July Newsletter – New additions, Farewells, Annual Sessions and much more!

Issue 62, July 2020

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE:
Some Notes on Moving from Yellow to Green

Philadelphia’s move to the “green” phase of the governor’s reopening process has been delayed at least a month. During the yellow phase, organizations that can telework are supposed to continue doing so. One of the main differences for the green phase is that teleworking will be “encouraged,” but not required.

                Meanwhile, Friends Center has adapted its facilities and its cleaning and operational practices to address the Covid-19 pandemic. (See guidelines, linked to the right.) Signage is up throughout the facility to assist you with keeping the appropriate distances. Fortunately, our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems generally follow best practices, such as having air flow from ceiling to floor. We are introducing more fresh air than usual into the main office building through the air handler unit on the roof. And anyone in an office or suite with operable windows can just open the window!

Food for Thought on Statues…
In other news, author Diana Butler Bass recently wrote a thread on Twitter about the statue of Mary Dyer in Boston. Friends Center has a casting of that statue, too, of course.

                The thread is very thoughtful, especially in light of the efforts to remove offensive statues here and in cities across the country. Notably, Butler Bass reflects, “The state put up a statue to one of its most innocent victims. Not the theocratic overlords who murdered Mary Dyer.”

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

Friends Center will be closed on 7/3/2020 in recognition of Independence day. We will reopen on Monday 7/6/2020.

New: CHANGING TABLE!

In doing our best to consider the guests and tenants of our facility, we’ve decided to install a changing table in our handi-capable gender-neutral bathroom on the first floor of the 1501 Cherry Street building. Thank you to Friends Center’s own Jennifer Williams and CPMM’s Dan Zemaitis for the suggestion!

Saying a Fond Farewell

This month we say farewell to three longtime tenants of Friends Center, who are making other arrangements for work in the current times:

  • Center for the Study of Economics
  • Food and Water Watch Pennsylvania Office
  • Friends Association for Higher Education

We wish them all the best in their new working arrangements, and appreciate having had them as part of our Friends Center community.

EQUITY PARTNER NEWS

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

The Poor People’s Campaign: Worthy of Quaker support then and now;

Just days before his assassination in 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sent a letter soliciting funds for the Poor People’s Campaign that read, in part, “[The Southern Christian Leadership Conference] SCLC cannot wait; it cannot watch as the only systematic response to riots are feverish military preparations for repression. It cannot sit in appalled silence and then deplore the holocaust when tragedy strikes. We cannot condone either violence or the equivalent evil of passivity.”

More than five decades later, it is chilling how applicable those words still are.

  • Read the full article by Joyce Ajlouny, AFSC’s General Secretary.

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

Annual Sessions Coming Soon

Plus: Runway to Annual Sessions

As we approach our 340th Annual Sessions, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting will be hosting virtual workshops, Mindfulness Meditation classes, and Plenary Sessions as a part of our Runway to Annual Sessions series. 

Featured Online Workshop:

Accompaniment as Anti-Racist Practice for Social Change
Lucy Duncan, AFSC

TUESDAY, JULY 6, 6-8 PM

Free of charge

Accompaniment as spiritual practice offers a way for deep relational shifting and for showing up for the long haul while learning deeply how to be present for both the momentary and longer term needs of the community you are hoping to support.

For a full list of scheduled offerings (June 15 – July 25), and registration follow the link.

CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING (CPMM)

CPMM Virtual Meeting for Worship Sunday’s at 11 am

We will be using the Zoom computer application (app) to host this meeting, which you can download here: https://zoom.us/support/download. Once you have the app loaded on your digital device, you simply will need to click on the given link at meeting time, and you automatically will be in the virtual meeting space. The login information for joining this meeting is below. We have recently moved to a password-protected meeting. If you have not received the password in the email from the meeting secretary, please contact the meeting office at office@cpmm.org

NEWS

  • Friends Journal Article; Who’s the Proper Quaker Now?

Friends Center June Newsletter – Time For Change, FC Reopening, Meditation and Response to Unrest

Issue 61, June 2020

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE: Time for change

The recent unrest in Philadelphia and around the country is a cry for change: Black lives matter! Yet the grinding reality of structural and interpersonal racism and violence in the US continues to roll on—even when there are cameras are rolling nearby. Far, far too often, black and brown lives don’t matter in the U.S. It’s upsetting, saddening, and infuriating.

                There is so much work still to do, from stopping systemic violence, to reducing economic and social inequality; from repairing relationships to repairing physical structures; and fostering healing, health and wellness, especially in the communities most impacted by illness, including but not limited to Covid-19.

