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As Way Opens

I was watching the US Open Tennis Championships last week and an advertisement kept coming on the TV for a new app for my smart phone called the “Calming App”.  For $60 a year or $300 for a lifetime, I can relax to nature sounds, take some guided meditations and track how often I enter the app to calm myself.  The promotions say that the app will:

  • Provide statistics and meditation tracking along with optional daily reminders

  • Provide customizable audio and visual cues to support relaxation

  • Provide a robust curriculum including stories to help with sleep

  • Provide a new “Daily Calm” meditation each day

I realize how much our world is craving silence, meditation and the ability to unplug and enter into a stream of consciousness going deep within ourselves and our sense of God within.  We are driving ourselves crazy trying to keep up, keep busy, keep connected, keep plugged in electronically and keep up appearances that we are happy and fulfilled.  We are spinning ourselves into an abyss of sadness, isolation and depression. 

I am so glad Bob is entering into a message series on Slow Church and how we connect with ourselves, our community and our God.  I became a Quaker 25 years ago because I was craving a real worship experience, a time of silence that forced me to become quiet and still my mind and open my heart to the pulsing of God, and in my best moments entering a mystical experience of transcendence beyond myself.  I was raised in a holiness tradition, but our time of unprogrammed worship has truly been holy for me.    I have been re-reading Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak this week and this quote spoke to my heart, “The key to this form of community involves holding a paradox - the paradox of having relationships in which we protect each other’s aloneness.  We must come together in ways that respect the solitude of the soul, that avoid the unconscious violence we do when we try to save each other, that evoke our capacity to hold another life without dishonoring its mystery, never trying to coerce the other into meeting our own needs.”

I am so thankful for this community at First Friends that holds the paradox of contemplation, relationship, and action.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible for my whole life - Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” I keep working on that!


Joys & Concerns 


Congratulations to Chrissy and Trent S! On September 5th at 8:59am they welcomed Foster Lee to their family. 7lbs 2 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. He shares a birthday with his dad Trent. What a blessing!


Thank you to all who helped with the food pantry last week. We were very busy...113 families served! Volunteers: Dan H, Ray G, Kathy R, Bill and Kathy F, Beth F, Rik and Linda L, Ben, Jill, Verna and Nolan F, Carol and Jim D. Thank you for your service!


What a great Sunday School Kickoff! This past Sunday we kicked off Sunday School for all ages! We had a great time at breakfast and it was so fun to see everybody show up in their PJs! Thank you to everyone who made this year’s kickoff a success! (Photos by Bob Henry and Kathy Rhyne.) See more photos for this and many other events on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Indyfriends!


We had a great turnout for our first night with Tim Streett and Poverty 101
with our fellow Shalom Zone Churches. We explored the differences between those in poverty and the middle class. There were fascinating discoveries about the differences in how we see things. The series will continue every Monday night at 7pm through October 15th and each topic is standalone so you can come to as many or as few as you are able. We hope you will join us. (Photo by Bob Henry)


Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

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. We still have three students who need to be sponsored! Please make sure these students aren’t left out! Please take a student off the board or contact the office if you’re interested.



IFCL Open Meeting ~ Everyone is invited to the next Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) meeting on Saturday, September 15 from 9-11am in the First Friends Parlor. IFCL is in the midst of restructuring and this is an open meeting to any who might be interested in IFCL or in giving feedback. 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. We hope to see you there.


Mark your Calendars! Quaker Affirmation is coming up. This affirmation program for our junior and senior high school youth will run 11:00am – 1:00pm, starting this Sunday September 16, then run every second Sunday through April before wrapping up on May 5.


Slow Church Sermon Series ~ Each Sunday we are going to explore together what a “slow movement” looks like for First Friends. As we kick off Sunday School on September 9th, Bob Henry will lay a foundation for the roots of this slow movement and why it is especially important in our fast-paced society. This invitation to explore outside of what is labeled “franchise faith” and back into the Kingdom of God – where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church – is instrumental in developing an ongoing vision for First Friends. We hope you will plan to join us for this exploration during the Fall months.

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Buddy Bags ~ The Shalom Zone is continuing its support of Allisonville Elementary School and the food insecurity issue by providing Buddy Bags to some of its more vulnerable students during school breaks.  First Friends plans to provide Buddy Bags prior to Fall break.  You can help by taking a tag which will have certain food items listed, purchasing such items in the quantity noted, and putting them into the box on the stage in Fellowship Hall.  The Buddy Bags will be delivered the first week of October so we will need the items no later than September 28.  Together, we can work to make life in our community a little bit better.  Thanks for your help.


Full Circle Festival ~ Again this year our own Ben W will be holding Full Circle Festival downtown. Full Circle Fest is an open-air dining experience, an interactive art fair, a zero-waste event, a fundraiser for sustainable community projects, and much more! There will also be local bands, performers, and DJs, engaging games and activities. Every year we focus on a timely community issue to guide the day's events. This year’s focus is “Everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food.” Indianapolis ranks among the worst cities in the country for food deserts (urban areas in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food). Full Circle Fest is in need of your support to help bring this event to life. To donate, please drop your contributions in the offering plate or in the meeting office with the notation “Full Circle Fest”. An anonymous donor will match donations up to $500, so please consider supporting this important cause. For more information please visit https://fullcirclefest.com/.

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.

