Sunday Adult Forums
Aspiring to Love
Contemporary Issues in the
By David Romanik
When William Penn founded a city on the banks of the Delaware River in the 17th century, he took an approach to naming it that was unusual in colonial America. Instead of using the name to honor a benefactor or the place he had come from, Penn named the city for a virtue. Drawing from the Greek words for “love” and “brother,” Penn called the city Philadelphia. Having escaped from religious persecution, Penn hoped that the colony he established would be a place of toleration, mutuality, and fraternal love. From its very inception, in other words, Philadelphia was more than a place; it was an aspiration.
Before arriving in the Philadelphia area, I had only the vaguest sense of its personality. I was aware of the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, and cheese steaks, but I did not understand the unique character of the city and its environs. Over the past several years, I have become more familiar with what this area has to offer, including its particular joys and challenges. I have also been impressed with the variety of ways that people in this area have stepped up to meet these challenges. The Redeemer’s Spring Forum Series this year will highlight some of the issues in the Philadelphia area and showcase some of the extraordinary organizations seeking to make a difference. Beginning on Sunday, April 10, we will learn how the people of this area are helping Philadelphia live up to its name.
Saint James School
Philadelphia has the eighth largest school district in the country, and its public students are overwhelmingly poor: 79 percent of them are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch. St. James School is an Episcopal middle school committed to educating traditionally under-resourced students in a nurturing environment. The school provides a challenging academic program and encourages the development of the moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical, and creative gifts in its students. Join Head of School David Kasievich as he discusses the mission and ministry of this important institution.
Juvenile Law Center
Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Juvenile Law Center plays a leadership role nationally and in Pennsylvania, shaping and using the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems. Most of the youth served by the organization are among society’s most vulnerable; they are the most likely to be mislabeled, ignored, harmed, or scarred for life by systems that are supposed to help them. The Juvenile Law Center advocates for these young people by using the legal system to promote fairness, prevent harm, secure access to appropriate services, and ensure a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Join Executive Director Sue Mangold as she introduces us to the work of this organization.
Creative Arts in Feltonville
Beauty is not often considered a necessity. In impoverished educational settings, art and music are generally the first programs eliminated when budgets shrink. Beauty, however, is an indispensable component of educating the whole person. Not only do the arts inspire and edify, they also provide opportunities to teach material that is not covered by standard curricula. In her work at Clara Barton Elementary School in Feltonville, Redeemer parishioner Carol Chew is deeply aware of the value of arts education. Join Carol as she discusses her work and invites us to reflect on the necessity of beauty.
Located five miles southwest of Philadelphia, Darby Borough carries the heavy burden of urban poverty. In a population of roughly 10,000, 26 percent of Darby residents live below the poverty line. The Darby Mission is a joint partnership of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Episcopal Community Services (ECS), the leadership of Darby Borough, and the Darby Free Library, that seeks to alleviate the symptoms of poverty and hunger. By providing the basic necessities of warmth, food, and safe haven, the Darby Mission aspires to empower Darby residents to live to the fullest. Join Darby Missioner Doris Rajagopal as she shares the joys and challenges of this mission.