Life of the Meeting
VISITORS, ATTENDERS, AND MEMBERS
During a Meeting for Worship, the people present
usually include a mix of visitors, attenders, and members.
Visitors, often members of other religious
organizations, frequently come to our Meetings for Worship
with no thought of joining or subscribing to Friends
practice. Our location draws visitors from all over the
Attenders come regularly, perhaps for years, but
have either not applied for or been accepted for
membership. While long-term attendance is usually a
prelude to joining the Meeting, some people remain
An individual can join a Monthly Meeting of The Religious
Society of Friends at birth, as a child, or as an adult
and membership can take any one of several forms. Some
members elect to register their sons or daughters as
Friends at birth. Alternatively, children of Friends can
be registered as Associate Members, a category
that allows the child the choice of formalizing his/her
membership at the age of twenty-one. Convinced Friends
are those who joined the Religious Society of Friends as
adults. Sojourning Friends are members of one
Meeting whose work, school or other circumstance has taken
them away from home and who 'join' a second Meeting
Instead of a central administrator - a minister, rabbi,
or priest - who ensures that the business of the
organization is accomplished, Friends have a volunteer
Clerk of the Meeting. In addition we have
Clerks who work with various
committees to ensure that the Meeting's bills are paid,
our building is maintained, and the needs of the members
are met. A partial list of our committees includes:
- Worship and Ministry
- Care (formerly "Overseers")
- Peace and Social Concerns
- Outreach, and
Committee meetings are held at various times. However,
our Monthly Meetings for Business are always held
on the third Sunday of the month, September through June.
In contrast with the more specifically focused committee
meetings, Meetings for Business deal with a wide variety
of topics and include all members in the dialogue. Both at
the committee level and during Meetings for Business,
Friends operate by consensus - no votes are taken.
Instead, the sense of the group as a whole is sought.
Visitors and attenders are welcome to observe Meetings for
JOHN MARTIN TRUST
Our meeting's John Martin Trust Distribution Committee serves to assist financially needy Friends in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting with grants or loans. Applications are made by someone at each person's home meeting. For more information, guidelines and forms, see our John Martin Trust page.
SOCIAL LIFE OF OUR MEETING
A visitor asked us, what do we do besides
meetings for worship, committee meetings, and meetings for
business? Here's a quick list:
Hosts sponsor dinner @ their home, people sign up and
provide a dish. Show up for conversation, food and fun at
the set time and date.
3rd Sunday, always a Potluck lunch beforehand.
Religious Education Program:
4th Sunday of the month, 12:00 to 1:00, meet to learn
about the topic being discussed
Adult Education – Schedule for Spring, 2013.
5th Sunday Potluck, discussion and conversation, following
Informative interactive sessions for those seeking to
learn more about Quakerism, usually 6 sessions that run
in consecutive weeks.
Yearly Baseball River Sharks game.
A theme day for deeper reflections into our faith and
community, usually at Pendle Hill.
Quaker burial ground clean up and festival several times
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL QUAKER
The small size of our membership limits the number and
kind of activities we can undertake within our Meeting.
However, our members serve on the boards of a number of
Friends' organizations which reflect support of the
Testimonies outlined elsewhere.
They include Friends
Select School, a pre-K-12 independent school
under the joint care of our Meeting and Central
Philadelphia Monthly Meeting; Stapeley
in Germantown, a retirement community;
Friends Rehab Program, an organization
concerned with low-income housing; and the Fairhill
Burial Ground in North Philadelphia, all of
which are under the care of Philadelphia Quarter.
Our members - and attenders - participate in the retreats
and educational programs of Pendle
Hill, the Quaker residential study center
located in Wallingford, PA. Most Pendle Hill programs are
open to the public.
Two social organizations are also worth noting. Teenagers
from our Meeting have enjoyed the Young Friends
retreats which take place several times a year. Young
Adult Friends, a group for twenty-somethings,
publishes a newsletter and schedules occasional events.
Both groups can be reached through Friends Center.
STRUCTURE OF THE QUAKER COMMUNITY in PHILADELPHIA
In addition to individual Meetings, called Monthly
Meetings because the business meetings are held once
a month, there are Quarterly Meetings and Yearly
Arch Street is one of seven area Monthly Meetings which
make up the Philadelphia Quarter. Meetings now are
held three times a year to address items of regional
The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is a larger body
that draws on the resources of dozens of Meetings
throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and
Maryland. Though a week-long meeting is held annually to
consider concerns, most of the activities of Yearly
Meeting are implemented by appointed persons, committees
supported by Yearly Meeting staff in offices at 1515
Cherry Street in Philadelphia, and working and service
groups. Committee topics include prison reform and
eradication of the death penalty, spiritual growth, social
concerns, religious education and various administrative