From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

December 23, 2010 • GC.122310.pdf

In This Issue


  1. The Year in Review, Part 1

  2. Short-Term Heating Fix for Lovett on Order

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


Dozens of concerned residents filled a meeting room at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, December 8, to get news about how long one of the Northwest’s busiest branch Libraries – Lovett Memorial Library at 6945 Germantown Avenue -  would be closed in the wake of the recent failure of its heating system. The news they got was generally reassuring but also sparked some concerns about the impact the closing will have on Lovett’s collection.


  1. January Events at USG

Upcoming events at the  Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, include:

December 24, Family Service at 4 p.m., Candlelight Service at 6 p.m. Mary and Joseph were turned down numerous times in their search for lodging. Finally the innkeeper gave them a humble, but warm and loving welcome. The sacred child was born. Every night that a child is born is a holy night. Every day we have a chance to give kindly welcome.



More...

2010: The Year in Stories and Pictures

By  KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


This week we present Part One of our annual look back at the people, places and events that shaped our neighborhoods in 2010. The following stories and pictures are from the pages of our newspaper in the months of January through June; Part II, covering July through December,  will follow in the issue of January 6, 2011.


JANUARY 7

Biggest Day

Girard College is named as the signature service project of the annual Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Philadelphia’s turnout for the Day of Service has been the largest in the country for several years.

Work Requirement Ends

As of January 1, Weavers Way Co-op no longer required members to do volunteer work hours, and began charging non-members the same shelf prices as those that members received. 


JANUARY 14

OK for Upsala

West  Mt.  Airy  Neighbors’  Zoning Committee voted not to oppose a variance application by

Cliveden of the National Trust, owner of the Upsala Mansion across the street from Cliveden to adapt it for administrative offices, a use not permitted under current zoning.

Jam-up

Cars clogged the streets around Lincoln Drive as the Streets Department closed the drive between Wissahickon Avenue and Kelly Drives on little notice to perform maintenance work.


JANUARY 21

Troubled Waters

The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) held a public meeting for the ongoing Wissahickon Creek feasibility study, which could determine federally-funded creek improvement priorities for the next several years. Examined were ten trouble spots on the Wissahickon.

Losing clout?

Upcoming changes to the city’s outdated Zoning Code were the focus of the annual joint meeting of East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors. Some feared a loss of input and influence on the part of community organizations seeking to promote or block developments in their neighborhoods.


JANUARY 28

Community Policing

In a series of community meetings the new commanding officer for the 14th Police District, Captain Joseph Bartorilla, and his four top officers rolled out the details of the new Police Service Areas (PSAs), covering Mt Airy, Germantown, Chestnut Hill and West Oak Lane. PSAs involve assigning specific officers to certain sections in order to familiarize themselves with the problems of their area and promote community interaction with the police.

Burglary Epidemic

Chestnut Hill Village residents  went public with a petition demanding security improvements aimed at stopping a spate of recent burglaries at the huge apartment complex that occupies the lower east corner of Chestnut Hill. Residents said there had been more than a dozen burglaries in the complex in recent months.


FEBRUARY 4

Helping Hands

Northwest residents organized and took part in a series of fundraisers and relief operations aimed at aiding the people of Haiti in the wake of a catastrophic earthquake that devastated the country’s capital Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area on January 12.

Lest We Forget

The Northwest began celebrating the history and heritage of African Americans with Black History Month events scheduled for the Johnson House Historic Site, Center in the Park, Citibank in Chestnut Hill and First United Methodist Church of Germantown.


FEBRUARY 11

A Tougher Commute

Getting from the Northwest to Route 76 or Center City was about to get more complicated as PennDOT announced it would start a $20 million bridge reconstruction project where Lincoln Drive, Ridge Avenue, Kelly Drive and Route 1 all meet. 100,000 cars per day used these routes.

They Already Knew It

Chestnut Hill announced that it has been selected as one of 12 Distinctive Destinations in the USA by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, because of its combination of colonial and modern history, its dedication to preserving its heritage, and its investment in making the community sustainable for the

future.


FEBRUARY 18

Changing the Rules

State Representative Cherelle Parker held a hearing at the Lutheran Theological

Seminary in aid of bringing Pennsylvania’s rules for trying sexual assault cases in line with

the rest of the country. Her bill would allow expert testimony to help enlighten jurors who often hold skewed beliefs about sexual assault and rape.

