March 2024 Newsletter: Cherry Trees, Climate, and Curated by Carla

Issue 92, March 2024


The Cherry Trees on Cherry Street
Friends Center’s cherry trees—on Cherry Street, naturally—usually bloom twice a year: partially in December, and fully in late March or early April. This year they have bloomed almost continuously since November. With spring on the way, they are blooming more fully now, earlier than usual. And they never really stopped blooming since the winter. I can’t help but think it’s the result of our warming climate.

This week, Erick Emerick and I gave tours of Friends Center to students from Sandy Springs Friends School in Maryland. He pointed out Friends Center is not only a tool in itself for slowing climate change, it’s also a model of a sustainably built environment, which can inspire others to act, too. (In case you don’t already know: In 2009 we renovated Friends Center to the LEED Platinum level, with a geothermal heating and cooling system, green roof, solar panels, graywater capture system, and more. See our website for details.)

Recently I heard Princeton Professor Ruha Benjamin speak at the Parkway Central Library about her new book, Imagination: A Manifesto. She stresses that imagination isn’t a luxury. It’s a powerful tool for liberation. Whatever our organization’s mission is, may we continue to imagine a better world through our efforts every day, where every cherry tree—and every person—has a chance to blossom in all the ways they’re meant to.
— Chris Mohr, Executive Director
Cherry trees blossom in front of a red brick building with black shutters and white trim. A black metal fence is in the foreground at the bottom.


Welcome to our newest tenant:
Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania!

Junior Achievement of SEPA moved here in January. JA SEPA equips young people for economic mobility and the pursuit of their own ambitions. In collaboration with educators, community organizations, and businesses, they ensure young people (5-25) have access to high quality financial education and career-readiness learning experiences. JE SEPA focuses on under-resourced communities and expanded programming for middle and high school students. See:

Many thanks to Stephanie Gambone and the JA SEPA team for hosting the tenant breakfast on March 5. It was a nice introduction!

♻ First Alert! 
Earth Day E-Waste and Shredding Collection Drive
Once again, in honor of Earth Day on April 24, Friends Center plans to collect electronics for recycling and papers for shredding. Most likely we will have collection bins in the lobby in mid-April, perhaps the week of April 15. Stay tuned for details!

See the end of this newsletter for two upcoming events curated and hosted by our own Carla Gamble!

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Gaza Relief Efforts

A major current focus for AFSC is emergency aid effort in Gaza. AFSC is helping to alleviate suffering in the short term and reduce inequality and oppression in the long term. AFSC has provided emergency relief to displaced people in the Khan Yunis and Rafah regions of Gaza, reaching more than 297,673 people. 

AFSC has offices and staff in Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank, and Jordan. AFSC has been present in the Middle East since 1948 when the United Nations asked us to organize relief efforts for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. 

» Learn more:

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM)
Community Game Nights

CPMM will have Community Game Nights on Friday April 19 and Friday May 10 in the Cherry Street Room.  We set up around 6 pm (give or take) and end by around 9:30 pm. Bring games, snacks, friends—or just yourself! Game Night policy is that if any participant wants people to mask, then all people mask. We will have masks to hand out if needed.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM)
PYM Friends Join Pilgrimage for Peace Walk

On February 14, PYM Friends gathered with neighbors of many faiths to help kick off the first day of a Pilgrimage for Peace journey, walking from Independence Hall in Philadelphia to Washington DC.  The pilgrimage included nearly 400 people who joined at various points during the 150-mile walk to advocate for a permanent ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and an increase in humanitarian aid. The Pilgrimage took place in 92 cities around the world to call for change in Gaza. The pilgrims included a diverse coalition of faith leaders, activists, and artists from across the United States, and many faith traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism.
» Learn more:


Spring concert: Earth, Wind & Fire
Saturday, March 16, 4:00 pm
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA

With Singing City, Rollo A. Dilworth, Artistic & Music Director
Northeast High School Choir, Patricia Betcher, Director
Philadelphia Creative and Performing Arts High School Choir,
B. Lauren Thomas-Moyett, Director
Teen Voices of the City Ensemble (T-VOCE), Whitney Covalle, Director
This concert explores the beauty of the natural world and invites us to examine the effects of climate change and environmental justice. Featuring The Voices of Earth, a newly commissioned work by Brandon Williams, Haydn’s The Heaven’s Are Telling and Awake the Harp from The Creation, Hark I Hear the Harp’s Eternal by Alice Parker, and much more! 

Old First House Historic House Move

As mentioned in December, Community Ventures is working with the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ to develop 34 permanent supportive housing apartments for formerly homeless individuals, as well as community, office, and commercial spaces. A historic home at 151 N 4th Street, built in 1760, will be restored to its original façade. The house was recently moved some 40 feet to make room for the new building!
» Watch the video from the project architect, OZ Collaborative:

WHYY: Delaware Valley saw first set of deadlines to pick 2024 health insurance during ACA open enrollment

During Affordable Care Act open enrollment last fall, WHYY quoted Antoinette Kraus, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, who said that the most common advice she gives people is: “Don’t wait to shop.”



2 upcoming events curated and hosted by our own Carla Gamble!
Voices of Philly Soul
Mental Health Panel & Brunch (Ladies Edition)
Saturday, Mar 16, 2024, 11:00 AM

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Philly’s own Carla Gamble has curated a Mental Health Panel of our city’s most beloved and celebrated music community leaders, pioneers, and visionaries. They will share their life experiences and offer advice from an artistic musical perspective. Facilitated by Roxi Fab, panelist Dyana Williams, Lady Alma, Ursula Rucker, Frenchie Davis, and Ciara Chantelle will discuss topics including:
  • “Life be Lifeing” – Grief, Anxiety and Depression
  • Your Network, Your Networth – Community Networking and Finances
  • Work-Life Balance – Family, Friends, and Social Life
» Free, register here:

Voices of Philly Soul – Ladies Edition
Thursday, March 21, 2024
Doors: 6:30pm | Show: 8pm
Music Hall at World Cafe Live | Ages 21 and up

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Philly’s own Carla Gamble has curated a local lineup of ladies in our city’s vibrant R&B and soul scene. Enjoy performances from musicians Carla Gamble, Seraiah Nicole, Nitro Nitra, Lady Sarkazym, Chioke, Jo Rivers, Rae Dianz, and Rhythm HB, plus DJ sets from DJ Queen Yaszy B. The event will also feature guest speakers, including Philadelphia City Council leaders and the Blackwell Cultural Alliance.
» Ticket info:

SEPTA Announces Bus Revolution Community Meetings for March/April 2024

SEPTA is holding eight (8) community meetings across Philadelphia from March 12 – April 4, 2024 to share the latest Bus Revolution recommendations. We invite you to learn more about changes to your bus route and ask questions of our project team. Can’t attend, but still want to be heard? You can provide input at the Bus Revolution website or submit comments by email at or by phone 267-291-6045.
See SEPTA’s detailed listing of SEPTA Bus Revolution March/April Community Meetings here.


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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

World Quaker Day | New Exhibit, New Staff, New Map

Tenant News, September 2023


World Quaker Day is October 1

Living the Spirit of Ubuntu

The first Sunday in October is World Quaker Day. It’s a day when Quakers—formally, the Religious Society of Friends, hence our name as Friends Center—gather across theologies and geographies with each other, the public, and seekers.

This year’s theme is “Living the Spirit of Ubuntu.” Ubuntu is a Zulu term that refers to the belief that every person is worthy of being recognized, respected and heard, and that we are all interdependent with one another and the environment.

Many Quaker groups across the globe will hold special online and in-person meetings on the theme, open to people from any country to join. See the list from the World Office of the Friends World Committee for Consultation:

Of course, Friends Center is open to everyone, and we have no “Quaker requirement.” But in case you’re interested, World Quaker Day is an excellent chance to learn more about the practices of Quakers around the world today (and not just 300 years ago).

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director, Friends Center


Covid Levels Are Rising Again

Recently covid cases have increased in the US. The US CDC & the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommend everyone over 6 months old get the new vaccines. You may also want to consider wearing a mask in the open areas of the facility.

