As Way Opens
I spent last week in Orlando Florida visiting my brother and sister-in-law and spending time with my dear neighbors that now live in Chicago. What a great week to depart the lingering winter of Indiana. While there I caught up on reading for my Christian Ethics class that I am taking at Earlham School of Religion towards my master’s in divinity. We are reading books like Postmodernism and Public Policy: Reframing Religion, Culture, Education, Sexuality, Class, Race, Politics and the Economy, Christian Ethics: A Case Approach and Christian Ethics: An Essential Guide. These deeply philosophical and theological books are interesting to read and study but take our spiritual lives into our heads and out of our hearts. I believe that it’s important in our academic studies to consider these topics and yet as Quakers we believe in the power of experience.
And then last Friday in the midst of my readings at the pool, I looked up into the sky and saw this message – “Trust Jesus”. I felt like God was speaking directly into my heart. Trust Jesus. Those two words can really sum up our spiritual experience and practice. If we trust in the words that Jesus spoke while on this earth, trust in the example of His life, trust in the power of resurrection, our lives will be changed. When we face the darkness, when things seem desperate, when we feel empty, trusting Jesus brings us into the intimacy and firm belief of the reliability and strength of this life changing relationship. During my difficult days do I trust Jesus?
Joys & Concerns
A note from Tim & Megan W ~ Dear First Friends Family - Thank you for the love you have showered on us and baby during our postpartum time. The meals, visits, cards, and prayers have been such a blessing and made our family feel loved and cared for. We appreciate each of you and look forward to being back in fellowship soon. With love, Tim and Megan W
We’d like to extend our thanks to our Mid-North Food Pantry volunteers: Christie M, Kathy and Bill F, Ray G, Tony M, Linda and Rik L, and Carol and Jim D. We were very busy as we served 92 families. Thank you for your service!
IFCL – Indiana SB 613 ~ This photo was taken at a press conference held on Monday, March 11th at the Indiana Statehouse in opposition to SB 613, a bill that would increase high-cost "payday" loans in Indiana. Diana Hadley, clerk of IFCL (Indiana Friend's Committee on Legislation), is in the blue jacket, front row, left side. IFCL along with many organizations including Veteran groups, social service providers, churches and other faith-based groups oppose passage of this bill. These types of usurious loans have been shown to create a downward financial spiral that ends in personal economic ruin. The bill has already made it out of the Senate and is headed to the House of Representatives. Please join the voices of many who oppose this legislation by contacting your Representative at the Indiana Statehouse as soon as possible, urging opposition to this bill. For more information on Indiana SB 613, please visit https://goo.gl/dTshBE.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Rise Up Singalong ~ Sing Along with Jim on March 15th, the third Friday. We start at 7 and end around 8:30. Shakers, tambourine, and wooden frog are available to add to the fun. Join the group in singing Moon River, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane, Rock A My Soul and more. Improv harmonies welcomed. Shower singers, in-the-car singers warmly welcomed.
Come experience interfaith worship with our Affirmation class! On Friday, March 22 our affirmation group will be visiting Beth El-Zedeck Synagogue to experience a Jewish service. The service starts at 6:00pm or meet us at the Meetinghouse at 5:30 to carpool! Also, in our Parlor after worship on Sunday, April 7 the class will get the opportunity to experience an Islamic service as well. All are invited to stop by!
Take What You Need Concert March 17th 3PM at Roberts Park UMC 401 N. Delaware, Indianapolis. VOCE (member Carolyn T sings with this group) and Matthew’s Voices (a choir composed of current and formerly homeless individuals) have joined together for a concert where community connects, stories emerge and relationships are formed. This will be a moving experience combining music with the personal stories of some of the choir members. Tickets are $5. More information can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/2090390034385546/
Making Neighbors Even Better ~ The Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center invites you to a live “TED" Talk “Gentrification Done Right” next Wednesday, March 20th, 7:00-8:30pm. In this talk we will ask, “What makes a neighborhood a neighborhood?” Join us for a conversation about how art can help us rediscover what it means to be a community. It will be held at the Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N Delaware St., Indianapolis 46202. Questions? Call 317-288-0408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, March 21 at 7:00pm. See locations here: https://goo.gl/QhkXTo.
First Friends is excited to welcome special guest preacher, Jaime Mudd on Sunday, March 24th for our focus on Women’s History Month. Jaime and her husband, Dan, are both students at Earlham School of Religion. They also are the retreat leaders for our upcoming “Mind the Light” Retreat on Saturday, May 11th. Jaime has a plethora of talents and gifts to share. We look forward to her message and challenge during Meeting for Worship on the 24th.
Right Sharing Fundraiser in memory of Ann P ~ Please plan on joining us 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!
Calling All Community Gardeners and Wannabe Gardeners
Get out the seed packets and garden tools! Grab the sun hats and sunscreen! It is time to claim and ready garden plots in our organic community garden. Welcome to Samantha who is rejoining Nancy as co-clerk of the Gardening Committee (under Ministry and Council) after her busy year off. We are so glad that Sam is resuming this position.
If you would like a plot contact Sam and Nancy as soon as possible. You may email the office at email@example.com.
Gardening to do list:
· Create a garden plan remembering to leave lots of space between plants. Most grow bigger than you think. Research what was planted in your space last season so you can rotate crops, thereby replenishing nutrients and helping to avoid last year’s pests and disease. We had many squash bugs!
· Start indoor seedlings. Free seeds are available at Glendale Library and our garden library in the garage.
· Prepare soil. This is especially important for an organic garden. Soil quality makes all the difference. You can shovel under any cover crops and hand pick and destroy slugs, roly-polies (they cause insignificant damage after seedling stage), centipedes, wireworms, cutworms, caterpillars and bug pests. (Squashing squash bugs releases pheromones that can attract more. Instead, drown them in or spray them with soapy water or use organic pesticides such as neem, pyrethrum and spinosad.) Leave earthworms. You may wish to test the acidity of your plots with a kit from the gardening store before you apply organic nutrients or soil. Please do not use animal manure because it can spread disease and weeds to all of our plots. You may want to let the first weeds grow and then pluck them out before they go to seed so you have fewer weeds to compete with crops. Weed before you plant. Remember it is easier to pull weeds when they are small. Keep up with them so they do not take over and rob your crops of food and water.
· Plant cold weather crops outdoors. Research planting times. You may refer to charts and the gardening notebook in Fellowship Hall near the recycle center. See p. 64 for raised beds, area C.
· Add natural predators and beneficial creatures if you like. These include ladybugs, praying mantises, nematodes and earthworms.
Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow.
All you need is a rake & a hoe [Gonna mulch it deep & low.]
And a piece of fertile ground. [Gonna make it fertile ground.]
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone [Please] bless these seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below [Please keep them safe below]
‘Til the rains keep tumbling down.
–David Mallett, songwriter
(Thanks to Linda Lee for submitting this adorable song that most of us remember from childhood.)
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading is coming! Bob Henry will be leading On the Brink of Everything by Parker J Palmer on the 26th of March at 7 pm in the Parlor. Publishers Weekly Review: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-5230-9543-8 Click on this link to follow event information on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/386275222161561/ Everybody is welcome!
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 – 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! There will be no Threshing Together that night, as the men are encouraged to attend this event. Please keep tuned for more details as we get closer!
Small Groups ~ It’s not too late to sign up! 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!
First Friends’ Experiment with Light Retreat – Registration Now Open! 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. If you’d like to register, please visit https://goo.gl/forms/oo2Zb4L4UL6kL9jH3. We hope you will be there!