As Way Opens
Last Friday night, Sue and I served at two different venues happening in Indy. During my event, Sue texted me from the Sanctuary on Penn, where American Friends Service Committee Indiana was holding their Celebrating Solidarity and Courage event. She noted that there were about 15 people from our Meeting at the event. My heart was warmed to see so many people from First Friends in support of AFSC Indiana’s hard work and service through Revolutionary Visions & Radical Imaginations (the theme of the night).
Meanwhile, I was kicking off the Western Yearly Meeting Spring Retreat at Fort Harrison State Park Inn. My session after dinner for the pastors and their spouses was a personal exploration of some important questions proceeding from Parker Palmer’s latest book, On the Brink of Everything. After introducing the night, we spent a full hour having conversation together around issues that many pastors never ask themselves or each other. I was moved by their openness and willingness to wrestle together with their peers. I sensed it a good way to set the tone for the rest of the retreat.
On Saturday, First Friends hosted day two of the WYM Spring Retreat. Not only was it well attended, we had a good group of people from our Meeting who engaged in the conversations and experiences. During a session where we were “dreaming” with attenders from First Friends, one of our people said with much joy in their voice the following about First Friends:
“I once was rearranging chairs on the Titanic, but now I am on the Love Boat.”
We erupted in laughter and at the same time my heart was warmed. Many wrote that phrase down and felt it was a beautiful description of who First Friends is and continues to become.
All weekend as I sat with other pastors and leaders in our Yearly Meeting, I could not help but reflect on all the great things we are being and doing at First Friends. I found myself often sharing about our Meeting, its great people, and all the ways we are growing and serving our community. Several people mentioned, how we have something really special going on at First Friends. I couldn’t agree more! On that note, que the music…
”Love…exciting and new…come aboard…we’re expecting you…” at First Friends!
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Last Sunday we celebrated Scout Sunday. We were pleased to present Adam C the Quaker “That of God” Medal during the service. Great work, Adam! Thanks to Sue H and Deb G for the photos.
IFCL -- Redistricting Reform and SB 105 - Well, we're halfway there. Last week, SB 105, the redistricting standards/criteria bill that IFCL has been lobbying for, passed out of the Indiana Senate 26-23. It now moves over to the House, where the hearing process starts anew. If only we can motivate them...
The House has been slow to act on redistricting reform. Despite a positive recommendation from an 18-month study committee in 2016, the House has not to date advanced, or even taken a vote, on reform. We must encourage the House to do right by Hoosiers and take action this year, before it's too late.
For this purpose, the redistricting coalition IFCL has been working with is holding a press conference on Thursday, March 7th at 3:30pm with legislators, civic leaders, and coalition spokespeople. The purpose of the event is to urge House Elections Committee Chairman Tim Wesco to give SB 105 a hearing and vote in his committee. We'll also call on Speaker Brian Bosma to back up his support for redistricting reform by using his leadership position to ensure that the House take action on redistricting reform this year. The press conference will be on the 3rd floor of the State House, in the south atrium.
And you're invited! If you believe Hoosiers deserve a full and fair debate on redistricting reform in both legislative chambers this year, please come to this event. Together, our presence will lend weight to our message!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Remember, Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 10th at 2:00 am!! This means that we “spring forward” in time as we anticipate the wonderful weather to come with it. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward for Sunday morning!
Pacers game RSVPs—Please double-check!! If you RSVP’d for the Pacers game on April 7th please make sure we have your name below. If you still need to RSVP, please contact the office by 8:00am Thursday morning, March 7. We will be unable to accept RSVPs after that time. Current RSVPs: Beattys – 2, Bolander – 1, Curry – 2, Deddens – 2, Donahues – 2, Farris – 2, Farr – 1, Frames – 4, Henricks – 1, Henrys – 4, Linebacks – 2, Rains – 2, Rodinos – 2, Scotts – 4, Smalls – 4, Snells – 3, Sommers – 4, Thornburgs – 4
Sunday Unprogrammed Worship ~ We are now opening the parlor for unprogrammed worship from 9:00 - 10:00 (during the Sunday School hour) every Sunday morning. Folks will enter the parlor in silence and worship together for the hour.
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.
Power & Promise ~ Join Christian Theological Seminary to honor Phil Gulley and the power of progressive writing on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 PM at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Gulley, longtime Quaker pastor and Indiana native, is the author of numerous books including the “Harmony” series of novels, Front Porch Tales, If the Church Were Christian, The Evolution of Faith, and, Unlearning God: How Unbelieving Helped Me Believe. The evening will include a talk by Dan Wakefield, fellow Hoosier and celebrated author of Going All the Way, Starting Over, Returning: A Spiritual Journey, and more. John Krull, host of WFYI's "No Limits," will moderate the evening. Tickets are $25 each (or free for students). Proceeds will support the Indiana Writers Center’s summer learning program, “Building a Rainbow,” which serves at-risk youth in Indianapolis. For more information and to register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/honoring-phil-gulley-and-the-power-of-progressive-writing-tickets-53606754245
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.
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/
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!
Meditational Woods Bird-of-the-Month for February
A Time for Singing, and a Time for Silence
A couple of weeks ago, I was pulling into a parking space near the sidewalk into the Meditational Woods. I had not even gotten out of the car, when the bird flew into the large Winterberry bush immediately in front of me at the edge of the woods. The flash of white in the wing and tail got my attention, and the lack of blue, and small head meant it was not the ordinary Blue Jay. In fact it was a Northern Mockingbird: robin-sized, except slimmer with a long tail. Indianapolis is at the northern edge of its “common” range, and the species seems right at home in neighborhood settings like ours. Rough winters, however can reduce the population. This was my first sighting of the species on the meeting house property.
Mockingbirds are famous for their variety of songs and other vocalizations, and for singing on moonlit nights. Not today, however; in fact, outside of the courting and nesting seasons, like this day, the males are usually silent. It did not even give its call, a loud sharp, “thick” or “check”.
A time to sing, and a time to be silent.
Thanks to Norma W for identifying the berry bush for me. ~Brad J
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!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading March pick is On the Brink of Everything by Parker J Palmer! The discussion will be led by Bob Henry on Tuesday March 26th at 7 pm in the Parlor. Click here for the Publishers Weekly Review: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-5230-9543-8 We hope you can join us this month! Click on this link to follow event information on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/386275222161561/ Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to receive email updates.
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!
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. If you’d like to register, please visit https://goo.gl/forms/oo2Zb4L4UL6kL9jH3. 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! 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!