New Walkie Talkies

Thanks to a donation from Wireless Electronics in Northeast Philadelphia, Friends Center has a set of 10 brand-new portable two-way radios, aka walkie talkies. These are positioned in key areas of Friends Center, including office suites and maintenance areas. They enable us to communicate with tenants in the event of evacuations, shelter-in-place events, and other emergencies. Friends Center staff are currently reviewing and refreshing our emergency procedures and protocols. Look for details about a presentation soon on our emergency procedures for tenants both new and old.


Before 5 pm, the loading zone is for PICKUP AND DROPOFF only!

  • Our contractors and delivery vehicles need access.
  • We simply don’t have room for everyone with a car to park there.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Let the staff at the front desk know if your car is in the loading zone and leave your phone number in case you have to move your vehicle.
  • ALSO VERY IMPORTANT: Do not leave the property while your car is in the loading zone!

Mark your calendar:


The Friends Center board recently approved our 2024 holiday schedule. Get an early start and mark your calendar now for 2023 year-end holidays and for 2024.



How one conscientious objector helped protect religious liberty for all

Dan Seeger is a long-time Quaker activist who has served in leadership roles for AFSC, Friends Center, among others. AFSC recently wrote: “In the 1950s, Dan Seeger refused to register for the draft because of his moral beliefs. He was tried and convicted for draft refusal and sentenced to a year and a day in prison. But Dan remained true to his beliefs, pursuing his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Eventually, his efforts would expand who qualifies for conscientious objector status in the United States—and help safeguard the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

Snippet of George Washington's 1789 letter to Quakers.

The US Supreme Court’s 1965 ruling in the case of Quaker Dan Seeger vs. The United States is remembered in a new National Constitution Center exhibit on the First Amendment. The exhibit also includes a 1789 letter from President George Washington to “the Quakers” (shown).


Service Day at the Friends Southwestern Burial Ground

236 Powell Lane, Upper Darby 19082

This burial ground in Upper Darby is under CPMM’s care. On Saturday, September 30th, from 9 am to noon, please join CPMM in an opportunity to show love and care in tangible ways to our burial ground. We will mulch trees, weed, prune and improve the appearance of the grounds and community garden spaces.

» RSVP is helpful to ensure we have enough tools:


PYM Welcomes New Deputy General Secretary, Salvador Orellana

Salvador will provide direct support to the PYM General Secretary in this new operations leadership role. Salvador served in various roles over his 14-year tenure at American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) including Director of Intercultural Ministries, Director of Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico and as a National Coordinator for Latino Ministries. He also served in congregational ministry for 19 years. Salvador is also Friends Center’s newest board member. Welcome, Salvador!

» Full story

PYM Webinar Series: Energy Stewardship for Friends Institutions

» Starting with Solar Schools and Nonprofits, 10/10/23, 3:30 pm: Learn more and register.

» Overview and future sessions: Click here.


Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas

Find Friends: New Quaker Map!

FWCC has launched a new “Find Friends” map of Quaker meetings and Friends churches in the Americas, which will eventually include Friends around the world.


Please send an email to with comments, errors, or other feedback you have. If you notice an error in the data for your meeting or church, there is a link at the bottom of each entry to send corrections.


Muslim Youth Summit

CAIR held a summit for Muslim here in August 2023.  Young leaders from the greater Philadelphia area joined CAIR-Philadelphia over a Saturday and Sunday, learning from local leaders, community organizers, and politicians.

» Full story.

Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative (PYSC)

PYSC Summit: Women in Sports

The Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative proudly announces our first PSYC Summit: Women in Sports. Join us at the Loews Hotel (1200 Market St) on November 1, 2023! Registration will open, and we’ll announce our fantastic speaker lineup very soon! Special thanks to TeamSnap, NBC10, NBC Sports Philadelphia, and Telemundo for supporting this event, which we expect to be a huge day for the sports community in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit

Community Ventures

Old First House will offer 34 permanent supportive homes for formerly homeless individuals

The development is a collaboration among Community Ventures, Depaul USA, and the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ. The Church, founded in 1727, donated a portion of its property historic Old City campus for the development and partnered with Community Ventures, because of their expertise in building low-income housing and working with community groups. Construction is estimated to take about 14 months.  The development is in Old City at the corner of 4th and Race Streets.

» Read more.

» Note: Friends Center’s property was once a burial ground for Old First Reformed Church!

