Byberry Blog


A Quaker "Renaissance" in
Northeast Philadelphia

CPMM - Mary Ellen Article for  CPMM - Mary Ellen Article for To download the article, click here.


Keystone Grant from the PHMC     

(PA Historical & Museum Commission)

Clean BMM Logo

We couldn't be any more excited, pleased and HONORED by the announcement that the Byberry Friends Complex was chosen as a recipient of the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission's Keystone Planning Grant.

This proposal was only possible with the incredible hard work of Kate Cowing (Kate Cowing Architect), Mary Ellen McNish (President of the Byberry Friends Trustees), David Nepley (Clerk of Byberry Friends Meeting) and Susan Vorwerk (Consultant to Byberry).  Additionally, we are so grateful for the support of: Jon Farnham (Executive Director of the Philadelphia Historical Commission); Paul Steinke (Executive Director of The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia); and Martina White (Pennsylvania State Representative of the 170th District); as well as many others who supported our application and subsequent nomination.

This Planning Grant is the first step in assessing the structural integrity of all the various components that make up our “complex”.

The Byberry Complex is made-up of:
    the meetinghouse;
    the library & schoolhouse;
    Byberry Hall (purpose-built abolition debate hall);
    the carriage shed, and 
    two burial grounds.  

We have much work ahead, but are excited that the PHMC recognizes the importance and significance of this property in the history of many social change movements in Philadelphia; in Pennsylvania; in the country.
Fore More Info: 
        See the PennLive Article
        See the Philly Voice Article


The Light Within

Friday, October 2, 2020 

(Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation)

First gathering in 17th-century England as the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers have always existed on the margins of Christianity, but that doesn’t mean their impact has been small. In many ways, they were ahead of their time (and even our times) when it came to women’s legitimate place in spiritual leadership, abolitionism, pacifism, and even the necessity of silence to hear the voice of God. From the beginning, they insisted that every individual had access to the “Light Within” and must follow their own conscience. It took the Catholic Church until Vatican II to state that clearly! In this passage by Quaker mystic Thomas Kelly (1893–1941), I hear echoes of the writings of Thomas Merton, as Kelly encourages his readers to recognize, trust, and live authentically from the “Light Within.”

Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us. It is a Light Within that illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon the human face. It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it. It is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And [Christ] is within us all.

You who read these words already know this inner Life and Light. For by this very Light within you is your recognition given. In this humanistic age we suppose we are the initiators and God is the responder. But the Living Christ within us is the initiator, and we are the responders. . . .

The basic response of the soul to the Light is internal adoration and joy, thanksgiving and worship, self-surrender and listening. The secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop. They become a holy sanctuary of adoration and of self-oblation, where we are kept in perfect peace, if our minds be stayed on [God] who has found us in the inward springs of our life. . . . Powerfully are the springs of our will moved to an abandon of singing love toward God; powerfully are we moved to a new and overcoming love toward time-blinded human beings and all creation. In this Center of Creation all things are ours, and we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen. 

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