As Way Opens
This past week I have found myself drawn outside, whether that’s on my morning walks, as I stroll through the gardens springing forth around our home, or as I sit on a bench in the Meditational Woods at the Meetinghouse. I love to see the brilliant colors of the tulips and the flowering trees. I also enjoy the songs of the birds frolicking outside my windows throughout the day. And even though I am slightly allergic to the lilacs and more fragrant flowers, the sweet smells announce that Spring has finally arrived.
With this arrival, also comes the task of the gardener in preparing the beds, tilling and weeding the soil, and mulching. Since this is only the second Summer in our home, we still have some work to do. To help fill in some of the spots in our flower beds, Sue and I attended the Newfields’ Plant Sale last Saturday. We grabbed several beautiful plants to create a Peace Garden outside of our front window. A tradition we have enjoyed at each home we have owned.
After we posted some photos of our new garden on Facebook, someone commented “What is a Peace Garden?” In Quaker Catherine Whitmire’s book, Practicing Peace she gives some context.
“Peace researcher Elise Boulding has found that as far back as we have written records, there are myths and legends about people envisioning ‘peaceable gardens.’ She writes:
It is a comfort to me, when I get discouraged about the state of humanity, to realize that every civilization tradition, no matter how warlike or materialistic its history, contains in its literary record imagery concerning a Peaceable Garden. The Peaceable Garden is a public space, often a garden or green meadow, where people have laid aside weapons and live together in peace; feasting, playing, talking philosophy, and reciting poetry. The Greeks knew it, the desert Bedouin knew it. We have an enduring capacity to visualize humans as better than we experience ourselves to be and the social order as more harmonious than what we see around us.”
If you are discouraged this week about the state of humanity around you, find a garden to walk through or sit within. Even better, go buy some plants and create a peaceable garden where with your neighbors and friends you can feast, play, read or write. It may just lift your soul and give you hope!
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
We had a lovely garden work day this past Saturday! Thank you to everyone who came to help us build garden beds and tend to the Community Garden. We had a great time!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Have you cleared out your bookshelf lately? We are now only $212 away from our goal to fund a project with Right Sharing of World Resources (https://www.rswr.org). Did you know that a lot of the money that women earn from their RSWR-funded businesses go toward paying for books and schooling for their children? On that topic, we challenge you—have you cleaned out your bookshelf lately? Try going through your books and finding ones that you no longer need. Take them to a reseller, such as Half Price Books, and see how much you get for them—then consider donating that to help support our RSWR project, Keyo’s fruit and veggie stall!
Volunteers Needed! Quaker Men are planning to build two raised garden beds for residents of Friends Apartment Homes. Friends Apartment Homes are behind the Yearly Meeting Office in Plainfield. The date is Saturday, May 4th beginning at 9:00 a.m. Work should be completed by noon. Battery powered drills are needed for the work. No hammers are needed. If you can come, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Please join us on May 5th! All are invited to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship on Sunday, May 5th. We will have a belated Earth Day celebration. Please bring your old t-shirts as together we will learn how to turn them into reusable shopping bags. In addition, “Quaker Green” First Friends reusable tote bags will also be available for purchase, with proceeds going to youth Quaker Affirmation. In honor of Cinco de Mayo we will also enjoy Mexican food. Come join us for fellowship and fun!
Volunteers Invited ~ The Community Garden is partnering with Mid-North Food Pantry. We invite you to participate in this endeavor in a variety of ways. You may help garden, harvest, transport, sort and wash produce, etc. Please contact the office at email@example.com if you’re interested. You may volunteer once on regularly we hope our efforts can further the pantry’s efforts.
Save the Date! First Friends Women’s Retreat ~ Please mark your calendar for our Women’s Retreat on September 20th - 22nd 2019. The retreat will be held at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove and will start with dinner on Friday and end after worship on Sunday. The theme of the retreat is Know Thy Selfie - Discover More of Yourself and How you Relate to Others. We will be exploring the Enneagram personality program with lots of time for fellowship, quiet time and some fun activities. Keep an eye out for more information as we draw near!
