As Way Opens
A few years ago, when I was in the Northwest Yearly Meeting, I was moved to speak out of the silence at the end of our Annual Yearly Meeting sessions. I shared my hope for our Yearly Meeting through a blog post that I had written originally for my own meeting. The post’s lyrics and phraseology resembled Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech only with my own thoughts and words about our Yearly Meeting. This week as I have been preparing for Western Yearly Meeting Sessions, I returned to that post and decided once again to update it for my current situation. May it inspire us to dream, come together, and think about a hopeful future as Quakers in Indiana and Illinois.
Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Spirit of God.
I have a dream that one day soon our Western Yearly Meeting of Friends will rise up and live out the gospel (good news) without shame, fear, or hesitation.
I have a dream that one day people who we have offended, and those who have offended us will be able to sit down together at the table of reconciliation.
I have a dream that one day our local meetings will be a place known for freedom and a place of justice for ALL people – no matter their race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, life circumstance, financial status, or capacity to understand and comprehend God’s mysteries.
I have a dream that our children and youth will not be judged on external factors like appearance, special needs, skills, or abilities, and instead be judged by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day as I look out over our Yearly Meeting gathered I will be able to see women and men, young and old, ALL ministers; each and every one a worshiper of God involved in the work of the ministry, not out of guilt but out of a deep love that was modeled by Jesus Christ.
I have a dream of a Yearly Meeting that is passionate about sharing their Quaker faith and its distinctives with those hopeless and broken in our neighborhoods and communities here and abroad. A dream that we would not be fearful, but compassionate, articulate, giving, and loving as we live out the good news through service to our neighbors.
I have a dream that we would, each one of us, take seriously our obligation to study the Bible and other great resources that support our faith, so that we may be able to love God and love our neighbors to the fullest extent.
I have a dream that this Yearly Meeting would rise up above its struggles and divisions to become a shining light to the Midwest and to the world. Not for the recognition by the community, nor for the praise of other Quakers, nor for the glory of our Yearly Meeting, but for the glory of God and God alone!
And on our way to that day, we will be able to join hands and sing the words of the worship anthem:
"There is no one like our God. Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this [Yearly Meeting], greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done here.”
Grace and peace,
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-790-9054) with any questions. We hope you will join us!
Joys & Concerns
We are thankful for our Mid-North Food Pantry Volunteers: Linda and Rik L, Christie M, Kathy R, Mara S, Carol and Jim D. We were very busy and served 97 clients. Thanks to all who support the Pantry!
Here’s what’s blooming in the Butterfly Garden this week! Joe Pye Weed, tall yellow coneflower and lavender hyssop.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Western Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions ~ This weekend, July 25-28, all are encouraged to attend Western Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions, this year themed “Unleash the Love, Release the Power.” This year on Sunday we will enjoy Music from Around WYM & Hymn Sing at 9:30, and then a worship service at 10:30 with singing, a worship message by Ron Bryan, and silent worship. We will also hold a retirement reception for Wanda Coffin Baker. For the full tentative schedule, please visit Western Yearly Meeting’s website at www.westernyearlymeeting.org.
If you are staying local this weekend, this Sunday, July 28, there will not be a full service but we will hold unprogrammed worship here at First Friends in the Parlor at 10:15am (Please note, there will be no unprogrammed worship service at 9am.) Childcare will be provided.
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 email@example.com.
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading is coming this Tuesday night! Kathy R will be leading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah on the 30th of July at 7 pm in the Parlor. Click link for the New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/books/review-great-alone-kristin-hannah.html All are welcome!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 still need 1 more volunteer from 9:00-3:30am, and 3 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 (email@example.com) know if you’re interested in volunteering!
It is harvest time! We are enjoying reaping and eating the produce God has given as well as sharing some with Mid-North Food Pantry. According to Carol, pantry clients are “pleased to get” the fresh veggies and they go quickly!
ESR Leadership Conference ~ Earlham School of Religion invites you to their 2019 Leadership Conference, Strategy & Ethics for Quaker Business. It will be held Friday-Saturday, August 16-17 and will feature Anne Houtman, President of Earlham College and Luvisia Molenje, President of Mastermind Media Corp. They are extending a special offer for First Friends members and attenders- you can register now at their student rate of $50. This fee covers registration for the Conference as well as all meals (Friday night dinner, Saturday breakfast and lunch). If you’re interested in signing up or want more information, please visit: https://esr.earlham.edu/leadership-conference-2019
Living Well, Dying Well ~ All are invited to a free event hosted by Epworth United Methodist Church. “Living Well, Dying Well, Once You are Eligible for Medicare” is a free program that helps people plan for matters such as Medicare, wills, funerals, assisted living, and more. It is being held on Saturday, September 7 from 9:00am-noon. Throughout the day there will be different sessions on a variety of topics led by guest speakers and experts. Join us that day at Epworth United Methodist Church, at the corner of 65th St and Allisonville Road, Indianapolis. For more information see the flyer at http://bit.ly/2Y2XkIZ.
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.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about scholarships.
This Week’s Queries
Where have you seen God this week?
How has God been good to you?