Underneath It All ~ In the fall some of our thoughts turn toward school children, cooler weather and the importance of underwear. For maybe 8 or 10 years First Friends has been donating underwear to the John H. Boner Center on the near east side. Social workers there have it on hand to give to children in need. This includes some preschoolers on up through high school, so a variety of sizes are needed.  If shopping for underwear is not your favorite thing, a check will be welcomed. There will be a donation box in Fellowship Hall. Questions? Ask Linda L 

RSWR Stamp Newsletter – Volume 1! As you may know, in December 2017, Indy First Friends assumed the role of stamp processor for Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR). Amy P, who currently heads the program in conjunction with Brad J, and other volunteers have been busy working since then. If you’d like to see what they’ve been up to, you can read their first newsletter here:  https://goo.gl/KkETHa. As of August 14, we've taken in $1,012 for RSWR! Thank you to everyone who is making this program possible and supporting RSWR!


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 returning to Blind Owl Brewery—where we kicked it all off last year! It will be Thursday, September 20th at 7pm. The address is 5014 E 62nd St, Indianapolis, 46220. We hope to see you there!


Growing Quaker Values ~ Ready to PLANT a seed for the future? Ready to put Quaker values to work through philanthropy? Join FUM for a casual and free planned giving workshop with Mimi Blackwell, Planned Giving Program Manager at Friends Fiduciary. It will be held Thursday, September 20th from 2-3pm or from 7-8:30pm at Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond. Enjoy refreshments and fellowship with others from our community while learning ways planned giving could benefit you and the Quaker organizations you appreciate. Whether you have multiple gifts already in place or are just beginning to think about ways planned giving can meet your philanthropic goals, this is a great place to start. For more information and to register for this free event, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/growing-quaker-values-collaborative-educational-session-about-planned-giving-tickets-48964414883?aff=erellivmlt


Community Garden Update
Non-Lethal Ways to Control Nuisance Animals in the Garden

Animal pests can be a challenge to the gardener.It is better to exclude and deter them before they habitually consume the garden goodies you grow. In past issues we have discussed countermeasures against insects.In this issue we address ideas to contain damage caused by raccoons, rabbits, deer, moles, woodchucks, voles and chipmunks. Introducing dogs and cats as garden predators would do more harm than good (contamination and trampling); wolves and coyotes are impractical. The Community Garden has its “guard hawks” but Mother Nature arranged that scenario. This article outlines non-lethal animal damage management options. Most of this information is gleaned from the Purdue Extension-Marion County City Gardener Program course.It is a great way to develop a greener thumb!



  • Scarecrows, owl or snake predator figurines, flags, pinwheels, audio distress calls, aluminum pans, Mylar tape and strobe lights. Sections of a hose may be made to resemble a snake.


  • Repellants can affect taste, odor or an animal’s tactile sense.  Use repellants sparingly and only on plants you particularly want to protect.  Otherwise everything may taste and smell the same.  Then a hungry creature may eat everything in your garden. Few pesticides are labeled to kill animal species.  Most are repellants that do not kill. Using pesticides against animals not listed on labels violates federal and state laws.  Tactile:  Chicken wire covering ground around plants like corn will repel raccoons because they do not like to walk over it. Prickly pumpkin and winter squash vines can serve the same purpose. To deter rabbits, surrounding row crops with spiny holly trimmings or sweet gum balls can be effective. Odor-based:  Blood meal, predator urine, garlic, human or animal hair, rotten eggs, strong-smelling soap, and synthetic chemicals are examples. Well-worn clothing and old leather shoes can scare away rabbits.  Taste-based:  capsaicin (substance that makes hot peppers hot), essential oils, garlic oil and synthetic substances are included.  Be sure to protect yourself when applying repellants. Wash yourself and your clothing after using. Check the shelf life of commercial products and try out small amounts before buying larger quantities. Check for duplicate ingredients in products when you are intending to deter multiple species. Similar products may work for more than one species.


  • Mesh fences can be curved like a tunnel over plants to keep deer from them. The two tunnel ends can be covered with chicken wire.  Cloches may keep small animals away from crops. 


  • Motion detectors can trigger a blast of water.  (Once I accidentally watered a baby bunny hiding beneath big veggie leaves.  It had done a great job hiding, but the poor thing emerged drenched and ran away somewhat traumatized.)

  • Destroy burrows and modify roosting sites.


Laws do impact what action one takes against wildlife.  Some practices are decidedly illegal.  If a gardener uses chemicals, labels should be scrutinized and directions followed carefully.  Home remedies (bleach, pesticides and antifreeze) should never be used on vertebrate animals because of dangers to people and pets. Such poisons are against the law! Ultrasonic methods are not sanctioned by the State Chemical Office.  Such methods do not work according to the Extension Cooperative, even though they are still sold.

May you practice the Quaker testimony of stewardship wisely, seeking harmony with all of creation.

~Nancy 🍁


Sing-Along with Jim! ~ Mark your calendars for Friday, September 21 for an evening of music and fun with songs ranging from Dylan to Pete Seeger, Beetles to Stephen Foster. Some are sad, pensive, inspirational, patriotic, religious. We are now enlarging the songs and printing them, placing them in folders alphabetically, thus making a less labor-intensive process for all. Rise Up Singing and Rise Again are still useful in case we have more singers than folders. Please do bring your books. We begin at 7:00, end at 8:30 or soon after. Third Friday of the month, as usual!


Community Garden Work Day & Harvest Picnic ~ Everyone is invited to the next Community Garden Work Day on Saturday, September 22 at 9:00am. We will also hold a special pitch-in harvest picnic! This will be held outside, unless in the case of inclement weather, in which case it will be held in the Parlor. We hope you will join us!



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- engelp@epworthindy.org.


SAWS Ramp Build ~ The Shalom Zone is planning another SAWS ramp build for the morning of Saturday, September 29.  SAWS is an organization that builds ramps for low income folks who need a ramp to enter/exit their homes.  If you would like to volunteer to help or need more information, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org. Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website: http://sawsramps.org


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.

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