Friends Center

Friends Center completed the sale of its building at 1520 Race Street to Friends Select School on August 3.

Most organizations with offices at Friends Center have continued largely to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Friends Center took the opportunity during the downtime to make two major improvements to the Race Street Room—the main worship room in the Race Street Meetinghouse.

First, the AV system was upgraded to simplify hosting hybrid meetings combining participants in person and participants online using videoconferencing software. As a result, in July, Central Philadelphia (Pa.) Meeting began holding meetings for worship on Sunday with an in-person option for the first time since March 2020. Attendance is typically about half in person and half online.

The second improvement was a change to Friends Center’s geothermal HVAC system that enabled it to provide modern air conditioning in the Race Street Room for the first time. (Historically the room had an early form of air cooling: Fires were lit in chimney pots during the summer. They were connected to a network of vents that created a breeze and drew hot air out of the space. However, that system was disabled in the first half of the twentieth century.) The air conditioning has made worshiping in the room possible even during recent hot spells.

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