From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

November 25, 2010 • GC.112510.pdf

In This Issue

  1. Residents Voice Concerns Over NHS Methadone Clients

  2. Deceased and Missing Residents Remembered at St. Vincent de Paul

  3. Activist Nettie Boykin Honored for 35 Years of Service

  4. Residents Give Views on ‘Philadelphia 2035’ Plan

  5. Six Acres Along Cresheim Creek to Become Part of Park System

  6. The Therapist Is In: My Son Says He’s Gay. How Can I Best Help Him?Valley Green Bank Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

  7. Carol Sing Begins First Friday Celebration in Mt. Airy

  8. Holiday Decoration Kits for Businesses

  9. Green Party to Meet

  10. St. Michael’s Invites Community to Thanksgiving Dinner

  11. Grace Baptist Celebrates in Song

  12. Advent Vespers at Avenue Churches

  13. Hanukkah Celebrations at GJC

  14. Discussion on Questions Pertaining to Afterlife

  15. GLBT Education and Support at UU

  16. Program on Healing at USG

  17. Shop at Ten Thousand Villages, Benefit Face to Face

  18. LTSP Advent Vespers

  19. Carol Service at Mennonite Meeting House

  20. Christmas Program Dec. 5 at St. Madeleine Sophie

  21. Music of Middle Ages, Renaissance at Grace Epiphany

  22. Celebrate the Holiday Season in Mt. Airy and Germantown

  23. Mural Arts’ Golden Speaks at LTSP

  24. Local Students with Donetsk Ballet in ‘The Nutcracker’

  25. GFS Tops in ‘Great Food Fight!’ Drive

  26. MAUSA Workshop for First-Time Homebuyers

  27. Enjoy Holiday at Historic Stenton

  28. Upcoming Events at Maxwell Mansion

  29. Bird Pictures

  30. Career Workshop

Residents Voice Concerns Over NHS Methadone Clients




A meeting of area neighbors was held at the Impacting Your World Christian Center on Market Square last Thursday, November 18, to address what some community residents consider an escalating problem directly related to a local methadone clinic and nearby counseling facility run by Northwest Human Services (NHS) of Philadelphia.

Nearly 25 nearby residents and representatives of NHS were present as Pat Reese and Democratic Committeewoman Cornelia Swinson set in motion discussion and reports of escalating examples of drug dealing, prostitution, defiant behavior and creation of an unsafe environment by those who residents claimed were commuters to the nearby methadone clinic and remained in the community for extended periods. Some attendees alleged that clinic clients left behind drug paraphernalia and impacted the quality of life in the immediate community, including nearby Maplewood Mall and busy intersections and transit stops.

Many residents repeated their experience that “things have changed” from their experience in past years with the clinic, where in the past clients came, got treated and left, but that this scenario is much different now and has been for some time.

Mark Sellers, chair of the Germantown Historical Society whose facility faces Market Square at Church Lane, confirmed that he and employees of the Society are aware and have seen the effects of these problems on the street and in their parking lot behind the building.

Concerned neighbors wondered aloud how methadone clinics and other treatment facilities wound up in Germantown without advance discussion with the community and NHS was questioned as to when their lease was up.

Art Fastman of NHS stated there had been no increase in the number of clients treated in recent years and claimed that even fewer were part of the program due to budget cuts.  That prompted Swinson to conclude that management must be doing less due diligence with those it does serve. Others took the position that they must have more serious cases that are more difficult to control, since, they said, the problems have escalated.

Staffers of NHS verified that the hours of operation were 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Fastman stated that he had only been in charge of this facility for three months and would prioritize becoming familiar with the community complaints and take appropriate action.  Swinson requested in writing a program to protect the security of residents and any other management improvement programs that would be forthcoming. Fastman agreed to provide it.  He also provided his contact phone number of 215-879-6117, ext. 208, and stated that the facility was licensed and inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The next meeting is scheduled for December 16 at the same location.

Deceased and Missing Residents Remembered at St. Vincent de Paul

Kelsey Taylor and Ariya Kraik, Wharton students who helped organize the event, light a candle at the candle-lighting ceremony during the event.

Close to sixty members of the Germantown community gathered this past Saturday in St Vincent de Paul Church, 109 East Price Street, to honor the memory of dead and missing community members for a remembrance ceremony fittingly titled “Faces Never Fade”.  The event was jointly organized by Face to Face, a local non-profit organization that provides social services in Germantown, and a group of nine students from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

At the ceremony, which was focused on the Face to Face community, clients and volunteers with the organization chose to honor passed Face to Face clients Alice Renzulli and George Wilson, both of whom had long histories with the organization.  Others stepped up to the podium to speak to the congregation about lost friends, grandparents, cousins, and sons. 

The highlight of the event was a candle-lighting ceremony.  Everyone who was gathered lit a candle as a symbol of their love for friends and family members who have passed away.  As the candles burned together on a table at the front of the church, heads bowed in silent remembrance.

The morning ceremony featured speeches and uplifting musical performances.  At one point during the programming, everyone present lifted their voices to fill the church with the sounds of “Amazing Grace.”  Placed around the church were artworks created by clients in Face to Face’s community art program.  In preparation for the upcoming winter season, all attendees were gifted with warm gloves and scarves at the end of the ceremony, to remind them of the warmth that is created by our community.  The event was followed by a meal served at the Face to Face dining hall next door to the church.

Activist Nettie Boykin Honored for 35 Years of Service

Rev. Dominique Joachim, Sr., with Mrs. Nettie Boykin.


