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As Way Opens


On our very last evening in Philadelphia, our Quaker Affirmation youth and leaders ventured to Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting.  What drew us to the meetinghouse at dusk was their James Turrell Skyspace. If you are unfamiliar with James Turrell, he is a Quaker artist who for over half a century has worked directly with light and space to create artworks that engages viewers with the limits and wonder of human perception. (jamesturrell.org)  

It was James Turrell’s grandmother who gave inspiration to this installation which he titled Greet the Light after her words each week on the way to Sunday morning Quaker worship. She always would encourage young James to “go inside and greet the light.” 

As we know from our own Quaker meetinghouse, most are unadorned, especially the worship space. The Chestnut Hill Quakers decided to include a James Turrell Skyspace when they planned their new meetinghouse. They stated that it was to create a peaceful place for people from all walks of life and religious backgrounds.

(Photo by R. Kennedy for  Visit Philadelphia )

(Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

That final night, we arrived at dusk and found just that - a variety of people gathering in the meetinghouse - some laid out on yoga mats directly on the floor while others stretched out on the meetinghouse benches. We gathered to watch something that the host said cannot be fully described but must be experienced. For the next 50 minutes, and as the sun fully set for the evening, we took in not only a contemplative respite from our busy trip, but a room filled with a variety of brilliant colors and changing light.

It was interesting listening to our youth afterwards try to explain just what had taken place.  There was a definite a sense of sacredness, centeredness, and that we had worshipped together in a new and profound way. For some, it was hard to stay awake as snoring and deep breathing were heard. Overall, I think we all agreed that this was unlike anything we had ever experienced before.

If you’re interested in experiencing the art of James Turrell locally, Newfields has a piece titled Acton from his Space Division Construction series, 1976.  


Grace and peace, 


Joys & Concerns

Let’s give thanks
to this week’s food pantry volunteers:  Dan H, Susan R, Linda and Rik L, Kathy R, Mara S, Cletus T, Carol and Jim D.  As always, we send thanks to our volunteers as well as those who donate food and monies for the pantry. Thank you for your generosity!

Quaker-Affiliated Organizations

Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) ~
Want a chance to meet with politicians who might actually listen?   Come join us in the parlor at IFCL's monthly meeting on Saturday, July 13 at 10:00 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 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.

Please note that the award presentation will begin at 10am. There will be a short IFCL meeting at 9am.

Join Us for the Indianapolis Gerrymander Meander Progressive Picnic - Disappointed in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision refusing to prohibit partisan gerrymandering?  IFCL, along with its partners in the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting, is hosting a picnic and short walk across a SINGLE northside Indianapolis neighborhood that has been carved up into TWO different Congressional districts and FOUR different state legislative districts. This event is designed to call attention to the need for redistricting reform -- and to show our elected officials that Hoosiers are not backing down in our fight for fair representation.  We're gearing up to take the issue back to the General Assembly next session, and hope you'll join us on July 17th in the push to end gerrymandering in Indiana.

WHEN:  Wednesday, July 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Starts at Arsenal Park (1400 E. 46th Street, Indianapolis) with hot dogs, hamburgers, and vegetarian options.  Ends at Canterbury Park (5501 Carvel Avenue, Indianapolis) with ice cream.

To RSVP, Sign up here: http://bit.ly/2S83eCi. or contact Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com; 317-790-9054) with any questions.  Thank you.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities


Do you know where this pile of brush came from? This past weekend we found a very large pile of tree limbs and brush in our parking lot under the basketball hoop. It may have been dropped off Friday or Saturday. If anyone knows where this came from, please notify the office at office@indyfriends.org or 317-255-2485. Thank you.


Sunday Unprogrammed Worship Notice ~ Unprogrammed Worship on Sunday Mornings at 9:00am has been moved back to the Parlor. If you plan to join us that morning, please note the change in location! We are also asking that people coming to Meeting for Worship that morning please be respectful of those who may be worshipping and keep noise in the hallway to a minimum. Feel free to chat all you’d like in the foyer of course!


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! Due to VBS, we have rescheduled our next meeting to Tuesday, July 23 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/ThreshingSpring19

Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions – Registration Open! The Western Yearly Meeting Annual sessions this year will be held on Thursday-Sunday, July 25-28. Everyone is encouraged to join us for these sessions in Plainfield. This year’s theme is “Unleash the Love, Release the Power!” The reference scripture comes from II Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (NIV). For more information, to view the schedule, and to register, please visit https://www.westernyearlymeeting.org

New Library Books – Read them for Free! Friends, we have 25 new books in the library. You will occasionally find reviews of some of them here in Friend to Friend. This time your reviewer has chosen A Contemporary Mysticism: Support on the Spiritual Path, by Michael Resman.