Singing City

Fall Concert: Singing for the City

Sunday, October 29, 3 pm

Temple Performing Arts Center

1837 N Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

A concert celebrating the colorful tapestry of Philadelphia choral composers past and present, including Melissa Dunphy, Suzzette Ortiz, Donald Dumpson, Robert Lowry, Ke-Chia Chen, Charles Albert Tindley, Andrea Clearfield, Andrew Bleckner, Jennifer Higdon, and more.

» Tickets: Online Box Office


Our own CARLA GAMBLE Sings In Dilworth Park!!

Wed., October 4, Noon – 1 pm

Take a lunch break away from your desk and join the Friends Center community in support of our Receptionist, the one and only Carla Gamble!

» Details:

» Can’t make it? Check out Carla’s website:

July 2023 News: Welcome, Carla! Plus available space, PYM annual sessions, Quaker podcasts


Meet our Next Receptionist: Carla Gamble!

Friends Center has hired Carla Gamble as our new Receptionist! She starts on July 24. Carla is an educator and singer who has a great way with people. She also is a familiar face around Friends Center, as she is often here to accompany her wife, Teneshia Washington, who is one of our part-time evening/weekend desk clerks. Please introduce yourself and welcome Carla when you see her!

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Spread the news:


Several workstations are currently available for lease in the open office suites, with just a handful on the 1st floor and several contiguous desks on the 2nd floor.

Please spread the word to like-minded and like-spirited nonprofit organizations!

»    More info:



PYM Launches New Quaker Info Line

Do you have a question about Quaker weddings or marriage certificates?
Does your religious education committee need resources for September?
Are you curious about how other meetings maintain their burial ground records?
Would your meeting like guidance on a new website?
Is your meeting hoping to grow and your outreach committee is looking for ideas and resources?

PYM can connect you with the resources to support many of your questions and curious minds. PYM staff help to weave together an inter-connected network of knowledgeable, vibrant, and spiritual Friends who share information, ideas, and inspiration.

Please email us at or call the Info Line at (215) 241-7238. It is our pleasure to help and connect you with the information that you seek!


AFSC participates in signing of document on human fraternity by Pope Francis and Nobel Peace Laureates

Deputy General Secretary (and Friends Center board member) Héctor Cortez represented AFSC and Friends.

»   Read more here.


CPMM is Hiring a Youth Program Leader

The Monthly Meeting seeks to contract with a Quaker to serve as Youth Program Leader, specifically for youth ages 5 to 12. The job announcement is here:



Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Section of the Americas, and AFSC:

Quaker UN Office Celebrates 75 Years

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) recently celebrated its 75th anniversary with a reception and talk at Scandinavia House in New York City. QUNO is a joint effort of the Friends World Committee for Consultation and AFSC in New York and a joint effort of FWCC and Britain Yearly Meeting in Geneva.


From Friends Journal

Mid-Atlantic Quakers Form Regional Lobbying Organization
by Friends Journal
Friends from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting have formed a new lobbying organization to advocate for tackling climate change at the state and regional levels. Quaker Action in the Mid-Atlantic Region (QAMAR) is a 501(c) (4) group that will draw on its founders’ decades of organizing work to pressure elected officials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fund conversion to clean energy.


Curious about Quakers? Enjoy podcasts? Here are a few sources!

Friends Journal

“Quakers Today: A Quaker Podcast Exploring Faith in Contemporary Life”

With host Peterson Toscano


Pendle Hill Retreat & Study Center

“The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope”

With host Dwight Dunston


Thee Quaker

Thee Quaker podcast brings stories of spiritual courage to your ears.

With co-hosts Jon Watts and Georgia Sparling


May 2023 Newsletter: Farewell, Hiring, Beloved Community, and News


Friends Center is hugely grateful to Jennifer Williams for her 10 years of service at the front desk. Among her duties, she prepared this newsletter to keep our tenant community informed. Congratulations and best wishes, Jennifer! —Chris Mohr, Executive Director  


Friends Center is hiring! With Jennifer Williams’s departure, we need a new Front Desk Receptionist.   Click here for the Job Announcement.   PDF version.   Please share with your networks! Thank you.  