Guest Writer

On Saturday, November 20, Holy Temple of Deliverance Church on Seymour Street was the place to be for a celebration for Mrs. Nettie Boykin for her 35 years of service to the community.

Many of her family, neighbors, friends, former co-workers and community persons were in attendance. Betty Berry-Holmes read citations sent by State Representative Rosita C. Youngblood, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller and Fr. Eugene Sheridan, C. M.., rector, St. Francis of Assisi Church.

Mrs. Nettie received flowers from Mr. and Mrs. Irv Ackelsberg and Holy Temple of Deliverance Church along with a gift bag and gifts from other friends.

Evangelist Cheryl Joachim served as mistress of ceremony throughout the evening. The invocation  was given by Rev. Dr. C. Yvonne Johnson (Mrs. Nettie’s cousin) followed by a reading of her biography by myself. We were ministered in dance by Salema Bialock. The hospitality of Holy Temple of Deliverance Church Congregation and its Ministers were gracious throughout the evening. The congregation served a delicious dinner and desserts. An enjoyable evening was shared by all.

Mrs. Nettie, as I call my longtime friend was born in Sumter, South Carolina. She was raised by her grandparents and attended Saint Michael Elementary and High School.

When she moved to Philadelphia, she lived in South and North Philadelphia. Later, she and her husband, the late Jake Boykin (a boxer) moved with their five children (Mary Lydia, Debra, Andre (now deceased) Ray and Estelle to Seymour Street here in Germantown, where she has resided for the last forty-eight years. She has six grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. Her family was the first African American family to live in this area from Germantown Avenue to Morris Streets.

Mrs. Nettie worked many years with the Christian Brothers Catholic Social Services for Boys. They had a home next door to where she and her family lived and this evening, one of her “children,“ Major Fife (now 60 years old), came to honor her.

Mrs. Nettie has worked tirelessly during her lifetime and especially here in Germantown and Philadelphia. We acknowledged some of the things that Mrs. Nettie has accomplished but they are too numerous to list completely.

Mrs. Nettie is the first and only block captain of the 100 block of West Seymour Street. She was with the early group of persons in Philadelphia who wanted to keep their blocks clean and know their neighbors. She was given number two hundred and forty-five out of six thousand block captains by the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee.

Mrs. Nettie has served as chairperson for the 12th Ward, 18th Division; she has been a committee person; she was vice president of Democratic Women; she served as president of Southwest Germantown Association for four years; chair for the Southwest Germantown Credit Union Committee and she worked in City Council with former Councilperson Edward Schwartz.

Her last job was a Constituent Service Representative in the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD.) from which she retired. Larry Lane of OHCD attended and shared some of his thoughts about Mrs. Nettie. The life lessons learned from her in his early years working with her are remembered today and are still guiding principles in his life.

Leon Robinson worked with Mrs. Nettie when he worked with Wister Neighborhood Council as a community organizer. He said many things but one thing we can remember, “Mrs. Nettie is a good neighbor and everyone needs a good neighbor.” Jada Boykin, Mrs. Nettie’s great-granddaughter spoke lovely of her great-grandmother. Jada said she makes her laugh, smile and as long as she lives she will love her. Other family members and friends had something to share.

One of the biggest accomplishments by Mrs. Nettie, Mrs. Marlene Pryor (one of the founders of Concerned Neighbors of Greater Germantown, Inc.) and Mrs. Helen Winston along with others in their community groups, was the two-year struggle when the Acme Supermarket closed at Germantown and Ashmead on January 29, 1983 after being there for about 20 years. “These ladies worked hard by circulating petitions, attended meetings, lobbied in City Council and got a lawyer to fight the closing. They worked so hard that to some residents the store became íNettie and Marlene’s store,” Pryor said, “They told us we couldnít do it,” Boykin said. “I had people tell me,  ‘This is a losing battle.’ “ Two years later in 1985, Uncle Nick’s (Nick Pelis) Supermarket opened to fill a need in the community. (In 2010, a supermarket is still needed in the community.)

Mrs. Nettie has not let her retirement stop her from continuing to work in the Community to help make positive changes. She is a member of Germantown Community Connection and on the committee of Classic Towns, Germantown. Rev. Dr. Dominique Joachim, Sr., pastor of Holy Temple of Deliverance Church, gave words of encouragement to Mrs. Nettie and each of us. He thanked her for being a “good neighbor” and being a role model for others.

We finally had an opportunity to hear from the honoree, Mrs. Nettie Boykin. She said her community work is more like forty-five years but it was good to be remembered for the thirty-five years. She was surprised and grateful for all of the people who came out to her celebration. While she was speaking she was spotting family and friends with great enthusiasm.

This was an opportunity of celebration, sharing and meeting other Community persons who may only have known of each other by name.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Yes, in my humble opinion. One can remain true to their beliefs, be honest and work together.

Thanks, Mrs. Nettie for the opportunity to honor you-now. Please continue to show us how we can work together to make Germantown a better place to live, work and play.

Residents Give Views on ‘Philadelphia 2035’ Plan


Guest Writer

About 40 people gathered at the Commodore Barry Club on Emlen Street on November 10 for the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s final public workshop concerning the Commission’s “Philadelphia2035” plan. Attendees came from a variety of neighborhoods in Philadelphia to learn about the planning process and also provide public input.

The evening started with a brief overview of Philadelphia2035, which is a comprehensive plan focused on the development of the city on two different scales, citywide and districts. The citywide plan serves as a 25-year framework that addresses a list of issues the city would like to improve upon. It revolves around the PCPC’s model of transformative ideas divided into three categories: thrive, connect and renew. Each category has a different set of projects and goals.

