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As Way Opens

In the transition to First Friends over the past 19 months, one of the things I have had to learn to adjust is my view of community. In Silverton, Oregon, I lived in a town of about ten thousand people. It was small enough that I could run into members of my Meeting on a daily basis at a local coffee house or grocery store. That’s not the case in Indianapolis. There is the occasional run-in at Panera, but most of us retreat from the Meeting house to our bedroom communities around greater Indianapolis, and I rarely have the chance to see you but on Sundays or at a special gathering. This also has me serving a Meeting in the city during the day and heading home to my family in the suburbs at night


Often, I challenge us to be more involved in our communities, while I myself am being torn by my own challenge. The Fishers community in which I live and the Glendale Neighborhood where our Meeting sits are quite different.  Even our family is divided in this way, as Sue and I spend the majority of our time off Kessler Blvd. while our boys are in Fishers all day. 


If I am to lead by example and become a faithful presence in my community as I have been teaching since last Fall, I realized I needed to be intentional about finding ways to connect in Fishers. Many people have shared concerns about my family living in Fishers. I cannot deny the lack of diversity, the business mentality, the “cookie-cutter” lifestyle, the prevailing political view, and the overtly Evangelical religious mindset. They are all present, but I don’t believe they have to stay so dominant.



My intentionality to connect led me to a surprising group, Fisher’s Multi-faith Community for Compassion (FMCC). A growing group of diverse people from a variety of faiths who live where I do. I read about their forming and work in our local city magazine and immediately wanted to join. The FMCC’s mission statement is “to promote opportunities to learn about our neighbors, build true relationships and make a difference.” Just what I was looking for!


Since most of the participants were unfamiliar with Quakerism, at my first meeting I was asked to share about our S.P.I.C.E.S. (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship). It was a beautiful moment, when my new Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and Christian friends said that the S.P.I.C.E.S. were what the FMCC was all about. We even laughed together when the group’s Muslim facilitator said, “We are all Quaker then!” Hearing that reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s vision of the “Beloved Community.” For me, FMCC is a place where I am encouraged to transcend the boundaries and barriers and help begin to create the kind of world that embraces all people. I look forward to our gatherings and our growing friendships each month. I sense this to be a great way for me to become a faithful presence in my community in a beneficial way.


Grace and Peace,


Joys & Concerns

A Note from Ruthie: Dear Friends, thank you for the beautiful cards and messages you’ve sent that have helped me begin my recovery from surgery.  It is so good to know that I am surrounded by your prayers.  What a blessing!  I can’t tell you how much this has meant to me.  Love, Ruthie. PS: Jon sends his love, too!

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities


Small Groups ~ Come join in a time of deeper fellowship and connection with one of our upcoming Small groups. In the past our small groups study sessions were an opportunity to deepen connections in a small group with Friends. See below for current available sessions. Sign up at the Meetinghouse or email/call the office to save your spot. Please let us know if you need the Meeting to get a provide a copy of the book for you. We hope you will join us!

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Did you lose a key? This key was found in the parking lot Tuesday afternoon. It is a single silver key on a keyring. It says Hillman on it. Looks like it could possibly be a key to a desk or drawer. If this is your key, you can pick it up from the counter in the office hallway. Thank you!

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

Talk to Congress is this Sunday during fellowship after worship. The topic is on Yemen, asking Congress to end U.S. support for this devastating Saudi-led war. A sample letter will be available on Sunday, but you can send your thoughts to Congress directly right now! Just use the tool specified below on FCNL's website. The tool automatically helps you find your Senator and Representatives based on your address. Sample language for the "ask" is:

“I urge you to put an end to the illegal U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen by cosponsoring and voting for H.J. Res. 37 (House of Representatives) or S.J. Res. 7 (Senate) to enforce the War Powers Act.”

Including a personal story about why you are asking this is especially effective as well.

