The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is a founding member of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), a faith-based community organizing project that includes 41 interfaith congregations throughout Philadelphia. Through the intentional development of grassroots engagement in congregations, POWER seeks to create positive structural and policy changes for the benefit of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Join POWER to demand of Aloft Hotel: ‘Where are the jobs?!’ At $183,000 in public subsidy for each hotel room, the Aloft may be the most heavily subsidized hotel in the history of Philadelphia on a per room basis. When the Aloft was awarded a grant from the state of Pennsylvania in 2013, the company promised to create 170 full-time jobs, 115 of which would be at a “destination restaurant.” The hotel opened last month with no such restaurant and only a fraction of the 170 jobs that were promised have actually been created.
Join POWER and its partner Center City Organized for Responsible Development (CCORD) at Arch Street Methodist Church at 55 N Broad (Broad and Arch) to demand that the Aloft keep its promises: restore the 115 pledged jobs or return the public money it received. Deacon Carol Duncan is on the board of CCORD, representing POWER. Call her for more details 330-705-4795.
“Working with POWER on education, living wage, and mass incarceration is by far our must constructive and concrete response to systemic racism.”
POWER continues its breathless schedule this fall. Now is a great time to get involved in their ongoing justice work in Philadelphia. As Jarrett says, “Working with POWER on education, living wage, and mass incarceration is by far our must constructive and concrete response to systemic racism. In addition, work with POWER immerses [us] in a truly multi-faith and interracial environment which, if you are white, will really challenge you to put aside habits of white privilege as you learn to work across historic divides of distrust.”
Each of the three strategy teams has a top priority. The Live Free team (focusing on mass incarceration) has decided to concentrate on eliminating cash bail. Too many people awaiting trial waste their lives in jail because they are too poor to pay bail. The Education team is pressing the state senate to consider using the fair funding formula on all school funding instead of only the 6% of new funding. The Economic Dignity team is visiting and pressuring city council to raise the minimum wage for city contractors and subcontractors from $12 to $15. Each strategy team holds monthly meetings to move its agenda ahead. At monthly Action Team meetings (next one is Sept. 12) all POWER members choose which team to attend and hear what all teams are doing. At quarterly legislative assembly meetings (Oct. 10), decisions are made to direct future POWER actions.
To feel your way in to this fascinating vibrant multi-faith environment, try the monthly Northwest Cluster meetings. Cluster meetings allow you to meet POWER neighbors and hear about the strategy team activities. They usually include some interactive activities to mix everyone up together. The next one is Thursday, September 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Summit Presbyterian.
Of course, when demonstrations are called for, POWER can get the city out into the streets. Please note the photos below of the quickly organized “Philly is Charlottesville” march and rally in response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA in August. For more on POWER events, check their website (powerinterfaith.org), especially the calendar, frequently.
POWER and its partners in MLK DARE (Day of Action, Resistance and Empowerment) developed a 21st Century Declaration of Rights for a Better America to explore what justice may mean in our city, in our times. These are the principles:
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.
We would love to have you join us.
This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.