“The citywide plan should be done by January,” community planner Ian Litwin said. “We had one round of workshops last spring to get ideas, and this was the second round to sort of finalize those ideas.”

Once the plan has been finalized, it will be adopted by the PCPC and put into fruition. “The plan will also serve as the basis for the upcoming remapping to enact the new Zoning Code, which is being written concurrently with the Comprehensive Plan,” Litwin said. “Lastly, the Comprehensive Plan will help us, as a city, capture our values and create a legacy for the future. The existing Comprehensive Plan was written in 1960 and no longer accomplishes these goals.”

The PCPC held four public workshops this fall allowing citizens to help prioritize projects within the Philadelphia2035 plan, and a total of 120 people attended. After the PCPC adopts the final citywide plan, those initiatives will be implemented on a smaller level throughout 18 Philadelphia districts. Four district plans will be completed each year, the first being Lower South and West Park in spring 2011. Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill fall in the Upper Northwest district, with planned to be completed in spring 2013 and spring 2014.

At the Mt. Airy meeting, attendees were split up into small groups for discussion. Each group had a large sum of fake money and three maps full of projects. With the help of commission planners, each group decided how to allocate funding for each map. On the map following the commission’s thrive category, attendees had $355 million to distribute amongst plans regarding land management, economic centers and districts. Some projects on that map included streetscape improvements on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and improving transit facilities by Temple University.

“In my head, I’m trying to choose between housing and economic development,” Germantown resident Susan Towey said.

Another map dealt with the connect theme, which is transportation and utilities. Some of the projects on that map included rapid transit, such as a subway line along the Roosevelt Boulevard, extension of the Broad Street line to the Navy Yard and creating a waterfront transit line along the Delaware River.

The third map focused on renewal of the city and had the least amount of fake money to work with. The renew projects focus on the environment, open space and historic preservation. Some ideas include converting schoolyards into green spaces or creating a continuous recreational trail along the Delaware River.

Regardless of the map, groups seemed to struggle with making final decisions. The discussions became a bit rushed as some group members insisted that participants hurry up and “throw money down.”

“I really enjoyed learning about these different ideas and projects, but it was very hard for such unique citizens to gather and see in similar ways,” 30-year-old Mt. Airy resident Megan Fitzpatrick said.

“We’ve been looking at all of these maps [from the workshops] to determine the highest and lowest priorities,” Litwin said. So far, rapid transit on Roosevelt Boulevard, which would connect the Northeast to Center City, is on top of the list.

“I’m really glad that the city is seeking public feedback,” said Towey. “But the number of people here tells me there isn’t a lot of engagement. I would like to see more people engaged in planning. It’s not just for experts.”

“I think the workshops were very helpful and fun. People seemed engaged and genuinely interested in the future of the city,” Litwin said.

Six Acres Along Cresheim Creek to Become Part of Park System

The Wissahickon East Project celebrated another milestone at a November 18 public meeting at Grace Epiphany Church in East Mt. Airy, which was attended by about 80 people. Mike DiBerardinis, the city’s commissioner of Parks and Recreation, and Mark Focht, executive director of Fairmount Park, stated their commitment to accept six acres of Cresheim Creek land into Fairmount Park. This is a major victory for the community and Wissahickon East Project, which has been organizing and lobbying for many years to first stop housing development on Cresheim Creek land, negotiate a no-building easement, and finally find a home for the land.

“Our vision is to establish the best park and recreation facilities in the country.” DiBerardinis stated during his presentation. “We want to ensure that there is a green space and trail within ten minutes of every neighborhood.” DiBerardinis explained that well-managed parks sustain communities and attract businesses to a city.

The department’s goals fit right in with the Wissahickon East Project’s goals to establish the first park in upper East Mt Airy, become connected to the Wissahickon Park system, and create a safe, environmentally- and user-friendly neighborhood park.

Focht stated that he expects City Council to vote on accepting the new parkland in May or June 2011 after negotiations with the present owners, DeSousa Brown, and legal steps are completed. “I don’t expect any problems since all parties, Fairmount Park, the owners and the neighborhood, are in agreement.” Focht also encouraged meeting attendees to come to the City Council hearing and to start thinking about what kind of park the community wants to create.

Elizabeth Martens, co-chair of Wissahickon East project, promised that “we will keep the community informed about the land transfer” and that further community meetings will be organized so neighbors can participate in planning and implementation projects.

Wissahickon East Project (WEP) is a non-profit volunteer group of community members whose goal was to save six acres of Cresheim Creek land from housing development. WEP’s further goals are to support the land transfer from the developers to Fairmount Park and later help clean the land and develop a community park. Wissahickon East Project and the land preservation have been endorsed by many neighbors, local elected officials, community leaders and other park support and conservation groups, including East Mt. Airy Neighbors, Friends of the Wissahickon and the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.

For more information visit

The Therapist Is In

My Son Says He’s Gay. How Can I Best Help Him?


Guest Writer

“The Therapist Is In” is an occasional column dealing with questions and answers concerning emotional health. Northwest resident, author, and columnist Susan Karol Martel, Ed.M., has been a psychotherapist in private practice for more than thirty years. The questions and answers she addresses are those most frequently asked by her clients. If you have a question you’d like her to answer, please e-mail her at

Q—My 15 year old son recently told me he is gay. We are afraid to tell his father because we both fear his reaction.  My main concerns are what my son will face from society in the future and what he faces with his peers right now.  What can I do?