A Place to Plop

Representatives of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID), the Mt. Airy Business

Association (MABA) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) announced that new benches would be installed at the seminary’s new William Allen Plazes at 7301 Germantown Avenue. The plaze rapidly became a favorite community gathering place after its completion but there was something missing there – no place to sit down.


FEBRUARY 25

Beginning A Dialog

At a meeting for the community held at Cliveden of the National Trust,  Cliveden staff engaged in dialog with residents about how to a tell a long-buried story: the role of the Chew family (which once owned Cliveden) in slavery and the plantation economy of colonial America. A cache of 200,000 documents complied by the Chews and recently uncovered gave an unparalleled look at the lives of the enslaved before and after American independence.

Hammered!

The neighborhoods of Philadelphia were still digging out after the third in a series of severe snowstorms hit the city in less than a month. More than 50 inches of snow fell here in the snowiest month in Philadelphia history.


MARCH  4

Our Old Houses

The March issue of This Old House Magazine Online named Mt. Airy one of the nation’s Best Old House Neighborhoods. Keith Pandolfi, associate editor of This Old House, said, “… the houses are amazing. We were just shocked by how beautiful those houses were.”

Spare Our Toads!

Groups including Public Eye: Artists For Animals, the Fairmount Park Commission, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education were working to ensure that toads that spend the winter in the ground near the woods by the Schuylkill Center could make their way across some busy highways without getting squashed on their way to the Roxborough Reservoir to mate.


MARCH 11

Gateway to Northwest

The Germantown Historical Society, supported by West Mt. Airy Neighbors and  the Fairmount Park Commission, planned for the restoration of the overgrown and overlooked Park Gates and Pergolas at Lincoln Drive and Johnson Street, built a century ago as gates to a nearby estate and now envisioned as a reborn “Gateway to the Northwest.”

Health Care This Year

That’s what President Barack Obama advocated to listeners at Arcadia University on his first visit to the area since his 2008 campaign rally in Vernon Park. At the rally the President promised passage of  health care reform legislation before the end of the year, a promise that was kept.


MARCH 18

Stations Need Work

The Germantown Community Connection hosted SEPTA representatives at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown for an update on maintenance and repair work scheduled to begin on the R7 train stations in May, but the update quickly became a debate about how best to fix up those stations once and for all, with a focus on Wister and Germantown stations.

The Philadelphia Flower Show honored three area storefronts in its “Passport to the World”-themed decoration competition, and the Mt. Airy art gallery and gift shop Artista at 7151 Germantown Avenue, took home the top judge’s prize.

Well-done, Artista

The Philadelphia Flower Show honored three area storefronts in its “Passport to the World”-themed decoration competition, and the Mt. Airy art gallery and gift shop Artista at 7151 Germantown Avenue took home the top judge’s prize.


MARCH 25

Big Mouths – And Big Bellies

Nine new solar-powered Big Belly trash compactors began gobbling refuse on the stretch of the Avenue between Nippon Street and Cresheim Valley Road, thanks to a $140,000 grant secured by Mt. Airy USA on behalf of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District last year, part of the organizations’ efforts to keep the business district clean and pedestrian friendly.

Rebirth for Presser

The long-awaited renovation of the former Presser Building on Johnson Street began as workers started the $14 million transformation of the building into low-income age-qualified housing. The trouble-plagued Mt. Airy Commons senior care facility closed at the site in 2002. The property changed hands several in intervening years, and was finally protected from demolition when it was designated as historically significant by the city.


APRIL 1

Afterschool Chaos

Crowds of unruly teens after school let out at Germantown High were plaguing the Avenue and the Chelten Avenue business district, charged residents, who said students’ behavior was making life miserable for merchants and passersby through fighting and thievery. Police observers described the situation as “basically the making of a flash mob.”

She’s Popular Among Readers

“New to Mt. Airy” cartoonist Amy Ignatow’s new book for young adults, The Popularity Papers Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang, was published to highly positive reviews in the national media.


APRIL 8

Settlement Files For Bankruptcy

On April 1, the 126-years-old Germantown Settlement social service agency and its major subsidiary, the Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation (GGHDC), filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in federal court. The action followed a March 18 claim of bankruptcy by another subsidiary, the Greater Germantown Education Development Corporation, which operated the Germantown Settlement Charter School until concerns over apparent financial mismanagement lead the School Reform Commission to close it in June, 2009.