“Living with our neighbors. Growing into beloved community” Annual Sessions is one of the oldest Quaker traditions! Today, all over the world, yearly meetings gather once a year to bring together members and attenders from their local meetings. We call them “Sessions” because meeting for worship with attention to the business of the Yearly Meeting is central to these times together. During Sessions we ask: What is God’s big idea for PYM Friends?   But there’s so much more! The days are an opportunity to greet returning Friends and welcome Friends new to this gathering. It’s a time for learning — from keynote speakers, at the Quaker Witness Fair, and in conversations under tents and over meals. For children and youth, it’s a time to meet other Quakers their age and have fun together! For all ages, it is a time of spiritual renewal, community connection, and intergenerational worship and fellowship. Register here.


Strategic Goals The interconnectedness of our world has never been so apparent—nor the urgency to resist the many forces that fuel inequality, oppression, and violence. In our work for a better future, AFSC focuses on three strategic program goals and uses four core methodologies.    » Read more in our 2020-2030 Strategic Plan.


The Testimonial Life and the “Testimonies,” from CPMM’s peace & social concerns committee:

The heart of the Quaker approach to social change is to follow the leadings of the Spirit, which seeks always to lead us into right word and action. Our goal is to live our outward lives in accordance with the inward guidance of the Spirit. Over the centuries, this guidance has manifested in some ways so consistently and broadly among us that certain “testimonies” have become settled elements of our faith. They have evolved and matured as new truths are revealed to us. For instance, we once addressed all people as equals, regardless of whether we were below or above them in social station, using thee and thou; now we have a “testimony” of equality. Lists of such testimonies vary, but they commonly include the following: Peace and nonviolenceEquality and social justiceCriminal justice reformCare for the earthSimplicityHonesty and integrity Learn more about each testimony here.  

Becky Birtha, CPMM Member and Author, featured in The Inquirer, 5/30/2023:   New exhibit at Philly’s Historic Germantown looks at race and class through the groundbreaking 1946 children’s book Bright April “Becky Birtha, a poet and author who has written three children’s books herself, has a lot in common with the young girl who is the main character in the book Bright April.”  

Full Article:


Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
Home Matters Day 2023

When: Tuesday, June 6, 2023 8 AM – 3 PM

Where: Pennsylvania State Capitol Commonwealth Ave., Harrisburg, PA  17120  

The Housing Alliance is excited to announce the return of Home Matters Day in Harrisburg! For the first time since the pandemic, Housing Alliance members from across the Commonwealth will join together for a day of in-person meetings to ask their state legislators to raise the cap on PHARE!   Also known as the state housing trust fund, PHARE expands opportunities for people in need and revitalizes communities. The program creates, rehabs, and supports local housing, blight remediation, supportive services, homeownership counseling, and home purchase.  

Singing City

Songbook Community Sing  

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Singing City commissioned 27 composers to write short works to create the Singing City Songbook.  This compilation is intended for community singing everywhere—its themes echo the human experience, with messages of unity, hope, love, and the ties that bind. We invite you to come and sing through all of the works at two community events.

Composers will be joining us in person and on Zoom. Come and learn new music!  Part 2 – Tuesday, May 307:30-9:00 pm at Friends Center   Tickets are $20 each and attendees will
receive a copy of the Songbook.


April’s Tenant Newsletter: Guest galore, E-waste & Shredding, Fundraising Gala, Spring Social, and more

Issue 87, April 2023


Friends Center has been busy of late!

  • American Friends Service Committee held its annual Corporation meeting here in a hybrid format the weekend before last. It was the first time they’ve had an in-person component in four years.
  • Friends Council on Education held its annual meeting, its annual in-person Heads of School gathering, and a training here last week.
  • And on April 18, we participated in International Day for Monuments and Sites by holding an open house to showcase the Race Street Meetinghouse—a National Historic Landmark. Many thanks to Jennifer Williams and Shakirah Holloway for organizing the event.

Please let your friends and colleagues that Friends Center is available for meetings and events of all sizes—from 6 to 600!

Nonprofits automatically get a 20% discount.

Interested groups can contact Shakirah for details at or (215) 241-7098. They can also learn more at

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Our annual E-waste and Recycling collection began this week and will continue through April 27th. Collection will take place in the front lobby and basement.