                As you know, Friends Center strives to be a hub for justice and peace in our city and world, through the work of our partners and tenants. Below are a few samples, so you can hear a little of what each other is saying.

                Generocity.org has been covering the local situation, and these stood out for me in addressing the Philadelphia nonprofit sector in particular:

                Finally, I find some comfort in the willingness of the vast majority of people in the US to stay home in order to create better health outcomes for their families, their neighbors, and even complete strangers. May we build upon that shared sense of connection to create a truly NEW normal that is better than the old one.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

GUIDELINES FOR “YELLOW” PHASE OF REOPENING

Gov. Wolf is expected to announce on Friday, June 5, that Philadelphia is moving from the “red” to the “yellow” phase of his reopening process for Pennsylvania. During this phase, organizations that can work remotely are encouraged to continue doing so.

                Meanwhile, Friends Center is preparing the facility for gradual return of organizations here. We are placing signage to show appropriate distances in common spaces, capacities of shared conference rooms with distancing, and other guidelines. Our janitorial contractor, Team Clean, is also conducting a deep cleaning of the entire facility. We have updated our protocols to clean high-touch surfaces frequently, in keeping with CDC guidelines.

                Directors of each partner and tenant organization have already received Friends Center’s guidelines for reopening. They are now posted online here.

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

AFSC condemns police killing of George Floyd and police violence against protesters.

“The brutal murder of George Floyd is the consequence of a racist system that disproportionately targets people of color for violence, imprisonment, and premature death,” said Shanene Herbert, director of AFSC’s Healing Justice program in Saint Paul. “Firing these police officers is not enough. We need resources directed away from the police forces that occupy our communities. We need investment in our young people, in our schools, in our health care, and in transformative forms of justice that address the root causes of harm.” Full article here

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

10-Minute Mindfulness Meditation Session with Deborah Cooper.

In this period of uncertainty, there are powerful benefits to meditation. It is an incredible tool to build attentiveness to what is happening in our bodies and to our selves. To help you tap into Deborah’s teaching, we have shared an audio file of a ten-minute meditation.

TENANT NEWS

A Message  from Friends Council on Education Regarding Racial Justice

Friends Council will continue to seek ways to engage all educators and Friends school communities to step up and take action for social justice.

A few selected tenant tweets:

Art-Reach (@artreachphilly)

Art-Reach supports the broken silence. We stand with Minneapolis and black communities here in Philadelphia. #blacklivesmatter

PLSE (@plsephilly)

PLSE stands in solidarity with the black community amidst the ongoing victimization by the criminal justice system. We stand with the protesters and we look forward to a time where justice exists and riots are unnecessary.

CASA of Philadelphia (@casaphilly)

As advocates for children/youth in foster care, we at CASA of Philadelphia have a front row seat to the far reaching effects of inequity and injustice.  As we do every day, we pledge to continue to advocate for systemic improvements to address racial injustice.

New Century Trust (@newcenturytrust)

“Like our societies, budgets are neither gender-neutral or race-neutral. Budgets tell us whose lives matter and whose do not.” #genderjustice

May’s Tenant Newsletter: Retirement, Annual Sessions and a FREE Virtual Workshop

Issue 60, May 2020 Friends Center Tenant Newsletter

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE: We miss you!

We miss you! It is always nice to see some of you from time to time when you come in to pick up the mail or the like. And of course we are even more grateful for everyone’s cooperation in staying home to help slow down the spread of Covid-19.

                Friends Center is actively planning for your eventual return to work here at the facility, once Governor Wolf declares that Philadelphia is in the “yellow phase” of his reopening plan.

                I will soon share our guidelines with each organization. These will primarily cover our common spaces. Requirements include wearing a mask, maintaining a safe physical distance from others, and not having meetings of more than 10 people at a time. We’ll also be cleaning according to CDC guidelines. You’ll also need to report incidents of Covid-19 among your staff to us so that we may clean and disinfect work areas and so that people who had contact with that person can be efficiently traced. 

                Each organization here should have its own plan for safely returning to work in the facility. I recommend you read the section of the governor’s plan entitled Businesses in the Yellow Phase.” When I send our guidelines, I’ll also share the return-to-work guidelines of one of our tenants, who has given me permission to do so.

                I look forward to seeing you again—whenever it is safe for that to happen.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Around Friends Center

Wil Mason to Retire at End of May!!

