As Way Opens
Even though the weather has been wreaking havoc with our Sunday Meetings and weekends in general, I would like to highlight a couple things that have happened recently at First Friends and in the community.
Even though the outside temperature was in the single digits on Sunday evening (Jan. 20), First Friends hosted a warm and welcoming service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This was a joint collaboration of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Western Yearly Meeting of Friends. Our theme and liturgy for the service were prepared by Christians in Indonesia with a focus on justice from Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
Since WYM was the host denomination, our Superintendent, Wanda Coffin Baker called us to worship. Our music director, Eric Baker and the First Friends Choir led us both in thoughtful and inspiring songs, and a rousing closing hymn which brought everyone to their feet, clapping and truly sensing the unity.
Among the denominational leaders who joined us were women and men from Episcopal, Roman and Byzantine Catholic, American Baptist, Evangelical Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, African American Episcopal, and Friends – a beautiful picture of Christian diversity throughout Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
I had the honor of bringing the message, Becoming Justice in our World (listen here: https://www.indyfriends.org/sunday-morning-messages/), which emphasized how Jesus became justice and how we in turn need to become justice in our world, today. I also illustrated my sermon through a new painting which is on display at the Meetinghouse titled, Justice Brings Freedom. After the message, each person was encouraged to write on cards their commitments to justice and unity, and as we left the Meetinghouse we all received a commitment card from someone else to hold in prayer as they work to fulfill their commitment. Afterward, Susan Rains and the First Friends Fellowship Committee welcomed us to a wonderful reception.
Then on Monday, several of us attended a celebration service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put on by the Shalom Zone and hosted by Cross and Crown Lutheran. The service was the vision of Cross and Crown member, Carolyn Ramsey. Musical offerings were given by the Tindley Collegiate youth choir directed by Mark Peay. Rev. Clarence Thompkins gave the keynote address after a brief video remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Afterward, everyone was invited to a nice luncheon.
Both events were beautiful examples of diverse people coming together in our community around issues that continue to be extremely important in our world. I hope that we continue to find ways to break down the barriers that prevent us from coming together as the people of God.
Since we were not able to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at Meeting for Worship last Sunday, we are planning to celebrate this Sunday, Jan. 27th during meeting for worship. Join us as we explore the “Revolutionary Love” of Martin Luther King Jr. As well, we will be officially welcoming all of our new members over the past year.
Grace and peace,
Quaker Affiliated Organizations
IFCL -- A Hearing for Redistricting Reform Bill, SB 91
IFCL has been working with the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting at the Statehouse this January for redistricting reform. Sen. John Ruckelshaus has introduced SB91, which is the coalition's bill to create a citizens redistricting commission for Indiana. So far, we have not gotten a commitment from the Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Sen. Greg Walker, to hear the bill. With some encouragement from folks around the state, he is more likely to give our bill a hearing and vote. Please contact Sen. Walker today by clicking on this link from Common Cause Indiana. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/senator-walker-give-us-a-hearing/?link_id=1&can_id=df9c01001f16dee04d57a3d43dd997ef&source=email-redistricting-reform-cant-wait&email_referrer=email_475631&email_subject=redistricting-reform-cant-wait.
In addition, we are looking for volunteers who can be at the Statehouse on Monday and Thursday mornings to attend Elections Committee hearings and serve as visual reminders that time is running out for meaningful redistricting reform. New Congressional and state legislative maps will be drawn in 2021, so if we are going to make major changes to the redistricting process, it has to happen this year. Monday times would be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. and Thursday times would be 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. If you're available and can help, please contact Phil Goodchild (317-790-9054; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ed Morris (317-691-5542; email@example.com). Thank you.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Affirmation & Youth Group ~ Please note that we will be holding a make-up session for affirmation this Sunday, January 27 at 11:00am. The affirmation class will leave after the morning message. We will also be holding Youth Group, which will meet at its usual time.
Men’s Threshing Together ~ If you are interested in gathering with other men who mull over current issues or topics, where all points of view are heard, no decisions are made, and all in a non-threatening atmosphere over a meal, then Threshing Together is for you! Join us for our next meeting on Thursday, January 24 at 7:00pm. Please note this is the fourth Thursday instead of the usual third Thursday of the month. See locations here: https://goo.gl/QhkXTo.
QHC Ground Hog Men’s Retreat ~ Quaker Men: A great experience awaits you at Quaker Haven Camp for the annual Ground Hog Retreat January 25-26. This will be a great time of discussion, sharing, prayer, fun and table fellowship. Volunteers may also help in construction of the new staff duplex. Cost for the retreat is $60.00. Those who will do construction work a day or two may get a good discount. To register or get additional information call Quaker haven at 574-834-4193 or email camp at contact@QuakerHaven.com.
