As Way Opens
This week a friend sent me a link to a Ted talk from Gerald Casey (https://youtu.be/DsrxbqFo41k). Gerald is an impressive young man that has survived a difficult childhood where his mom had significant mental illness and left home when he was 13 and his father was a drug addict and in and out of prison for years and yet he went on to attend Yale (on a football scholarship) and Harvard Business School. Gerald’s grandmother was his stabilizing influence and they were at their church in East Texas the night of December 31st, 1999 prior to the potential disaster of Y2K as we all entered the 21st century with some trepidation and fear. Gerald’s grandmother attended a Baptist church that believed the Rapture would occur that evening and at 12 years old Gerald followed his grandmother’s faith and clung to her hand to be sure he would be taken in this dramatic moment. They waited with bated breath and were disappointed with the lack of God’s action.
This experience was transformational for Gerald as his blind faith and belief gave way to doubt. How could the belief of their church be so wrong? How could the Bible be interpreted in this way that gave certainty to a group of Christians that God would embrace certain believers and take them to heaven during this time?
I completely relate to Gerald’s struggle with his blind faith. I was raised in a denomination that told me time and again that God could do anything and that it was only a matter of our personal faith to believe. I was troubled by this and starting in junior high began questioning things that didn’t make sense to me. By the time I was in high school I believed that this God that I didn’t understand but embraced was ok with my doubts. I love Gerald’s term - a Gospel of Doubt. I know that God welcomes my doubts, questions and queries. I had to deconstruct my faith to build it again. I know this is scary as our foundations of faith are critical to our identity, but a blind faith does not deepen our relationship with God or make God more alive and real to me. My very first class in seminary was about the violence in the Bible. A wonderful and deeply spiritual young man saw his blind faith crumble before his eyes as we examined the texts of violence in the Bible, the context and the contradictions that brought him to his knees. My heart embraced him, but I knew that he had to experience this to begin to understand the depths of God’s love and embrace.
I pray that you can embrace a Gospel of Doubt and maybe begin to ask new questions and contemplate new ideas about faith. Our God is beyond our understanding, accepting, loving and encouraging of all our doubts and concerns.
Joys & Concerns
Community building is going on in our Community Garden. It is inspiring seeing Kathy and Sam tenderly caring for the Hope plot. It is gratifying seeing Jesse help Nancy by burying raised bed frames. It is fun watching the clever T twins mark frail seedling placements with clover heads. It is endearing to see the Frame family work excitedly while planting together. Ben is pitching in to mow and to plant in the food pantry plot. Former community gardener Mary stopped by and lent her expertise. Gardeners-at-large are volunteering to help others. Heather and Josh are making headway on their plots after the rain has thwarted so many of us along with Indiana farmers. It is a blessing to get information by email, texts and websites from Sam and Rebecca. This is just a little peek at what has been happening on the north side of our meetinghouse….
On the most perfect spring day, Sunday, June 2, we gathered outside of our Meditational Woods for worship and meditation together. Afterwards, our Fellowship Committee put on a wonderful picnic for all those in attendance. Thank you to ALL who made this a fabulous morning together! (Photos courtesy of Kim H and Bob H. To see more photos, visit us at facebook.com/Indyfriends)
Meditational Woods ~ Here’s what’s blooming today: Foxglove beard tongue (Penstemon hirsutis) is blooming beautifully today in our Meditational Woods entrance. We are adding more plants that bloom at different times through the summer. Hopefully, next year they will be better established and will support more insects, butterflies and birds. Today we saw a pair eastern bluebirds when Brad Jackson stopped by to visit with our Woods bird family. Thanks to Sam Wilson to helping us out last week with weeding and planting. ~Mindy and Mary, Woods Co-Clerks.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
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.
The Indy Pride Parade is this weekend! The parade begins at 10am along Massachusetts Avenue on Saturday, June 8 and ends with a festival in Military Park that runs from 11am until 11pm. Tickets to the festival are $5 in advance or $10 the day of the festival. If you’d like to come with First Friends, feel free to join our carpool. We will meet at the Meetinghouse at 8:45 and leave at 9:00am. Please RSVP to the office if you plan on joining the carpool at email@example.com!
Pentecost Picnic! Fall Creek Friends invites you to honor the Spirit on Sunday, June 9th in silent worship at 10:30 am and fun, fellowship, and food afterwards. Fall Creek will provide main dishes, both meat and vegetarian, and drinks. Please bring a pitch-in dish if you can. Feel free to bring a friend. RSVP if you can, or just come! 1764 West IN-38, Pendleton IN 46064. To RSVP or for more information, contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 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.
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 Morris. 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. 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.
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!
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading’s pick for the month of June is Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann! The discussion will be led by Rik L on Tuesday June 25th at 7 pm in the Parlor. New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/books/review-killers-of-flower-moon-david-grann.html Contact the office at email@example.com if you’d like to receive email updates.
Children’s Books for MNFP! We are now collecting used children’s books for Mid-North Food Pantry (MNFP). This is an opportunity for those who visit the pantry to also grab a book on their way out, for their children’s delight and enrichment. If you have any children’s books you’re not using anymore, please consider donating them. You can drop off your books in the crate at the donation station in Fellowship Hall. Thank you for supporting the pantry!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!