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As Way Opens

This coming first day is what we call Kick-Off Sunday at First Friends. We will resume our education hour with study opportunities, choir, and children’s programming.  It is also a kick-off to a new teaching series for our first day meetings for worship.  Back in 2014 my friend John Pattison and his co-author, Chris Smith wrote a book titled, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus.  In an almost ironic kind of way, the two faith communities highlighted in this book were my former Quaker meeting in Silverton, OR (where John attends and helps lead) and Englewood Christian Church (where Chris attends and helps lead) in the Englewood neighborhood of Indianapolis, IN.

During the fall months of September, October, and November, we are going to explore together each Sunday what a “slow movement” looks like for First Friends.  During the Kick-Off this Sunday, I plan to lay a foundation for the roots of this slow movement and why it is especially important in our fast-paced society. John and Chris’s invitation to explore outside of what they label “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. 

I hope you will plan to join us for this exploration during the Fall months. We are also working to schedule John and Chris to join us later in the fall for a special Sunday of deeper exploration and questions.

Here are the first day themes we will be exploring:


“Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Grace and peace,


Joys & Concerns


Labor of Love ~ This past Sunday was our second gathering for peace, solidarity, and hope in our Meditational Woods. This year's guest speaker was Jesse Brown, Dean of Students at Taylor University, who helped us explore "The Christian's Privilege: Love and Service" Much like our first gathering in response to the atrocities in Charlottesville, this year we sang, prayed, and came together to reflect, learn, and take action! (Thank you to Kim Heusel for taking photos).

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 Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

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 office@indyfriends.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 this 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. as follows:

PreK – 5th grade in our large children’s room

6th - 12th grade in the basement

The following adult classes will be offered:

Seeking Friends - Bob Henry will lead the group through the rest of Brian McLaren book, We Make the Road by Walking. This study will give us an overview of the Bible and guide the group through rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth. Each week will include reading scripture together, study time, and queries to ponder throughout the week.

Wired Word (in Coffee Circle classroom) - will be led by Harold M to talk about current events from a spiritual perspective.

Choir - will be meeting in the old children’s library.  Anyone that has a heart for singing is welcome to join.

Nursery care will be available during Sunday School. We hope to see you this Sunday!


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.


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 pre-schoolers 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. 


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


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.


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.


Everyone Is Invited to the Harvest Picnic & Community Garden Work Day on Sept. 22!
Welcome New Gardeners, Chelsea and Brianna!

Our Community Garden is a living and breathing sacred space, not a garden set in stone.  It changes with the seasons, the weather, the crops planted and the gardeners.  Our volunteer gardeners are all learning and experimenting.  Sometimes we are full of energy and on top of every little detail of our plots. Sometimes we are sidelined during illness, vacation or for a myriad of reasons.  We grow produce for ourselves, our friends, our Meeting, the neighborhood and the less fortunate.  We are blessed by this wonderful resource and it is a privilege to cultivate the soil and watch our crops grow. Thank you for supporting our efforts!

Coming Soon! More Green Thumbs!

More changes! We welcome Chelsea and Brianna to our garden community.  Chelsea is working on her Gold Star Award, the most prestigious in Girl Scouting. She is willing to do “anything” and will help construct and repair raised bed frames, among other tasks.  We know she has many gifts and talents and are thrilled she has chosen the Community Garden as her project.  Brianna wants to help with our communal Hope Plot where anyone can work or harvest. We accept her offer with open arms. We believe the Hope Plot will be well-cared for with the attention she is donating.  It is such a treat to witness this enthusiasm on the part of these two newbies.

All, Including Non-Gardeners, Are Invited to the Harvest Picnic and Work Day

We will have a Community Garden work day on Saturday, September 22, starting at 9 a.m. and ending with a pitch-in harvest picnic.  Non-gardeners are invited to participate.  We are especially interested in recruiting someone who can whistle while we work. J Hopefully the weather will cooperate that morning and it will be less humid.

Preparing Plots for the Off-Season

Some of the methods we are using to close down our plots are:

One of our garden plots with an oat cover crop.

One of our garden plots with an oat cover crop.

·         Cover crops (seeds available free at the Indianapolis Public Library, Glendale)

·         Digging dead leaves, healthy plant matter or other fertilizer into the soil (not unprocessed manure due to concerns about pathogens in a community setting)

·         Soil solarization which is most effective in mid to late summer.  Soil is covered tightly with thin, clear plastic and tucked under. Heat from the sun causes physical, chemical and biological changes to the soil.  This kills or suppresses pathogens and weed seed.  It stimulates release of organic nutrients already present in the earth. 

·         Clearing plant debris from plots.  Diseased plant matter and weeds with seeds go in the brush pile to the east of the water tank or to the blue trash bin. Gardeners, please put out the trash bin for pick-up on the south side of the northwest driveway Wednesday night or afternoon if it is reasonably full and you are in the vicinity.  Healthy, spent plant matter can be deposited in the compost bin.  It should be chopped or shredded for easier decomposition so it can be used in the spring. Gardeners, please help to make sure the compost is turned each week.

Compost Bin

All are invited to place tea bags (minus the tags), coffee grounds and washed out eggshells into our compost bin.  We have restricted outside contributions to these few items so that we avoid vermin and disease-attracting waste.

~Nancy 🍃


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. We still have four students who need to be sponsored! Please consider connecting with our students this year!


New Book Featuring Interview with Pastor Bob Henry ~ Announcing the publication of the book, “Be Quick to Listen: Practice the Spiritual Discipline of Christian-Listening” By Chris Wethman. The book teaches practical steps and Biblical insight on how to strengthen the spiritual discipline of Christian-Listening at work and in life. You will learn to listen to God, to yourself, and to others in ways that will enrich your life and strengthen your faith. Featured in the book are interviews with Christian leaders, including Pastor Bob Henry, who shares how listening plays a role in every aspect of his life. The authors of the book are Dr. Rick Bommelje and Christine Wethman. Christine and her family have known Bob and Sue Henry for over 20 years. Chris formerly served on the staff of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Oviedo, FL and now serves by helping churches with visioning and strategic planning. Rick is a professor in the Communications Department at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, and one of the country’s leading experts on listening. “Be Quick to Listen,” as well as other books by Rick and Christine, are available on Amazon.


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


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!


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.


School Supplies Donations Needed ~ We are assisting John Strange Elementary with 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.

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