As Way Opens
This week’s As Way Opens come to us from Sam, Pastor Bob’s son, who recently went on a mission trip to Tennessee.
For those of you who don’t know about Service Over Self, here is an introduction. SOS was first launched in 1986, by Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. The program’s intention was to spread the gospel while protecting and repairing the homes of Memphis’ most vulnerable home owners. Over the last three decades, SOS has dedicated their time to repairing over 900 homes in Memphis, employing over 24,000 volunteers to complete the work at each one of those sites. Currently, SOS operates as its own non-profit organization with the objective of serving low-income homeowners in the Binghampton and Orange Mound neighborhoods of Memphis. Orange Mound was the very first neighborhood in America built exclusively by freed African Americans in the 19th Century, with Binghampton being one of the first racially integrated communities in the 19th and 20th Centuries. In addition to the SOS Summer Camp program in which I served, SOS also has Spring Break, Summer Staff, and yearlong Academy programs for young. It was extremely visible in my week serving down in Orange Mound that the services provided by SOS are among the most appreciated and integral parts of the Binghampton and Orange Mound communities as residents will consistently honk their horns while passing the worksites or express their gratitude to the organization while walking by. Working alongside them was truly a pleasure and an experience that I am bound to be a part of again. I would like to thank all of you here at First Friends for all you did to support me both through funds and prayer as I set off on my trip. You might be wondering, how did I get involved with SOS in the first place and how, exactly, did I grow through this experience?
Last December, I was invited to serve with SOS for the summer of 2018. Several people in my friend group at Fishers High School had brought up the name, SOS, a number of times before, referring to it as what I thought to be a Summer Camp they had attended in the past. What I didn’t know, however, was that these people were traveling six hours down south every summer to Memphis, Tennessee to work on dilapidated homes in the blistering heat. It wasn’t anything glamorous or inherently fun and, by my definition, did not sound like a Summer Camp in the least bit. Slowly but surely, my friends sold me on the fact that I would enjoy the experience and that, by what they had seen of my character as a Quaker, I would value the simplicity and community provided throughout. I knew little about the organization itself, but I decided to trust it because I had been to the host church, Northview, a couple of times and wanted to enjoy this experience with my friends.
Some greatly appreciated support, funds, and one tightly packed bag later, I was ready to embark on my first journey to SOS. The whole trip down with the five charter buses seemed somewhat overwhelming. Though I was excited, I felt worried and concerned a bit that I didn’t have enough to offer or wouldn’t fit in. After much speculation, I decided that that thought process wouldn’t get me anywhere and chose instead to take the week head on and really capture the chance that God had given me. Later that night, at our first chapel, I was introduced to my work group, comprised of three of my friends from Fishers High School, the youth pastor at Northview Fishers, and one of the great Summer Staffers at SOS. We later found out that we’d also be working alongside a group of middle school boys and girls from Carmel and Westfield. That night, I got little sleep, but I woke up in the morning ready and excited to serve.
Every morning at SOS is spent very slowly. Though you are constricted to a tight schedule, it seems as if you are a human walking around in a group of zombies until breakfast. After breakfast, a group member will take the lunch orders of those in their group, making their sandwiches for that afternoon, getting the water and food coolers ready. You will then dance or hobble, depending on if you are carrying the water cooler or not, off the premises and set off for the worksite. Since the primary focus of SOS Summer Camp is reroofing houses, your first job at SOS is always to un-tarp. Un-tarping and re-tarping are among the most grueling and difficult jobs offered and requires that you remove deck nails from a roof two stories off the ground. If you don’t manage to fall off the ladder from your own forceful yanking, you can begin the day’s work by taking a harness, a nail belt, and a hammer. There, you will spend 6-7 hours of your day scraping shingles, laying underlayment, and, one by one, replacing old shingles with brand new ones, all while solving problems and building friendships along the way. Because I was a quick learner and a trusty worker, I was tasked with showing rookies how to roof, allowing me to stay and work on the roof almost all day every day. Once lunch is over, your work is complete, and your daily SOS devotion is finished, you are delivered from the heat to a nice cold shower and Jerry’s Sno Cones (the best walk up restaurant I’ve ever been to). Following the refreshments, you are granted an hour of recreation time before dinner is served. Once dinner and recreation are complete, you can make your way over to chapel at SOS Binghampton, where we worshipped every day with leaders from a local interracial church and heard from Northview’s youth leaders.