Here is a list of what is accepted:

  • Computers
  • Flat Screens
  • Printers
  • Fax machines
  • Back up batteries
  • Switches/Routers
  • Laptops
  • Back up tapes
  • Surge Protector
  • Satellite Receivers/Cables Boxes
  • Desk phones
  • Cell phones
  • Dock Stations
  • Keyboards/Mice/Cabling
  • Tablets
  • Servers
  • Networking Equipment
  • Shredders
  • Toner cartridges
  • All Apple products
  • Cameras

We hope this service helps to lighten the load every office seems to collect.



Spring Family Overnight

April 29 @ 2:00 pm – April 30 @ 12:00 pm

Friends, food, and a campfire! Stories, games, and outdoor fun! It’s Spring Family Overnight at Camp Dark Waters!

This year, the overnight is open to all families with children in 8th grade and younger.

Join us for multigenerational activities for the whole family, dinner together, free time to play, bedtime stories, multigenerational worship on Sunday morning, and a chance for adults to spend time with other parents.  And everyone will be home on Sunday in time to prepare for the rest of the week!


Note: All children need to have a Health/Permission form filled out when registering for in-person and overnight events (Family Overnights, Annual Sessions). This will be on file all year and is good for all events from Annual Sessions in July through the following June, when there will be an updated form due.


Strengthening civil society in Africa: An interview with Kennedy Akolo, Africa regional director.

“At the end of day, the Salama Hub is about transforming lives in this part of world. If this program is a success, it could change how the Horn of Africa responds to and prevents conflict.”

Access the full article here.


Meeting Membership:

To find out what being a member of our meeting means, click this link: On Being a Member of Central Philadelphia Friends Meeting.

We seek to be a welcoming community to all people regardless of their race or ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social situation, and we invite everyone to worship with us and to participate in our community life, whether they are members or not.

Why join Central Philadelphia Meeting?

How do I apply for membership?

Want to change your membership status?

For answers to the questions above and even more information about CPMM click here.


Join CASA Philadelphia for their

2023 Liberty Bell Gala!

May 11, 2023 ~ The Downtown Club

Help us raise the funds needed to provide a CASA volunteer to 300 children this year.

You can purchase your TICKETS HERE.

Can’t make it? You can make a DONATION HERE.


You don’t want to miss this fun and festive event and celebration of our 2023 honorees:

Champion of Children: Vincent Hughes, PA Senator

Outstanding Health Advocate: The Homeless Health Initiative, CHOP

Excellence in Advocacy: The Education Law Center

Outstanding CASA and EDM Volunteers – To Be Announced!


Spring Social, May 5, 2023, 6-8 pm

The Pyramid Club

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Join PSR on May 4th at 6pm for a webinar with Kristina Marusic, which will be moderated by PSR PA Board Member, Julie Becker.

Register now!

Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology

This year’s conference theme is “BodyDreaming: Self-Regulation, Jung, and Neuroscience in Trauma Recovery.”

This year, our plenary speaker is the accomplished Jungian analyst and author Marian Dunlea, from Ireland. In addition to being a delightful person, Marian is a passionate student of neuroscience with extensive training in a host of healing modalities.

Registration is now open for The Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology which will be held in person only at Pendle Hill, May 26 to May 29, 2023.

Full article here.

Registration here.

March Tenant Newsletter: Open House, Film Festival, Racial Healing and A Bookfair

Issue 86, March 2023

Tell your colleagues about Friends Center’s
event and office space!

April 18 is the International Day for Monuments and Sites. Locally, Global Philadelphia is encouraging Philadelphia’s 67 National Historic Landmarks—including our own Race Street Quaker Meetinghouse—to host public programs that day.

            This year, we’re joining in! Friends Center will host a public open house from 11 am to 5 pm to showcase our meeting and conference spaces. Please join us if you are new to Friends Center or just need a refresher on the rooms, their capabilities, and how to reserve space. Either way, you’re welcome to join us for light refreshments!

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director



New to Share with Parents & Caregivers

Please share with families this 5-minute survey from Youth Programs staff to help with planning for both Annual Sessions in July and future youth programs. Looking forward to being back in the Annual Sessions Family Neighborhood!


The Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum

Saturday, 8 April 2023 

Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1978) and The Proud Valley (1940) – Celebrating Paul Robeson’s 125th Birthday

Register here.

