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As Way Opens

Yesterday morning was as perfect as a morning can be in Indiana.  Even though we don’t have mountains or the ocean, an Indiana morning with the clear sky, crisp air and beautiful trees and greenery is spectacular.  As I arrived at the Meeting to start my day, the Meditational Woods was beckoning me, and I had to stop and take time to slowly step onto the path and appreciate the beauty of this special place.  I was feeling gratitude for the people like Mindy, Mary, Amy, Sam Wilson and others for tending to this space.  I was thankful for the vision that Mary Blackburn and others had 18 years ago to take flat grassland and turn it into this thriving space of trees, plants and sacred space.  I felt gratitude for all of the people listed on the marker that helped make the dream of a meditational woods become a reality.  Many of those people are gone now but these woods are a legacy to their life and their values.  I was feeling thankful that Scott Small dedicated his Eagle Scout project to establishing a peace poll with space to sit and reflect on peace for the world.



I continued walking, observing and listening to the sounds these woods hold and share with each of us if we will only listen.  I sat down on a bench given in memory of Lorton Heusel and the sun was at the perfect angle to bathe my entire being in warmth and light.  I felt completely enveloped in God’s embrace and love.  I sat there for quite a while not wanting to break the spell.  I felt renewed and energized and all because I decided to not start my day quite so soon and followed my leading into the woods.


Later in the day I was in the parking lot of Kroger and an older woman on one of those scooters was stopped and sitting behind her car.  I asked her if she was ok and she replied that the sun felt so good on her face and she just wanted to enjoy that.  We had a 2-minute conversation about sun, light and sickness and once again I felt the touch of God in a very real way.


Friends, it is a beautiful day again today.  Please stop your busyness for a few moments and sit under a tree, walk down a path, go to the park, ride your bike, sit on your porch and let God touch you with the beauty of creation and the stirring of the wind.  Be still and know that I am God.


Joys & Concerns

Many thanks to our food pantry volunteers! Dan H, Kathy R, Kathy and Bill F, Linda and Rik L, Mara S, Carol and Jim D.  We were very busy as we served 110 families. Thank you for your service!


Congratulations Tony! Tony M recently competed in the bowling event for Special Olympics in Terre Haute and won a second-place medal!  Congratulations to Tony!


Helen D’s memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, June 16th at noon. There will be an hour-long unprogrammed worship service, followed by a lunch pitch-in in Fellowship Hall at 1pm. If able, please bring a side dish, salad or dessert to share (if you plan on joining us for Meeting for Worship that morning, feel free to bring it with you then). We hope you will plan to join us for this celebration of life as we remember Helen with Friends and family. If you’d like to read Helen’s obituary, you can find it here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/indystar/obituary.aspx?n=helen-clement-swisher-davenport&pid=193037007

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Seamstress Garage Sale ~ Kay C is moving after 17 years into a Senior living facility and can't take all her stuff with her.  Friday and Saturday June 14-15 from 8am until 2pm she will be getting rid of a lifetime of things.  Fabric, books, dishes, bookcases, lamps, etc.  She has a lot of fabric. It will be at 11136 Easy Street, just south of 116th off of Allisonville Road in Waterford Gardens.


PurpleStride Indianapolis 2019~ As many of you may know, in December 2017 our Dan R was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. In honor of Dan, his stepdaughter, Hillary Hughes, has formed a team called Dan’s Glandiators to join a fundraiser for Pancan.org- a research program seeking treatment and cure for this disease. This takes place Saturday June 15 at White River State Park. Details can be found at https://secure.pancan.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=purplestride_event_details&fr_id=1681. You can get a purple shirt! The fundraiser is a 5k walk, but you can just hang out, and of course just donate. Register after 8 am, walk at 9. Questions? Contact the office at office@indyfriends.org.

Come hear Kelly Kellum at First Friends! Kelly will be with us on Sunday, June 16th for Meeting for Worship and will give the message. The people of First Friends will greet Kelly after worship in the parlor. We look forward to welcoming Kelly to First Friends. Kelly Kellum has served as General Secretary of Friends United Meeting since July 2018. Though based out of the FUM office in Richmond, Kelly spends much of his time traveling among Friends. He sees his primary work as strengthening relationships within our global community, coordinating the overall work of FUM, and building partnerships to advance the ministry of Friends wherever we are called to serve. He’s been married to Kathleen Hartney for over 27 years. They enjoy being outside, traveling, and spending time with good friends and family. Kathy and Kelly are members of High Point Friends Meeting, High Point, NC.

Registration Open! First Friends Women’s Retreat ~ All women are invited to join us 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. We will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday with dinner and gathering to learn about the Enneagram personality types.  On Saturday we will continue our exploration of the Enneagram personality types, explore our types and  what that means in our lives.  We will work together on creating t-shirt shopping bags for the Mid North Food Pantry, have a nature walk in the Center’s peace garden led by two of the Sisters and watch a movie together.  We will share meals and snacks together all day.  On Sunday we will worship together in the center’s chapel and then head home.