A 463 Day Year?

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released investigative findings alleging that Rhonda Sharif, former Chief Financial Officer for Mt. Airy’s Khepera Charter School, headed up the business end of three Philadelphia charter schools at the same time, including a West Philadelphia charter which last week came under fire for selling alcohol in the school building on nights and weekends.  

“In 2008, Sharif earned a total of $183,108 as an employee of all three schools and for having worked 463 days,” Butkovitz said.


APRIL 15

Smarter On Crime

New Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams met with Northwest residents in a town hall meeting at Simons Recreation Center 1 to explain some of his major strategies for dealing with crime. “We’re going to try to be smart on crime,” he told a crowded audience. He wants to focus on two major initiatives; restructuring the way assistant district attorneys are assigned to their cases; and placing a heavier prosecutorial and enforcement initiative on violent crimes, while adopting a more forgiving and creative posture on less serious, first time offenses.

40 Years, 40 Prizes

2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Mt. Airy Day, organized by East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors, and the milestone will be marked by a new event: 40 cash prizes for attendees at the annual street fair that is among the most popular neighborhood get-togethers in the city.


APRIL 22

Great Road, Great Day

The smell of barbeque and the sounds of live jazz wafted throughout Vernon Park on a blustery Sunday, April 18 during Germantown’s community history festival, “A Great Day on the Great Road.” Celebrating its second year, the festival offered opportunities for attendees to learn about Germantown’s history through information booths and historical reenactments.

Community Voices

Residents of the neighborhoods of the Northwest came together to discuss important issues at a “Community Café” sponsored by Northwest Philadelphia MARCHinG for Change and Philly Neighborhood Networks. About 100 people gathered at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church to talk about the topics that matter most to them, included the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, campaign finance reform and co-housing.


APRIL 29

A Better Avenue

Mt. Airy USA’s comprehensive streetscape improvement project aimed at repairing and improving the look and feel of Germantown Avenue began the week of April 19. Improvements to come include new pedestrian scale street lighting, overhead lights at key intersections, repair and replacement of sidewalks and curbs and the installation of benches and new trees in designated sections. 

Flashing Feet

Before a sold-out, record crowd of 54,310, Germantown High made its mark in the storied

Philadelphia Public High School Boys’ 4x400 at the 116th Penn Relays, coming in second behind victorious Northeast High in 3:28.61.


MAY 6

Gubernatorial Candidates Square Off.

Three of the four candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor of Pennsylvania in the May 18 primary election attended the “Red, White and You” candidates’ forum at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia’s Brossman Center, and before a crowd of about 100 people they stayed on message and threw some (mostly) good-natured barbs at one another before a crowd of about 100 people. In attendance were Joe Hoeffell, Dan Onorato, and State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, state senator representing the 8th Senatorial District in Philadelphia.

Tumult on the Drive

What started out as a domestic disturbance turned potentially deadly on April 29,  resulting in two injured police officers, damage to many vehicles and a suspect, who suffered minor wounds, under arrest on a long list of charges. According to police, after a domestic dispute the suspect allegedly rammed police cars and many civilian cars with his vehicle, striking an officer with his car in the process. The incident happened in the vicinity of Lincoln Drive and Hortter Street.


MAY 13

Day of Silence

The hall at Germantown Friends School were unusually silent as students took part in the National Day of Silence to bring awareness to the silence lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) students are sometimes forced to take about their sexuality in order to fit in with their peers. Blue ribbons denoted those who went gone completely silent that day in support of the campaign; plaid ribbons were worn by those who support the campaign.

Community Leaders

Community College of Philadelphia’s three Regional Centers gave distinguished leadership awards to 18 community, political, student, education, faith and business luminaries, honoring individuals who have demonstrated achievement and outstanding commitment to the College and their community. Northwest residents honored included Barbara A. Bloom, creator, Mt. Airy Learning Tree; Shirley Gregory, district director for U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady; Bob J. Elfant, president, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors; the Rev. Alfred W. Jones Jr., director, Mary L. King Food Ministry of Holsey Temple CME Church; and Derek S. Green Esq, special counsel to Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco.


MAY 20

The Return of Art Jam

It was announced that after a decade of quiescence, Art Jam, the fall gathering along Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy that highlighted the area’s creative talents in the 1990s, will return to the Avenue on Saturday, June 5, when it would  again be lined by artists and crafters from all over the area.

