Life of the Meeting


During a Meeting for Worship, the people present usually include a mix of visitors, attenders, and members.

Visitors, often members of other religious organizations, frequently come to our Meetings for Worship with no thought of joining or subscribing to Friends practice. Our location draws visitors from all over the world.

Attenders come regularly, perhaps for years, but have either not applied for or been accepted for membership. While long-term attendance is usually a prelude to joining the Meeting, some people remain attenders indefinitely.

An individual can join a Monthly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends at birth, as a child, or as an adult and membership can take any one of several forms. Some members elect to register their sons or daughters as Friends at birth. Alternatively, children of Friends can be registered as Associate Members, a category that allows the child the choice of formalizing his/her membership at the age of twenty-one. Convinced Friends are those who joined the Religious Society of Friends as adults. Sojourning Friends are members of one Meeting whose work, school or other circumstance has taken them away from home and who 'join' a second Meeting temporarily.

After meeting.


Instead of a central administrator - a minister, rabbi, or priest - who ensures that the business of the organization is accomplished, Friends have a volunteer Clerk of the Meeting. In addition we have Clerks who work with various committees to ensure that the Meeting's bills are paid, our building is maintained, and the needs of the members are met. A partial list of our committees includes:

  • Worship and Ministry
  • Care (formerly "Overseers")
  • Peace and Social Concerns
  • Finance
  • Outreach, and
  • Nominating

Committee meetings are held at various times. However, our Monthly Meetings for Business are always held on the third Sunday of the month, September through June.

In contrast with the more specifically focused committee meetings, Meetings for Business deal with a wide variety of topics and include all members in the dialogue. Both at the committee level and during Meetings for Business, Friends operate by consensus - no votes are taken. Instead, the sense of the group as a whole is sought.

Visitors and attenders are welcome to observe Meetings for Business.


Our meeting's John Martin Trust Distribution Committee serves to assist financially needy Friends in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting with grants or loans. Applications are made by someone at each person's home meeting. For more information, guidelines and forms, see our John Martin Trust page.


A visitor asked us, what do we do besides meetings for worship, committee meetings, and meetings for business?  Here's a quick list:

Friendly Eights:
Hosts sponsor dinner @ their home, people sign up and provide a dish. Show up for conversation, food and fun at the set time and date.

Meeting for Business:
3rd Sunday, always a Potluck lunch beforehand.

Adult Religious Education Program:
4th Sunday of the month, 12:00 to 1:00, meet to learn about the topic being discussed

pointer Adult Education – Schedule for Spring, 2013.

Blue Moon Sunday:
5th Sunday Potluck, discussion and conversation, following Meeting.

Quaker Quest:
Informative interactive sessions for those seeking to learn more about Quakerism, usually 6 sessions that run in  consecutive weeks.

Yearly Baseball River Sharks game.

Yearly Retreat:
A theme day for deeper reflections into our faith and community, usually at Pendle Hill.

Fairhill Burial Ground:
Quaker burial ground clean up and festival several times per year.


The small size of our membership limits the number and kind of activities we can undertake within our Meeting. However, our members serve on the boards of a number of Friends' organizations which reflect support of the Testimonies outlined elsewhere. They include Friends Select School, a pre-K-12 independent school under the joint care of our Meeting and Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting; Stapeley in Germantown, a retirement community; Friends Rehab Program, an organization concerned with low-income housing; and the Fairhill Burial Ground in North Philadelphia, all of which are under the care of Philadelphia Quarter.

Our members - and attenders - participate in the retreats and educational programs of Pendle Hill, the Quaker residential study center located in Wallingford, PA. Most Pendle Hill programs are open to the public.

Two social organizations are also worth noting. Teenagers from our Meeting have enjoyed the Young Friends retreats which take place several times a year. Young Adult Friends, a group for twenty-somethings, publishes a newsletter and schedules occasional events. Both groups can be reached through Friends Center.


In addition to individual Meetings, called Monthly Meetings because the business meetings are held once a month, there are Quarterly Meetings and Yearly Meetings.

Arch Street is one of seven area Monthly Meetings which make up the Philadelphia Quarter. Meetings now are held three times a year to address items of regional concern.

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is a larger body that draws on the resources of dozens of Meetings throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Though a week-long meeting is held annually to consider concerns, most of the activities of Yearly Meeting are implemented by appointed persons, committees supported by Yearly Meeting staff in offices at 1515 Cherry Street in Philadelphia, and working and service groups. Committee topics include prison reform and eradication of the death penalty, spiritual growth, social concerns, religious education and various administrative issues.

Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia
320 Arch Street (corner of 4th & Arch)
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106