A—Love your son.  Tell him you love him.  Show him you love him.  Then show him some more. Allow your relationship to be a place where he can feel unconditionally accepted, loved, and protected physically and spiritually.

Let’s look at some facts regarding homosexuality.

1. Just as we come into the world with a particular eye color (changed only by colored contact lenses), young people do not choose their sexual orientation.  Just like eye color, they are born with it.

2. When individuals like your son disguise who they are for others, their self-worth is badly damaged. Bad things can happen when you tamper with Mother Nature.

3. Homosexuality has been around forever.  How far back should you do your research? Go back to the beginning.

4. Sexual predator and homosexual are not synonymous. There are good homosexuals and bad ones, just as there are good and bad heterosexuals.

5. Unlike a cold, homosexuality is not catching; chicken soup or other remedies don’t help one bit.

6. Prejudice and fear are catching, especially when they emanate from institutions and from people in positions of authority whose status usually suggests you should trust them.  These pillars of bigotry are highly contagious and very hard to get rid of. To date, we have no vaccination.  You must protect yourself from catching these germs and passing them on to others.

7. Tough love does not change sexual orientation.  Neither does retraining nor any form of gender reconditioning. Using these approaches would only confirm for your child that he’s damaged goods, a sinner, a failure.

Think for a moment: What would you want for your child’s birthright?  To have good mental, physical, and spiritual health?  To get an education that is the foundation for a good livelihood? To be a contributing member of his community?  To be independent?  To one day find meaning in work and develop satisfying relationships?  Is there anything about your son that could prevent him from achieving these things?  Only if he feels he isn’t worthy.

If others’ arguments drown out your voice, put on the best noise canceling headphones you can find. Locate people, groups and institutions that will support your humanity and that of your child’s. You are not alone. Connecting with others who have traveled the same road can also be pivotal in approaching your husband. Find a place of worship that’s inclusive. They do exist. And by all means, consider professional help from a therapist or counselor.

In Philly, The Attic Youth Center ( offers counseling and support groups for young people.  PFLAG – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has a chapter in Philly ( / 215-572-1833).  Check out “It Gets Better” over the Internet (  If your son does not feel safe at school, call The School District’s 24 hour hot line (215-400-SAFE).  The Trevor Project ( is an around the clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline (866-4-U-TREVOR).

I wish I was being overly dramatic in what I am about to say, but unfortunately, I am not. All of these resources could make the difference between a satisfying life for your son or death.   Sometimes it seems less complicated to go along with a prescription given by those who are all too willing to tell us how to be in the world.  Beware! There are people in high places that do horrible things in the name of morality - like suggesting that it is okay to kill homosexuals.  Not in our country you think?  Check the news!

In this 21st century, choose the beliefs that judge people for their decency, kindness and good character.  Maybe in a number of years people in our country may be as accepting of homosexuality as other places in the world already are.  Maybe an apology will be offered for the damage that’s been done.  But for your son, it could be too late.

Valley Green Bank Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

On Wednesday, November 17, Jay Goldstein (left), president and CEO of Valley Green Bank, members of the board, staff and guests, celebrated the bank’s fifth anniversary by re-enacting the opening of Valley Green Bank 5 years ago.

Rather than cutting a ribbon, Goldstein walked through a chain of paper money, followed by a crowd of staff and well-wishers.

Mi Puebla provided the anniversary cake (right). 

The bank started with 11 employees and now has a staff of 33. It currently has $160 million in assets.

It is headquartered at 7226 Germantown Avenue with a branch at 23 West Highland Avenue and a Commercial Loan Office in Radnor. 

Carol Sing Begins First Friday Celebration in Mt. Airy

Start off your December Mt. Airy First Friday and celebrate the first event on William Allen Plaza on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) with a Tree Lighting and Carol Sing. Join the community on Friday, December 3 at 6 p.m. at the plaza, next to the Schaeffer-Ashmead chapel at the southwest corner of the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue. There is free parking on campus adjacent to The Brossman Center. The celebration is free and open to the public, and will be held rain, clear or snow.

This year will also celebrate the dedication of new, specially designed benches for William Allen Plaza, a gift to the community from Mt. Airy business leaders.

More information, directions and a downloadable flyer are at

New, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 will be collected for the Salvation Army’s Stockings for Kids program; see the list of suggested items on the LTSP website.

After the festivities, explore the Avenue in Mt. Airy and special Mt. Airy First Friday offerings. For information visit

Holiday Decoration Kits for Businesses

The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District, in partnership with Mt. Airy USA and Rothe Florists, is supporting the holiday decoration program.

Rothe Florists is able to offer free installation of your holiday greens courtesy of the Mt. Airy BID.

Here’s what you need to do: call Rothe Florists at 215-247-0832 to place your order for your holiday kit. Each kit contains 12 yards of fresh pine roping, two sets of a hundred string lights, and four red velvet bows. (An external power source will be required to light the lights.) The cost is $35 per kit with free installation. Credit cards are accepted over the phone.  Sorry no CODs, all orders must be paid in advance to Rothe Florists. The order deadline is Wednesday December 1. The special price is for Mt. Airy merchants only.

For more information call Rothe Florists at 215-247-0832.

Green Party to Meet

At the next meeting of the Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP),, the membership will harness the new energy generated by the General Election. Meet the new, young GPOP leadership and help them work for single-payer healthcare, an end to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and electoral reform. Greens will mobilize to achieve dedicated funding for SEPTA. Neighbors who want to meet some real Greens may attend to see what the Green Party is all about.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30, in the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue (at Gorgas Lane). All Green Party meetings are open to the public. There will be no charge for admission, but a free-will offering will be collected. For more information, please telephone 215-243-7103 or email

St. Michael’s Invites Community to Thanksgiving Dinner

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Lafayette Hill, will offer a free, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at St. Michael’s.  The meal is open to anyone in the neighboring community.

