As Way Opens
I attended most of the annual session of Western Yearly Meeting last week. One of the highlights of our time together was listening to Dwight Wilson, a Quaker living in Michigan that is a writer, activist, speaker, former head of Friends school and a volunteer that rocks babies every week at the local hospital. Dwight challenged us to follow Jesus and embrace the Holy Spirit in leading us to do the right thing in our daily lives. Dwight read from his book Modern Psalms, In Search of Peace and Justice. a lament to God for justice and an expression of love and joy in the midst of brokenness. Here is Psalm 3 and 4 from his book:
Beneath the half moon,
we realize that Your desire
is for our whole heart.
When complete is possible
never are You satisfied
with tiny bits of effort.
We remove our eyes
from that which is lurking
in the shadows of the Center.
Blessed is obedience
to the One who is our all.
Through serving You we understand
that all creation is worthy of respect,
the future as well as the past and present,
our neighbors as well as our families,
our enemies as well as our friends.
We dug in our heels,
two steps from the brink
of yet another chasm.
The fear of a concentrated push made us tremble - but not surrender.
Denials of access did not hurt us most.
Our pain was born of the lie
that the playing field was level.
Trying another way, we discovered
walls that were constructed
high and venomously.
Still we prepared to scale the bulwark.
You arrived riding an ocean of love.
Proudly we sing Your praises.
We have been chosen as the ones
to help build a pathway to the stars.
May we recognize that God has chosen us to help build a pathway to the stars!
Joys & Concerns
Thank you to our First Friends volunteers who assisted in building a ramp with SAWs this past weekend! David Beatty, Derek Snell and his daughter Melanie all volunteered. Thank you for your service!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Check out our newly filtered water fountain! The water fountain down by the classrooms is now filtered! If you try the water now, we’re confident you’ll find it tastier than ever! Feel free to try it out next time you’re here.
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 (email@example.com) if you’re interested in volunteering!
Say "Cheese!" Did you know that First Friends publishes a pictorial directory every 4 years? This is a great way to get to know the names and faces of the members and attenders of our Meeting. It's also a great opportunity for a family portrait. Photographers will be at First Friends September 11-14 for the photoshoots. Schedule your photoshoot now! The photography session is free and you will have a fresh new photo for you and your family for the directory! Along with a free copy of the directory, each family will receive a free 8x10” printed photo. To book your photoshoot, please visit https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/b0ckk62y/. If you have any questions, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Changing Footprints Needs Your Help! ~ Carol D and Witness & Service invite you to a “Changing Footprints and shoe sorting experience” on Sunday, Aug-25, from 1 – 3 pm. Changing Footprints, located at 9302 N. Meridian St., is an all-volunteer organization that collects and re-distributes used shoes to many organizations around Indianapolis and around the world. After Meeting for Worship, grab a bite to eat and then join us in this “sole-saving” experience. Folks of all ages can help.
Western Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting 2019 Projects ~ Thank you to everyone who has already donated to either or both of our 2019 summer outreach projects. Your generosity helps us reach those in need far across different corners of the world!
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.
Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) was created to increase communication and understanding among the variety of Quaker expression. We have been separated from each other based on theological understandings. In plain speech, each branch felt that the other had gone down the wrong spiritual path and we lost much of our strength as a movement. Recently, FWCC has been trying to raise the awareness of climate impacts on our Quaker family throughout the globe. FWCC leaders are encouraging Quakers to learn how to communicate our shared passion for Creation Care. This is not a liberal or conservative issue- it is a universal concern.
Adrian Halverstadt of Barclay College gave some helpful Biblical lessons as we reach out to Evangelicals about Creation Care.
He emphasized the love of Jesus: Jesus said, “I have come so you can have the life God intended” (John 10:10) “For judgment, I have come into the world.” (John 9:39). He explains that “judgment” in Greek is “Krisis” which means, “to make right; to reestablish to an original state of being.” Additionally, he outlined the original design for the world in Genesis 1:26, 28. The word dominion has been incorrectly translated from the Hebrew word, “Radah”. “Radah” means “bearing responsibility to bring about the purpose of God.” God saw what God created and "it was good". Therefore, we have a responsibility to care for the marvelous creation that God has created for us and our fellow creatures. This is a very different understanding of how dominion has been interpreted.
What should we do to care for creation? Talk about your concern about climate collapse. Find ways to reduce your consumption: plan menus to reduce food waste, increase the amount of plant based meals you eat, drive fuel efficient cars, buy carbon off sets when you fly, be energy efficient in your home and consider, do I really need to buy this?
Share your thoughts with our Creation Care Team: Mary Blackburn, Kathy Farris, Ed Morris and Dan Mitchell.
Community Garden Update ~ Dragonflies, swallowtail butterflies, hawks, house wrens, goldfinches, ladybugs and a hummingbird are just a sampling of last Saturday’s garden visitors.Our garden is thriving despite late plantings and haphazard weather conditions. The cistern ran dry Sunday, so hopefully the thunderstorms have relieved that situation.
Shout outs to:
those helping out-of-town gardeners by tending their plots
Ed K. for cutting the grass around the plots
the mystery person who weeded the Hope plot
additional volunteers to harvest and deliver more frequently to Mid-North Food Pantry including weeks First Friends isn’t volunteering there. Contact Nancy or Sam
The world is a better place when people help one another and collaborate like we do in our Community Garden!
“Be good to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
“You just call on me brother when you need a hand.
We all need somebody to lean on.
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand.
We all need somebody to lean on.”
Bridge from “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers
This Week’s Queries
Where have you seen God this week?
How has God been good to you?