As Way Opens
On my day off a couple weeks ago, I took my car into the dealership for an oil change and a needed headlight repair. After about an hour wait, the service technician asked me to come back to his tiny office. He proceeded to share with me the “bad news” that they were needing to do about $2400 worth of additional work to my car. After I picked my jaw off the ground, I began asking some questions. I immediately called my wife, and we decided not to have the work done and proceed to another mechanic that could give us a second opinion.
This week, I was able to have my car inspected by another mechanic. Interestingly enough, they found NOTHING wrong with my car (except the headlight I needed repaired). Immediately, I was saddened by the lack of integrity of the dealership in trying to have me do so much unnecessary work.
This prompted me to spend some time reflecting on the Quaker S.P.I.C.E. of Integrity. It seems our current condition in the United States has us surrounded on all sides by issues of vacillating integrity - from church scandals and blatant prejudice to so many disgraced reputations. And with all the legal issues and topics coming to the surface in politics (no matter our party loyalty) it should have us crying out for a resurgence of integrity.
Our condition should also have us returning to some important queries: What is truth? What is honesty? What is moral? What is sincere? What is ethical? Finally, asking ourselves, “Where has integrity gone?”
The Quaker testimony of Integrity asks us to aspire to personal wholeness, honesty and truthful living. Integrity means completeness or one-ness, and implies a commitment to truth-telling. Integrity nourishes our trust in one another, allowing us to rely on one another and others to rely on us. It means engaging with each other openly and honestly. (earlham.edu)
I believe our Quaker faith is a key to helping heal and address our present world. But before we try and fix governments, religious institutions, car dealerships, or any other person or group, we must first start by asking ourselves what we aspire and are committed to and then engaging our world through truthful and honest living. Just as in Quaker history, when we live out this integrity it affords us greater opportunities to be heard and make a change. Let’s work on bringing that needed resurgence of integrity to our desperate world.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Let’s pass on our thanks to our food pantry volunteers! Christie M; Ray G; Beth F; Linda and Rik L; Kathy and Bill F; Carol and Jim D. Very busy...we served 104 families. Thank you, volunteers!
Special Thanks go out to the faithful Friends who greet you each Sunday before meeting: Janice H, Janis C, and Amy P. Anyone else interested in serving as a greeter? Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ed Morris (email@example.com) with questions or suggestions regarding IFCL initiatives. Thank you.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Come Help the CE Committee Get Ready for Fall ~ The Christian Education Committee will be meeting for cleanup this Sunday August 26th after Meeting for Worship. We will be cleaning the classrooms and the resource rooms as we prepare for Sunday School and Affirmation kickoffs in the Fall! Everyone who is interested is invited to come help. Thank you!
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.
Please note that in observance of Labor Day, the Meetinghouse office will be closed on Monday, September 3rd. Also, there will be no Monday Meditational Worship that day. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday!
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!
Join our Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading book group for August’s pick ~ American Heart by Laura Moriarty. The discussion will be led by Cindy C. If you are interested in being on the Oak Leaf email list or would like the book list, please email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oak Leaf meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Parlor at 7 pm, everyone is welcome.
Participate in our "Sponsor a College Student" project! Just select a college student off the board set up in the meetinghouse and send them notes, cards, treats, etc throughout the school year so they hear from someone at the Meeting and feel connected. Please let the office know at email@example.com if anyone is missing from this list of undergrad students: Ellie A, Sullivan B, Helen C, Molly C, Alex H, Will M, Eli S, and Scott S.
School Supplies Donations Needed ~ John Strange Elementary School (on 62nd St) is looking for assistance with certain school supplies for its teachers. The items needed are: 1) Ticonderoga pencils, 2) disinfectant wipes, 3) hand sanitizer and 4) Kleenex. Donations can be made in Fellowship Hall in the box on the stage. Thank you for supporting our local schools!
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.
