Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

PYM series--Friends in Fellowship January to May 2018

Public ContentAnyone can view this post

This is a series of fun events that bring Friends—and friends of Friends—together for fellowship, wine and cheese,  and networking.

All but the farm event will be held at 7:00 PM at the Arch Street Meetinghouse 4th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA (free parking).


There is no charge to attend but an RSVP is encouraged, so we can plan refreshments, and offer directions.

Purpose & Goals – To connect Friends, colleagues, and new attenders, and the ‘Quaker friendly’ within specific interest areas.

  • Introduce young and seasoned professionals, recent college graduates, and their friends to each other.
  • Build a sense of professional, as well as religious fellowship.
  • Foster collaboration on issues, and support career mentoring.
  • Highlight how our Quaker beliefs are relevant to what we choose to do in our everyday personal and professional lives.

2018 Event Dates and Program  

January 11 – Taking Tyrants to Court – Human Rights Restitution in the Philippines and Korea: (Law with Robert Swift, Esq.)

Bob has devoted three decades of his life to securing compensation for victims of human rights abuses.  He litigated the first class-action human rights case against Ferdinand Marcos, of the Philippines, resulting in a $2 billion judgement.  He was a principal litigator and negotiator in Holocaust litigation against Switzerland, Germany, and Austria which awarded $7.5 billion to 2 million victims.  In his talk and Q&A session, he will address litigation over human rights abuses. Bob is a member of Haverford Meeting.

January 25 – Teaching to the Heart, Teaching to the Mind: (Education with Sydney Coffin & Chris Bond)

Sydney Hunt Coffin teaches at Edison-Fareira High School in North Philadelphia.  He is a Yale National Initiative Fellow ( improvement of public education) and serves on Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council. His talk centers on his fundamental Quaker belief that every person has value, potential, and a voice to be heard. He will share his methods for fostering students’ creative expression through poetry and art.   Last summer, Sydney’s work was featured on Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Chris ([email protected]) is an attender at Crosswicks Meeting and a High School social studies teacher at West Windsor – Plainsboro High School North.  He has been working with alternative approaches to instruction, assessment, and grading to improve learning.  Chris will consider neuroscience research’s impact on educational decision making, and discuss the importance of social emotional learning standards.

February 8 – Wissahickon Habitat Repair – Plants and Birds and Rocks & Things (the Environment, with William J. Ryan, Ph.D.)

Will Ryan is a restoration ecologist and field botanist for ecologically significant natural areas. His work at the Patrick Center for Environmental Research at Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences focuses on scientific research in plant community and restoration ecology. During his Ph.D. research project—to identify best management practices for ecological restoration projects—at the University of Delaware, Will worked under the acclaimed author and scientist, Douglas Tallamy Ph.D. Will provides scientific support to over 50 organizations involved in the Delaware River Watershed Initiative and has been an attender at London Grove Meeting.

February 25 – Quaker Farming: Farms, Gardens, and Seeds (Farming,  with William Woys Weaver, and farmer John Hunt – this event is OFF SITE at Hunt’s Eden Valley Farm)

  • 10:00 AM Meeting for Worship at Schuylkill Monthly Meeting in Phoenixville. Friends will attend Meeting for worship and then drive to John Hunt’s Eden Valley Farm.
  • 11:45 AM Eden Valley Farm – for lunch and discussion with William Woys Weaver, author of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. He will be joined by Dancing Wolf, a heritage gardener, and our hosts, the farm owners, John and Penny Hunt.
  • Directions to Eden Valley Farm (.pdf)

William Weaver is a food historian and the author of sixteen books including A Quaker Woman’s Cookbook (1982, new edition 2004)—America Eats (1989), and The Christmas Cook (1990).  Weaver has been featured on Good Morning America, and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, and served as a contributing editor to GOURMET. He was Associate and Art Editor of The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. His newest book, Creative Pickling is in development with Rizzoli (New York) and a reprint of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, will be released soon. Weaver received his doctorate in food tourism and cultural ethnography at University College Dublin, Ireland.

Stephen Smith lives in Guthrie Kentucky and is part Cherokee, with the Indian name Dancing Wolf. He has published a book on the genetics of heirloom corn and is pursuing a degree in agriculture from Austin Peay State University. Dancing Wolf is President of “Seeds of Preservation Independence” and will join the Roughwood Seed Archive in May 2018 as a working partner in the project.

March 8 – The Art of Persuasion, (Arts/Media, with Signe Wilkinson, and Ramona Sharples, Trans Girl-Trans Comic)

Two cartoonists, one emerging and one well-established, will talk about how art challenges and shapes political and identity perceptions.

Signe Wilkinson is a Pulitzer prize winning Editorial Cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a member at Germantown Monthly Meeting.

Ramona Sharples is a recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania and a software engineer living in Palo Alto. Last year Ramona told her transition story through a graphic novel format on Tumblr, and quickly gathered a strong internet following. She will be publishing a short fiction piece in Lilies anthology @liliesanthology in 2018.

April 12 – Living Well: A Panel Discussion on Tools for Wellness (Holistic Health, with panelists Glenn Ellis, Robert Smith, and Katy Hawkins)

Glenn Ellis is a wellness expert, and medical ethicist with a weekly WURD radio health program on wellness strategies and well-being.

Robert Smith, PhD. (Germantown Monthly Meeting) is the author of several books including The Vitamin Cure for Arthritis and the Vitamin Cure for Eye Disease. A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Robert studies how retinal circuitry processes visual signals, using simulation to reconcile the retina circuit’s known physiological properties with the function of its neural components.

Katy Hawkins (Shiné Yoga) – Katy (Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting) approaches yoga by engaging body, mind, and spirit through the themes of light and space – a kind of fearless, Quakerly, spiritual spelunking.

May 10 – The Human Genome & Health Disparities (Medicine with Dr. Max Muenke, of the National Institute of Health)

Max Muenke, a member at Lansdowne Monthly Meeting, will speak about efforts to address disparities in health care. Dr. Muenke has directed medical genetics, first at CHOP/Penn, and later at NIH. His lab made seminal discoveries in normal and abnormal brain development in humans by identifying several genes important in craniofacial disorders. More recently, his lab has identified susceptibility loci for ADHD, with further research focused on predicting severity, treatment response, and long-term outcomes.

Please note: the dates and time listed here are the most up-to-date

Event Details

  • 7:00 PM – Arrive and mingle in the parlor.
  • 7:30 PM– One 15-minute talk or two 10 minute talks by joint speakers (with question & answer period afterward) in the monthly meeting room.
  • 8:05 PM– Q & A, Conversation, exchange of business cards & final mingling
  • 8:30 PM – Say goodbye

More contact information here: