As Way Opens
I have been reflecting on Bob’s message last week from Luke 16:1-13 on the parable that Jesus shares about the actions of the dishonest asset manager and how Jesus uses this example to show us that we need to look for the good and the Divine in people over the evil and negative. Wow - this is a hard lesson and path for me to follow. My tendency is to take one or two traits that bother me about someone and then make sweeping generalizations that separate and divide and put us all into limited corners of labels and classifications.
I was reminded of this last week as I hosted a new attender dinner along with several members from the Meeting. We went around the table to share part of our faith journey to First Friends. Several in the group were raised Catholic and I shared my story of being raised as a fundamentalist Nazarene, attending a Baptist high school in Detroit. I shared that Baptists don’t believe Catholics are Christians. I was challenged by someone raised Baptist that she was not taught this. While I was taught this theology at my Baptist high school, I certainly should never say that all Baptists believe this. We are all complicated, full of contradictions, believe many things and one or two labels can never define us. I am a conservative, liberal, Christian, Quaker, mystic, woman, mother, wife, widow, sister, minister etc. Not one of these identifications can adequately describe me and yet I too often want to attach one or two words to put my friends and enemies into certain camps. It is so easy to define the world this way. But Jesus life and example shatters this separation apart and tells us that gender, class, status, religious upbringing mean nothing and that the path of joy, oneness with God and the idea of creating the kingdom of heaven here on earth is about loving each other beyond our labels and categories. My mother, during the last month of her life at 95 years old shared some wonderful advice to me. She said, "I am more interested in loving a person for who they are and forgiving them for who they are not.” May our eyes see the Divine in each person we encounter this week, and may we offer grace, love and forgiveness.
Joys & Concerns
First Friends day out at the Indians game! It was a little warm but we all had a lot of fun! We had 55 people join us for our day at the ballpark. (Thanks to Kathy R for the photos!)
Ruth K has an exhibit of her photography currently displayed at the Hatch at 6161 N Hillside Ave, Indianapolis. The hours are 9:00- 5:00 Monday-Friday. http://www.thehatchcreates.com. Congratulations, Ruth!
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
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.
Jesse Brown is the husband of Hope and father of Grace, Isaac, Eden and Cana Brown. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Jesse graduated from Valley Forge Christian College in 1997 and Eastern College in 1999. After he and Hope married in the summer of 1999, they moved to Huntington, Indiana where Jesse served as a member of the student development office of Huntington College. After eighteen years at Huntington, Jesse moved to Upland, Indiana where he currently serves as the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator at Taylor University. Jesse is currently working on a PhD from Indiana State University. His dissertation is exploring critical consciousness of white students attending a Christian college. For recreation, Jesse enjoys poetry, working outside in the yard, hobby farming, following Cleveland sports and running.
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!
Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening on Saturday September 8th, 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Amanda C. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!
Sunday School Kick-Off! Our Sunday School kick off will be on September 9th. We will start the morning with breakfast for everyone in fellowship hall at 8:30. We encourage everyone to come in their pajama's! Our classes will begin at 9:00 a.m. Keep an eye out for more details on this fall’s class offerings!
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.
Shalom Zone Eco-Film: Inside the GARBAGE of the World ~ All are invited to join us for the next Eco-Film on Friday, September 14 at 7:00pm, hosted by Allisonville Christian Church (7701 Allisonville Rd). Our film will be “Inside the Garbage of the World.” This informative, hard-hitting film reveals the truth about plastic pollution and how it is harming the oceans and threatening human safety. Every item of plastic that has ever been created is still with us on the planet today. In the mid 50’s we were told that plastic was suitable for single use and could simply be thrown away. We now know that to be untrue, yet we continue to treat it as such. We hope this film will raise awareness of the serious threat of plastic pollution, to our oceans and to our very existence.
Planting Late Crops; Closing Down the Garden; Composting
In preparation for the end of the growing season, Garden Committee articles in recent Friend to Friend issues include herb drying, storing excess root crops, disposing of spent crops, planting late crops, planting cover crops to overwinter and making homemade cloches. To refer back look under the attenders section on indyfriends.org.
Last week’s suggested cold weather crops included microgreens, Swiss chard, and hearty salad leaves. More specific suggestions include upland cress, cornsalad, spinach and leaf lettuce. It is not too late to plant radishes, asparagus and rhubarb. The latter two are perennial crops and require extra attention to detail if plants are to become established and live 10 to 20 years.
Indianapolis’ average fall frost date is between October 16 and 25. The chance of frost on the average first frost date is 50%. The likelihood of a 32° F (0° C) temperature is only 10% two weeks prior to the average frost date. [Purdue Extension Indiana Vegetable Planting Calendar. www.hort.purdue.edu/ext]
A method to improve soil is to plant cover crops from mid-August to mid-September. Living roots build organic matter, supress weeds and create biomass. Oats will provide mulch and nutrients. Cover crops grow until cold weather comes when winter may kill them. If not, cut growth at the soil line or till the vegetation into the soil. Till or spade the earth before scattering seed, then lightly rake and leave the mixture on top. Protect the area from wind and rain by applying loose straw.
No-till gardeners can plant vegetables in the spring and leave the cover crop. Example cover crops include oats, rye, hairy vetch, clover and buckwheat. Gardeners can obtain up to five free packages of oats at the Indianapolis Public Library Reference Desk, Glendale branch. One package covers 100 square feet.
Our Compost Bin
Please put chopped up spent crops in our compost bin. This speeds decomposition. Crops should be disease-free. Shredded leaves, tea bags, eggshells and coffee grounds may be added. String trimmer or lawn mowers set for mulching can be used to chop. Put unsuitable vegetation, including weeds, in the blue trash bin or in the brush pile east of the water tank. Our garden policy rejects the use of animal manure due to its strong connection to pathogens. The compost should be turned once a week for it to be spreadable and it must register over 130° F for a minimum of five days to kill pathogens. We will use our compost in the spring. A Community Garden work day will be announced soon.
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.
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.
Just Faith: Living Compassionately ~ All are invited to an 8-week small group opportunity at Epworth United Methodist Church. JustFaith allows participants to gain deeper understanding of contemporary issues through the lens of Christian faith. In this first phase, we will cover the topic of living compassionately by caring for the poor, in which participants will focus on poverty, consumerism, and the Gospel call to care for the poor. The times and dates are:
Mondays | 6PM | Beginning September 24
Thursdays | 10AM | Beginning September 27
To enroll please contact Pat Engel- firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
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.