Soil Health Workshop for Vegetable Gardeners ~ This winter soil health workshop is designed for vegetable gardeners who want to learn more about how to use soil health practices in the garden. The Paramount School of Excellence’s school farm provides an excellent space to tour and discuss cover cropping and mulching in action. We will then follow up indoors with a presentation and discussion, looking closely at organic matter, nutrients, how to select cover crops, timing, planting, and spring management. It is organized by Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District and Paramount School of Excellence Farm. It will be held Saturday, January 26, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Paramount School of Excellence Brookside, 3020 Nowland Avenue, Indianapolis, 46201. The cost is free, but RSVP is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/soil-health-for-vegetable-gardeners-tickets-54422491136.
It's time to celebrate! Join us for a celebration pitch-in on Sunday, January 27th following meeting for worship to recognize and appreciate our most recent new members! Please bring a dish according to your name in the alphabet. Anyone with last names of A-I are asked bring desserts; J-Z sides and salads, though feel free to bring both! We hope to see you there!
Talk to Congress – Letter Writing Project ~ On the last Sunday of each month (this time being Sunday, January 27), Witness and Service is offering an opportunity for you to contact Congress. We will provide information and a sample letter, which addresses a specific issue that is on the Senate and/or House of Representative radar. You are welcome to write/call your legislators about this topic, or any other that might be on your mind.
The featured topic for January is urging representatives to support Rep. Barbara Lee’s legislation to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force which have been grossly abused to justify deployment of US forces into situations never intended by those laws. You can find more information and a sample letter here: https://goo.gl/JdEvpp
Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading ~ Come and join Friends at our Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading book group for Tuesday January 29th’s discussion ~ A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, led by Ruth K. Here is the New York Times review:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/books/review/fatima-farheen-mirza-place-for-us.html Please feel free to contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be on the Oak Leaf email list. Oak Leaf meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Parlor at 7 pm!
Western Yearly Meeting Spring Retreat ~ All are invited to Western Yearly Meeting’s spring retreat on Saturday, March 2 hosted here at First Friends Meeting. This is a one-day church growth event for everyone who is interested in exploring avenues of growth for their Meeting. The theme is Christ’s words, “If I be lifted up I will draw all people unto me.” (John 12:32) Sessions include:
Identity – In this important session we will not examine how we currently see ourselves and our situation, but how we might see our circumstance in Christ.
First Impressions – This session helps us to examine our churches and congregations in ways that acknowledge our struggles but also identify our struggles.
Appreciative Inquiry – In this session we will take an inventory of all the resources we have through which we might build or rebuild a dynamic and vibrant ministry.
P.A.G.E. – Utilizing a simple assessment tool (poor/average/good/excellent), we can evaluate what ministries and programs we might need to change, invest more into, or even eliminate.
The retreat for pastors is on Friday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm and the retreat for all begins Saturday at 8:30am and ends at 7:00pm. Cost is $30 per person and includes meals. You can find the brochure here: https://goo.gl/BfHAVY. To register, fill in and send the registration form here: https://goo.gl/nxSLvh. The registration deadline is February 1, 2019. For more information, contact Sue Whitesel at email@example.com.
Meditational Woods: Bird of the Month for January
Northern Cardinal – The One Everybody Knows…Or Do They?
There are people at Indianapolis First Friends Meeting whom everyone knows. We see them all the time, as they are outgoing, helpful, and busy with responsibilities. Sometimes the person is well-known beyond the local church, at the yearly meeting or national level. I can think of couples in the meeting in which both fit this description.
Yet there are folks I don’t know very well, or at all. This is my fault, as I have a shy streak and have trouble remembering names. Recently I got to meet the spouse of someone well-known to me. I had crossed paths with one of them very often, but had no idea who the other was.
So it is with the Northern Cardinal, our state bird. The familiar “redbird” shows up around our houses and at feeders and sings a lovely, “What cheer, what cheer, purty purty purty.” That is the MALE. In the picture I have put the female front and center. She has a red crest and red on the wings and tail. Otherwise she is a grayish tan. Some people do not realize IT IS a cardinal. So if birds are new to you, please allow me to introduce you to Mrs. Cardinal!! This time of year you might see her together with a male in the Meditational Woods, calling to each other, “SNAP, SNAP.” During nesting season, however, her drab tan color helps her hide while on the nest.
One last question, which “cardinal” came first: the bird with that name and color, the Catholic official with that name and color of robe, or the name of the color itself? No hints!!
Please donate your plastic bags to Mid-North Food Pantry! The food pantry is out of plastic grocery bags and could really use some more. If you have extras you’d like to donate, please drop them off in the box labeled “plastic bags” in Fellowship hall near the Donation Station. Thank you for helping Mid-North Food Pantry!
Donate your gently used winter clothing! Coats, scarfs, hats, gloves that you no longer need will be welcomed by the John H Boner Center. Children who may be wearing underwear donated by you, would appreciate outgrown jackets, coats, etc. (Outerwear does not need to be new.) You can drop off donations in a collection box in Fellowship Hall on the stage. Thank you for your generosity!