perhaps because of the possible unintended slight, some bird guides now use other descriptions for the red-eyed vireo song. To me, however, it will always be the “preacher bird.”

-Brad J


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. For more information, visit


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.  These are the major Quaker missionary projects for 2018. For more information, visit the WYM website at   


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.


Join us this summer on August 7th for the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class! Want to learn how to better handle your money, invest and plan for the future, and dump debt? This class is an amazing tool and can meet anyone in any walk of life. Sam Ryan: "I took this class twice and it has helped me be in charge and organized with my money. It has also helped me pay off $30,000 in student loans and avoid debt forever!" Click on the link to sign up  The 9-week class will meet every week at HoiTea ToiTea in Broad Ripple. The class costs $100 and is worth every penny! Also there is no requirement that you get a beverage or food item at the venue. Disclaimer: Sam and her sister host this class completely voluntarily. They do not make any money doing this. They share thier time and stories because they are so passionate about this stuff! If you have any questions please reach out to the office at


Rise Up Singalong! Enjoy an evening of fun and songs old and new. Experience the retro delight of making music together. This month’s singalong will be held on Friday, August 10th instead of the usual third Friday. We hope you will join us at 7:00pm in the parlor. 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 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.


Join ESR for 2018 Leadership Conference ~ Earlham School of Religion will host their annual Leadership Conference August 17-19, 2018, Playing with Fire: The Experience of Ministry as an Entrepreneur. How does one move from leading toward action? How does the Divine participate in the process? Can entrepreneurship and ministry be yoked without losing the integrity of either? This year’s conference features eight entrepreneurial ministers who have lived with these questions and more as they completed ESR’s Entrepreneurial Ministry Certificate Program. Head over to the ESR website for more information and to register online at We hope you can join us!