As Way Opens

This past weekend 25 women from First Friends gathered together at the Benedictine Inn Center to relax, reflect and engage with each other and consider the Enneagram as a tool to understanding ourselves and those within our orbit.

What an amazing time we had together as we enjoyed snacks (everyone brought their favorite snack), considered our Type in the Enneagram profile, thought about the people we love and their type and just enjoyed being with each other. We determined that it has been 9 years since our last women’s retreat, and we don’t want another 9 years to pass before we gather together again for a retreat.

I encourage everyone to investigate the Enneagram and how this profile identifies us and connects us spiritually. I identify as a Type 2 and journeyed deep in what that means for me.  I  faced the shadow side of Type 2 and considered the basic fear that I have of being unloved.  Every type has their gifts, their temptations, their desires and their fears.  Each type also has a wing type that we lean into as well as a type that we revert to when stressed and a type that feeds our essence and helps make us our best selves. I think we all left the retreat with much to reflect on and consider in exploring ourselves.

The best part of the weekend was just being together.  We had a diverse group of women - young and old as well as long-time members and newer attenders to First Friends.  We reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and deepened our relationships.  I know that every room I walked into during the weekend had a wonderful “hum” of conversation and energy.  We ended the weekend together with a beautiful and holy worship and prayer time.

I am thankful for the community of women at First Friends and how I experience God’s love and light through everyone here.  This is a very special place and I am thankful to be a part of this faith community.



Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities

Buddy Bags are here again this year! We are collecting food for the kids at Allisonville Elementary School Fall Break. We are going to have 30 bags this year and they will be delivered on October 2nd. What we need from you are the following donations: Microwaveable entrees, chicken salad with crackers, small jars of peanut butter, 4/packs of fruit cups, vegetables cups, pudding cups, and applesauce: small boxes of raisins, packets of oatmeal, boxes of Pop-Tarts, protein or granola bars, packages of peanut butter or cheese crackers, fruit roll ups and bags of goldfish. If you do not want to purchase food, cash or check donations will also be accepted. We all pulled together last year to make this work so we can do it again this year! Please contact the office at with any questions.

Soup & Service ~ You are invited to join our First Friends community for our Soup & Service event immediately after Meeting for Worship on Sunday, September 29. We always hold Soup and Service whenever there is a 5th Sunday in a month. During this informal luncheon we will enjoy fellowship as we learn more about one of Witness & Service’s outreach projects. You are invited to bring a dessert to share, but it is not necessary.  Please plan to attend.


Support Group, Anyone? ~ Jan H would like to start a book-based support group at the meeting for those experiencing family or relationship challenges (even if that challenging relationship is with yourself).  In harmony with the ideas that relationship difficulties are nearly always a two-way street, healthy relationships begin with healthy communication, and that our personal histories shape our present relationships, here are a few books to consider:

1.   “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

2.   “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz

3.   “How to Hug a Porcupine” by June Eding and Dr. Debbie Ellis

4.   “The Dance of Intimacy” by Harriet Lerner

5.   “The Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner

6.   “The Dance of Connection” by Harriet Lerner

7.   “How to Hug a Porcupine” by John Lund

You are also welcomed to invite other friends to participate in the group. If you might be interested in such a group, please follow this link to complete the brief interest and scheduling survey and recommend other book titles to consider: If you cannot access the survey, please contact the office at


Meditational Woods Bird of the Month for September:

Swainson’s Thrush: The Quiet Friend


We Quakers are known for our moments of silence, particularly during worship. Hopefully we will speak up when the time is right, and we are ready! When Swainson’s Thrushes migrate through our woods in May, they are numerous, and the song of the males indicates their presence: “Pur-reer reer ree ree ree” (flute-like, and rising in pitch). By mid-May they are gone from here on their way north.

