May, 2013 | Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting Newsletter
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Monthly and Quarterly Meeting Events

Annual plant swap is back

Photo of hands swapping plantsOn Sunday, May 5, Chestnut Hill Meeting gardeners will bring extras of items from their gardens (but not the weeds), to exchange them for plants that others are offering that they themselves don’t yet have. But don’t be put off if you’re a total novice who’s just learning to identify the weeds. You can take proffered plants without having brought something to exchange. And in either case, you’re encouraged to make a contribution to the KISTA trust to help support our Nepali refugee friends.

Why write letters?

FCNL logo19 letters were sent in April, at the request of FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) to support a Senate resolution endorsing the efforts of peace builders in Kenya, including many Kenyan Quakers. Thanks to all of you who participated! But exactly why is the monthly FCNL letter-writing table worth a few minutes of your time? For the answers to that question, Read more »

Adult class: a new way of studying scripture

Hevruta is a term that refers to a pair of people engaged in studying Jewish texts together in a particular manner. We'll learn about this approach on Sunday, 5 May, at the 9:00am adult class in the Social Room. Traditional Jewish text study is about exploring different aspects of a text and wrestling with (considering, responding to, arguing with, riffing on) both what you find in the text and what you and your hevruta have to add. In this wrestling process, you and your hevruta are creating something new with this text. Under the guidance of Irene McHenry and Beulah Trey, we may first talk about Torah in general, and then experiment with this way of reading a part of these scriptures. Beulah Trey is a co-founder of the Philadelphia Mussar Leadership Institute. On the following Sunday, Friends will continue this study in pairs, but without Irene and Beulah in attendance.

May Calendar

See the printable May calendar, which shows other groups’ uses of the building as well as our own. (You might find the “Agenda” view the most useful for printing out to post on your refrigerator door.)

Links in the list below jump to more information about the event.

  • Sat., 4 May, 8:00 am – Spiritual Formation mid-year retreat –  Worship & Social Rooms
  • Sun., 5 May, 9:00 am – Adult Class: Hevruta scripture study – Social Room
  • Sun., 5 May – Silent auction of furniture begins – Entire meetinghouse
  • Sun., 5 May, 12:00 pm – Annual Plant Swap – Meetinghouse yard
  • Sun., 5 May, 12:00 pm – Community Lunch – Social Room
  • Sun., 5 May, 12:30 pm – Worship & Ministry Committee meeting – Middle School Room
  • Mon., 6 May, 7:30 pm – Coordinating Committee meeting –  Gathering Room
  • Tue., 7 May, 7:00 pm – Ad hoc committee on Opening – Social Room
  • Wed., 8 May, 7:00 pm – Peace & Social Concerns Committee meeting – Social Room
  • Wed., 8 May, 7:00 pm – Finance Committee meeting – Gathering Room
  • Sun., 12 May, 12:00 pm – Forum: Impact of Art on Worship – Worship Room
  • Mon., 13 May, 7:30 pm – Care & Counsel Committee meeting – Mickey’s house
  • Tue., 14 May, 7:30 pm – Men’s Spiritual Support group – Middle School Room
  • Wed., 15 May, 7:00 pm – RE Committee meeting – Social Room
  • Sat., 18 May, 9:00 am – Mindfulness Meditation Retreat – Worship & Social Rooms
  • Sat., 18 May, 9:30 am – Office & Records sub-group meeting – Office
  • Sun., 19 May, 12:30 pm – Meeting for Business – Worship Room
  • Tue., 21 May, All day – Election Day; meetinghouse is a polling place – Social Room
  • Thu., 23 May, 6:30 pm – Campaign Committee meeting – Social Room
  • Wed., 29 May, – June newsletter deadline – midnight, via email
  • Every Sunday
    • Early Meeting for Worship – 9 - 10am in worship room; also on lower lot on 4th Sundays
    • Adult Class most Sundays, 9:00 am in Social Room
    • Meeting for Worship (see note) (childcare available) – 10:30 - 11:30 am
    • Children’s First Day school – 10:30 am to 11:30 am

AFSC wants to know what we think

AFSC logoWHAT: Philadelphia Quarter is holding two “Listening Sessions” to hear views and ideas about program work for social and economic justice in metropolitan Philadelphia that AFSC might consider taking on.

WHO: All who are involved with (or concerned about) social and economic justice work in the Philadelphia area are invited. “Listeners” from AFSC will be present. Please feel free to extend this invitation to others who would be interested.

