Issue 77, February 2022
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE
Greetings and best wishes for midwinter. We have some wonderful news from the Friends Center community to share with you below.
Sadly, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week, we also mourn the outbreak of a new “hot war” on the European continent. As I was writing this, a convoy of cars with Ukrainian flags was on its way down 15th Street to a demonstration at City Hall.
How to respond? I found hope in yesterday’s statement from the American Friends Service Committee, one of Friends Center’s equity partners: “The invasion of Ukraine must be stopped – but U.S. military aid is not the answer.”
Quakers are one of the traditional “peace churches.” As a key founder of Quakerism, George Fox, wrote in 1650, we strive to “live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion for all wars.” While most of you working at Friends Center are not members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), I know you share this vision for a better, more peaceful world, because of the work you do.
Let us keep working for that change here at home—to increase every Philadelphian’s access to health, education, housing, and the arts, to end gun violence, to support civil rights—even as we support peace in the wider world, too. And if you’d like to learn more, the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College has a list of resources on the Quaker Peace Testimony.
—Chris Mohr, Executive Director
AROUND FRIENDS CENTER
Wednesday, March 23, 4:00 p.m.
Race Street Meetinghouse
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
This event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and Friends Select School cordially invite you to the dedication of an official state historical marker commemorating Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932). We will gather at the Race Street Meetinghouse for a dedication ceremony. Following the ceremony, we will walk to Broad and Arch Streets, where we will unveil a marker at the site of a home where Dickinson frequently stayed in the 1870s and 1880s.
EQUITY PARTNER NEWS
Friends are invited to come together for worship, fellowship, and business! Join our wider Yearly Meeting community for events in Philadelphia, online, and at your home meeting. Details of Continuing Sessions available here.
FYI: Marriage Under the Care of the Meeting
Friends conduct a meeting for marriage—the wedding ceremony—as a meeting for worship. The meeting appoints a clerk for the meeting and the couple chooses two witnesses, who will sign the certificate of marriage. The couple chooses their own vows, in consultation with the committee appointed to arrange the meeting for marriage. In the meeting itself, the couple sits together and their guests and the members of the meeting sit as they would in a normal meeting for worship. The clerk opens the meeting by explaining how things will go, mostly for the benefit of family and friends of the couple, who may not be familiar with our way of worship. The meeting begins with worship. After a time of worship, the clerk invites the couple to exchange vows and rings, and the couple and their witnesses sign the wedding certificate. The certificate is then read aloud. Then worship continues, with spoken messages if persons are so moved. When it seems to the clerk that the meeting is fully gathered and the messages have all been given, she or he closes the meeting and the couple and wedding party withdraw. All present are invited to sign the wedding certificate as witnesses themselves after the meeting.
If you seek to be married after the manner of Friends and under the care of the meeting, contact the committee (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 215-241-7260) to get started. The committee will arrange a clearness committee that works much like a clearness committee for membership. It will meet with you and you will talk together until both you and the committee are clear that the marriage should go forward as requested, or not.
If yes, the clearness committee brings a recommendation to Membership Care Committee, and then after committee’s discernment, the committee brings a recommendation to the meeting for business in worship. If the meeting approves, then Membership Care appoints a committee to help you arrange the meeting for marriage.
This past week Rob Marcus, founder of Coaching Corps Racial Equity and Access in Youth Sports Task Force, met with members from the Collaborative, Eric Worley from Philadelphia Youth Basketballand Valencia Peterson from Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention, to gain insight on the impact sport has on Philadelphia’s community.
Valencia “Coach V” Peterson, Founder & CEO of ODAAP Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention provided unique insight into her organization’s mission and how she uses football to connect with young men. She describes how inequity in access to sports during the pandemic negatively impacted her violence prevention efforts. Coach V also discusses working together with other local leaders and organizations in the Collaborative to overcome these barriers.
Eric Worley, Co-founder & Program Director of Philadelphia Youth Basketball discusses the rich basketball tradition of his organization and the role it plays in building his kids as students, athletes, and positive leaders in the community. While some of the barriers have historically pertained to systemic issues like lack of access to out-of-school programs and recreation centers, his organization, Philadelphia Youth Basketball, and the Collaborative, are educating city leaders on the principles of sports-based youth development and making great strides in growing their support.
Winter Concert–Learn to Walk Together
Saturday, March 5, 2022, 7 pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 13 N. 38th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Tickets available here: https://singingcityboxoffice.wazala.com
Presenting the world premiere of A New Day is Rising by Ethan Haman set to poetry by Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate Cydney Brown
Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Kenneth Chamberlain. Amadou Diallo. John Crawford. These African-American men are the subjects of Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, a powerful multi-movement choral work by Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson. Seven movements represent the last words from seven lost lives. Using the text structure of the Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ, each victim’s last words are set in a different musical style and Thompson incorporates the L’homme armé (The armed man) Renaissance French secular tune throughout.
With works by Moses Hogan, William Dawson, Matthew Emery, Undine Smith Moore, and Jake Runestad.
Art-Reach’s John Orr quoted in Inquirer article 2/25/22:
Arts venues learn to make their spaces welcoming with sensory-friendly shows.
How one theater is making it happen.
“You see [programming for neuro-diverse audiences] growing. It’s really encouraging to see places embracing it,” said John Orr, Art-Reach’s executive director. He now describes Philadelphia as a leader. “This can rewrite the book on what arts interaction looks like.”
» See full article (paywalled)
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
African American Children’s Book Fair
Sat., 2/26/2022, 1-4 pm
The 30th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair – LIVE and IN PERSON will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th Arch Street on Saturday, February 26, 2022, from 1:00 to 4 p.m. Hosted by the African American Children’s Book Project, the book fair is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for children’s books in the country. Games, prizes and promotional giveaways will highlight the afternoon. A wide selection of affordable Black children’s books will be available for purchase.
Surgical mask are required at all times.
There is also a Covid-19 protocol in place.