In September and October Swainson’s are on their way back south and often quiet. Recently I was about halfway down the walk towrd the fountain, when I stopped to scan the small trees on the south side. I was startled to see, just a few feet from me, a Swainson’s Thrush sitting silently, having seen me long before I saw her/him. Yes, the genders look alike, and the species is recognized by the thrush (robin) shape but smaller, olive color on the back, and a buffy cheek. The eye rings are connected by a pale stripe over the bill: known by birders as “spectacles”.

Warning: Your next walk in the Meditational Woods may be monitored by a “quiet friend”!! ~Brad J

SPICES: A Series on Quaker Testimonies as Practiced in the Community Garden


6. Stewardship - This is the final article discussing the Quaker Testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship (SPICES) as practiced in the Community Garden. One reason for these articles is to portray the Garden as a microcosm of life. We can all practice these Testimonies at any time wherever we may find ourselves.

The last Testimony, stewardship, is one we take seriously in our Garden. We practice organic gardening so we can avoid introducing toxins into the environment and our bodies.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;19 you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.20” —1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, Revised Standard Version

Planting local is a wonderful way to practice stewardship since it reduces our carbon footprint. We use less fuel to obtain a portion of our food and we pollute less. The plants we grow create oxygen and contribute to Earth’s supply of clean air.

We delight in the leadership of environmentally conscious active youth. One young steward in our midst is Chelsea, who is working on her Gold Star project for Girl Scouts. She is constructing an improved recycling bin for us. It will be self-rotating and she will instruct gardeners in best practices for its use. We are continuing to learn from one and all in our garden as we experiment.  In addition, we allow ourselves to take risks and sometimes make mistakes. We know we can learn from experience.

Community Garden stewardship practices include enriching spent soil with new, healthy earth and using cover crops like oats and clover. We also rotate crops, sanitize tools and battle pests and disease using organic methods. Some techniques include handpicking bugs and using safe pesticides/fungicides like neem and soapy water and spreading sharp objects like holly leaves to discourage small animal pests.We use organic starts and seeds when possible; practice companion planting; use our own cistern and plant flowers to attract pollinators.We are planning a milkweed plot to support the only plant where monarch butterflies will lay their eggs and which their caterpillars will eat.

Friends gardeners seek to enhance our environment and improve this marvelous gift we are privileged to call home, our precious Earth. Let us cherish and preserve it together. If we each act as stewards we are less likely to become an extinct species anytime soon. Our progeny are counting on us!

The Friends gardeners offer heartfelt thanks to you for supporting the Community Garden.  Remember to attend the Harvest Pitch-In on November 3rd after Meeting for Worship. You are invited!


Youth Group Dates & Events! We are excited for another year of Youth Group! We will have a series of fun outings and events, along with sessions held in the basement after Meeting for Worship until 1:00, with lunch provided. Here is the complete Youth Group schedule for the rest of the year.

  • October 13th – Putt-putt golf at Birdies in Westfield

  • November 3rd - Youth group with Aaron and Michelle

  • December 6th - Annual Christmas party in the basement

  • January 12th - Youth group with Aaron and Michelle

  • February 2nd - Bowling at Woodland Bowl

  • March 8th - Youth group with Aaron and Michelle

  • April 17th - SkyZone Glow Night

  • May 3rd - Youth group with Aaron and Michelle

We will also be planning a trip to Kings Island next summer. We hope your kids can join us for any or all of these dates!


Experiment with Light! Friends, all are invited as we start our own program. This is a continuation of the lovely meditation experiment presented by Jaime Mudd in June.

We will be gathering at the Meeting House on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, starting October 15, at 7:00 pm for 90 minutes. To register, please contact the office at 317-255-2485 or Please register by October 8th. If you have any questions, please contact the office. They'll send your questions to one of the facilitators. Facilitators: Jill Frame, Ed Morris, Mary Ellen Lohr and Sam Ryan. For those who expressed interest before, it would be great if you would confirm your interest with the office. That will help us properly set up the room, prepare materials, and so forth. It's an amazing opportunity to grow both individually and as a community. Hope you join us.