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As Way Opens

I have started a class this semester at Earlham School of Religion on Christian Ethics.  Our first book to read was Achilles in Vietnam, Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.  It was written by Jonathan Shay who is a psychiatrist within the VA system working with veterans mostly from the Vietnam era.  He provides many direct quotes from veterans’ experiences in combat, their betrayals, their PTSD and how they have tried to put their lives back together.  Shay makes an interesting comparison in the book outlining the account of Achilles in Homer’s classic story The Iliad to the Vietnam veterans’ experiences—in particular, how the hero Achilles is destroyed as a human being through the betrayal of his commander and the trauma of losing his closest friend Patroklos.  


The stories of our veterans in this book are heartbreaking and disturbing how often times our government and military systems betrayed our veterans during this conflict.  I was particularly struck how we try to de-humanize our enemies and portray them as subhuman and less than us in order to engage in conflict/battle with them.  This is a very different philosophy than Homer wrote about in The Iliad.  The Greeks and the Trojans had great respect for each other and their abilities.  They did not think of each other as subhuman or without character, rather they honored their abilities and tactics and strategized their own response to the enemy.


Why must we categorize our enemies as less than human or less than us?  I remember growing up during the cold war and being told the Russian people were to be feared and were nothing like us and that we were superior.  And then I met a young woman from the Ukraine and Jerry and I fell in love with her and helped her and supported her as she got her master’s degree in engineering here in the US.  Our relationship with her revealed to me the lies that I had been told growing up that Russians were not like me.


Jesus totally understood this and that is why he commands us to love our enemies.  It is our call as Christians today to take this commandment of our Lord into the world that so desperately needs to see another way of living and being.  A call that recognizes and honors that of God in each and every person including our enemies and stands up to much of our culture that seeks to divide us.


Joys & Concerns

At the food pantry last week we were very busy!!!  So happy that we had many from First Friends who helped.  Volunteers were: Linda and Rik L, Ray G, Kathy R, Dan H, Beth F, Kathy F, Carol and Jim D.  Thanks to all for your help!

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Rise-Up Sing Along! The next Sing Along will be on its usual third Friday of the month, February 15. Under the leadership of our talented Jim Kartholl, join in singing a variety of mostly well-known songs chosen from Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. Song sets will be provided. This joyful event takes place in the parlor at First Friends Meeting (3030 East Kessler Blvd) at 7:00 PM. Notice the photo of Jim. See how happy he is!


Circle of Care Grief Survey ~ Circle of Care at First Friends is exploring how to meet the needs of our members and attenders who are experiencing loss. Yearly, we host a Grief Gathering before the start of the holiday season. We plan to continue in this tradition but recently conducted a survey to better know other ways we can support those at First Friends who are dealing with loss and grief. We’ve compiled the results which can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/jp5gZd. If you’d like to submit your thoughts you can still take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8L273QQ

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, February 21 at 7:00pm. See locations here: https://goo.gl/QhkXTo.


Missing Something? ~ In Fellowship Hall we currently have on 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.

Western Yearly Meeting Retreat & Volunteers Needed! If you’re still interested in attending Western Yearly Meeting’s spring retreat, it’s not too late to register! We are also looking for volunteers to help with set up/cleanup for lunch and dinner on Saturday March 2nd as we are hosting the Western Yearly Meeting spiritual retreat here at First Friends. If you can help us with one of these meals, please contacthe office at office@indyfriends.org. Thank you!

Save the Date – First Friends’ Experiment with Light Retreat! Please mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11, 2019, 9:00am – 4:30pm where First Friends will host this mindful and introspective retreat. The Experiment with Light Retreat draws upon early Quaker practices and contemporary meditation to help people move past intellectual and emotional blocks and encounter the Divine. This retreat will help you have a personal encounter with the Divine that lights the path of your life and animates your life in community. All are welcome to join. Breakfast and Lunch will be included. Keep an eye out in coming months for more information. We hope you will be there!


World Day of Prayer ~ You are invited to join an ecumenical celebration of community prayer and action for peace and justice! Several services will be held throughout the city of Indianapolis; the one for our area will be on Friday, March 1 at 10:00 am at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 4650 N. Shadeland Ave. Come enjoy music, Scripture, prayer and a unique message for peace and justice around the world. Light refreshments will be served in the Social Room after the program. For more information, see the flyer here: https://www.saintlawrence.net/images/WD-Eng.pdf


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 office@indyfriends.org if you would like to attend!


AFSC Presents: “Revolutionary Visions & Radical Imaginations: Celebrating Solidarity & Courage” ~ Join American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for an evening to celebrate and be in community with social justice leaders in Indianapolis. It will be Friday, March 1 at 6:00pm at Sanctuary on Penn, 701 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204. The evening will include a social hour, dinner, keynote speaker Elle Roberts, and a showcase of local musicians and spoken word artists. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://secure.everyaction.com/p7tPzxfZFEScnjy-KV0W5g2.


Mark your calendars – Community Soup! Instead of the usual first Thursday, Witness and Service will be shaking things up and hosting Community Soup on the 5th Sunday of the month, Sunday, March 31 after worship. If successful we may continue this trend. As always we will provide the soup—no cooking, no cleanup! Please join us!

Samantha Ryan 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 email the office at office@indyfriends.org if you have any questions. 


Right Sharing Fundraiser in memory of Ann P ~ Please mark your calendars for a fundraiser here at First Friends Meeting in honor of our dearly beloved Ann P. It will be on Sunday, March 24th. We will have a simple meal as well as auction off a quilt in Ann’s memory made by the sewing group Ann was a part of. Our goal is to raise $6,500 to support a designated project for a group of women in India, Sierra Leone or Kenya (we can select the project).  We will receive regular communication from the women and pictures of what they are doing.  Right Sharing supports and funds small businesses run by women in these 3 countries. If you’d like to support RSWR, contributions can be sent to the Meeting office at 3030 Kessler Blvd E Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46220 with the notation “RSWR.” You can also drop off your contribution in the offering plate on Sundays. Thank you for supporting this important ministry!

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