Summer Gatherings, Joyful Readers, George Fox at 400

Friends Center Tenant Newsletter
Issue 95 —- 6/2024

Shifting to Summer for Friends Center and Friends

Happy summer! For many people in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), summer is a season of gatherings. The big one is the Friends General Conference’s Gathering. For the first time in many years, the FGC Gathering will be held near Philadelphia, on the campus of Haverford College. And Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, one of our three equity partners, will have its Annual Sessions there immediately afterwards. (These Annual Sessions for business and fellowship for Quakers in eastern PA, southern NJ, DE, and the Eastern Shore of MD are what gave Philadelphia Yearly Meeting its name.)

This Saturday, Historic Arch Street Meeting House, our sibling institution, will celebrate the 400th birthday of Quakerism’s co-founder and key organizer, George Fox.

Read on for more details below!

Meanwhile, Friends Center remains open to serve your organization and the wider community. If you know of groups that need space to meet, do let us know!

Chris Mohr, Executive Director

JOYFUL READERS: Welcome to Friends Center!

Friends Center’s newest tenant is Joyful Readers, whose mission is to ensure that all students gain the literacy skills they need to become successful, confident, and yes…joyful readers! Their AmeriCorps tutors are serving full-time, supporting nearly 1,000 students with daily reading tutoring this year. Together with our school partners, they are working to make sure that our students can become successful, confident, and joyful readers.

» Learn more.

Prioritizing People over War in the US Federal Budget

AFSC recently called for elected officials to invest in health care, education, and public services that build just, sustainable communities. For a long time, the U.S. government has prioritized military spending over people. Since 9/11, there has been a more than 50% increase in military spending. The White House is requesting $895 billion for the Pentagon in FY25. In addition, President Biden approved $95 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, which could bring us to a total of $1 trillion just on military spending.

AFSC says it is time for a shift: “The 2024 federal budget presents a pivotal opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to human dignity and social justice. By prioritizing human needs over war and militarization, we can build a more equitable and prosperous society for all. Let’s urge our government to heed the voices of the people and invest in a future where compassion triumphs over conflict, and where the well-being of every individual is cherished and safeguarded.” 

» Read the full story.

Rise Up for Reparations!

A Multi-Faith Revival
6/30/2024, 2-4 pm
Friends Center

Join CPMM in proclaiming the urgent call for reparations in Philadelphia.  This festive event will be hosted by Rev. Jackie Newsome, with a welcome from Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. Speakers will include our own .O, as well as Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari, Rev. Michael Nabors, Aziz Nathoo, and others.  Songs will be provided by Pax Ressler, founder of the Rise Choir.

» Full announcement here.

Annual Sessions: Haverford College, 7/6-7/2024

PYM Annual Sessions will take place at Haverford College on Saturday, 7/6 and Sunday, 7/7. We hope all Friends will participate in a day-long program focused on attending to the Yearly Meeting’s business. There will be options to join online with Zoom, commute to Haverford College without staying overnight, or select from a range of overnight options.


The “Runway” to annual sessions includes:

On Zoom: Bible Study: June 26, 7:00 – 8:00pm | Meeting for Business: June 25, 7:00 – 8:15pm

In person: 6/29: George Fox’s Birthday Celebration at Arch Street

Bring your friends, your children, and your neighbors for a birthday party at Arch Street Meeting House! On 6/29 Friends in the Philadelphia area will celebrate and reflect on the legacy of Quakerism co-founder, George Fox. Event highlights include:

  • George Fox and Hannah Penn (historical re-enactors)
  • Outdoor and indoor games – including a dunk tank!
  • Food trucks, birthday cake and ice-cream
  • “Fox Forward” panel discussion: learning from the past, visioning a Quaker future (including speakers from AFSC and FWCC here at Friends Center).
  • Storytimes

This event is free and open to the public.

» Details:

“Quaker Connect is responding to the need of local Friends to develop a spirit of experimentation in partnership with God to support the members of their meetings and engage in issues important to their communities,” said Robin Mohr, Executive Secretary for FWCC Americas. “Quaker Connect will equip Quaker churches to be more clearly who they are meant to be: profoundly Quaker, deeply rooted, and highly visible in their local community. We are very pleased that Jade Rockwell has joined us at this pivotal point.”

Friends meetings and churches who wish to be considered for the first cohort of the Quaker Connect program should check the FWCC Americas website,, for updates. The application period is planned to open in September 2024. 

» Full announcement.

FCE Honors Deborra Sines Pancoe upon Retirement

As Associate Director of Friends Council, Deborra Sines Pancoe brought thousands of Friends school educators from numerous Friends Schools together in dynamic, engaging programming that is aligned with their needs as well as developments in the world around us. Deborra led the Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage (SPARC) program, brought SEED as an offering for Friends School educators, developed and led Educators New to Quakerism workshops, and ferried Friends Council programming through the pandemic. FCE was pleased to recognize her at their annual meeting earlier this year.

» Story here.

Building an Anti-Racist Future: A Report from CAIR’s Muslim Youth Leadership Summit

For its Muslim Youth Leadership Summit in Spring 2024, CAIR-Philadelphia partnered with MuslimARC for a dynamic one-day workshop designed to empower and equip young leaders with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to dismantle racism and Islamophobia in their communities. Through a comprehensive and interactive approach, participants delved into the complexities of anti-racist work and countering Islamophobia, exploring the systemic roots of these issues and practical ways to enact change.

» Read more.

The Gathering is a week of Quaker worship, workshops, and community for all ages. Friends come together from across the USA and Canada (and sometimes further) to deepen our connection to one another and the Spirit. For the first time in many years, the Gathering will be held in the Philadelphia region, at Haverford College.

» Details:

Johannesburg, South Africa & online

The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting (WPM) is a meeting for representatives from all four FWCC Sections to undertake FWCC business, surrounded by worship and fellowship with Friends from around the world. The theme is, “Living the Spirit of Ubuntu: Responding with hope to God’s call to cherish creation and one another.”

» Details:

Red, White, & Blue To-Do

July 2

The Meeting House will join Philadelphia’s Historic District to celebrate the first annual Red, White, & Blue To-Do! On Tuesday, July 2nd, America’s most historic square mile will host the Red, White, & Blue To-Do Pomp & Parade, musical performances, special extended hours at neighborhood museums and historic sites, restaurant specials, and so much more.

» Details here.