After 15 years of dedicated service, we are both proud and sad to announce the retirement of our facilities manager, Wil Mason, at the end of May. Wil is actually employed by our contractor Emcor Fluidics to provide building operations services. A plumber by trade, Wil is also a skilled carpenter, geothermal system operator, overall handyperson, and raconteur. He has been a huge asset to Friends Center. While we will miss him and his can-do spirit, we wish Wil and his wife Rose all the best as they spend more time at their home down the shore.

     Since we can’t have an in-person retirement party for Wil, please consider sending a photo of yourself holding a sign with your message for Wil. We will share the photos with him at the end of May.

AROUND PHILADELPHIA

One of the best ways to experience Greater Philadelphia is via the region’s acclaimed museums and attractions.

 But there’s another way to explore some of these fantastic destinations and their cultural and artistic offerings: virtual tours, online programming, and a wealth of video experiences—all available online for free at any time. Learn more here.

EQUITY PARTNER NEWS

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

First COVID-19 related death in immigration detention

Pedro Rios, Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s US-Mexico Border Program in San Diego, had this to say.

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

Annual Sessions 2020 Goes Virtual

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and after careful discernment, the Sessions Coordinating Committee and the yearly meeting clerking team have thoughtfully and carefully decided that this year’s Annual Sessions (July 29 – August 2, 2020) will move to a virtual space in order to preserve the care and well-being of our community. Read more here

CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING (CPMM)

Friends Southwestern Burial Ground (FSWBG) Managing Director Job Opening

General Job Description: This is the top managerial position for the Burial Ground and is responsible for overseeing all operations, including managing staff, relationships with outside organizations (funeral directors, Upper Darby Police, St. Demetrios, community gardeners, etc.), contracting (tree work, mowing, etc.), and outreach with Quaker meetings and other Quaker organizations. The director will also be responsible for overseeing and conducting burials and all attendant preparation and paperwork on the days which they are scheduled to work. Reports to the Friends Southwestern Burial Ground Committee (“FSWBG Committee”). The Burial Ground operates under the oversight of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM) and Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (MMFP).

More details here.

TENANT NEWS

Presser Foundation

Recipients call Presser Foundation awards of more than half million dollars “amazing” at a critical time. Read more here.

Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation

Presents The Creativity, Trauma Healing and Storiez Workshop

As we build on our knowledge about creativity and healing, we welcome Dr. Meagan Corrado. A valued presenter for Bartol’s Trauma-Informed Practice for Teaching Artist training, Dr. Meagan will share how creativity is central to the lives of trauma survivors. Through her Storiez approach, she helps people create, voice and honor their own narrative, a skill that translates to every art form.

Date: Wednesday, May 13

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Cost: Free

Event Category: Teaching Artist Workshops

Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creativity-trauma-healing-and-storiez-tickets-104083741272

April newsletter – FC Updates, NHL (National Historic Landmarks) and Going Virtual

Friends Center Tenant Newsletter

Issue 59, April 2020

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Lately I have been signing off on emails with the phrase, “With prayers for peace and health for all.” May we keep in mind and heart everyone who is at risk, who is suffering, who is caring for the afflicted, who is working the front lines.

                I would like to add a word of gratitude to the Friends Center staff who continue to provide facilities support on a rotating basis. Thank you, Ed, Erick, Jennifer, Shakirah, and Wil!

                We do not know yet when the stay-at-home order will be loosened or modified. When that happens, we will let you know of any changes to hours or staffing patterns that may affect you.
                A Quaker I know compared the pandemic to the dye used (usually by children) to highlight plaque on teeth. Where the dye shows up, you need to brush more. The result is you learn to brush more effectively. Similarly, the pandemic is highlighting the problems of our society. Will we start to “brush” more effectively now, reducing harm and increasing health well-being, and not just wait for things to go back to “normal”?

                Thank you, as always, for your work to help make our city, state, nation, and world a better place. It’s needed now more than ever!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

Around Philadelphia

A quote from the open letter by Mayor Kenney to Philadelphians:

“I write to tell you that even amid our silent streets, the spirit of this great city has not, in any way, been diminished by this virus.”

4/18 is International Day for Monuments and Sites

https://mcusercontent.com/5f6cc5092c3ad445858943688/images/8f5fa940-65ed-4238-b421-b440d6bba717.png

Saturday, April 18th, marks International Day for Monuments and Sites, which celebrates cultural heritage around the world and focuses on preserving and conserving historical and archaeological sites.
                In Philadelphia, we have a rich array of historical sites, including 67 National Historic Landmarks, which are those sites that are federally recognized as representing an outstanding aspect of American history and culture. Our own Race Street Quaker Meetinghouse is one of them!