‘Haunted’ Cliveden?

“Ghost Hunting 101” at Cliveden of the National Trust invited those who believe in ghosts – or who were just curious – to take part in a ghost-hunting workshop and live paranormal investigation of the Chew House and Cliveden’s historic battlefield, site of 1777’s Battle of Germantown.


MAY 27

Shestak Beats Specter – But Not Here

Democrats Joe Sestak and Dan Onorato won the state-wide primaries in their respective races for senator and governor but neither fared particularly well in Northwest Philadelphia, which gave most of its votes to incumbent Senator Arlen Specter and gubernatorial hopeful State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams. Both Shestak and Onorato would be defeated in the November general election.

New Branch for Weavers Way

Weavers Way Co-op’s newest store opened for business in Chestnut Hill on Saturday, May 17, after many months of planning and construction. Although the opening was not advertised - to give staff a chance to work through the expected problems of opening a new store - the first few days averaged between 500 and 700 customers per day.


JUNE 3

Councilwoman, We’ve Got a Problem

Representatives from several city agencies and business owners of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and Germantown met in the first of several town hall meetings sponsored by 8th District City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller at the Lutheran Seminary, 7301 Germantown Avenue, to discuss various business-related issues. The impetus for the meeting were complaints that Miller’s office had received from business owners in Chestnut Hill who felt that they had been treated unfairly by Health Department inspectors.

D.A. AT EMAN

A presentation by District Attorney Seth Williams was the highlight of the 2010 annual meeting of East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN). Near the top of his priorities was that a high percentage of cases were thrown out of court before trial, “twice as bad as the national average.” He planned to combat that with what he termed “community-based prosecution,” which he indicated could be a reality by the fall of 2010.


JUNE 10

Success!

Planners were full of trepidation before the start of MABA-sponsored Art Jam, the revived community arts festival that took place in the Mt. Airy business district, but the weather and the sound systems both cooperated, to the great satisfaction of the throngs who on the Avenue and the more than 50 artists whose wares were on display. “Everybody was really happy, I think, over all, “ said MABA President Kim Miller.

Black Writers Museum

“One of the things we want to do here is provide an opportunity to grow,” Supreme Dow, founder of the new Black Writers Museum, said to the crowd gathered at the museum’s grand opening on Saturday June 5.  “Our mission is to inspire youth.” Located at 23 Maplewood Avenue in the Maplewood Mall, the Black Writer’s Museum is the first of its kind to be built in the Northwest.


JUNE 17

50 For WMAN’s 50th

West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) gathered on Tuesday, June 8 for their annual meeting to discuss their budget, vote on new members, and announce their “50 Good Neighbor selections” to be honored the organization’s 50th Anniversary celebration on September 26, 

Top Pick

Jesse Biddle, an 18-year-old graduate of Germantown Friends School, was more than pleasantly surprised when his hometown baseball team announced him as its first-round draft pick last Monday, June 7, the 27th pick over-all. Biddle’s selection marks the first time that the Phillies organization chose a local player in the first round.


JUNE 24

Shake-up in 12th, controversy in 22nd

Long-time 12th Ward Democratic Leader Greg Paulmier was defeated in his bid to retain his post by Ward Chair John Connelly while some committeepersons in the 22nd Ward charged that Ron Couser’s re-election as Ward Leader was marked by confusion and strong-arm tactics, one describing the meeting as “One big mess.”  Couser denied any wrong-doing at the meeting, saying, “It was run by the rules of the Democratic Party. Everyone was given an opportunity for the candidate of their choice.”

Freedom Celebration

Residents who turned out on the 6300 block of Germantown for the Juneteenth National Freedom Day on Saturday, June 19 got lessons in history on several levels. It was the 145th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating passage and ratification of the 13th Amendment and the ending of slavery. The holiday dates to June 19,1865, when, upon arrival of Union troops after the Civil War,  enslaved Africans Americans in Galveston, Texas finally learned of their freedom.


Short-Term Heating Fix for Lovett on Order

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


Dozens of concerned residents filled a meeting room at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, December 8, to get news about how long one of the Northwest’s busiest branch Libraries – Lovett Memorial Library at 6945 Germantown Avenue -  would be closed in the wake of the recent failure of its heating system. The news they got was generally reassuring but also sparked some concerns about the impact the closing will have on Lovett’s collection.


