As Way Opens
I have never been a person to embrace New Year’s resolutions. It is too easy to say that I want to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, spend more time with family etc, etc. Resolutions never seem to stick beyond a month or two and by summer they are a distant memory and they are usually intentions that I don’t really make a priority (not that these items aren’t important - I just don’t make them important enough to me). I also celebrate a birthday at the start of the year (turned 59 on January 6th) and birthdays are a moment in time that I think about my age and how my body and spirit are accepting and embracing the passage of time. It always seems that I go right to the things that I perceive as negative, imperfect and wish I could change. This year I am focused on the aging aspects of my neck (I don’t know if a lot of women my age are concerned about this part of their anatomy). For the first time in my life, I really don’t like my neck and feel like all my years are showing up there. Why do we do this to ourselves? Focus on our negatives and imperfections? I think this is a spiritual issue because God loves our imperfections and gives us our strength through them. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible and this idea of being “fearfully and wonderfully made” tells me that God created me and loves me for all that I am today, neck and all! Maybe these imperfections are my conduit to a deeper relationship with God and with all of humanity? As Brené Brown (author and scientist) states, our imperfections are gifts. Can I embrace this? I realized this past week that my mother never liked her neck and wore scarves and jewelry to cover this all her life. I am now thinking about embracing my neck in honor of my mom who is the woman in my life that I would most like to embody. I am now looking at my imperfections as a vessel to God and my beloved mom. What are your imperfections that keep you focused on the negatives in your life? Can you connect your imperfections to the beloved embrace of God? Are these imperfections the way we truly love each other?
Joys & Concerns
Last Sunday morning as part of our celebration in remembrance of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we gathered again in a ”circle of unity” around the inside of our Meetinghouse and sang “They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love.”
On Sunday we also welcomed and celebrated our new members! Thank you to Bill H and the Connections Committee for putting together a fabulous luncheon/pitch-in for our Meeting!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
WEDNESDAY NIGHT WORSHIP CANCELLED ~ Due to the frigid temperatures, we will not be having unprogrammed worship tonight, January 30. Please stay safe and warm!
Community Soup Cancelled ~ Please note that the Community Soup that would’ve been scheduled for this Friday, February 1st has been cancelled.
This Sunday, Beth will be selling coffee, chocolate and olive oil to help raise money for youth Affirmation. Please consider supporting us!
Giving statements have been sent! Earlier today we sent giving statements for the 2018 tax year via email. If you haven’t received them, please check your spam folder. If you did not receive your giving statement please contact the office at email@example.com or at 317-255-2485. Anyone who does not have an email has been sent a paper copy in the mail. If you’d like to request a paper copy please contact the office and we would be happy to mail it to you. Thank you for supporting First Friends in 2018!
Missing Something? ~ This coming Sunday in Fellowship Hall we will display all the items we currently have in our lost and found in a final hope to reunite personal items with their owners. After worship we hope everyone will take a few minutes to browse the lost and found and claim anything that might be theirs. We will leave these items out for a few weeks. Any remaining unclaimed items will be donated.
Oak Leaf Meeting for Reading POSTPONED ~ Due to the Wind Chill Warnings Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading was postponed and will meet on Tuesday February 5th at 7 pm in the Basement ~ 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 Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion!
Join First Friends for a night with the Pacers! Please join us for a family outing to the Pacers vs Nets game on Sunday April 7th. Tipoff is at 5:00pm, doors open at 4:00pm. Tickets will be provided by the Meeting. Each person will receive a Pacers hat and a free meal (hot dog, chips and a soda). Please RSVP by Friday, March 1st with the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend!
Samantha R invites you to Financial Peace University ~ Are you ready to take 2019 by storm?! If you're interested in making big changes in your financial life that will lead to empowerment and peace of mind then this is the class for you. When I first took Financial Peace University (FPU) I was 22 and fresh out of college. I owed Valparaiso University $40,000 in student loans and was new to life as a young person with a steady pay check. I am SO grateful for everything I learned in that class. FPU TAUGHT ME TO HATE DEBT! As a result I paid off my student loan debt in 6 years on a social worker's salary, my partner and I bought a home, renovated it paying cash, got married paying cash, and went on a honeymoon of a life time paying cash. The only debt we have is our mortgage and we hate debt so much we plan to have it paid off in 7 years. We couldn't have made all of this possible without FPU! Ready for change?
We're hosting Financial Peace University starting Tuesday, March 5th from 6-8 at Hamilton Exhibits at 9150 East 33rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46235. The class is $110 for a lifetime membership. The 2 hour 9 week class has the amazing potential to CHANGE YOUR LIFE! It changed mine. Click here to sign up. You can contact the office at email@example.com if you have any questions.
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 THIS FRIDAY, February 1, 2019. For more information, contact Sue Whitesel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!!