                Discover Philadelphia’s 67 National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) in this beautifully illustrated map. Designed by a local artist, this map is both a useful guide to Philadelphia’s rich heritage, as well as a unique souvenir or gift for visitors and Philadelphians alike. You don’t have to leave the house to learn about Philly heritage. In addition to the online interactive map of the NHLs, many of them have online resources.

EQUITY PARTNER NEWS

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

Check out this interview between @KUNMnews and Sayrah Namaste (of AFSC New Mexico). Quaker Group Connects N.M. Organic Farmers With Food Banks During COVID Outbreak

  • Farmers have food, but many of their markets (like restaurants) are no longer buying perishable produce.
  • Food banks are experiencing unprecedented need.
  • AFSC program is bridging that gap.

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

Annual Sessions 2020 Goes Virtual

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and after careful discernment, the Sessions Coordinating Committee and the yearly meeting clerking team have thoughtfully and carefully decided that this year’s Annual Sessions (July 29 – August 2, 2020) will move to a virtual space in order to preserve the care and well-being of our community. Read more here

CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING (CPMM)

You can take part in an effort to virtually build, support and encourage the community that Quaker meetings have already been building in person, through worship, fellowship and social witness.

If you are already a member or attender, but do not have an FGC Quaker Account, click the link below and fill out the form to send a note to the Quaker Cloud administrator for your meeting. Be sure to let them know your name and your connection to the meeting.

Request to Join This Online Meeting

Online meeting for worship with CPMM is at 11:00 AM on Sunday mornings.

TENANT NEWS

Singing City Spring Concert:

Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn –
A Commemoration of the Children

POSTPONED UNTIL EARLY FALL 2020

New Century Trust:

Philadelphia’s poverty problem is bigger than you ever imagined

Generocity, 3/16/2020

When we measure income using the federal poverty rate, the results far underestimate how many people are actually struggling to meet daily needs, say guest columnists Marianne Bellesorte and Farrah Parkes (New Century Trust). Full Article Here

March Tenant Newsletter – COVID-19 Awareness, Project Funds Available and 2 must see concerts!

Issue 58, March 2020

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE

As I wrote in an email to the building last Friday, Friends Center is monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely. Our goal is to provide information and resources and coordinate efforts to help slow the spread of the illness.

                To aid in our response, please let me know if your organization will close or modify its in-office schedule. Also, please notify me if anyone on your staff is diagnosed with or suspected to have the virus, so we can take appropriate cleaning measures.

                Thank you for your understanding and collaboration in our community efforts to respond, in order to reduce harm to everyone, especially the people who are most vulnerable.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

CORONAVIRUS: City of Philadelphia Resources

Planning guidance for businesses and nonprofit organizations

In the event of a large-scale infectious disease outbreak, businesses and other organizations must both protect employees’ health and safety and limit the economic impact of the outbreak. The guidance below will assist businesses in preparing for continuity of critical operations if the COVID-19 coronavirus has a severe impact on Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide up-to-date, reliable information on COVID-19 as the situation unfolds.

EQUITY PARTNER NEWS

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

Campaign to End Felony Disenfranchisement

Nearly 6 million people, mostly Black and brown people, are blocked from voting by various forms of felony disenfranchisement. All but two states, Maine and Vermont, limit access to the polls for those with criminal justice involvement. Contact your governor today and urge them to restore voting rights.

Learn more: https://www.afsc.org/action/end-felony-disenfranchisement

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

Continuing Sessions will be Saturday March 28, 2020 and registration is now open.

Location – Westtown School, 101 East School Lane in West Chester, PA 19382.

View the 2020 spring continuing sessions schedule here.

  What is Continuing Sessions?

  • Meets twice a year
  • Includes worship, business sessions, &  fellowship.
  • Offers opportunities to share information from members,  meetings, committees, and other Friends’ organizations.
  • Learn more in our Faith & Practice

CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING (CPMM)

CPMM is interested in providing operating and/or project support to local nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area that are doing exemplary work in any of our priority areas:

  1. Combating Climate Change
  2. Meeting Basic Human Needs of Housing, Food, etc.
  3. Undoing Racism
  4. Ending Mass Incarceration

Friendly Neighbor Funds Application Form

TENANT NEWS

After School All Stars

After School All Stars is hosting a networking event at Yards Brewing Co. Co. on March 10, from 6-8 pm. Register to attend here: http://igfn.us/f/2o0j/n. See you there!! #afterschool #networking

Singing City Spring Concert:

Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn

A Commemoration of the Children

Sunday, May 3, 3 p.m.

