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As Way Opens

I have struggled with writing this message today as I am feeling emotional exhaustion from the many activities, deaths, difficult relationships that I have experienced the last few months.  There have been joyous moments throughout this time, but I find myself not spending enough time reading, not spending enough time in stillness and meditation, not walking and taking in creation, not eating healthy and not taking care of myself enough.   I went back and looked at my final essay from a class I took on Spiritual Formation and Personal Practices back in 2016 at Earlham School of Religion.  We were required to set up a "Rule of Life" to help us deepen our spiritual centeredness and experience God each day.  My rule included writing in a journal, going to yoga, getting a new bike and riding on the Monon Trail regularly, engaging more in unprogrammed worship gatherings, going on spiritual retreats every quarter, and taking more vacations and maybe even travel by myself on a vacation. I have not sustained these goals and I see that I have allowed my busyness, my sense of responsibility, my planning, my thinking about the future to take over my heart and mind.  There have been intense and spiritually high moments during the last few months, but I am not stepping into daily activities that bring me into daily communion and awe of God’s presence.  Maybe some of you understand this feeling.  Today, my daily devotional of the writings of the Sufi Mystic Rumi spoke to me:

As everything changes overnight, I praise the breaking of promises.

Whatever love wants, it gets, not next year, now;

I swear by the one who never says tomorrow, as the cycle of the moon never agrees to sell installments of light.

It gives all it has.

How do stories end?  Who shall explain them?

Every story is us.  That is who we are, from the beginning to no-matter-how-it-comes-out.

Those who know the taste of a meal are those who sit at the table and eat.

Lover and friend are one being, and separate beings too, as the polisher melts in the mirror’s face.

I offer this reflection to those that have felt or feel this sense of exhaustion and disconnectedness from daily practices of spiritual wonder, of sitting down at the table and eating.  I am committed to entering into the practices that bring me into a wholeness and immersion in God’s Light each and every day.  I don’t want to focus on the “high moments” but want to feel this sacredness of every moment.  Will you join me?


Joys & Concerns


This past Saturday our volunteers served at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair! This is an important fundraiser for our youth. Many thanks to those who helped us out this year!


Quaker-Affiliated Organizations


As Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) looks toward the 2019 legislative session at the Indiana Statehouse, we face several changes and challenges.

Bill Chapman, IFCL clerk since 2015 and lobbyist for the 2017-2018 sessions, has decided it is time for him to leave IFCL. Bill has been a positive and persuasive voice for faith-based groups in general and IFCL specifically as he has worked with legislators in a bipartisan spirit to address issues that Quakers support. In addition to our IFCL group, lawmakers and other lobbyists have appreciated Bill’s passionate effort to promote legislation that benefits all Hoosiers.  We thank him.

At IFCL’s August meeting, members approved Diana Hadley as clerk and Phil Goodchild as recording clerk for the next two-year period.

The coming legislative session is a revenue session.  Myriad draft bills will be offered and debated at the Statehouse, presenting great opportunity for input on issues of concern to Quakers and other people of faith.  Now more than ever, IFCL needs the involvement of Spirit-led people in its efforts to help shape responsible decisions by our state government. We invite your participation, at whatever level you feel called.

As IFCL identifies and researches issues of particular focus for the 2019 legislative session, please note the meeting dates below.  Meetings are open to all and will be at First Friends Indianapolis:

Sept 15:  Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

Oct.  6:  Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

Nov. 3:  Policy Committee, Ed Morris (emorri@earthlink.net) 9:00 a.m.; Quaker Connections/Fundraising, 10:00 a.m.

Dec. 1:  Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

Feel welcome to contact Diana Hadley (Dhadley@franklincollege.edu), Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com) or Ed Morris (emorri@earthlink.net) with questions or suggestions regarding IFCL initiatives.  Thank you.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

The tablet from our Library has recently gone missing. This tablet is for library use only and is not meant to be removed from the premises. If you have it or otherwise know where it is, please help us get it back to its home in the library. Thank you!


Mark your Calendars! Quaker Affirmation is coming up this Fall. Affirmation will run 11:00am – 1:00pm, starting on Sunday September 16, then run every second Sunday through April before wrapping up on May 5.