Throughout the whole week, I found myself at times alone and avoiding people. On Thursday night, after one of the youth pastors had finished giving his message, the campers were all invited into a time of silent reflection and worship. Once they started playing music, I realized that this wouldn’t be your average Quaker Silent Worship and ventured out of the room, finding a quiet place in the cafeteria to sit alone. I sat there, wrestling with my thoughts about who I wanted to be, what I wanted to gain from this experience, what I wanted from my faith experience as a Quaker, and how deeply I wanted to share my love for people. Through talking with the homeowners, playing with their dog, serving and worshipping alongside friends and strangers, eating and playing with others, and putting in my physical best, I discovered how much I really wanted to work for and with people. I learned that, sometimes, you just must get over yourself and allow yourself to find more about you and God through others, and, by doing that, helping yourself learn how to help them better. By the end of the week, I had made it my goal to make that possible. The experience I had in those last three nights won’t soon be forgotten and I will forever stay committed to that goal thanks to SOS. I’d like to thank you all for what you’ve done in sending me down to SOS Memphis this year and I hope to help others both here in my own community and in Binghampton for years to come.
Joys & Concerns
Friends from First Friends, Valley Mills Friends, Fairfield Friends, Iglesias Amigos, and AFSC Indiana all represented at the Families Belong Together March on the statehouse on Saturday, June 30th.
Last Week Seasoned Friends traveled to Columbus, Indiana to take in the Modernist Architecture and see the beautiful city. They broke into two groups - one by van and one on foot. It was a great time!
Women at the Well meets Threshing at the Tap! Last Thursday both groups met on the deck of Rick’s Cafe Boatyard! (Not pictured: Tom Fisher.) What fun!
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 Morris at meeting or call (317) 691-5542. Our next meeting will be on July 7th at the Meetinghouse from 9am-11am.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Please note: The weekend of July 12-15, all are encouraged to attend Western Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions. As such, on Sunday, July 15, we will hold unprogrammed worship in the Parlor at the usual time of 10:15. Childcare will be provided. Thank you to Mary Blackburn for leading us in worship that day.
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!
Threshing at the Tap: (def.) a gathering of men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and beverages and food are enjoyed. This month we will be meeting at the new Sun King Spirits. It will be Thursday, July 19th at 7pm. The address is 351 Monon Blvd, Carmel, 46032. We hope to see you there!
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) your email.
Insects in the Community Garden
Q. Why do bees have sticky hair?
A. Because they have honeycombs.
Mother Nature’s abundance is apparent in the Community Garden. We benefit from Her generosity; so do the critters as Brad J noted in last week’s Bird of the Month article. He pointed out that our local hawks are snacking on some of the small animals. Birds chow down on many harmful insects. Gardeners need to pitch in too.
Japanese beetles are chowing down on our crops. In 1916 Japanese beetles arrived on the east coast in shipments of Iris bulbs and have been spreading west ever since. They have copper backs, green heads and white dots trimming their back ends. They feed voraciously for six weeks. Females lay eggs in grassy areas. Their eggs hatch into grubs that feed on roots. In the Fall larvae burrow four to ten inches to overwinter. As spring warms the soil the larvae pupate and emerge as beetles in early summer.
Some tips to stem their appetites include:
- Harvest regularly and clean up overripe and rotting plant debris.
- Rake garden forks over soil to handpick grubs in late spring and fall.
- Adult beetles will attempt to fly away when one tries to handpick them. Spread a tarp beneath infested plants in the early morning before they are inclined to fly. Shake them off the plant onto the tarp and dump them into a bowl of soapy water. DO NOT CRUSH insects or more may come, attracted by the release of pheromones.
- Apply nematodes to soil during the larvae stage. Nematodes are parasitic insect-eating roundworms that feed on grubs. They are not harmful to people, animals, plants or earthworms. Garden stores sell them; marigolds attract nematodes.
- Spray soapy solution (not harmful detergent) on tops and bottoms of leaves. Look up specific recipes. The solution should be sprayed directly on insects and be reapplied after rain. Spray every four to seven days.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth of eggshells in garden near beetle-attracting plants.
- Use row cover barriers before grubs appear. Using them afterward may trap them with the plants.
- Grow yellow tulip poplars which host a beneficial Tiphia wasp that parasitizes Japanese beetle grubs.
- Warning: commercial Japanese beetle traps often attract more beetles!
Our squash and cucumbers are at harvest stage. To deter squash bugs, scatter eggshells around the plants. This acts like diatomaceous earth and has a cutting effect on the bugs. Holding a flashlight behind the stems when it is dark will show if bugs are inside the stems. If so, slit the stem section and remove bugs. Afterward, cover the slit with soil to aid in healing the plant. Squash bug damage occurs unseen. Damage occurs underground and inside. One day plants appear healthy. Suddenly they wither and die. Be wary! Go out and harvest those crops!
Join our Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading book group for July’s pick ~ Testimony by Scott Turow. The discussion will be led by Rhonda C. Visit this link if you’d like to take a look at the New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/books/review/testimony-scott-turow.html. If you are interested in being on the Oak Leaf email list or would like the book list, please contact the office at email@example.com. Oak Leaf meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Parlor at 7 pm, we would love 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 July 20th, at 7:00 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 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.
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.
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.