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA

With the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Boys Choir
and Philadelphia Girls Choir; Kara Mulder, soprano; Misoon Ghim, mezzo- soprano; Michael Hogue, tenor; and Daniel Teadt, baritone

Purchase Tickets: $35 general admission;; $15 students

Anna Crusis Women’s Choir

Purchase Tickets: Music for the New Revolution Showcase Concert

March 14 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Folk Factory presents “Music for the New Revolution” w/ ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir, Kora Feder, Lydia Munoz

February Newsletter: FC on TV, Fracking Discussion, Friends Journal job opening

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Friends Center—Famous in Chile!

Last summer we had a visit from Chilean TV personality Federico Sánchez. His original show, “CityTour,” features the architecture, culture, and people of Chilean cities. For his second show, “CityTour on Tour,” he does the same while visiting cities in other countries.

                While in Philadelphia, he and his film crew stopped in at Friends Center. They interviewed Robin Mohr, executive secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), Section of the Americas. (Special thanks to Ralph Medley of AFSC for introducing Sánchez to us that day.)

                The whole episode is now on YouTube. Friends Center is featured from 28:15 to 31:15. It’s fun to see the Race Street Quaker Meetinghouse from a different, global perspective!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director

AROUND FRIENDS CENTER

COMPOSTING CHANGES

Friends Center has changed composting companies to better fit what we dispose of and to keep up with changes in the composting industry.

Here is what we will be collecting:

  • Paper towels from the restrooms
  • Compostable paper plates. They should not have anything printed on them, or any type of coating.
  • All food items, including meat.

We will no longer collect:

  • compostable plastics (cups and utensils).

We are in the process of deploying new signage to help make sense of the changes. We all strive to compost as much as possible, but please keep in mind that getting the wrong materials in the collection bins hinders the sorting process, so please remember: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

If you have questions, please contact Erick Emerick at (215) 241-7190 or eemerick@friendscentecorp.org.

Environmental Event

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC)

“Our federal budget should be used to improve our communities, not tear them apart.”

Article: Trump’s budget is bad for New Hampshire! By Maggie Fogarty and Sandra Pontoh

PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING (PYM)

The Annual Sessions 2020 Workshop application proposals are now being accepted.

Please consider sharing your work and witness, as well as your gifts and skills with the yearly meeting at Annual Sessions.
Annual Sessions will be at The College of New Jersey from July 29 through August 2, 2020.

To be considered for a workshop, please fill out an application:

  • There is a firm deadline of February 28, 2020. We will not be able to accept applications past the deadline this year.
  • The workshop dates are Thursday, July 30th, Friday, July 31st, and Saturday, August 1st.
  • Workshops are 3 hours, with a 1 or 2 day option.

CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING (CPMM)

CPMM is one local point of Light in a wider constellation of Quaker organizations. We are directly affiliated with some and more loosely associated with others. We provide links to these organizations’ websites here.

TENANT NEWS

Friends Council on Education invites you to join them for the following panel workshop they are hosting on the opening day of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2020 Conference in Philadelphia.

Legacy and Future: Quaker Education Preparing Students to Transform the World

A panel of Friends school alumni educators share how their experience of Friends education has lead them to where they are today.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Friends Center

4pm-5pm with closing worship until 5:30, followed by a reception at Con Murphy.

Panelists:

Darryl Ford (Friends Select School ‘83)

Rachel Kane (Westtown ‘98)
Lee Payton (Friends Select School ‘95)
Drew Smith (Westtown ‘82) – moderator and host

Rebecca Zug (Westtown ‘89)

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE)

Two Temple Law students join Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity for the spring term.

The only possible way PLSE can file 3,000 expungement petitions per year with just two staff attorneys is by relying on law students for help.

OF INTEREST OUTSIDE FRIENDS CENTER

  • Philadelphia, otherwise known as the City of Brotherly Love, changed its nickname Thursday in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The city’s honorary nickname will be the City of Sisterly Love until the end of 2020!

Episode 8 – Friends Child Care Center

This episode features the director of FCCC, Raechel O’neal Coates, along with the lead teacher of the Quads, Cordella Young.

Chris Mohr, Raechel O’neal Coates, Cordella Young, Jennifer Lee, Shakirah (Left to right)