As Way Opens

Just before school started for Sue and after yearly meeting sessions, we took a very brief trip to Brown Country, Indiana. We started at the Indiana artist, T.C. Steele Historic Site just outside of Nashville in the town of Belmont. The 211 acres of land is gorgeous and awe-inspiring, often bringing to life the visions and sites of some of T.C. Steele’s paintings. I found myself wondering as we walked down the pathways, if the T.C. Steele painting hanging in our parlor at the Meetinghouse was represented in one of these actual locations. Then as we were preparing to head out, we happened across a sign on the side of a smaller studio which read,


“To a people these sanctuaries of the spirit are necessary for sanity and growth and I use the word “sanctuary” advisedly; for they are places not only for recreation and enjoyment but inspiration.”


Since I read that sign, I have pondered the “sanctuaries of the spirit” in my own life, often asking,

Do I have places I can retreat which are necessary for my sanity and growth - places that not only bring recreation and enjoyment, but inspiration as well? 


I first thought of my morning walks around the ponds by my home. Watching the ducks with their ducklings, the majestic Great Blue Heron, and the unexpected fish whose jump produces ripples in the water that shimmer in the morning sunrise.  


I also thought of the breaks I take in my week spent in our Meditational Woods. Where I am always greeted by a sense of the holy, and where the tree limbs create a beautiful dome to give refuge and protection for my thoughts and dreams.


Or how on some Fridays, I enter my sabbath rest at Newfields, sitting before some of my favorite paintings and works of art. Taking time to gaze deeply and be inspired by the rough brush strokes of Vincent van Gogh, the soft edges of Marc Chagall, the tricky illuminations of James Turrell, and the simple nature of Georgia O’Keefe.


As well, there are those sanctuaries of the spirit like my favorite chair at Hubbard and Cravens, the hammock in my backyard, my commute in to work, the isles of Luna Music, or simply sitting in our meetinghouse as the morning sun comes through our Quaker stained glass windows.


Do you have places you can retreat to which are necessary for your sanity and growth - places that not only bring recreation and enjoyment, but inspiration as well?  I encourage you to take time to find one this week.


Grace and peace,


Joys & Concerns

Let’s Give a Big “Thank You”
to our food pantry volunteers! Christie M; David B; Kathy and Bill F; Rik L; Phil G; Mara S; and Carol and Jim D.  Extremely busy as we served 113 families.  Several of the families said “thank you” to First Friends for helping with the pantry’s work.

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Watch out!
We have had the cracks in the asphalt of our parking lot repaired today. If you are coming to Wednesday night worship or stopping by the meetinghouse within the next two days, please be mindful and don’t park anywhere that may be marked off. Feel free to park along Parker street or in the grass if there’s no suitable parking spots. Thank you.


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 at our next meeting tomorrow, Thursday, August 15 at 7:00pm. See locations here:

Rise Up Sing Along! ~ Join us for a night of 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 July. Join the Sing Alongers in the Parlor on Friday August 16th at 7:00pm for another evening of free fun. 18 people were enthusiastically singing in July. Please join us!


A Discussion on 5G Cellular Antennas ~ It has come to our attention that some utility poles within a block of the Meetinghouse are being used by wireless carriers for cellular antennas and may be early test sites for a new type of 5G “Millimeter Wave” transmission over antennas known as “Small Cells.” Indianapolis has been designated a test market for this new technology, and some health and legislative concerns have been discussed at sites including and elsewhere on the web. This apparently has been decided with little public notification or consent. 

The Meeting is not prepared, without further scientific data and input from Members, to take a position on this rollout—which is why you’re invited to attend Meeting for Business this Sunday as we discuss the following question as new business: 

“Should First Friends host a community discussion on the following question: should our community consider pausing local 5g Small Cell/Millimeter Wave rollouts until sufficient scientific data is made available to reasonably ascertain whether any risks to public health, property, and legislative processes are acceptably balanced against the proposed benefits?”

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

See Norma W in Friends Journal! Norma W’s photo and comments appear in the August edition of Friends Journal, an issue focusing on QuakerSpeak. QuakerSpeak is a series of videos with a mission “to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives.” If you’d like to read the Friends Journal article, it can be found here:  The original video that Norma is in can be seen here: If you’d like to see more of QuakerSpeak’s videos, they can be found on their website at

The Underneath it All Grand Underwear Donation Blitz ~ We request donations of new underwear for school children from kindergarten up through high school. If it is not convenient for you to shop, you can leave a check made out to First Friends Meeting with a note that it is for Underneath it All. There is a box in Fellowship Hall for your donations. The underwear we donate goes to the John H. Boner Center where social workers pass it out when families come for assistance. We have done this for many years but have never tried to compress it into such a short time. Let’s try to accomplish this by September. Questions? Ask Linda Lee. Thank you for your generosity!


Meditational Woods Bird of the Month: Gray Catbird
Watching the Children Grow Up

From mid-May to mid-August, the Meditational Woods is filled with the sounds of youngsters, quite like summertime in the human world. In the latter, the month of August means the start of school, and for many children, a new school experience: the first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school, or university. So too, there are steps in the life of the avian youngster: hatching, life in the nest, life outside the nest as a juvenile, and, finally, becoming an adult.