Read WHEN and WHERE »

Mindfulness meditation retreat on Saturday, 18 May

drop_thbFrom 9:30 to 2:30 on 18 May, Irene McHenry will guide a full range of mindfulness practices including sitting, walking, gentle movement, mindful listening, eating meditation, and compassion practice. Join us to explore the transformative possibilities in each moment of our lives. Please bring a bag lunch; tea, juice and water will be provided. Bring a pillow or cushion to sit on, if desired. Register by email to Download the flyer, a one-page PDF.

Marcelle Martin to speak to adult class on 19 May

Marcelle Martin, a member of Chestnut Hill Meeting, has been living in Richmond, Indiana while completing two books about early Quakers. The first book tells the stories of many amazing people who played a role in the beginnings of Quakerism, and who brought the Quaker message to the colonies. She was awarded the Mullen Writing Fellowship at Earlham School of Religion this spring while working on a second, shorter book about the Quaker Spiritual Journey. She will share with us ten elements of the spiritual experience of early Quakers that may be important elements of our own spiritual experience today, individually and as a community. Her blog post on the Ten Elements of the Quaker Spiritual Journey gives a brief overview of what she’ll be talking about with us. How is our spiritual experience similar, and how is it different? What can we learn from early Friends to help us understand how God is at work in and among us today?

New Meetinghouse News

A profoundly moving experience

Clip art of moving vanThe Client Committee has been assured that we will be getting a certificate of occupancy and the keycode to the new meetinghouse on June 14. The Finance Committee has been told that the date for closing on the sale of the current meetinghouse is July 15. So now it it is time to talk about moving and cleaning out.

The Property Committee has developed a proposed schedule for accomplishing the move and clean out. Please click here to read or download the schedule. The Property Committee will be developing suggestions for committees with responsibility for some areas of the meetinghouse and will send them to the clerks of those committees soon. If you have questions, please contact George Benz, Cyane Gresham, or Bob Reynolds.

Coordinating Skyspace openings

Three years ago, when the campaign committee applied for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, we were advised to include in the budget money to pay a Skyspace outreach coordinator. Now that the Skyspace is close to opening, the committees have refined the task: management of the public opening of the Skyspace for six months. After the meeting decided to include a Skyspace installation accessible to the public, both the NEA and the Knight Foundation gave money to see that this would be done and done well. Read the rest of the job description here »

Storm’s thoughts on sharing the Skyspace

Please click here to read Storm Evans’ thoughts (1 pg PDF) about sharing the new new meetinghouse and the Skyspace. If you have suggestions or concerns, we now have an email address for an ad hoc committee that is focusing on issues around the Skyspace openings (

Furniture silent auction

We have purchased new furniture for the meetinghouse, so some of the furniture that we have now will not be needed and must be removed from the current meetinghouse before it is sold on July 15. The Property Committee has decided to sell the unneeded furniture through a silent auction that will take place at the meetinghouse starting Sunday, May 5, and ending Sunday, June 9. Read what’s included in the sale »

News of Friends

Fun Day sensory inventory (and slideshow)

Things overheard Things seen Things learned Things tasted*
“I never played Bananagrams before. That was fun.” (from an adult) Parents trading board game suggestions Whose family has built a cabin Cannoli
“That will be his first s’more” (about a 2-year-old) People chatting under trees Who can make grilled falafel Pierogies
Who has lived overseas Many salads
Chocolate cookies

Photo of kids at Fun Day* In addition to grilled falafel and s’mores, that is.

Check out this slideshow of photos by Terry Foss. To see captions for the pictures, mouse over the thumbnail images; to start the slideshow, mouse over the right-hand end of the large picture at the top and click the arrow.

Please send notices of family and community events for future issues of the newsletter.

Counting noses

For the month of April I abandoned my usual seat in meeting for worship to sit in the back, so that I could see the whole Worship Room without turning around. PYM had asked us to conduct a census of our meetings for worship for the month, and I was counting us. I found these results interesting:

Day 4/7, 9:00 4/7, 10:30 4/14, 9:00 4/14, 10:30 4/21, 9:00 4/21, 10:30 4/28, 9:00 4/28, 10:30
Children 18 19 17 1 17
Adults 2 81 2 77 2 62 24 57

You might recall that we held this year’s first outdoor meeting for worship on 4/28, which probably explains the sudden increase in attendance at early worship. Phil Jones

Outside the Meeting

PYM’s Spring Family Overnight

Register by May 15th for Spring Family Overnight! Don’t miss out on the best weekend ever, Saturday, May 18th 1:30pm through Sunday, May 19th 12:00pm. The location is Camp Dark Waters, 26 New Freedom Road, Medford, NJ; cost is $35/person. Scholarship and work grants are available. Registration open now! Contact Benjamin Camp, Children's Religious Life Program Coordinator & Youth Program Team Leader, for more information. Office: (215) 241-7228, Email:;

Let’s turn down the heat

PYM’s Peace and Concerns Standing Committee is sponsoring an interfaith gathering on climate awareness, action and fossil-fuel divestment on Saturday, 18 May, from 9:30 – 4:30 at Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street in Center City. Download the flyer for more information.