The dinner is part of a joint ministry between the two congregations called “Holy Hot Dish” that provides a free community meal every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at St. Michael’s.  Nearly 90 people along with volunteers gather weekly for a home-cooked meal and conversation.

The Holy Hot Dish Ministry grew out of a Lenten Devotional Study on Hunger that was held last spring.  The two congregations partnered to find away to respond to unmet hunger needs in the Northwest Philadelphia area and began the weekly community meal over the summer. 

The numbers attending have steadily risen and the resources to meet the need have appeared simultaneously.  A freezer was donated and casseroles and home baked goods began pouring in.

Holy Hot Dish is an example of how two congregations can work interdependently to do effective ministry. St. Michael’s has strong ties to the local community and St. Peter’s has a large social ministry to provide volunteer and financial support.

Both congregations feel called to this ministry and have continued to reflect on the spiritual lessons derived from the work. St. Michael’s recently held a four-week Bible Study on “Who are the Poor and Hungry? We Are!” that helped participants understand that everyone is hungry at some level and needs to be fed, that people who attend Holy Hot Dish are no different than ourselves.

Volunteers are always welcome to assist with making casseroles, baking desserts, serving or assisting with set up and clean up. 

For information call St. Michael’s Church Office at 215-848-0199.


Grace Baptist Celebrates in Song

The Men’s Chorus of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown invites you to its 2010 worship experience, “ A Soulful Celebration – Songs of Faith, Inspiration and Advent,” to usher in the holiday season on Sunday, December 5, at 4 p.m. The concert will be held in the sanctuary of the church, 25 West Johnson Street. It is open for the entire community with a free-will offering.

Under the direction of Ms. Marilyn George, the chorus welcomes a special Women’s Vocal Ensemble, Adam George on djembe, and returning again this year, the Anwar Marshall Jazz Trio. The program includes  “Bonse Aba”  a traditional Zambian Song that will place you into a native celebration;  “Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet,” an exuberant and original spiritual; “Winter Wind” a beautiful adaption of Rachmaninoff’s  Vocalise, with a delicate original text, performed with piano, flute, and percussion, the ever-popular “Little Drummer Boy,” and, “For Unto Us” from Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. Familiar hymns, gospel, and other songs of the season complete the entire worship experience.

For information call 215-438-3215.

Advent Vespers at Avenue Churches

Lutheran churches on Germantown Avenue join together to host a series of Advent Jazz Vespers on Wednesday evenings in December at 7 p.m.

Local jazz group Standard Time begins the series on December 1 at Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, 8300 Germantown Avenue.  Worship will include a reading from the prophet Isaiah and time for prayer.  Performers then share their musical offerings as expressions of faith, hope, love and joy.  Each service will last about 45 minutes.

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue hosts vespers on December 8 and 15.  On the 8th, St. Michael’s Liturgical Dancers will lead worship by praising God through dance.  On the following Wednesday, the Groove Daemons bring back the jazz theme with original and standard compositions.  

The series culminates with a simple community dinner at 6 p.m. in Christ Ascension’s parish hall, followed by music and prayer with the Standard Time Trio at 7 p.m.  All are welcome to attend one or more of these great musical worship events.

The congregations of Trinity, St. Michael’s, and Christ Ascension Lutheran Churches belong to the Germantown Avenue Lutheran Parish, working together with the slogan: “God’s Work.  Our Avenue.”

Hanukkah Celebrations at GJC

Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street, will celebrate Hanukkah with two events.

On December 5, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. the Centre’s Women’s Club presents this family-friendly event to celebrate Hanukkah in a hands-on way.  See and touch a real olive tree, press olives and make your own Maccabee oil lamp.  This event is free and open to the public.  Everyone is welcome.  For more information contact Ronit Treatman at or Margie Sokoloff at

On December 8 at 6 p.m., join us on the last night of Hanukkah as we come together for a fun-filled evening of holiday festivities.  We begin at 6 p.m. with dinner sponsored by GJC’s Men’s Club featuring latkes, laughter, singing and games ($5 per person or $20 per family).  At 7 p.m. we kindle our outdoor Dancing Children Hanukkiyah, enjoy the voices of our GJC choir, and warm our spirits with complimentary hot cocoa and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).  We conclude the celebration with a sampling of our ongoing adult education classes including Israeli dancing, safrut (Hebrew calligraphy) and yoga.  To RSVP for the dinner or for more information contact or call 215-844-1507.

Discussion on Questions Pertaining to Afterlife

As a character in Clint Eastwood’s movie Hereafter asks, “What happens to us when we die?”

On Wednesday, December 1 at Chestnut Hill Library, 8711 Germantown Avenue,  Ron Petrou will discuss intimations from his own experience. These confirm for him Rudolf Steiner’s revelations about reincarnation and karma, and offer an answer to this question from Clint Eastwood’s extraordinary movie. He will describe three life-changing events: his magical meeting of eyes when he first met his wife Martha; his daughter asking him when she was four, “Daddy, where was I before I was born?”; and vividly experiencing his wife’s presence after she died of cancer in 1996.

A resident of Mt. Airy, Petrou is a writer and vieographer, a former Waldorf School teacher, owner of a public relations firm, and a student for 39 years of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy.