  • Honoring Quaker descendant Paul Robeson, the “beleaguered leader” and “artist as revolutionary,” groundbreaking recording, film, theatrical, and music star.
  • Featuring a discussion between Robeson scholars Dr. Gerald Horne, Dr. Charles Musser, and Dr. Harold D. Weaver.


Adult Religious Education/Racial Healing & Wholeness Program

“The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves”

When and Where: Two complimentary programs

  • April 16 for CPMM, 1-2:30, hybrid in-person and virtual.
  • April 23 for Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting at Germantown, time TBD.

These two programs are not the same; they complement each other.

More details about the programs and Andrew available here.


Gender Justice Fund featured in Billy Penn, 3/25/2023:

140 years ago, a group of Philly women set out to advance gender equity

A descendant of the New Century Guild is still active in philanthropic grantmaking today.

“The organization’s role shifted throughout the years, and a descendant of the organization — the Gender Justice Fund — still operates today as a local philanthropic grant-making foundation.” (And as a tenant at Friends Center!)


ANNA Crusis Feminist Choir

Sings Dolly & Holly

April 22, 2023, 7:30 pm

Friends Childcare Centeris hosting a book fair!

“Silent Weddings: The Simple, Unconventional Tradition that Could be Right for You”

Although some facts in this piece are off, it is an interesting take on “self-uniting” weddings: “If you’re an introvert who prefers a small and peaceful gathering over boisterous crowds, you might like the idea of having a silent wedding—commonly known as a Quaker wedding.”

Friends General Conference

February 2023 Newsletter: Tell a Friend, Meetinghouse Upgrades, Code Switching, Respectful Parenting and more

Tell your colleagues about Friends Center’s
event and office space!

It has been nice to see more of you around Friends Center recently! We have also had an uptick in in-person and hybrid events.

Friends Center is beginning to market our office and meeting space more actively this year than we have for the last three years. Of course, the best advertising is word of mouth. So, we would be grateful if you would let your nonprofit colleagues know that limited space is again available to rent here in our LEED-certified green building. Smaller organizations with peace and justice missions are especially welcome.

In addition, our meeting and conference spaces are fully open. Space is booked more frequently as more organizations return to in-person as well as hybrid meetings, which we also support. Nonprofits receive an automatic 20% discount.

Here are two links you could share:

Thank you, as always, for being part of the Friends Center community.

—Chris Mohr, Executive Director


News from Friends Child Care Center

Friends Child Care Center has a 4-star rating in Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating & Improvement System, which carries the responsibility for recognizing and supporting continuous quality improvement in early care programs throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Each year, FCCC targets an area for improvement, and this year we focused our efforts and resources into removing lead paint from window frames, doors, and finishings in the First Day School Room, where infant care will resume by March 1, 2023. Lead abatement is very costly and so we sought to find outside funding sources. 

FCCC is pleased to share that the City of Philadelphia: Child Care Facilities Fund awarded $25,000 to the project, which helped to significantly defray costs. The mission of the Facilities Fund is to provide support to high-quality early childhood education programs located in Philadelphia for the maintenance and improvement of their facilities in order to maintain a high-level STAR rating. 

FCCC is incredibly grateful for this financial support as we are dedicated to providing a safe, clean and nurturing learning environment where children can play to learn, learn to love.



Electrical & Safety Upgrades in the Meetinghouse, Thanks to Yearly Meeting Support

Cropwell Friends Meeting’s infrastructure got a big upgrade this week. Thanks to a generous gift from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Buildings & Programs Granting Group, the building’s electrical system was rewired, and fire safety upgrades and security lighting were installed. The work was done by Front Line Electric of Glendora, N.J., who were prompt, professional, and courteous.

The Cropwell Friends Meetinghouse, built in 1809, was very much in need of work. The last known update to the electrical wiring took place in the 1920s. The type of wiring used at that time was “knob-and-tube,” which does not have a ground system for safety. This doesn’t necessarily make the wiring unsafe to use, but it does rule out important safety features and leaves appliances and sensitive electronics vulnerable to damage from power surges. Exterior lighting was also installed for safety and security purposes.

Stewardship & Community

The work on the meetinghouse spoke to the stewardship and community testimonies of Friends.