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month: August
American Goldfinch – Seasonal Garb-changer
In the Methodist Church of my youth, I saw the color of each season in the stoles worn by the ministers during worship, and also in cloths both on the altar and suspended from the pulpit. Purple, green, and red clued the worshipper as to the season (Advent, Lent, etc.) or a particular Sunday in that season. We Quakers, while anticipating the holidays, do not depend quite so much on visual cues within our meeting house. Besides, we have American Goldfinches in our Meditational Woods and our garden to remind us of the change of the seasons.
I have shown this male goldfinch in breeding plumage. This species is one of the last to nest and raise a brood of young here. Now that nesting is over, and the young are out of the nest, more goldfinches are present. The observer will notice, in the next month, that the male will undergo a drastic change in color. He will lose the black forehead, and the almost-solid black wing color will become less solid. Some yellow will remain on his head, but the rest will change to brownish gray and tan. The female, which lacks the black forehead, and is yellowish on the face and front during breeding, now goes to brownish and gray. Some people do not realize that it is the same species and present year-round.
So there are four seasons to view: summer breeding, fall molting, winter drab, and spring molting. Then it starts over again. Don’t forget to listen, too. As you surprise goldfinches in the garden or near the entrance to the woods, they will sing, “Purr-chickory, purr-chickory, sweeeeeeet, purr-chickory.”
Mark your Calendars! Quaker Affirmation is coming up this Fall. This affirmation program for our junior and senior high school youth will run 11:00am – 1:00pm, starting on Sunday September 16, then run every second Sunday through April before wrapping up on May 5.
2018 Labor of Love in Meditational Woods ~ Last year in response to the atrocities that took place in Charlottesville we invited you to a peaceful gathering of neighbors and Friends in our Meditational Woods. Again this year, on Sunday September 2 at 10:15am in Meditational Woods, we will gather in solidarity with our faith community and nation to express our desire for peace, equality, unity and love. Our special meeting for worship in the woods will include a message from guest speaker, Jesse Brown, Dean of Students at Taylor University and guide and student of Civil Rights history. Also, a special time of waiting worship in the manner of Friends will be offered allowing participants to speak out of the silence to these continued difficult times. Finally, we will close with a sending hand-in-hand around our peace pole.
From Butterflies to Cold Weather Crops
Garden Committee Update
A striking medley of zinnias decorate many raised beds in the Community Garden. Butterflies are flitting from one flower to the next, making difficult decisions about where to dance next. Delicious nectar and oh, so many colors beckon!
Some crops have passed their prime and need to be pulled. They can be chopped up for easier decomposition and put in the compost bin. (FYI, the compost should be turned a couple times a week so that the outside matter is transferred to the inside and vice-versa.) The last newsletter discussed drying surplus herbs. Excess root crops can be stored in a frost-free garage or dry basement. Although fruiting crops need plenty of water, at some point stop watering to encourage ripening the last fruit of the season. One example would be those little green tomatoes that need to hurry up before the frost hits.
After disposing of spent crops, make use of the resulting bare patches. A few cool weather vegetables are candidates for late planting. After all, planting dates are a little elasticized since weather is so predictable (NOT)! Try planting Swiss chard. It can be harvested throughout the winter. Quick-growing microgreens and hardy salad leaves are safe bets. They may be covered with cloches once the weather gets cold if the gardener wants to lengthen the growing season even more. A homemade cloche can be made from a translucent plastic jug with the bottom cut off and the lid closed. The cap can be removed to vent. Anchor the jug with a flat rock or splay the jug’s bottom by cutting and then pile rocks on the flat parts so the wind does not blow away the cloche.
Another option is to fill the void in your plot by planting cover crops to restore nutrients to the soil. We have used white clover successfully. The bee pollinators love the clover! Hairy vetch is another excellent cover crop for our area. These crops need a little time to grow and sink their roots into the soil before it gets cold. Then they are left to overwinter and feed the earth. Next spring you will have richer soil compliments of Mother Nature.
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday September 8th, 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Amanda & Micah C. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!
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!
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 your calendars accordingly. Be on the lookout later for more details as we get closer!