The event is presented by the Philadlephia Forum for Rudolf Steiner’s science of the Spirit. For information call 610-574-4843 or e-mail

GLBT Education and Support at UU

At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue, join us on Sunday, November 28 at 11 a.m. for  “Nonviolent Response to Spiritual Violence against the GLBT Community.” Silent Witness applies the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to support members of the GLBT community in the face of anti-gay protesters, a difficult test of the “inherent worth and dignity of every person.” Fellow UUs Alanna and Blaise share their personal spiritual lessons from this work, update us on Marriage Equality and Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell in PA and nationally. They will share ideas on how to decrease bullying, marginalization, and suicide. The offering will be a split plate to benefit Silent Witness.

From 1-3 p.m. there will be nonviolence training to become a Silent Witness Ally for the GLBT community.  Silent Witness is an organization of gay and straight allies who support members of the GLBT community in the face of anti-gay protesters.  They train their volunteers in non-violent, non-confrontational tactics for dealing with protesters, following principles from Gandhi and M.L. King, Jr.  Their training also includes important tactical information about the event venues, information about some of the specific protesters volunteers are likely to encounter, and how Witnesses are deployed.  This training is required for all who wish to participate as Peacekeepers.

Visit their website for more information at

Program on Healing at USG

On November 28 at 11 a.m. at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, the program will be “Healing” with Leni Windle. Do you see yourself as a healer? Have you ever been healed?  When one reaches out to another in need, both are changed. Real healing is the bond that develops between the two.  Love makes it happen and love arises from it.

Leni will share stories of healing and being healed, and will encourage you to consider your own.  Leni joined USG six years ago, and it has been her spiritual home through joys and sorrows.  She was trained as a nurse and worked in medicine for many years.  She also trained as a psychotherapist and a guidance counselor. Leni is the mother of three and is awaiting the birth of her first grandchild.

For more information or questions, contact the church office at 215-844-1157 or visit  Childcare is available 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Parking is in the rear of church off Johnson Street. All are welciome.

Shop at Ten Thousand Villages, Benefit Face to Face

Ten Thousand Villages, 8331 Germantown Avenue, is inviting the Philadelphia community to come out and shop for the holidays to benefit Face to Face from 5 - 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30.

“The purchase of a unique handcrafted gift from Ten Thousand Villages will not only support Face to Face, but will improve the livelihoods of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East,” said Rena Shaffer, Ten Thousand Villages in Chestnut Hill store manager. “A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit face to Face.”

 Face to Face, 109 East Price Street in Germantown, is a human services organization which provides free meals, nurse-managed health care, legal and social services, computer training, creative arts studios, and children’s after school and summer programming. Focusing on the power of the human connection, Face to Face creates encounters of hospitality, mutuality, and transformation in the Germantown community. For more information visit

LTSP Advent Vespers

The Annual Advent Vespers of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), to be held Sunday, December 5, at 7:30 pm, will be on the theme “Christ is Near!” The service is free and open to the public, and will be held at Grace Epiphany Episcopal Church, 224 East Gowen Avenue.

The Seminary Choir under the leadership of Dr. Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministries/Seminary Cantor, will lead the Vespers. Music at Vespers this year will include a setting of the Magnificat by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), choral works by William Bausano and Philadelphian Verolga Nix, and songs from Cameroon, North America, Norway, Germany, and England.

Join the community for Advent Vespers. Street parking is available, or park on the LTSP campus and walk the short distance to the church.

Carol Service at Mennonite Meeting House

A Christmas carol service with warm seasonal refreshments and cookies in a historic setting will be held at the Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse, 6121 Germantown Avenue, on Saturday, December 4, 5 p.m.

Come and hear performances by a variety of individuals and groups, then sing along to traditional Christmas Carols in a small, historic meetinghouse built in 1770. Stay afterward for cookies, cider and hotcocoa. For information call Christopher at 267-297-6124.

Christmas Program Dec. 5 at St. Madeleine Sophie

On December 5 at 4:30 p.m., at St. Madeleine Sophie Church, 6440 Greene Street, come listen and sing with new ears to the sounds and symbols of Christmas at “Do You Hear What I Hear.”

Admission is free; donations will be accepted. Bring all your family, your friends and a have a joyful time.

Music of Middle Ages, Renaissance at Grace Epiphany

On Saturday, December 4, at 8 p.m., Grace Epiphany Church, 224 East Gowen Avenue, hosts Ancient Voices, the University of Pennsylvania’s Early Music Vocal Ensemble, performing with early instruments and directed by William Parberry. The program offers music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance celebrating Advent and Christmas.  Included are anonymous Christmas carols and works by Alfonso X El Sabio and Brumel, with Palestrina’s Missa Brevis being featured.  A free-will offering to support the mission and ministries of the church will be gratefully accepted. For information call 215-248-2950 or visit

Celebrate the Holiday Season in Mt. Airy and Germantown

1st Friday – Dec. 3

• 6 PM.

Tree Lighting Ceremony: William Allen Plaza at the the Lutheran theological Seminary of Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue.

Caroling and refreshments. People are asked to bring an unwrapped gift toy  suitable for a child under 12.

• 6 – 8:30 PM.

Santa at Rothe Florist. Germantown Avenue. The jolly old elf himself welcome visitors to Mt. Airy and brings in the Christmas season.

Mural Arts’ Golden Speaks at LTSP

On Wednesday, November 10, Jane Golden, the executive director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, entertained her audience with tales of her early exploits. Her adventure began as part of the Anti-Graffiti Network and continues today with the world famous Mural Arts Program. Her organization is responsible for more than 100 murals being added each year. Currently, more than 3,000 murals grace the city’s walls. They work within each community to address the wants and needs of the local residents in a remarkable effort involving all of the stakeholders.