The retreat will be facilitated by Beth Booram. Beth is the co-founder and director of Fall Creek Abbey, an urban retreat center in Indianapolis, where she co-facilitates The School of Spiritual Direction and offers individual and group spiritual direction. Prior to this vocation, Beth was a contract consultant with the Center for Congregations. She describes herself as a “deep feeler who loves to think; an extrovert with a penchant for solitude; an artist who sees the hand of God in even the smallest encounters with creation.” Beth has authored several books including When Faith Becomes Sight (with her husband, David) and Starting Something New. She also co-authored Awaken Your Senses with Quaker author, J. Brent Bill.  

We are asking attendees to read The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile before the retreat if possible. If you would like us to get the book for you ($14), please contact the office.

The cost of the retreat per person ranges from $103-$184 depending on the type of room and bath. To reserve your spot for the retreat, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org. Payment is not due until August.

Scholarships are available—please contact Beth to inquire about scholarships.


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, June 20 at 7:00pm led by Ed M. See updated locations here: http://bit.ly/ThreshingSpring19

World Refugee Day Event Invitation ~ Everyone is welcome to join Catholic Charities Indianapolis in celebrating World Refugee Day on Thursday, June 20th from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Come enjoy Cultural villages, Breakfast, coffee & tea from around the globe, Music, Refugee artwork, Entertainment, Children's Activities, and great conversation. The event is being held at the Catholic Center, Assembly Hall 1400 North Meridian Street. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at helpcreatehope.org. We hope to see many members of First Friends at this unique event supporting our refugee neighbors. 


Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for June:

Chestnut-sided Warbler: The Voice of a Long-Time Friend


The phone rings, and when you answer, you hear the voice of a long-time friend saying hello. You smile, and you can hear a smile in the voice of the friend. Although this happens but perhaps three times a year, yet it is as if you were never apart. It is only the conversation that makes you both aware of the passage of time.

In my case the friend is a Chestnut-sided Warbler, and I hope the reader will pardon the fact that one will likely NOT find this bird in the Meditational Woods in June. This warbler came through in the middle of May. By the time you read this the bird will have moved on northward. There is a June connection, however.

After my brother, Scott, introduced me to birding in early 1972, I spent that summer and the next, working at Isle Royale National Park in the hotel kitchen. In my free time I encountered many northern species new for me. On the very first morning (June 12th) a bird sang right outside my window, “Pleased, Pleased, PLEASED TO MEET-YA” (increasing in intensity and pitch). I was glad to meet him! Every morning I awakened to his greeting from that conifer. Now, each May, when I hear a Chestnut-sided singing, it takes me back to those two wonderful summers on the island in Lake Superior.

On that recent morning in May, I heard the song as I stood at the entrance to the Meditational Woods. The bird was actually over in the sweet gum tree across from the front porch of the meetinghouse. After getting a great look at him, I sat on the steps for a good long while, and let the memories come back, while listening to… the voice of a long-time friend.

~ Brad J

Sing Along with Jim in June ~ Experience the joy of singing without being judged. Accept your inner singer, come let him or her out in semi-public and sing along with cheerful, relaxed Jim K and the rest of the regulars. Shake a shaker, rattle a tambourine, tap your feet, clap your hands like the trees and enjoy a free Friday event.  Coming up on June 21 at 7 PM in the parlor. As almost always, it’s the third Friday.

VOCE Presents: All That Jazz! All are invited to attend All That Jazz, a performance put on by VOCE, a local singing group. Come join us for a great summer night of Vocal Jazz music in a Cabaret setting with adult beverages and snacks. Our own Carolyn T will also perform a solo! This will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 pm at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 1402 W Main St, Carmel. Tickets are $25 and includes cabaret snacks and beverages. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit www.voceindy.org!


Please plan to join us at Meeting for Worship on Sunday, June 23. The Friends Education Fund is a special fund long ago entrusted to the Quakers of Indianapolis. (To read more about its fascinating history, please visit http://bit.ly/FEFHistory.) Our special guests that day will be our Friends Education Fund recipients and their families, whom we will recognize during worship and afterward during a special fellowship hour reception. Please join us on the 23rd at 10:15 to show them our Quaker hospitality and make First Friends a warm and welcoming place for our special guests!

The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply.  Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application will be June 30th, 2019. For an application please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org.

Sign up NOW for VBS! Registration is now open for Vacation Bible School this summer! This year’s theme is “Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good!”  We will kick off on Sunday, July 14 from 12-2pm after worship and then have daily sessions the following Monday through Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30. Registration forms can be found on the corner table in the hallway. The registration deadline is July 1st! If you have any questions, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org.

Monthly Meeting Notice ~ Please note that due to holidays and events, there will be no monthly meeting for June. The next meeting will be Sunday, July 21.


Your Talent is Needed! ~ The choir is on vacation May 26 through September 1. Please see the signup sheet on the bulletin board in the hallway of the Meetinghouse to sign up for summer music! We are hoping you will come share your talent with the congregation. Be it with your voice by singing or by playing an instrument. You can even do a reading or a dance! We still need volunteers for July 7, August 4 and August 25. Sign up now for any or several of these dates. Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts!

This Week’s Queries

Is our table inclusive?  Are there things we do to be “religious”  that separate us from others? Do we share our things with each other?

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