The current Cropwell Meetinghouse structure was built in 1809. It is on the historic registry, but like all old buildings, it has needs, and those needs have price tags. It is the Meeting’s responsibility to be good stewards to maintain the structure for current and future members.

Cropwell has a small number who attend regularly, but there is cohesion and commitment which has increased in intensity over the past year, and there is an openness to increasing and strengthening that community. The Meeting has received letters requesting membership from four individuals within the last year and have received loving support from members within Haddonfield Quarter.


Code Switch with Joshua Slack

In honor of Black History Month, the AFSC Pan Valley Institute (PVI) is pleased to announce the returning and touring production of “CODE SWITCH,” written and performed by ArteVism Alumnus Joshua Slack and directed by current Fellow Rodolfo Robles Cruz.
The ArteVism Fellowship program seeks to empower and foster civic engagement through artistic, creative expression, and collective leadership amongst the Central Valley’s youth of color.
“Code Switch” is a monologue that explores the navigation of code-switching. Code-switching involves adjusting one’s way of life in ways that optimize the comfort of others in exchange for fair treatment, quality service, and employment opportunities. The performance encourages audience members to ask themselves: At what cost to our lives do we make these adjustments? Why are we afraid to be ourselves?”

Joshua Slack was born into a military family; his mother served in the Coast Guard, and his father was a college professor. His life goal is to own a production company emphasizing TV, film, photography, theatre, and other art forms that express the uniqueness of niche storytelling within the Black community. He plans to offer it as a platform to tell the stories that mainstream media won’t tell and to uplift the voices of his community.
We will be following COVID-19 safety protocols, ordinances, and regulations. Masks may be required according to local guidelines during the event.

February 25, 2023, 6:30-8:30 pm PT
Free event at the Fresno Art Museum, Bonner Auditorium 2233 N Fresno St. Fresno, CA

For more on this free event or the ArteVism fellowship program, please contact Rodolfo Robles Cruz at (559) 540-1028 or


Author Event:

CPMM member Pamela Haines will present 

Tending Sacred Ground: Respectful Parenting.

Saturday, February 25, at 11 AM

Navigate through the sacred, the impossible, and the unexpected in these hard-won reflections on parenting. Tending Sacred Ground: Respectful Parenting is a series of essays, each of which alights on the experience of parenting and is inspired by a Quaker perspective. Pamela Haines shows how to cultivate respect, resilience, humility, connection, discernment, and joy while encouraging and inspiring a wider view toward inclusion.

Pamela has published widely on faith, money and economics, and on peace-building and right relationship. Please join us for a reading and discussion.


Singing City

Winter Festival of Voices

This concert will feature contributions to the choral art from Black composers and poets. Featuring Singing City Choir, Teen Voices of the City Ensemble (T-VOCE), Hatboro Horsham Singers, Germantown Friends School Choir, and Northeast High School Choir. Celebrating youth from across the region!

Jeffrey Brillhart, conductor

Saturday, March 4, 2023, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 S. 38th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Tickets Available Here!

Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation

Integrating Local Histories & Legacies in your Arts Classroom

Do you want to connect to our rich Philadelphia artistic lineage? Looking to integrate history and research in your arts classrooms?

Led by Love Notes Project Teaching Artists Rebecca Graham and Lindo Jones, participants will engage in a music and poetry workshop that highlights the work of three Black Philadelphia artists and cultural producers, past and present. The intention is for participants to leave the space feeling more connected to our city’s rich artistic lineage while gathering tools that may assist in your desire to integrate history and research in your arts classrooms. 

Thu, February 23, 2023, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Section of the Americas Meeting

The Friends World Committee will hold its hybrid 2023 Section of the Americas Meeting on March 23 – 26 at Haw River State Park in Greensboro, NC. Registration for virtual attendance is available here. Scroll down to learn more and to register for the in-person event. All Friends are welcome! The last day for in-person registration is February 26, 2023, but register soon before options sell out!

Thu, March 23, 7 PM – Sun, March 26, noon


New Friends Historical Association Grants

The Friends Historical Association is pleased to offer funding to support contributions to the field of Quaker history. There are three grant opportunities: project support, publication subventions, and research funds. All opportunities run on the same cycle, and applications are due April 15, 2023.

Details about each opportunity and application instruction are provided at