In our own neighborhoods, there are several murals by the ural Arts Program. The Trolley Car Diner, Earth Bread & Brewery, Martin Luther King High School and the Northwest Interfaith Movement all sport murals on a wall of their facades.

Ms. Golden was participating in the Mt. Airy Learning Tree’s Fall Featured Speakers series entitled Fantastic Philadelphians. The lecture at the Lutheran Theological Seminary’s campus in Mt. Airy was preceded by a reception across the street at Valley Green Bank, the sponsor of the series. Proceeds of the event benefited MALT’s Make This Our Home campaign to buy the building at 6601 Greene Street.

Local Students with Donetsk Ballet in ‘The Nutcracker’

Peter Tchaikovsky’s famous, fairy-tale ballet, The Nutcracker, is coming to a local venue. Two performances, sponsored by the Philadelphia-based International Ballet Exchange (IBE), are scheduled for December 18 and 19, at The Kurtz Center, William Penn Charter School by the much-acclaimed dance company, the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine.

Since 1989, the Donetsk Ballet has been touring the world: Italy, Spain, Norway, France, China, Japan, and cities throughout the United States. Everywhere they have been recognized for their technique and artistry. The power of the male dancers and the delicacy of the ballerinas in splendidly choreographed staging leave audiences exhilarated. The 18-member company, led by artistic director Vadim Pisarev, brings that expertise to such roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and, of course, the Nutcracker.

Taking the parts as the children in the production are 45 local ballet students, two of whom have won the coveted roles of Clara and Fritz, the children in the story whose lives are touched by a magical nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky’s music, the delightful story, and the talent of the dancers come together for an unforgettable experience for young and old.

The two performances, 6:30 p.m. on December 18 and 2 p.m. on December 19, will be presented at William Penn Charter’s new state-of-the-art theater located at 3000 West School House Lane.  Ticket prices are $18 for students and seniors and $28 for adults. All seats are reserved and tickets can be purchase d at the door. To reserve tickets in advance, call 215-849-7950 or 1-800-849-4919. Group rates are available.

The performances are sponsored by the International Ballet Exchange. IBE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality ballet education, performance opportunities, and cross-cultural exposure to young aspiring ballet dancers. IBE will also present The Nutcracker at reduced rates for school children at George Washington High School Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10:15 am.          

Wissahickon Charter School, 4700G Wissahickon Avenue, will hold a book fair from December 6-10. There will be a great selection of books for toddlers, children, teens and adults, with a large assortment of African American titles.

Hours are Monday, 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Tuesday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. -6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. -4 p.m. Cash and credit cards will be accepted - no tax! For information call Margie Weil at 267-338-1020.

GFS Tops in ‘Great Food Fight!’ Drive

The GFS Tiger mascot escorts Senior Community Action Committee Leaders Ashleigh Frank, Madison Alig, and Ella Samuel into a special, all-school assembly to announce The Great Food Fight! win.

On Wednesday, November 17, students from Germantown Friends School received the exciting news that they had won The Great Food Fight!, a competitive, inter-school, two-week canned food drive to benefit Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger-relief organization, sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals. Eighteen schools competed for the grand prize of $10,000, including Penn Charter, Central High School, Abraham Lincoln High School and Plymouth-Whitemarsh; the winner was determined by the school that collected the most pounds of food per high school student. GFS, led by senior Community Action Committee members Madison Alig, of Chestnut Hill and Center City, Ashleigh Frank, of Blue Bell, and Ella Samuel, of Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy, waltzed away with the $10,000, collecting a total of 13,404 pounds of food—seven tons of food, or 38.7 pounds of food per Upper School student.

“Our drive really took off after we found out that the first district in Philadelphia is the second hungriest district in the United States,” Frank said at the winner’s press conference at Philabundance headquarters, adding that the money will go to support the efforts of the school’s Community Involvement program, and be returned to the Germantown neighborhood. “Our community was shocked. It forced us to band together, bring in food and do everything we could to help decrease that statistic and deal with poverty in our area.”  

The CAC leaders motivated the GFS school community and raised its awareness about hunger by devising a variety of ways for students and their families to get involved. They sold Great Food Fight! t-shirts and wristbands (every $.30 cents collected counted as one pound of food), made frequent postings on Facebook, and asked local businesses, such as Valley Green Bank and Baker Street Bread Company in Chestnut Hill, to make donations and display collection boxes in their stores or lobbies. The school-wide effort—from the first-grade Pinkus class handpainting a banner and leading the Lower School drive to an Upper School English teacher’s impressive 230-can donation—was both community-building and inspiring.

“We are truly proud of the success of this effort because it was organized and led by students,” says GFS Head of School Richard L. Wade, who congratulated the entire student body at a surprise, all-school assembly on campus following the Philabundance press conference. “Their creativity, energy and enthusiasm encouraged our entire community to participate. I am reminded again of the power of young people in promoting a better, more just world.”

The eighteen schools combined collected 65 tons of food, more than twice the 25-ton goal that Philabundance and Shire originally set. To put it visually, that’s a single stack of cans, 20 times as tall as the Empire State Building, or enough food to feed three sold-out crowds at Citizens Bank Park.

“It was an incredible outpouring of effort,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance, which plans to make The Great Food Fight! an annual competition.  “We all know how the recession is hurting the entire DelawareValley. We’re really having trouble gathering enough food to reach the tsunami of need. The results from this competition have been astonishing.”