Resman has written gently, modestly, thoughtfully about mystical experiences and how individuals change as a result of their deep feeling of connection to that which is beyond words to name or describe. His gratitude for the guidance God has given him is immense. A sensitive man, his book shares his spiritual path and shows how lives are enriched as he and others find their way to God.

For many years Resman has helped to edit What Canst Thou Say?, a small monthly account of Friends mystical and contemplative practices.


Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for July

House Wren: Not the Troublemaker

As I entered the woods, I heard nothing birdwise. It was not the best time of day for hearing birds, but I wanted to find something! Then I saw a small bird moving in a tree in the neighbor’s yard to the east. I started pishing (an imitation of a distress call) to bring the bird in, and when it arrived, I saw that it was a House Wren. The wren began pishing right back, and in just a moment, I heard a Cooper’s Hawk, and saw it land above the wren. It had heard all the pishing, and was looking for an easy meal. I feared for the wren’s safety, but instead the house wren started fussing at the hawk. This alarm call brought in six other species, including: cardinal, Carolina wren, tufted titmouse, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, and white-breasted nuthatch. Now the woods WAS alive with activity, but I must admit that I was the troublemaker, having stirred things up to start with. The hawk left “empty-handed.”

House wrens are present in the meetinghouse area from mid-April through mid-October, and there are usually three or more nesting pairs. ~ Brad J


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.

Western Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting 2019 Projects ~ First Friends’ annual campaign to raise funds for the 2019 WYM and 2019 FUM mission projects began with the luncheon hosted by Witness & Service a few weeks ago. 

The WYM project is "Education for Esther" and involves child education for girls among the  Samburu and Turkana people groups in Kenya.  Girls in such areas typically don’t have the funds to go to school and this project will provide scholarships to enable some girls to further their education.  Each scholarship costs only $400.  Find more information here: http://bit.ly/2NLfx98.

The FUM project is "Everyone Welcome" and involves raising money for physical improvements to the Ramallah Friends School so that special needs kids can fully access all areas of the school. You can read more information about the project here: http://bit.ly/2JGkTgq.

First Friends relies on both Western Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting to recommend mission projects each year and the folks at First Friends have always responded in a most generous manner.  Please help as you are able to support these most worthy mission projects.  Please indicate in the memo section of your check which project (or both projects) you would like to support.  Thanks for your prayerful consideration.

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! Due to VBS, we have rescheduled our next meeting to Tuesday, July 23 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/ThreshingSpring19

Shalom Zone Garage Sale ~ On Saturday, July 27, from 8 am to noon (set up beginning at 7 am) the Shalom Zone churches will be sponsoring “garage sale’ and “craft sale” opportunities for individuals in the Cross and Crown parking lot at 79th and Allisonville Rd.  You will be able to reserve a space for $10 in advance ($15 day of sale).  The rest is up to you – bring your own table or use the trunk of your car.  You get to keep whatever you earn.  The adjoining neighborhood of Ivy Hills will have its annual garage sale the same day so there should be no shortage of folks looking for a deal.  The Shalom Zone will donate the reservation fees to School on Wheels, a voluntary program which tutors homeless children throughout Marion County.  For more info or to reserve a space contact the office (office@indyfriends.org)

Alice Paul and her Quaker Witness ~ Next year is the 100th anniversary of American women being granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment, which became law in 1920. Many people have heard of Alice Paul, the Quaker woman who was instrumental in getting that Amendment enacted, but few people today know exactly what she did, and fewer still know how her Quaker faith played a strong role in her actions.

A recently published essay titled "Alice Paul and her Quaker witness" provides an in-depth examination of Alice Paul's life and work from a Quaker perspective. Most Friends who have read the essay find it fascinating. The Bethesda Friends Meeting of Maryland has recently approved a minute recommending that all Friends read this essay. The essay can be found online on that Meeting's web page at the following address: http://www.bethesdafriends.org/Alice-Paul-and-her-Quaker-witness-2019.pdf. All are encouraged to share this essay and the awareness of Alice Paul as much as possible, in preparation of the 100th anniversary next year!  

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 the office to inquire about scholarships.


Shalom Zone 5th Tuesday Presentation ~ The Shalom Zone invites you to their 5th Tuesday Presentation: “Strengthening your relationship with God.” This will be an evening of relaxation and imagination. The facilitator will be Father Jim Farrell. It is being held Tuesday, July 30, 7:00-8:30pm at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House, 5353 E 56th St (east of Emerson on 56th St. – next driveway east of Cathedral). All are welcome! For more information, please contact Mary Gault at maryhgault@gmail.com.


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 still need volunteers from 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!

This Week’s Queries

How is my Quaker faith being lived out, today?

Where do I need to speak up?

Where am I neglecting my neighbors?

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