As Way Opens
This past Sunday our parlor was a beautiful sight of adults, youth and children of Quaker and Muslim faith sharing food, fellowship and a deep respect and appreciation for our varied religious traditions. We invited friends from Nur Allah Mosque and Masjid Alhuda Community Center in Fishers to share some of their beliefs and practices with our Affirmation youth and other adults from First Friends. It was sweet to see several young people from Nur Allah stand up in front of about 45 of us and talk about daily prayers, their worship service, and some of their basic tenets of faith. Michael Sahir, Imam from Nur Allah talked with all of us about the need to step out of our comfort zones and get to know others that are different than we are. Taking this first step of connection will allow us to see the many common elements of our different faiths. There is much more that connects us then divides us in terms of our faith and beliefs. But we must get to know each other to understand this. We all worship and seek the experience of God and how this experience transforms us and calls us to action in the world. This is what will change our world and bring us into the promise of a beloved community.
Joys & Concerns
On Saturday April 6 some folks from First Friends took part in a wonderful event celebrating the Abrahamic Traditions. We discussed the importance of charity from each of our traditions.
We spent last Sunday night with the Pacers! With the light blazing in from windows over our section, it was hard to get good photos of our spread-out crew from First Friends! Sadly our Pacers lost their last game of the regular season, but we all had fun!
Seven Quakers from First Friends showed up on behalf of IFCL for the Indiana House Financial Services Committee hearing of SB 613 on Tuesday, a lending bill to expand payday and subprime lending products to our most vulnerable Hoosiers. The bill, after an eleventh-hour amendment with no opportunity for review or input, passed out of committee 7-3, but we are not giving up yet. We all need to contact our state senators and representatives to tell them this bill is bad policy, bad politics, and bad for cash poor Hoosiers, who could be trapped in long-term cycles of debt at triple-digit interest rates. The bill could be voted on as early as this Thursday, so your calls and emails can make a difference. Thank you.
Let’s all give thanks to our food pantry volunteers last week! We had a great group of volunteers last week: Carolyn, Erin, Chelsea and Kendal T; Kathy and Bill F; Beth F; Ray Guest; Linda and Rik L; Mara S; and Carol and Jim D. We were busy serving 94 families. Thank you all!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Faith & Community Renewal ~ The Indianapolis Peace & Justice Center invites you to learn more about Eastern Star, a predominantly African-American congregation which is transforming a neighborhood in amazingly progressive ways. As Eastern Star Church prepares to celebrate 100 years of faith & service to the Indianapolis community, the congregation in 2017 began new community development endeavors set to renew their community for the Kingdom through the ROCK Initiative. Come learn how Eastern star church is compelled by the mission and faith to reach out and work to improve the quality of life in the 46218 community. This event is being held at Krannert Hall at the Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W 42nd St, Indianapolis, IN 46208 on Thursday, April 11 from 7:00-8:30pm. The cost is free. If you have questions, please call 317-591-5050 ext. 109.
April Eco-Film - A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. The film chronicles the largest movement of the 20th century and one of the keys to the 21st. It brings together all the major parts of environmentalism and connects them. It focuses on activism, people fighting to save their homes, their lives, the future – and succeeding against all odds. Please join us for the showing here at First Friends Meeting on Friday, April 12 at 7:00pm. See you there!
Spring Wildflower Hike ~ All are invited to join our very own Norma Wallman, author of Wildflowers of Holliday Park, for a leisurely spring hike at the park to see what’s blooming. Norma began personally documenting wildflowers on walks and has now collected 20 years of data specific to the flowers of Holliday Park. The hike will be on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00-11:30am at Holliday Park, 6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46260. Tickets are $7 per person. Ages 16 and up. For more information or to register, please visit https://apm.activecommunities.com/indyparks/Activity_Search/nature-spring-wildflower-hike-holliday-park/13377.
Mid North Food Pantry ~ This Sunday, April 14, is the final day of First Friend’s 2019 campaign for the Mid North Food Pantry. Thank you to those who have already contributed. If you have yet to contribute and would like to do so, please consider making a contribution this Sunday. Checks can be made payable to First Friends with a notation of “food pantry.” Thanks for your help with this most worthy project.
Connecting with Creation
Last week in Creation Care, we mentioned the 4 R’s. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Let’s explore some very simple ways that we can Refuse to add more plastic into our waste stream. When you are at a restaurant, if you don’t need a straw to drink, Refuse it.
You can also Refuse to use disposable plastic bags when you go shopping. Have you ever noticed how many plastic bags end up alongside the road, caught in the trees or floating in your nearest river? You can ask the stores you shop in, to stop using disposable plastic bags.
On May 5, you can make a reusable shopping bag from an old T-shirt or buy a fabric shopping bag that the youth will be selling to help fund their trip to Philadelphia.
Why you should stop using plastic bags
Start a trend at work or school. Reduce throw away containers. Bring your lunch in a reusable container and use a stainless steel water bottle that you can refill instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Should we look into having a filtered water dispenser at First Friends?
Reducing Plastic as a Family
This week on the bulletin board, share with our community one way that you have Refused or Reduced your use of disposable items, particularly plastics.
Mary B, Kathy F, Beth F
Interested in starting a native plant garden? The Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District is selling native plant kits. These kits take the guess work out of creating your own native garden. Each kit includes a selection of tried and true native plans to create your own pollinator garden, shade, prairie garden or rain garden. Orders are due by May 10th. For more information to order please visit https://www.hamiltonswcd.org/native-plant-sale.html.
Books Galore ~ We have a fine library containing many books on Quaker practices, beliefs, and history. The library, refreshed and well-organized by John M and committee, is beside the office. Also see the pamphlets from Pendle Hill covering topics of current interest. We also have a book exchange cart. You are welcome to take a book, you are invited to donate books, but please, just a few at a time. The cart is in Fellowship Hall. Or sometimes beside the side entrance to the parlor.