Save the Date – Volunteer Recognition & Luncheon ~ Please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 19th when we will recognize and honor our volunteers. The Christian Education & Connections Committees will put on a luncheon during Fellowship hour to celebrate the end of the school year programming and to thank everyone who’s made each Sunday here at the Meeting so wonderful this year! Please plan on joining us that day.
Calling All Graduates! ~ As we do each year, we will be honoring our graduates on Sunday, May 19th. If you or someone in your family is graduating from high school or college, please notify the office so we may acknowledge them! firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-255-2485.
Christian Education Sunday School Survey ~ How is the Sunday School hour at 9am working for you and your family? How can it be improved? Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey to help us evaluate our Sunday school offerings and make them even better! This feedback is important to make sure our Christian Education here at First Friends is the best it can be. Find the survey at http://bit.ly/2vb98b0.
Calling anyone with a green thumb! Terry T is looking to give the garden beds around the Meetinghouse some TLC. If anyone is interested in helping keep our Meetinghouse green and lively, please contact the office at email@example.com!
Come join our merry band of peaceful Weed Warriors! We are planning the following times to enhance the beauty of our meditational woods. Here are our weeding dates for April and May. We will meet from 9-10:30 am to avoid the heat and damaging sun. If the Spirit moves us, we can go out for coffee or tea afterwards. We are focusing on the entry, Peace pole, butterfly garden and Worship Circle while maintaining our wildlife area. Please join us on May 3, May 8, May 13, May 22, and May 29 for additional work days. We don't expect you for every one of these dates, but the more the merrier and many hands make light work! Mid May we'll re-evaluate the frequency. Thank you, ~Mindy S and Mary B, co-clerks
Quilters Guild of Indianapolis ~ Did you know that the Quilter’s Guild of Indianapolis meets here at First Friends on the 4th Saturday of each month? This guild is one that Ann P was part of. Each month they meet to work on their quilts and learn new techniques. Members and attenders of First Friends are welcome to come! If you are interested in taking part, and/or are interested in learning how to quilt, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the guild, you can visit http://quiltguildindy.net. Their next meeting will be Saturday, May 25!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading’s pick for the month of May is Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. The discussion will be led by Rhonda Craver on Tuesday May 28th at 7 pm in the Parlor. Here is the New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/books/review/barbara-kingsolver-unsheltered.html Everyone is welcome to join us!
Stoking the Fire: Stirring up the Embers ~ Friends United Meeting (FUM) invites you to join us as we seek to stir up the embers of our faith, both individually and as a beloved fellowship of Friends. Speakers will include Mary Glazer, Doug Gwyn, Kelly Kellum, Richard Sitati, Katie Ubry-Terrell, and our own Bob Henry! The event will be held from June 7-10 at the Quaker Hill Conference Center in Richmond, IN. The registration deadline is May 31st so don’t delay! For more information or to register, please visit www.friendsunitedmeeting.org/connect/stoking-the-fire-2019
This Week’s Queries
To read Bob’s sermon from this past Sunday, please visit our website at https://www.indyfriends.org/messages
Insights and Queries from the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus:
1. Check your sight – Ask: What do I really see?
2. Always remember the bigger story – Ask: What have I forgotten?
3. Be open to needing direct intervention – Ask: Can I do it alone?
4. Take time to eat together for the benefit of the soul – Ask: Who do I need to have coffee or lunch with?
5. Don’t let your doubts get the best of you – Ask: Can I believe without having to see?
6. Stop reverting to your “defaults” – Ask: What are my possibilities?
7. Doing the ordinary is just as important as the extraordinary – Ask: What am I about in the daily?
8. Remember you are not alone – Ask: God, are you mad at me? Do you love me? Help me remember that you will never leave me nor forsake me – or help me remember the proximity of hope!
Spread the News ~ Stamps for Right Sharing of Word Resources!
Help spread the word about stamps for Right Sharing of World Resources! Join us in adding a note to the back of outgoing letters— “Save your stamps for Right Sharing!” For more information visit https://www.rswr.org/stamp-program