Residents met with Bill Fleming, Administrative Services director for the Free Library, and Joe Benford, chief of the library’s Extensions Division, who told them,  “We’re here to bring you up to speed regarding the branch.”


The heating system failed in mid-November – “we’re not sure of the exact date,” said Fleming – forcing the closing of the branch. By city rules and union regulations city workers cannot work in an unheated building in wintertime. “Keeping this open while the heating is broken is not an option,” said Benford.


The unit was started up in the fall and produced heat but then, said Fleming, “One of the units failed.” One is still working, that which serves the upstairs meeting room, but the heating coil on the unit which serves the main downstairs library room went out shortly after the onset of the colder weather that arrived in mid-November.


The Free Library had two choices, said Fleming: “We need to replace the heating coil or we have to replace the entire unit.” That unit, he said, is 24 years old now, near the end of its service life, and replacing it would be a lengthy process that could take six months to a year. That’s the long-term solution – a new system,” he said. “But that won’t help you this year.”


The short term solution, which the Free Library is pursuing, is to have a contractor fabricate a new heating coil and install it in the next few weeks to get the branch through this winter.


“That should be done in the next few weeks,” said Fleming. “Nobody carries these in stock.” He forecast a 4-6 week time frame for replacing the coil.  “Once it’s installed we have to make sure it works … then it should take no longer than five days to reopen the branch.”


A barrage of questions followed from attendees.  One wondered if  the building could be kept open using space heaters in the main room, since some of the employees were willing to continue working with those conditions.


Benford said, “We have to abide by the required temperature levels. A lot of staff are willing to do things that the unions don’t want them to do.”  


He also added that in a similar situation at the Lehigh Branch, space heaters were used to heat the buildings “and it blew out the electrical system.”


Benford said that the system had gotten an assessment from a contractor in 2008 about the building’s condition, “and they gave it a passing grade. Lovett was fifth or sixth in line [among branches] for heating system replacement. Now it jumps to the top of the list.”


A question about whether books and videos checked out of Lovett and returned to other branches while it’s closed evinced some good news and bad news for the branch’s collection. While books will be returned, under the Free Library’s new “floating collection” policy, videos checked out at one branch and returned to another will likely stay at the branch they were returned to. (Books and videos checked  out at any Free Library branch can be returned to another.)


The reason is a shortage of personnel to transport books and videos from one branch to another, said Benford.


“We don’t have enough drivers, we don’t have enough trucks, “ he said.  So what Lovett’s video collection will look like when the branch reopens after a closure of more than a month is anyone’s guess at the moment.


My Way Helps Seniors Keep House Their Way

By MARGARET LENZI

Guest Writer


Want to stay in your home as you grow older but those household chores are becoming harder to do? My Way may be just what the doctor ordered – a fix-it-up service with a side effect of maintaining the neighborhood. 


“No job is too small,” says Executive Director Susan Gueye. “Tell us what you need and how you want it done.  We will quickly find a reliable person to do it.”


My Way, located at 7104 Germantown Avenue,  is a non-profit service that provides a wide range of affordable services to Mt. Airy and Germantown residents, age 55 and over, who want to live independently at home. It is a joint venture of Ralston Center and Neighborhood Interfaith Movement.


With the sky rocketing costs of nursing homes and assisted living, people are looking for ways to stay in their homes as they age.  According to Mt. Airy resident Celeste Zappala who was on a planning group in 2007,  “A market study showed that Mt. Airy and Germantown were ideal communities to start a pilot project like My Way due to the diversity of income, age groups and housing stock.”My Way is trying to reach the income gap population between the very poor and the very rich. Director Gueye notes that “The middle income population needs reasonably priced services in order for them to remain in their homes.  That is why our services are offered at an affordable rate - $18.75 per hour no matter what the job.”


Since opening its doors in May 2010, membership is now over 450. Members range from ages 55 to 96, from a cardiologist to a homemaker, from the active and busy to those with health concerns.


Mt. Airy resident Linda Beckman found My Way at just the right time when she and her husband were both recovering from surgeries. “My Way helped us to clean our house, move boxes and rake our leaves.  It’s just what we needed to get us through this period.” 