Worshipping at Wyck

Photo of Wyck farmhouseWe’re invitated to attend a special Sunday Meeting in the Historic Wyck Rose Garden. Wyck served as the ancestral home to nine generations of one Quaker family in Germantown, residing on the property from 1690-1970! On May 19th, a peak bloom day, they invite their Quaker Friends in to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the garden. Click to download the flyer for details. Read more »

“If She Stood”

Don’t miss two things at the Painted Bride this month! A memorable theatrical portrait (done as if it were a Quaker meeting!) of the remarkable abolitionist/suffragist women of Philadelphia, including the Grimke sisters, “If She Stood” runs this May 3, 4 and 5 at 8 PM. Read about the accompanying exhibit at The Bride »

Documents from April Business Meeting

Thanking our retiring clerks

The Meeting owes big thank yous to three people who have finished serving as clerks:

  • Hannah Mazzacaro – Religious Education Committee (First Day School)
  • Kathy Miller – Peace & Social Concerns Committee
  • Carla White – Assistant clerk of the Meeting

These are the people who got the emails and phone calls, took extra responsibility, made sure the programs happened or answers were found. Thank you also to everyone who served/serves on a committee, or makes something happen, or simply steps in to help.


Earth Quaker Action Team made headlines on April 23 when it kept PNC Bank from business as usual at its annual shareholders’ meeting. Here is a link to just one of the many articles.

Germantown MM member running for judge

Read Stephen Dotson’s article (link) about a member of Germantown Meeting who is running for public office. It’s not an endorsement of a candidate, but a personal look at the role of Quakerism and other influences in Giovanni Campbell’s life.

Supporting our Quarterly Meeting

In case you missed these documents from a recent bulletin, here again are a fundraising letter from Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, and the PQM Financial Statement and budget. Keep these needs in mind as you evaluate what you can give to our own monthly meeting and to the new building campaign.

Job opening at Germantown Monthly Meeting

Germantown Meeting is looking to hire a part-time Secretary (30 hours/week). The Secretary handles Meeting communications and manages the Meeting Office. The job involves bookkeeping and other financial duties as well as maintaining Meeting membership and other records. The job requires good communication and computer skills and a friendly “can-do” attitude. For a fuller job description, email Tom Elkinton, Clerk of Office and Records ( The deadline for applications, with résumés and references, is May 8.

Great story of peace activism

This Washington Post account of three peace activists whose trial begins next week is a compelling narrative. They broke into a “super-secure” uranium enrichment project in Oak Ridge, TN, to demonstrate its vulnerability.

GRinCH Free Cycle event this Sunday

Click to download a flyer for the free-cycle event that’s part of this Sunday’s Home and Garden Festival in Chestnut Hill.

Invitation from Lynn Mather

This Sunday after meeting for worship, and Plant Swapping , join in a Listening Session on Sustainable Practices addressing these questions (and over lunch):

  • What actions am I taking today that manifest love for Earth and life, including my own?

Read the rest of Lynn’s queries here »

CHFM on Facebook! Twitter too!!

‘Like’ the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Community Lunch

Community Lunches occur on the first First Day (Sunday) of the month from 12:00 - 1:00pm and are provided by the Hospitality Committee (i.e., it’s not a potluck). All are welcome. (We do have a potluck lunch on the fifth Sunday of the month, when there is one.)

Please don’t bring anything with strawberries in it to a potluck or community lunch; a member of our community is highly sensitive to strawberries.

Meeting for Worship

Children are welcome in meeting for worship from 10:30 to 10:45, when they leave for First Day (Sunday) School.

Links to back issues

Visit the archive with links to all back issues of the electronic newsletter.

Newsletter Feedback

The newsletter is compiled by Phil Jones and proofread by Roberta Foss; many others help. Please send your comments, suggestions and questions about the newsletter by e-mail. Your feedback is important!

Poem: Fixing Nitrogen

How exactly do bacteria
living on the roots of my beans
fix nitrogen anyway?

Is it like fixing someone's hair, or a leaky radiator, or a spaghetti dinner?
Is it like fixing a boxing match?
Or do they do it the way god fixed the stars in the firmament?

And what about this need we have to fix our lives?

As if we had a recipe
As if we had a clue what was going on under the hood
As if we could shave a few points and beat the odds
As if we weren’t already blazing away in the brilliant dark.

by Tony Martin, in June/July 2012 Friends Journal

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Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting
100 E Mermaid Ln
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19118-3507

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