As Way Opens
It’s day four of our Vacation Bible School adventure and we have had an amazing time together singing, dancing, playing games, learning about the Israelites as slaves under the Romans, seeing God each evening and so much more. The theme of this year's program is Life is Wild! God is Good! This theme resonates with me as we have talked each evening about when life is wild, life is scary, life changes, and life is sad, yet God is always there, always with us, always loving us and always embracing us. Life is all of these things at times and God is our foundation to weather these storms.
I was reminded of this as I talked with my old neighbors this week with one daughter that has a deadly form of cancer at 31 years old with a child under two years old and another neighbor whose son is going through a terrible divorce. My one neighbor shared that “she never in her life would have thought her family would be dealing with this and look like this”. This is life and it can be hard and painful and can change very quickly. I know we have all experienced these challenges because that is the reality of our human condition and no one is immune. We can look at others and think things are so perfect for them but could have no idea what is really going on in their lives. I have found that in these dark periods, I need evidence of God’s care and presence and it often comes in the form of others’ actions and words and through God’s creation. I can never adequately explain this but living on the edge brings me more in tune to the mystical union with God. And when life is good, my level of thankfulness is much deeper because I have also experienced the pain.
One of the ways I see God is through these kids and their viewpoint on life and their relationship to God. I am thankful for their clarity, their faith and their simple expressions of love. May we all keep our eyes open each day to see God.
This Sunday is the ROAR! VBS Celebration during Meeting for Worship at 10:15am! Participating children should be in the Fellowship Hall at 10am. You don’t want to miss the annual VBS Powerpoint that recaps our amazing time on the Safari! See you Sunday!
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.
Tim Grimm Free Concert! IFCL is sponsoring a concert by Tim Grimm at 7:30pm on Saturday, July 27. Put aside political cares and come hear this native son paint stories with music that tickles and moves the spirit. This free concert will be at the historic meeting house of Plainfield Friends at 105 S. East Street in Plainfield. See the flyer here: http://bit.ly/2JDoHAo. Contact Phil Goodchild (email@example.com; 317-790-9054) with any questions. We hope you will join us!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
America’s Immigration Crisis ~ Tonight, Wednesday, July 17th, 7:00-8:30pm, the Indianapolis Peace & Justice Center will present Julie Sommers Neuman, Executive Director of Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN) to discuss the current crisis at our southern border, and the realities of immigration here in Indiana. An attorney with practical experience helping those seeking asylum here, she can help us understand the tension between the U.S. as a historical nation of immigrants and the current political uproar. The event will be held at the Indiana Interchurch Center dining room, 1100 W. 42nd St, 46208. This event is free and open to the public! Questions? Call 317-603-8874.
Rise Up Sing Along! ~ Save the date for singing with Jim and Jesse. Jesse has been showing up on Sundays and in the garden. He and Jim gave us a high energy, highly enjoyable evening in June. Join the Sing Alongers in the Parlor on Friday July 19th for another evening of free fun. Mark your calendars!
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
Men! Quaker men! Are you the kind of guy who likes to rise early, do a little work then eat a nice hearty breakfast of pancakes and eggs? Are you a lumberjack kind of guy? If so, I have just the event for you. There is a tradition that the Quaker Men prepare a pancake and egg breakfast for attendees during the Western Yearly Meeting sessions. This year the breakfast will be on Saturday July 27. Volunteers will need to be at the WYM facility in Plainfield between 6:30 and 7:00am ready to go to work. If you would like to participate in this fun robust masculine fellowship contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what has been blooming in the Butterfly Garden last week: we have 2 types of bee balm, monarda fistulosa (the pale lilac one and a cultivar with magenta flowers, spiderwort, black-eyed Susans, and false sunflower. The insects have been busy moving from flower to flower pollinating the plants and supporting agricultural efforts in the neighborhood.
One of my favorite insects enjoying the bee balm was a clear wing moth, also known as a hummingbird moth. When I first saw one, I wondered at the size of this tiny hummingbird. Then, on closer inspection, I saw that it was actually a moth that moves in the same way as a hummingbird. Read more about this moth here: https://www.hummingbird-guide.com/hummingbird-moth.html
While I find mosquitoes annoying, I am very concerned by the rampant use of commercial mosquito sprays that have sprung up in the metro Indy area. These companies are spraying chemicals from the permethrin family. While in general they are safe for humans, they are toxic to cats and our insect population such as monarch butterflies and lightening bugs. See this well written blog post: https://colinpurrington.com/2018/09/buzz-on-mosquito-sprays/
Please don’t use these companies. Instead, use personal insect repellent, wear long sleeves and put a fan on your porch or outdoor seating area. (Most mosquitoes are weak flyers and a breeze blows them away.) The rest of our beloved insect world thanks you. Also, please water your trees during times of prolonged heat and lack of rain. Drought severely affects the health of our trees.
If you want to know more about the world wide effort by Quakers to care about creation, sign up for a webinar hosted by FWCC (Friends World Committee on Consultation) http://fwcc.world/events/webinar-quakers-coming-together-to-care-for-the-earth
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 email@example.com. 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.
Garden Thank Yous and Alerts
Thanks to Barbara who donated garden tools to the Community Garden. We will make good use of them.
Thanks to those who are helping to weed and water the raised beds of vacationers.
Thanks to helpers who are battling the Japanese beetle invasion by hand-picking, using soapy water to clean up the beetle infestation and fighting with Neem.
Thanks to all those contributing to the upkeep of the Hope and pantry plots.
Thanks to Cathy who has supplied beautiful yellow and orange Cannas to our meeting grounds for several years.
Meanwhile, the stink bugs are coming. We have spotted copper-colored egg clusters on the underside of squash plants. Smash those eggs before they hatch!! The adults quickly suck the life out of many types of produce.
More veggies are ready for the Mid-North Food Pantry. Hurrah!
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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 email@example.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 know (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. There are still spots available! The retreat will be held at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove. For more information and to register, please visit http://bit.ly/FFWomensRetreat. Scholarships are available—please contact the office to inquire about scholarships (email@example.com).
This Week’s Queries
Where is my life a little wild, currently?
How am I seeing God as good in the midst?
Who do I have a hard time seeing that of God within?