A $5,000, runner-up prize went to Penncrest High School in Media, which collected the most food overall—15 tons—but, when divided by the approximately 1,350 students, only came to 17 pounds per student. But in the words of Shire Pharmaceuticals’ Anne Judge: “The true winners are the families who will benefit from all the food that was collected.”

Equestrians from Courtesy, Monastery, and Northwestern Stables were out on the trails in Wissahickon Valley Park on November 14 for Ride to Rebuild, a fund raiser to help the Friends of the Wissahickon rebuild the warming shed near Valley Green Inn. The shed, which is used for horses, burned down in an electrical fire during a storm in October. Pictured here on Forbidden Drive are Amy Canfield, Claudia Gold, and Tunde Zeitlin from Courtesy Stables. 

MAUSA Workshop for First-Time Homebuyers

The final 2010 Free First Time Homebuyer Workshop at Mt. Airy USA will be presented on December 2, 5:30 – 9 p.m. at their office, second floor of Phebe Commons, 6703 Germantown Avenue. The entrance is at the rear of the building.

The workshops cover everything from finding a broker, to sales agreements, to financing, to getting an inspection. These information sessions feature housing professionals, including brokers, lenders, and home inspection experts. The goal of the workshops is to provide aspiring homeowners with the practical hands-on information they need to make good choices and make the process run as smoothly as possible. They also give homebuyers information on things they might not otherwise have considered, such as why it is so important to have a home inspection, even for a new house, and what to look for besides low rates, when shopping for a mortgage.

Call Marianne Holt at 215-844-6021 x 213 or register at

Enjoy Holiday at Historic Stenton

Visit historic Stenton on Saturday, December 4 between 2 and 4 p.m., and usher in the holiday season with Stenton’s Annual Holiday Tea. Visitors will enjoy light fare, a special tour of the mansion, and a holiday craft.  All are welcome to this family friendly event. Admission is free, but reservations are requested.  Call 215-329-7312 or email for more information or to make a reservation.

Stenton, which has been described as “the most authentic of all Philadelphia’s historic houses,” was built by James Logan, William Penn’s Secretary, between 1723 and 1730.  It is located at 4601 North 18th Street, four blocks east of Wayne Junction.  The house is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday, from 1-4: p.m., April through December, and by appointment throughout the year.

For more information or directions, phone 215-329-7312 or visit  Stenton is a member of Historic Germantown , a consortium of fourteen cultural and historic sites in Northwest Philadelphia. 

Upcoming Events at Maxwell Mansion

Upcoming events at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, include:

For families, the Mansion hosts its annual Dickens Christmas Party, Saturday, December 11, from 2 - 5 p.m. You won’t see Ebenezer Scrooge, but rather his famed creator. In the tradition of true Victorian hospitality, luscious cookies and Christmas punch will be served in the dining room.  Louisa May Alcott will read from her works and the Ghost of Christmas Present will read The Night Before Christmas.  Children can buy items from our gift shop, and art teacher, Antoinette, will help them wrap purchases and make holiday cards.

Charles Dickens performed readings of his classic novel A Christmas Carol during the Victorian era.  Philadelphia actor Josh Hitchens will recreate this reading with a one-man performance, bringing Dickens’ “Ghost Story for Christmas” to life like you’ve never seen it before. 

Tickets are adults $16, children under 10 free when accompanied by an adult. 

Reservations are suggested.

For adults, the Mansion and Avenida Restaurant will present “Dickens at the Mansion” on Wednesday evenings, December 1 and 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The first stop is the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, decorated in Victorian holiday splendor, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for tours of the Mansion accompanied with wine and Avenida’s three cheese quesadilla. Josh Hitchens will read A Christmas Carol at 6:30 p.m.

Second stop is Avenida, at the corner of Gowen Avenue and Germantown avenues, from 7:45 p.m. until dinner’s over.

The menu includes:

Choice of Apetizers

Roasted Beet Salad, fresh fennel, manchego cheese, mango vinagaigrette

Queso fondido, black beans, chorize, roasted poblanos

Vegetarian Fondido, soy chorizo, black beans, roasted poblanos

Choice of Entrees

Pork Pibil, green mole, zucchini cheese pastel

Grilled Tuna, yucca cakes, chipotle Brussels sprouts, balsamic reduction

Roasted Chicken Mishote, sautéed vegetables, steamed rice


Tres Leches with Nutella Cream

Vanilla Flan with cranberry mango sauce

All this for only $60 per person!

For information and to buy tickets go to or phone 215-438-1861 for tickets and details.

Bird Pictures

Popular birder and photographer Ruth Pfeffer will be speaking on Birds of the Wissahickon for the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) on Thursday, December 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Valley Green Inn. This slide-illustrated presentation will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. Pfeffer will also lead a bird walk on Saturday, December 11, in the Wissahickon at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending should meet at Bell’s Mill Road and Forbidden Drive. Register by contacting FOW at or 215-247-0417 ext 104. Spaces are limited.

Career Workshop

JEVS Career Strategies is offering a free career workshop. Learn how volunteer work can help you in your job search. Bring your lunch, we’ll provide the drinks and dessert, on Monday, December 13, 12:30 – 2 p.m. at 1845 Walnut Street, 7th Floor. Space is limited; call 215-854-1874 to reserve your seat. 

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Albert Einstein Healthcare Network has announced the closing of the emergency department at what was once Germantown Hospital on December 3. Its services will be consolidated with those at Albert Einstein Medical Center, a mile away, which will expand the number of its treatment bays. In recent years the number of emergency visits to Germantown had been under a quarter of those at Einstein, which had 88,000 emergency visits in 2009.