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As Way Opens

I have been thinking about the message that Kelly Kellum shared with us last Sunday on breathing underwater.  I love the water and some of my happiest places involve water; my good friend’s beautiful pool, the beach along Lake Michigan in Holland, Grand Haven, Saugatuck, our meditational woods with cascading water over rocks, the list goes on and on.  The sound of water calms me and brings me into union with creation.  Taking a long hot shower is one of life’s most glorious pleasures that I am grateful to experience each morning.  Water cleanses, renews, cools, and keeps us alive.  But water can also be terrifying.  One of the scariest moments of my life occurred in the ocean at Laguna Beach in California.  As I was playing in the water, the waves picked up and a tide started pulling me under and further out into deeper water.  I completely panicked and started struggling to keep my head above the water.  I felt this tide pulling me down and I feared for my life.  All of a sudden someone appeared and grabbed my arm and began swimming with me towards shore.  I never found out the man’s name and didn’t adequately thank him for saving me and he just seemed to disappear back into the ocean.  

Friends, so many things we cherish in our life can also bring us pain and terror.  I think some of our panic comes from drawing into ourselves and losing our faith instead of releasing and relaxing into the flow of life and floating into the arms of God.  I like the poem by Carol Bieleck Breathing Under Water:

I built my house by the sea.  Not on the sands, mind you; not on the shifting sand. I built it of rock.  A strong house by a strong sea.

And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.  Great neighbors.  Not that we spoke much.  We met in silences.

Respectful, keeping our distance, but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.  Always the fence of sand our barrier, always, the sand between.

And then one day, and I still don’t know how it happened, the sea came.  Without warning.  Without welcome, even not sudden and swift, but shifting across the sand like wine,

Less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.  Slow but coming.  Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.  And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.

And I knew then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.  That when the sea comes calling you stop being neighbors,

Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance, neighbors, and give your house for a coral castle,

And you learn to breathe underwater. 

When the current starts to take us under and we feel we are drowning, may we relax and just float for awhile until we can start swimming sideways and then to shore.  May we learn to breathe under water.

Joys & Concerns


The drenching rain did not dampen the spirits of Dan’s Glandiators and other Purplestride participants walking to support pancreatic cancer research! Can you spot Dan in the photo on the left?

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations

Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) - Want a chance to meet with politicians who might actually listen? Come join us at IFCL's monthly meeting on Saturday, July 13 at 9:00 a.m. at First Friends.  IFCL is presenting its annual Legislators of the Year Award to Representative Carey Hamilton and Senator John Ruckelshaus.  Both honorees will be present to accept, and we look forward to some discussion with them on ways we might work together on specific issues next year.  Let's show our appreciation for legislators willing to work across party lines for the common good.  All are welcome.  See Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com; 317-790-9054) or Ed Morris (emorri@earthlink.net) with any questions.  Thank you.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

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


SAWs Ramp Build ~ The Shalom Zone is planning another SAWS ramp build for the morning of Saturday, July 27.  SAWS is an organization that builds ramps for low income folks who need a ramp to enter/exit their homes.  If you would like to volunteer to help or need more information, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org.  Since we need to plan the work crews from among the Shalom Zone churches, let us know as soon as you are able that you plan to assist.  Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build.  This form can be found on the SAWS website: www.sawsramps.org.

Would you like to help the library? The library committee is currently looking for new members! Responsibilities include occasional upkeep, organization and management of our library. If you’re interested in joining the committee, please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org or 317-255-2485.

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. 

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.


Babysitting Co-Op ~ Our babysitting co-op is happening this June 22nd from 5:30 - 9:30, hosted by Beth H. Dinner will be provided for the kids. Please contact the office at office@indyfriends.org if you would like to have your kids join in the fun that evening!

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 this 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!

Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading is this coming Tuesday night!  Rik L will be leading Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann on the 25th of June at 7 pm in the Parlor.  Click link for the New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/books/review-killers-of-flower-moon-david-grann.html  All are welcome!   

Free Piano to a good home! ~ Barbara O is offering a Cable Nelson spinet piano to anyone who would  like to have it. There is no charge except to move it. It must be picked up no later than Tuesday! If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact Barbara by text at 317-457-4003 or email at boberrei@gmail.com.

Are you able to help a student? An Earlham student is looking for a host family here in the Indianapolis area. Her name is Caitlin and she will be working on a research project at the University of Indianapolis for 7 weeks. She will need housing June 25 through August 16. She has her own transportation and will just need a place to stay. If you or anyone you know can help Caitlin, please reach out to the office at office@indyfriends.org or 317-255-2485.


Community Garden Update and Tips

The community gardeners are sneaking in between rains, when possible, to work on their raised beds. The Mid-North Food Pantry plot and the Hope plot are coming along nicely with various gardeners weeding when they stop by. This includes Amy and LeeAnne.

Slugs and snails are sliding by too to eat big holes out of the delicious greens. Deter them by scattering eggshells or sweet gum balls around your crops. Many animals hate rough surfaces. In addition, picking up those sweet gum balls from our courtyard may save someone from losing their balance and falling! Human hair and animal fur can sometimes scare away rabbits and chipmunks.

A blessing now is that none of us need to water!


Soup & Service ~ You are invited to join our First Friends community for our second Soup & Service event immediately after Meeting for Worship on Sunday, June 30.  This informal  luncheon will “kick off” First Friends’ annual campaign to raise funds for the 2019 WYM and 2019 FUM mission projects.

The WYM project is "Education for Esther" and involves child education for girls among the Samburu and Turkana people groups in Kenya.  The FUM project is "Everyone Welcome" and involves raising money for physical improvements for special needs kids at the Ramallah Friends School. You can expect to learn more about these worthy projects during the luncheon from representatives of WYM and FUM.  Since we are approaching summer, salads, rather than soups, will be served.  You are invited to bring a dessert to share, but it is not necessary.  Please plan to attend.

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.

Calling all ice cream lovers! First Friends will be working at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, August 10th all day. This is a major fundraiser for our youth programming. We plan to have two shifts, 9:00am-3:30pm, and 3:30-10:30pm. It is fast paced but lots of fun! Volunteers will receive a free ticket to the State Fair for that day, as well as unlimited ice cream, shakes and cheese sandwiches. Please let the office (office@indyfriends.org) know if you’re interested in volunteering!

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.


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!

Stewardship: Water Conservation! All this rain is a reminder of water flowing to our streams and rivers.  This is a handy guide about the things you can be doing in your own yards to keep our water clean to drink, play, fish and swim in.  http://ourwaterways.org/resources/homeownerguide/

This Week’s Queries

  • How have you felt the ocean encroaching on your life and home?

  • What does it mean for you to breathe underwater?

  • When have you experienced the ocean of light and love washing over you?

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