Other clients need more permanent ongoing services to stay in their homes such as Dionne Jones, age 66, and her father, Charles Smith, age 87. “A lot of little things need fixing that we can’t do anymore. They fixed a door that would not close on a cold wintry night, and got my vacuum cleaner and TV working again.”  


Emma Hamilton, who doesn’t drive anymore, needed a ride to the airport.  Carolyn D. Jackson wanted some heavy items moved up from the basement and found My Way workers to be dependable and trustworthy.


Workers are screened, subject to extensive background checks, and go through a 3 and 1/2 hour orientation session before they step a foot in a member’s home.


My Way is not just a home repair agency. Community partner Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM) sees it as a way to maintain the health of a community.


“Keeping homes in good repair helps to maintain the viability of a neighborhood,” says NIM Executive Director George Stern.  “By doing things that people can’t do anymore, My Way allows folks to safely remain in their homes longer and that, in turn, helps to strengthen the community.”


For your free My Way membership, call 215-525-5470 or visit mywayonline.org/


January Events at USG

Upcoming events at the  Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, include:

December 24, Family Service at 4 p.m., Candlelight Service at 6 p.m. Mary and Joseph were turned down numerous times in their search for lodging. Finally the innkeeper gave them a humble, but warm and loving welcome. The sacred child was born. Every night that a child is born is a holy night. Every day we have a chance to give kindly welcome.


December 26, 11 a.m. “Thinking Your Way to Health, Happiness and Wisdom” with Sam Gugino. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” In Walden, Henry David Thoreau, another famous Unitarian, said, “What a man thinks of himself, that is what determines . . .his fate.” If we believe these philosophers and others throughout the ages, such as Descartes: “I think, therefore I am,” can we be who we wish to be, achieve what we want to achieve, by the way we think?


The rate cap on PECO electric service expires this January 1. As a PECO customer, you may choose from more than 15 endors competing for your business. Several of these vendors offer “green” power from renewable sources at competitive prices. Alan Windle of the Green Sanctuary Committee will do a 30-minute presentation on this topic on Sundays, December 26 and Jan. 2, at 1:30 p.m. The presentation will include a review of the basic facts related to the issue and a demonstration of how to select a vendor other than PECO. For auestions e-mail to mensgroup@usguu.org.


On Monday, January 3, at 7 p.m., Wally Moyer will lead us through a spiritual journey. Drumming is used to create a space to enter a shamanic dream-like state and awaken spiritual abilities used by many shamans in many cultures. Journey Circles are held the first Monday of every month and are sponsored by the Earth-Honoring Traditions group. No journeying experience is needed. Please contact the church office if you plan to attend at 215-844-1157, e-mail earth@usguu.org.  The Men’s Group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Committee Room to discuss a specific topic. The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 18. For questions e-mail to mensgroup@usguu.org.


The Meditation Circle is for anyone interested in meditation—novice or experienced. We meet at 9:30 a.m. on the second Sunday of the month in the Austin Youth Lodge, the carriage house behind the Unitarian Society of Germantown. Our next meeting will be Sunday, January 9. For questions e-mail to meditation@usguu.org


Buddhist Meditation is held on the fourth Sunday of the month, at 9 a.m. in Austin Youth Lodge. The next session is Sunday, December 26. For questions call 215-844-1157 or e-mail to buddhist@usguu.org. For more information or questions, contact the church office at 215-844-1157.


There is parking in the rear of church off Johnson Street. All are welcome at these events.

 

Watch Night at Cedar Park

Cedar Park Presbyterian Church, 7740 Limekiln Pike, invites the community to a festive “Watch Night Service” on December 31 to welcome year 2011  This lively fellowship will begin at 10 p.m. with games, music and a delectable dinner.  The traditional “Watch Night Service” of praise will begin at 11:30 p.m. in the main sanctuary, followed by a return to the fellowship hall for singing, music from a live band and gospel line-dancing.  There will be fun for the entire family.  A freewill offering will be taken.  For more information contact the church office at 215 549-9775. 





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Caroling

in the

Community


An one-inch but incredibly slippery snowfall kept turnout down at the 6300 Block Association’s carol sing on Thursday, December 16, but  it didn’t keep Bernard Corbett, Madison Corbett (in stroller), Helena Tucker, Andre Alexander, an unidentified member of Brand New Life, Christian Center, Denisha Turlington, Saniya Turlington, and Michael Corbett from delivering a heart-felt rendition of “Silent Night” at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Washington Lane.