Coming Soon – Small Groups! Last Fall over 40 First Friends attenders and members gathered over several weeks at different times and locations to explore a book study and hold space for sharing parts of our spiritual autobiographies. It was a deeply enriching for those that were able to join!  Be sure to mark your calendars for our next session of Spiritual Growth Small Groups which will be starting the week of October 15th and run through the week of Thanksgiving. We hope you will join us!


Seasoned Friends Notice: Date Change ~ Please note, the date for the fall Seasoned Friends’ weenie roast at the Beem House is being rescheduled for Wednesday, October 24. Please mark you calendars accordingly. Be on the lookout later for more details as we get closer!


Poverty 101 Class ~ The Shalom Zone is pleased to be hosting Tim Streett and his Poverty 101 course at First Friends on Monday evenings at 7 pm beginning on September 10.  The course will run for 6 consecutive Monday evenings through October 15 and last approximately 90 minutes per session.  Tim works for The Shepherd Community Center and has developed this course to help folks gain a better understanding of what poverty is really all about in contrast to what those, who have not lived in poverty, think it is all about.  Tim has intentionally lived among those in poverty and has developed a unique understanding that he believes is helpful to those who take his course to be better equipped to help deal with poverty situations.  Don’t worry if you cannot attend each week as Tim says there is powerful learning each week that you are able to attend.  You can sign up for the course on the sheet in the corner of the hallway or by notifying the First Friends office.  A donation of $20 is requested for the course and scholarships are available for anyone who would like one.  Simply notify the First Friends office.  All proceeds will go to the Shepherd Community Center.


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 Ale Emporium Fishers. It will be this Thursday, August 16th at 7pm. The address is 11501 Geist Pavilion Dr, Fishers, IN 46037. We hope to see you there!


Medicinal Plant Tour ~ Three members of First Friends interested in plants are planning to go on one of the medicinal plant tours at the Indiana Medical History Museum at 11 am on Saturday, August 18. If you’d like to join us, please meet us where the medicinal plant tours start at 11. The Museum is at 3045 West Vermont in the old Central State Hospital. The three members are Amy P, Norma W, and Terry T. Any questions, contact one of them.


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 http://esr.earlham.edu/news-events/events/leaders18. We hope you join!


Giving Voices to Ghosts - Quakerspeisung Quaker Relief in Germany Post WWI and II
New Collection Page with Translations and Background

This Project--Giving Voices to Ghosts--has been over 13 years in the making.  Many hands helped shape the collection to this point, and it is my hope many more will help ensure it inspires and intrigues teachers, students and scholars for years to come.  I was presented these materials around 2005 with the hope that, as a German teacher, I would be able to do something with them. What I found was an astounding collection of letters, telegrams and artwork, all jumbled in an artist’s portfolio.  

This spanned from post WWI through the end of WWII. These materials were documentation of aid given throughout Europe by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker relief organization. In 2000, the traveling exhibit: Quiet Helpers - Quaker Service in Post War Germany - an exhibit from the German Historical Museum in Berlin, opened in the United States at the First Friends Meeting House in Indianapolis.  The Exhibit had been traveling throughout major German cities for three years. The German Consul attended as well as other representatives. The materials here in this collection were left to First Friends Meeting by this group.

Stan B, First Friends Pastor at the time, contacted the American Friends Service Committee to see about returning the artifacts to them. It is my understanding that he was told that First Friends should keep them.  There are 62 different artifacts in the collection. Most of the children’s artwork was bound together in string. In order to be able to fully show and study the children’s work, they were separated.

Click to read more about this project: https://goo.gl/SDUxZ3 

Click to go to the main page to look through the different artifacts and translations: https://goo.gl/mkkdza  


Harvesting and Drying Herbs from the Community Garden, or the Market

Enjoy herbs year-round by drying them yourself.   Keep ahead of your garden by drying excess herbs that will go to waste otherwise. 

Harvesting and Keeping Herbs Producing

It is best to cut herbs in mid-morning after dew has dried.  This preserves their flavor.

Perennial herbs (plants that do not need to be replanted each year) can be harvested whenever desired as long as they are well-established.  Perennials include chives, lavender, parsley, thyme, marjoram, mint, bay, fennel, rosemary and sage.  Harvest the leaves and shoots using scissors or a sharp knife.  Clip regularly for a constant fresh growth. Pinching off tops of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, mint and sage will provide tender herbs and encourage the plants to bush out.