To use FCNL's "Contact Congress" utility:

1.   Go to www.fcnl.org

2.   In the upper right corner of the screen, click on "Action," then click on "Act Online" from the drop-down menu

3.   On the next screen that appears, click on "see more action alerts, votes, and bills"

4.   Click on "Write Your Own Letter to Congress"

5.   On the page that appears, type in your contact information, then click on "Next"

6.   On the next page, uncheck any member(s) of Congress you do not want your message sent to

7.   Type the subject of your message into the top right box

8.   Type (or cut and paste) your advocacy message into the larger box beneath the subject box

9.   Click "Submit"

Please consider financially supporting the Thornburgs as they desire to travel to attend the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) section meeting in Kansas City, MO on March 21st -24th 2019.  The Thornburgs are seeking clarity in the calling to serve as representatives for Western Yearly Meeting on this committee in the near future and this trip will allow them to meet folks and understand the depth and breadth of the work of FWCC.  If you feel led, please consider a contribution to the Meeting in support of the Thornburg’s trip (total need is $900).  The Thornburgs have also requested assistance from WYM but their support of this trip is yet unknown. Thank you so much for your consideration. 


Sunday Unprogrammed Worship ~ Starting this Sunday, February 24 at 9:00 a.m., we will open the parlor for unprogrammed worship from 9:00 - 10:00 (during the Sunday School hour).  Folks will enter the parlor in silence and worship together for the hour.


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 contact the office at office@indyfriends.org. Thank you!


Scout Sunday March 3rd ~ Current and former Scouts, please let us know if there are any changes or updates for you and your family. Please submit any updates to the office so we can recognize you on March 3rd. Please send your name, Scouting Organization, Troop number and Scout rank. Email office@indyfriends.org or call 317-255-2485.


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


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. This is the last Sunday we will have these items out. Any remaining unclaimed items will be donated.


Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading is this coming Tuesday night!  Kristyn G will be leading Less by Andrew Sean Greer (the Pulitzer Prize winner for literature 2018) the 26th of February at 7 pm in the Parlor.  New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/books/review/less-andrew-sean-greer.html 


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 10:00am 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!


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

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.


Exhibition and Performance: The Story of Lot’s Wife ~ The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar (RSA), a project of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, invited 12 Indiana artists to explore and expound upon the story of Lot’s Wife during the eighth annual Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Seminar and the accompanying art exhibition. Artists include Stan Blevins, Peggy Breidenbach, Alys Caviness-Gober, Marjie Giffin, A. Paul Johnson, Kasey May, Michael McAuley, William Peacock, Katherine Simmons, Jennifer Strange, Teresa Vazquez, and Kevin Wilson.

In this exhibition, the artists consider questions that delve far beyond the story of Lot’s Wife who, as told in Genesis 19, turns to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and becomes a pillar of salt. Did she act in disobedience or out of compassion? What is our responsibility to bear witness? Is looking back redemptive or paralyzing? Might we see contemporary events (mass tragedies, refugees) in the light of this text? Exploring the story through religion, art, poetry, and music, this exhibition will ask questions fundamental to the human experience. This event will be Thursday, March 7 at 6:00pm at the Jewish Community Center (6701 Hoover Rd, Indianapolis), but the works will be available for viewing through April 30th. Additional information about the seminar is available at https://www.culturalecologies.org/rsa/.


Eco-Film: “Courage, Brains and Muscle” ~ We’re excited about former Indiana First Lady, Judy O’Bannon, coming in person to Epworth for the presentation of her new documentary: “Courage, Brains and Muscle: Our Environmental CHAMPIONS.”  This will be shown Friday, March 8, 7:00pm, at Epworth UMC, 6450 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis, and is sponsored by the Shalom Zone Churches. Ms. O’Bannon will be accompanied by Dr. Carol Johnston, recently retired professor from CTS, as they show the tv Environmental documentary they made in partnership with WFYI.  Judy was Indiana’s much loved “First Lady” during husband Frank O’Bannon’s governorship from 1997-2003.  This uplifting hour-long film shows Judy traveling our state in search of environmental champions.


Mark your calendars – Soup and Service! What was formerly known as Community Soup is now “Soup and Service!” On the 5th Sunday of the month, Sunday, March 31 after worship, come and share in a meal and fellowship, and hear about one of First Friends’ outreach projects. This month we will discuss Mid-North Food Pantry. If successful we may continue this trend. We will provide the soup. Please join us!


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!

Save the Date – Comedy with First Friends! Please plan to join us on Thursday, April 18 at 7:00pm for a comedy show outing! It will be at ComedySportz, 721 Massachusetts Avenue. This is a unique competitive Improv show which has been in Indianapolis since 1993. This show is appropriate for all ages, so bring the family! Please keep tuned for more details as we get closer to the event!

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