Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was a self-educated African American mathematician, astronomer, surveyor, compiler of almanacs, and writer. He was also a regular attender at Quaker meetings and an abolitionist who gained fame and recognition for his contributions to science and his prescient correspondence on multiple subjects, including race, with key intellectuals of the time.
With many thanks to Norval Reece of Newtown Monthly Meeting who wrote the following piece about his experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro following a Quaker assignment in India. Norval was at the Friends Centre in Delhi, sponsored by the AFSC and British Friends Service Council. He is a member of Newtown Meeting and previously published a version of this story in the Courier Times of Bucks County (PA).
The story below was previously published in the Merion Friends Meeting June 2021 Newsletter. The article was written by Janet Frazer. We publish it here with thanks to Janet and Merion meeting.
Charles E. Hires was a pharmacist, an active member of Merion Meeting in the early twentieth century and an amateur historian.
Hires started his root beer business in the 1870s, at a time when beer or hard cider was the typical drink at mealtime and alcohol consumption was increasing rapidly (it expanded more than five times over the last 35 years of the nineteenth century). Taverns/saloons were important venues for social and political gatherings and there were more of these institutions than churches, schools, libraries, hospitals, parks and theaters combined. At about the same time that drinking was increasing, the temperance movement took off for the second time, often calling for equal rights for women as well as reduced alcohol consumption. Under its well-known president, Frances Willard, the WCTU sponsored parades, speeches and demonstrations. The end of the 19th century witnessed both more drinking and more protests against it. [Read more…] about Merion Member Charles E. Hires: a Manufacturer of Root Beer
On Friday August 13th Arch Street Meetinghouse Preservation Trust (ASMHT) is organizing a one-day event, from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, for Friends and the ‘Quaker unaware’ to visit and test out sample exhibit ideas. PYM Friends will help them understand how the exhibits are experienced, and people who are not familiar with the Quaker faith will help them become more aware of Quaker jargon to avoid in the new displays. [Read more…] about Designing the Next Arch Street Meeting House Exhibit
A recorded Friends minister of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, Jay Marshall graduated from Guilford College in 1985. He earned his M.Div. in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1992 from Duke University. He served as a Dean of the Earlham School of Religion, retiring in 2018 after 20 years of tenure. He continues to serve the Earlham religious community as Dean Emeritus. [Read more…] about Quaker Educator: Interview with Jay Marshall, Dean Emeritus of Earlham School of Religion
This April, Haverford Quarterly Meeting convened to discuss the offering of conscientious objector (CO) training by Winifred Shaw Hope. The training (open to all) will be hosted on June 12 and 19. Participant costs will be defrayed by grants from some of the Quarter’s meetings. Below we unpack some of the history around how very precious the CO service option is. Training is necessary if meetings and schools are to be prepared to help 18-26 year-olds understand and access their options around registering as COs or becoming subject to compulsory military service in the event of a draft.
The story below was previously published in the Merion Friends Meeting April 2021 Newsletter. The article was written by Janet Frazer.
Lower Merion Township’s official history begins in 1682 after Penn established his colony and sold the land to the Welsh Quakers who founded Merion Friends Meeting. But the area was not empty when these travelers arrived! Quaker Thomas Evan’s son reported that when his father arrived in Merion that year he was thirsty and given a drink of water by an elderly Swede and his wife. Dr. Edward Jones later recalled that shortly after his family’s arrival, “the Indians brought venison to our door for six pence ye quarter .” Thomas Paschal, an immigrant from Bristol, England, who lived at Kingsessing (Southwest Philadelphia) wrote in 1683 that “Swedes provide food and housing for the newcomers but also essential services in negotiating with the native Indians”. So the Delaware Valley was not an unoccupied wilderness when the Quakers arrived.
Tony Manasseh (Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting) is a third-generation Quaker who grew up in a country that used to be referred to as “the Switzerland of the Middle East.” His home city, Beirut, was a financial engine that powered the region, and the country had a multicultural vibe that drew international investment. In the 1960’s it was also a place that brought the different cultures of the region into close proximity, building relationships centered in common interests that embraced diversity and supported a distinctive Middle Eastern culture.
Since then civil war, political change, economic distress, and Covid have been tough on the region. The aftermath of a devastating ammonium nitrate blast that tore facades off buildings and blew apart a large swath of homes overlooking the waterfront made everything worse. According to the World Bank the blast caused between $3.8 and $4.6 Billion dollars of damage.
Since then the economy has been mostly in freefall. [Read more…] about A Quaker in Beirut, Lebanon: Interview with Friend Tony Manasseh
To meet Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Ph.D. is to encounter an exceptionally grounded Friend with a deep knowledge of human societies. Currently Swarthmore College’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty since 2018, Sarah was appointed after having chaired the Department of Sociology & Anthropology (2009-2018), chaired the President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct (2013-14), served as Associate Provost (2005-8), and coordinated the Black Studies Program on and off for more than a decade beginning in 1998. Somehow, as she does all this, she has still found time to be present in leading PYM towards growth in important areas. [Read more…] about Quakers in Education: Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Sociologist and Swarthmore Dean
The Quaker Traditions Series is a set of articles on the Quaker faith. In his role as Associate Secretary for Religious Life, Zachary Dutton has listened deeply to Friends in the community. Working with the PYM staff community engagement team he has provided answers to framing questions for this four-part series. The answers are reflective as opposed to definitive.
The gift of the Quaker faith is that it is one of continuing revelation, so the article speaks to the ‘here and now’ of our faith even as it is tied to, and reflects, our history and tradition. If you have thoughts on these questions, please share them with Zachary – his email is at the end of this article. He is always looking for new ways to be in relationship with our wider Quaker community.