Annual herbs (plants that die after one season) can be harvested when the leaves are large enough. Annual herbs include basil, dill, parsley and cilantro.  Snip a few leaves from each plant at any one time—not too many or growth will be slowed or the plant may die. Pinch off growing tips regularly to keep leafy herbs from flowering. Use the cut and come again technique to keep plants vibrant.

Parsley is a biennial herb. The plant only comes back after two gardening seasons.  The first year it produces leaves.  It goes to seed the second year and produces a flavorful taproot.

Readying Herbs for Drying

Remove any damaged foliage.  Rinse off any dirt and shake off excess water. Pat dry.  Spread herbs on paper or cloth towels until they are completely dry.

Quick Drying by Microwave

Microwaving herbs preserves aroma, texture, flavor and color.  It removes moisture and bacteria and it is quick.  Pick leaves off stems and spread evenly on a microwave-safe plate, no more than an inch deep. Cover with a dish towel or paper towel. Be sure the paper is not recycled or it may catch fire due to small metal particles that cause arcing. Microwave the herbs on high power.  Set about a minute for hearty herbs and 30 seconds for delicate herbs. Thereafter, if herbs need more time, check after 15- second bursts. Do microwave different types of herbs separately since drying times may vary.

Air drying

Hanging herbs can look pretty in your kitchen.  Cut, cluster and tie herb stems with twine and hang them upside down to dry in a warm, moisture-free, ventilated place. Smaller bundles dry faster. Also, bunches dry faster when placed in a paper bag tied or rubber-banded shut. Make holes for ventilation. Using this method, a bag of herbs may dry in about a week as opposed to weeks.  Short-stemmed herbs such as thyme can be dried over 48 hours when laid out on wire racks. Low-moisture herbs like dill, oregano, marjoram, savory and rosemary dry well on racks. Tiny leaves will fall off stems once herbs have dried so they need not be removed prior to drying. Air drying is not recommended for heartier herbs.

Drying by Oven

Some hearty herbs contain more moisture and should not be air dried.  These include basil, mint, chives, parsley, tarragon, chervil and cilantro. Use an oven or dehydrator.  Pick leaves off stems and spread whole leaves or quarter-inch chopped herbs evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for two to four hours. Set oven as low as possible, around 170 degrees F.  Keep the oven door ajar so moisture can escape unless you have a gas oven.  Drying time varies according to local climate and humidity. Also, different types of herbs will dry at different rates. Let herbs cool before storing so moisture can escape and there is less chance of mold forming.  Herbs are dry when leaves crumble easily.

Storing Dried Herbs

After drying, store herbs in the dark in air-tight containers.  Metal tea containers, freezer bags and glass jars work perfectly. Storing whole leaves and grinding them with a simple mortar and pestle just before use retains flavor. Dried herbs last about a year before starting to deteriorate.  By then your garden is producing again and you can dry fresh herb batches to keep your food tasty until the next growing season.



Indianapolis Medicare for All (HCHP) Chapter Launch! HCHP is a Medicare for All single-payer advocacy group with an affiliation with Physicians for a National Health Program and alliance with all of our friends doing wonderful Medicare for All advocacy across the country. Want to learn more about Medicare for All? Want to connect with like-minded people in our community who want to make single-payer healthcare a reality? Then please join us and help launch an Indianapolis chapter of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan! It will be held Thursday, August 23 at 6:30pm in the Parlor. Our agenda for the evening will include a showing of the film Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point, followed by a discussion led by local physician and Medicare for All advocate AJ Sinha, MD. Please join us!


First Friends is Going to the Ballpark! Please join us for a family outing to the Indianapolis Indians game on Sunday August 26th.  Game time is 1:30. Tickets will be provided by the Meeting and kids 14 and under will get a free hot dog, chips and bottle of water.  Please let the office know if you will be able to attend.


Service Appreciation Dinner ~ Please reserve Sunday, September 23, 5:30 – 8:30 pm for a dinner at First Friends to show appreciation to a few members of First Friends for their service and dedication to our Meeting over the years.  This year we will show appreciation for the service of Judy and Clarence D, Tom F, Bev and Dan H, Barbara O, Dan R, and Gary W.  Look for a sign-up sheet in the corner of the hall to RSVP.  There is no charge for the dinner.  This is one that you don’t want to miss so mark your calendar today! 

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