This summer, among the 15 or so species that nested on the meetinghouse property, two pairs of Gray Catbirds put on an interesting display, especially once the youngsters were out of the nest, but still being fed by the parents. This is a couple of weeks filled with danger, and the parents were quick to scold me about my presence. The one of the pair that nested in the courtyard called from a cherry tree or the gutter, and both parents of the pair that nested just inside the woods entrance warned me to move along the walk. I circled back and sat on the Zink/Wyne bench (my favorite) so I could blend in to the background, and still watch the action. I am happy to report that as of today, at least two babies from each family has survived!!

With catbirds, the genders look alike, with a gray body, black cap, and a rusty undertail covert. The name comes from one of its calls, which sounds like a cat’s “Mew”. ~Brad J



Number One Community Gardener:  Mother Nature ~ Mother Nature is a superb educator on how to live an extraordinary life. She has retained her resilience and thrived for 3.8 billion years. “Nature is restless, always exploring, inventing, trying, and failing,” according to Tom Lovejoy, environmental science professor at George Mason University. “Each ecosystem, and each organism, is an answer to a set of problems,” Lovejoy says.

We can learn from Mother Nature. Failures are inevitable and part of the exploratory journey of life’s discovery process. If an experiment does not work, it is simply a steppingstone to the next risky venture (or safer venture because of the ground gained during the failure). Mother Nature flourishes amidst diversity and adapts as needed. We humans are part of this GRAND plan. We can approach life in the same vivacious manner as the Mother that Lovejoy describes. We are a part of the interdependent, connected LARGER reality.

The Community Garden has challenges and successes too. The cannas are still battling this year’s Japanese beetle attack. The tomatoes are doing well since cover crops, rest and crop rotation enhanced the soil. Purple peppers are appearing and a new crop in our garden, tomatillos,  is thriving. Try something new and something familiar. In this process lose your fear. Trust that you have the resources and support needed since you are a part of this amazing creation and Creator—Mother Nature. In the plant world, a void is an empty space full of potential opportunity for whatever is ready to fill it.

God be between you and harm in all the empty places you walk. —Egyptian blessing

A Fair Shot for All Children ~ All are invited to A Fair Shot for All Children: Feeding Children  Creates Productive Citizens. This program was created to generate an urgency to address child hunger in Indiana,  to engage more Hoosiers in creating solutions to end child hunger, and to encourage Senator Young to tackle child hunger as a key aspect of his agenda. Did you know:

  • 1 in 6 Hoosier children are food insecure

  • Indiana ranks 42nd in infant mortality

  • Every public university in Indiana has a food pantry for students

The event will be held on Thursday, August 22, 4:15-5:45pm at Noblesville First United Methodist Church, 2051 Monument St, Noblesville, IN 46060. Speakers include experts in pediatrics & nutrition, public educators addressing hunger in our school systems, and Senator Todd Young himself. We are trying to have over 300 folks show up to demonstrate the importance of food insecurity to Senator Young.  We hope that this event will raise awareness and that Senator Young will be motivated to encourage Federal government support for food assistance to those in need.  Will you join us?


Changing Footprints Needs Your Help! ~ Carol D and Witness & Service invite you to a “Changing Footprints and shoe sorting experience” on Sunday, August 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.


SUNDAY FUNDAY IS COMING SEPTEMBER 1st!  Earlier this year, our Youth Affirmation Students brought the idea of having our first-ever Sunday Funday to the business meeting. To their excitement, it was well received and approved.  Sunday Funday is an opportunity for everyone at First Friends to come together and worship through PLAY!  Be sure to bring the kids and the swimsuits, because there will be a bouncy house and a giant slip n’ slide! For those interested, Dan Mitchell is preparing a net for a rousing game of volleyball.  In the fellowship hall we will provide board games and puzzles for those wanting to stay out of the sun.  As most Labor Day Weekends, we will gather at our normal Meeting for Worship time (10:15am) in the meditational woods – starting with some singing, waiting worship, and hearing from our Affirmation Youth about their trip to Philadelphia. As a last hurrah to summer, we will have a PITCH-IN picnic so plan to bring a dish for sharing! (A-L: Salads and sides; M-Z: Desserts). We will provide the main dish. Mark your calendar and plan to come and enjoy worshipping through PLAY!

Helping the Food Pantry Go Green ~ As part of the Women’s Retreat in September we are undertaking the project of making reusable grocery bags for the pantry. They’re made out of tank tops, gathered at the bottom.

To that end we are collecting tank tops. They must be regular tank tops, not racer-back, spaghetti strapped, or have gigantic armholes. There will be a box by the Women’s Retreat sign up table to collect donations.

Thank you, in advance, for your donations.


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


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 complementary 8x10” printed photo. To book your photoshoot, please visit If you have any questions, please contact the office at

This Week’s Queries

  • When and where do you experience delight?

  • Why do you so often flee from delight?

  • How might you seek a sabbath of delight, wonder, and joy this week?