Friends Center Tenant Newsletter

Issue 81, September 2022


On September 12th, 2022 Friends Select School held the ribbon-cutting for their new STEAM Building at 1520 Race Street! (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.)

            We closed on the sale just 13 months ago. With the interior almost completely rebuilt, the building opened last week, just in time for the new school year.

            In his remarks, Head of School Michael Gary acknowledged the school’s partnerships with Friends Center and CPMM, which enabled the project to happen.

            FSS plans a formal grand opening event later this fall.

            Meanwhile, back here in 1501 Cherry Street, our general contractor has scheduled the final building inspection for Friends Child Care Center’s new space and expects to get the Certificate of Occupancy by the end of the week. Then the Health Department and DHS will do their own inspections over the next two weeks. The new facility should be in operation by 10/3. We will then clean the conference and meeting rooms and place back in service.

            FCCC expects to have a grand opening this fall, too. Details will be shared once we have them.            Thanks to the many Friends Center board and committee members who advised and assisted on one or both projects. And a huge thank you to our staff, who have done so much on the ground to smooth the way for both projects. Friends Center is blessed to have such a good team supporting these major changes. Thank you all!

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director



Family Camping Weekend: Hosted by PYM Youth Programs

Youth Programs staff will host this weekend at a PA State Park Campground, and welcome family units of adult(s)+kid(s) and other camping-friendly Friends to join in intergenerational community.

Bonus: Sunday, Oct. 2 is World Quaker Day, which we will celebrate together!

  • Cost: $10/child or youth and $15/adult, or $50 for a family of 4 or more. Scholarships are available.
  • Registration Deadline: September 23

Register here.


Anti-Racist Youth Mixtape

Freedom School

This event will be about AFSC’s efforts at educate scholars to think critically about the history of race and racism in the United States as well as give them tools to address issues. The workshop will be an effort to respond to questions around youth’s role in movements of social justice. The facilitators of our workshop will be Realign (Dr. Elizabeth Eikmann, Dr. Tan Taylor, and Dr. Cindy Reed).

Saturday, September 24th 9am-5pm
Sunday, September 25th 11:30am-5pm.
Location: St. Louis Friends Meetinghouse, 1001 Park Avenue., St. Louis, MO, 63104
Stipend: $200 Visa Debit Cards are available for completing the training

Note: There’s limited seating so please register today! This is a first come basis event.

More Info: Jonathan Pulphus Program Associate)

E: T: 314-556-4633




In August, we bade farewell to our Meeting Secretary, Dan Zemaitis. Dan started with us in December, 2018, and did an excellent job keeping our Meeting organized, especially during the challenge of COVID19. We wish Dan well on his new journey.


Our new Office Administrator, Rachel Ellis Adams, has come on board! Rachel has been active in the Religious Society of Friends for more than 25 years, including service in Cambridge, MA, as Clerk of Young Adult Friends and as a member of Ministry & Counsel, and in Minneapolis, MN, as a member of the Peace & Social Concerns and the Adult Education committee. Currently, she is attending Green Street Meeting. We are looking forward to celebrating Dan and welcoming Rachel in person, at our coffee hour on September 18, following Meeting for Worship.


Jacob Bender of C.A.I.R Philadelphia Honored at ISNA Interfaith Banquet

C.A.I.R. Philadelphia is honored to announce that their former executive director and current creative director Jacob Bender received an award at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Annual Convention in Chicago to recognize his years of service to the American Muslim community and to CAIR. Jacob’s remarks can be read here.

            Thank you, Jacob, for your ongoing service to our communities!

Getting Ready for New Home Repair and Housing Development Funding and Resources

Description: New money will soon be available in Pennsylvania for home repair, housing development, and preservation. Senators Vincent Hughes and Nikil Saval were our champions in making this new $375 million in funding a reality.

            Join us on Friday, September 23rd at 10:00 am to talk about what we know so far about the new programs with a deeper dive into Whole Home Repairs.

            This webinar will feature Senators Hughes and Saval, and we will profile Philadelphia’s Built to Last Program—administered by the Philadelphia Energy Authority—that served as one of the models for Whole Home Repairs. We will specifically address how Built to Last could be adapted for a community of any size and provide you with ideas for how to get your own local program started and ready for new funding.

When: Friday, September 23, 2022
10 AM – 11 AM. This is an online event. More information available


22nd Annual Bucks Quarter Peace Fair

The Peace Fair, dedicated to promoting harmony in the home, the community, the environment and the world, will be held on the grounds of Buckingham Friends Meeting and Buckingham Friends School on Saturday, September 17, from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Highlights of the day will include information tables from organizations with peace-related messages and missions, non-competitive children’s games, family-friendly entertainment, crafts by local artisans and food for purchase.

World Quaker Day will take place on Sunday October 2nd, 2022 with the theme Becoming the Quakers the World Needs. 

World Quaker Day is an annual event where we celebrate the diversity of Quakerism around the world and build connections to make our community stronger.

This year, every Friends Church and Quaker Meeting is encouraged to send or receive visitors to or from another Quaker group, to bring greetings, build relationships and share ideas.

You can see which Quaker groups in each Section are welcoming Friends here. (Please note the deadline to apply to be a host meeting for World Quaker Day 2022 has now passed.)

Also, you can download the World Quaker Day poster to display in your church or meeting house here. The posters are available to download in a number of different languages.

We welcome your participation in World Quaker Day. We are grateful for all you bring to the Quaker world.

February’s Newsletter: The War on Ukraine, Dedicating a Historical Marker, Continuing Sessions And SO MUCH MORE

Issue 77, February 2022


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  


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.



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.


On the Issues: Using love to #FreeThemAll this Valentine’s Day – YouTube


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.

The process

If you seek to be married after the manner of Friends and under the care of the meeting, contact the committee (, 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.

Click here to watch their full interviews

Singing City

Winter Concert–Learn to Walk Together

Saturday, March 5, 2022, 7 pm 
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 13 N. 38th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Tickets available here:

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)


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.