Welcome to two new tenants and other news, 12/23

Welcome to Womanist Working Collective & Defenders Association of Phila.

Friends Center is pleased to welcome two new tenants to our community: the Womanist Working Collective (WWC), and the Defenders Association of Philadelphia/UAW Local 5502.

WWC is a radical grassroots social action and support collective for Black folks of marginalized gender experience, specifically women (trans* and cis), femmes, and other gender expansive folx.

»      Learn more: https://www.womanistworkingcollective.org/

The Defender Association of Philadelphia is the union for attorneys of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. The union is Local 5502 of the United Auto Workers.

»      Learn more: https://twitter.com/DefUnionPhila

Please introduce yourself if you happen to meet your new neighbors. In fact, I encourage you also to introduce yourself to folks who may not be so new, whether you haven’t met them before, or just haven’t seen them in a while!

A strength of Friends Center is our sense of community. Like so many communities, ours has become a bit more fragmented from the experience of the pandemic. Small opportunities to get to know one another, at least by name as well as face, can help rebuild our sense of connection.

With warm regards for the year-end holidays,

Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Friends Center will be closed on the following days:

  • Monday, 12/25
  • Tuesday, 12/26
  • Monday, 1/1

Please download and save the full list of 2024 holidays:

Covenant House Pennsylvania’s “Sleep Out” returned to Friends Center 11/16-17/2023

Friends Center was pleased to welcome Covenant House Pennsylvania back to the facility for their overnight Sleep Out event in the courtyard. As Covenant House writes, “The Sleep Out is not about pretending to be homeless. We Sleep Out to show our solidarity with those who are—and to let the world know about the ever-growing population of young people who face homelessness. And there’s more to Sleep Out than a night without a mattress. Sleep Out raises critical funds to help Covenant House provide 24/7 shelter, sanctuary, and support to youth overcoming homelessness.” Many thanks to Erick Emerick for staffing the overnight shift in support of the event.

Friends Select School & Friends Child Care Center to Collaborate on New Mural

Art students from the FSS Upper School will be painting a mural on the wall of the Lower Level hallway in a piece inspired by the Friends Child Care Center. Stay tuned for an announcement when this bright addition to our communal space is finished!


AFSC and numerous other Quaker organizations have called for a ceasefire and humanitarian protections in Gaza. Their statement reads in part:

“Quakers believe in the sacred worth of each person and stand against violence in all its forms. As Quaker organizations, we mourn all lives lost and lament with everyone who is suffering. We grieve for those in Israel and Palestine who have lost precious lives. We pray with those waiting for the return of loved ones and those living under siege and bombardment….

“Quakers have a long history of carrying out humanitarian assistance and leading efforts to build peace in situations of conflict. We hold that principles under International Humanitarian Law, including the 4th Geneva Convention, must be respected.…

“We call on international leaders of all countries to bear witness to this message and show the way of peace.”

Signers in addition to AFSC are the Canadian Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers in Britain, Quakers Australia, and the Quaker United Nations Office. The full statement is here.


On Sunday Nov. 19, CPMM held an informal panel presentation about the diverse ways in which CPMM Friends experience worship. Becky Birtha and Lee Junker were presenters. In a faith tradition where there is no or minimal preplanned program, it can be helpful to hear how others approach meeting for worship.

Also of note:

  • CPMM held a book fair to display recently banned books. (Banned elsewhere, that is!)
  • Community Hymn Singing takes place most Sundays at 10:00 before meeting for worship at 11 am. Communal singing can uplift our spirits in these trying times—all are welcome!


Fall continuing sessions were held November 11 at Historic Arch Street Meeting House. Minutes are posted online.

PYM noted the recent release of “Rustin, ” a new movie about Bayard Rustin, the Quaker who was the chief planner of the 1963 March on Washington. It was released in theaters on November 3, and streaming on Netflix after November 17. The IMDB listing says, “Activist Bayard Rustin faces racism and homophobia as he helps change the course of Civil Rights history by orchestrating the 1963 March on Washington.” PYM offers additional resources about the life and work of this remarkable Friend at this link. AFSC also has a page about Rustin: https://afsc.org/newsroom/bayard-rustin

Community Ventures
Permanent shelter + affordable housing coming to 4th and Race

From Billy Penn, 11/21/23: “Officials broke ground yesterday on a new mixed-use development in Old City that’ll include 34 units of supportive housing for people facing chronic homelessness. The $20 million project, created in partnership with nonprofit developer Community Ventures, expands and makes permanent the shelter and services already offered by property owner Old First Reformed UCC, one of Philly’s oldest congregations.

Fun side note: Instead of demolishing a 1760 rowhome at the site, the whole thing is being relocated 48 feet south, per the city, and will be renovated and restored.”

Further fun side note from Friends Center: The land where our 1501 Cherry Street office building is today was once a burial ground for what is now Old First Reformed UCC!

Housing Alliance

New Report, November 2023:

“After the Pause: The Rise of Eviction Filings Post-Pandemic. A Statewide Eviction Analysis”

A new Housing Alliance study found that evictions have returned to pre-pandemic levels, after being cut in half during the pandemic by robust tenant protections and financial assistance programs. In particular, 115,000 Pennsylvania households a year, or 310/day, face eviction filings.

»     Full report: https://housingalliancepa.org/resources/after-the-pause-the-rise-of-eviction-filings-post-pandemic/

Singing City

Holiday Concert: Singing for the Season

Sunday, 12/10/2023, 3 pm

Arch Street Presbyterian Church, 1724 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Ring in the holidays with Singing City! Featuring John Rutter’s Gloria with brass & organ, and Robert Ray’s Gospel Magnificat, with jazz/gospel soloist, piano, bass, and drum. Also featuring works by Randall Thompson, C.L. Alwes, Jennifer Lucy Cook, Andrea Ramsey, and more.

» Reserve a ticket here. Children 12 and under free.

Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative
Summit on Women in Sports

Congratulations to Beth Devine and the entire team at PYSC on their first ever PYSC Summit: Women in Sports. At the summit, held November 1, Philadelphia’s greatest female sports advocates unite to address equal opportunities for women in sports. Read more: https://www.pysc.org/pyscsummit/