Please note that the Meetinghouse will be open on Good Friday, April 19 from noon-3:00pm for anyone who would like to come worship in the Meetingroom. You may choose self-guided worship or unprogrammed worship.
Teacher Position Opening with MSPC ~ Maple Seeds Preschool Cooperative (MSPC, formerly Meridian Street Preschool Cooperative), a non-profit organization, is a play-based program centered on the philosophy that children, parents, and teachers learn from each other. Through a purposefully planned environment, we carefully nurture each child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. The 3/4s Classroom Teacher would be responsible for providing quality, developmentally appropriate programming for one class of children with the support of two participating parents daily. The class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30-11:45 a.m with enrichment until 1:30pm on Thursdays only. This position begins in September 2019, with fall and spring breaks, and summer break from June through August each year. Salary to be discussed at interview. For more information including how to apply, please visit http://bit.ly/2VAypqH.
Rise Up and Sing ~ ♪ ♫ ♪ Singing in the sun, singing in the rain ♪ ♫ ♪ Sing for the joy of it, sing through the pain. ♪ ♫ ♪ ~ Join our casual, happy group on third Friday, April 19th. 7 PM in the parlor. Friends, bring your friends. Led as usual by Jim K.
Comedy with First Friends - Postponed ~ Please note that comedy night with First Friends at ComedySportz scheduled for April 18 is being postponed for the time being due to lack of interest. Please keep an eye out later in the year for a reschedule of this event.
Men’s Threshing Together ~ Since our ComedySportz event has been postponed, we will resume Threshing Together this month. 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, April 18 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/2UsqmQv.
Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for April:
Downy Woodpecker: Broadcaster
When I was in high school, I received extra credit in Spanish class for listening to HCJB, an international shortwave radio station in Quito, Ecuador, famous for its religious broadcasts al mundo. Later, during my college days, LeSEA Broadcasting, from South Bend, built their antenna near Noblesville, and broadcast the message of the gospel over Channel 40 in this area. Getting the word (Word) out was the goal.
Birds, too, rely on broadcasting to get their messages across. In April, the male of many species here in Indiana is in full song, trying to attract a female to his territory, the boundaries of which he will use song to defend. However, instead of singing, woodpeckers drum. Yes, that rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat, etc is NOT the sound of the woodpecker drilling for an insect or excavating a nest hole. It is instead the bird’s way of marking its claim to that part of a woods.
I have depicted a Downy Woodpecker just having finished a drum, now listening for a nearby rival. The red spot on the back of its head shows it to be a male. The female is identical, except that the median black stripe goes from the forehead over the top and down to the nape, without the red spot. Of the seven species of woodpeckers occurring in Indiana, this is the most common, both in our woods and in Indiana as a whole. It is about 6 inches long, while its nearly-identical cousin, the Hairy Woodpecker, is more than 9 inches long (with a much larger bill). I find the downy on many strolls through the Meditational Woods, but have yet to observe a hairy. Enjoy the drumming from now until June, when the WB (woodpecker broadcasting) will “go off the air” until next spring. ~Brad J
Seeking Friends Notice ~ Please note that there will be no Seeking Friends Sunday school class on Sunday, April 21st as we prepare for our Easter celebrations. Other Sunday school activities will still take place that morning.
Please note the following Monthly Meeting changes: There will be no Monthly Meeting in April (due to Easter). There will also be a 30-minute delay in the start of Monthly Meeting on May 19 to allow participation in the annual recognition lunch.
Seasoned Friends ~ Our next gathering for our “Seasoned Friends” retirement age Friends group will be Wednesday, April 24 at 11:30am. Our luncheon will focus on fresh spring foods and salads. After our luncheon we will hear from guest speaker Steven Baranyk who will tell us about Elizabeth Friedman, a Quaker dubbed “America’s first female cryptanalyst” whose work includes decrypting German messages during WWII. If you’re interested, please RSVP to the Meeting Office at email@example.com or 317-255-2485.
Garden Work Day ~ If you are a gardener, or interested in helping out in our garden, you are invited to our garden work day which will be held Saturday, April 27 at 9:30am. Anyone is invited, no RSVP needed! We hope to see you there. Also, it’s still not too late to reserve your plot if you’d like a space for the season! Simply contact Nancy or Sam or the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Gathering of Hope for Friends who have experienced loss ~ First Friends is glad to present our “Gathering of Hope” on Sunday, April 28 after Meeting for Worship. This is a gathering for anyone who has experienced any kind of loss in the last year, such as a job loss, relationship loss, pet loss, divorce, etc. We will hold a lunch and a facilitated discussion on loss and grief. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP with the office at email@example.com or 317-255-2485.
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading’s April pick is The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe! Even though he cannot be with us, this book was suggested by Dan R who found it a real encouragement. The discussion will be on Tuesday April 30th at 7 pm in the Parlor. New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/books/review/the-end-of-your-life-book-club-by-will-schwalbe.html Click on this link to follow event information on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1864967900382889/ Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to receive email updates.
Save the Date: Shalom Zone’s 5th Tuesday Event ~ The next 5th Tuesday event sponsored by the Shalom Zone churches will be Tuesday, April 30 at 7:00pm at Epworth United Methodist Church, 6450 Allisonville Rd, 46220. The topic will be Healthcare and Human Rights. Our speaker will be Fran Quigley, a clinical professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where he directs the Health and Human Rights Clinic. He also edits the weekly publication, Faith in Healthcare, www.faithinhealthcare.org, and coordinates the non-profit advocacy group of the same name. This is a free event and all are invited to attend. We hope to see you there!
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!