As Way Opens
It seems almost ironic, or maybe I should say poignant, that at the height of all the current racial tensions in our country, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Laureate novelist and a voice of national conscience, Toni Morrison died on Tuesday at the age of 88. Many of Morrison’s books have already become modern classics (The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved) and are considered mandatory reading in high schools across America. Honestly, I think we all would be better people if we took the time to read her body of work and allow it to help process the struggles in our country and in our own hearts.
If you have ever read Toni Morrison’s books, you know that they depict an unfiltered view of African American life and history. They overwhelmingly engage, with integrity and redemption, the darker side of humanity that needs acknowledged and faced for change to take place.
This week I challenge us to turn off the news channels, talk radio programs, and social media. Then honor the life of this giant in American literature by going to our local library, e-reader, or bookstore to find a Toni Morrison book to devour, ponder, and, most importantly, have a conversation with someone about. Please note: Morrison’s books are not easy reads and often deal with disturbing subjects, but I guarantee they give us new perspectives to wrestle with and consider.
“The function of freedom is to free someone else”
Grace and peace,
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
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 https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/b0ckk62y/. If you have any questions, please contact the office at email@example.com.
Do you have a couch you need to get rid of? We are looking to give our Seeking Friends room a fresh look! If you have a gently-used couch you are looking to get rid of, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-255-2485. The couch should be in good condition, without stains or pet hair, and come from a smoke-free home. 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 on Thursday, August 15 at 7:00pm. See locations here: http://bit.ly/2YOxCqV.
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.
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 August 16th for another evening of free fun. Mark your calendars!
The Community Garden is a great place to find pollinators at work. In the last Friend to Friend we pictured a yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly; this time we found a black swallowtail. Many types of bees and moths visit and live in our plots. We harvest among the wildlife. Bees are busy going about their business—too busy collecting pollen to feel threatened by busy gardeners minding their own business. No stinging in this bright, oxygen-supplying piece of land (not that we recommend cornering bees)!
Gardeners are harvesting and sharing tomatoes, zucchinis, herbs, squash, cucumbers, radishes, onions, carrots, greens and more. Hope you are enjoying your summer and healthy, nutritious produce. Eating well is part of caring for God’s creation—being a steward. You are made in God’s image and are precious to your Maker and Provider.
“Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.” —Leviticus 25:24
“You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the Lord. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.” —Leviticus 26:2 – 4
Degrees of Change ~ Climate change is in the news. Europe has experienced the highest summer temperatures in recent history and the ice sheets on Greenland are melting at an accelerated rate. In my new neighborhood, a few older spruce trees were removed due to disease. Even though they weren’t healthy, I immediately could feel the temperature difference when they were gone. Shade trees can cool the air beneath by 8 degrees! Instead of 90, 82 degrees feels pretty good.
So plant a tree and care for it. For more information, read this blog from Science Friday on things you can do to make a difference: https://mailchi.mp/sciencefriday/degrees-of-changeclimate-change-affects-every-community-differently-301913?e=22430bedd7
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.
Oak Leaf: Meeting for Reading’s pick for the month of August is Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L Friedman! The discussion will be led by Nancy S on Tuesday August 27th at 7 pm in the Parlor. New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/books/review/thomas-friedman-thank-you-for-being-late.html. Contact the office at email@example.com if you’d like to receive email updates.
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.
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. Come join the retreat, enjoy Fellowship, and learn more about yourself. 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.
Queries to Help Nurture Simplicity
1. Will I own this thing, or will it own me?
2. How large of an ecological footprint does this item leave?
3. How much does creation have to pay for me to have this item?
4. Are there ways to make purchases further the Kingdom of God?
5. Are there purchases I can make that will help charities (double the good)?
6. Am I buying things for their usefulness, not their status?
7. Do I reject anything that may be producing an addiction in me?
8. Am I developing a habit of giving things away? (i.e. de-accumulate and/or downsize)
9. Am I simply believing all the hype and not seeking the Truth?
10. Am I learning to enjoy things without owning them? (using the library, borrowing tools or sugar from a neighbor)
11. Am I developing a deeper appreciation for creation?
12. Am I rejecting anything that will breed the oppression of others?
13. Am I shunning whatever would distract me from my main goal?