MLK Day On – The Common Place Philly

Hard at work painting the walls in the assembly room at The Common Place on MLK Day were Dacia, Layshan, and Jen, all alumnae from Spellman College and James and Steven who work for IBM in Philadelphia. The Common Place is a community center at 58th St. & Chester Ave.
Hard at work painting the walls in the assembly room at The Common Place on MLK Day were Dacia, Layshan, and Jen, all alumnae from Spellman College and James and Steven who work for IBM in Philadelphia. The Common Place is a community center at 58th St. & Chester Ave.

Volunteers from a varied selection of Philadelphia organizations descended on The Common Place, the community center at the corner of 58th Street and Chester Avenue for the special service day commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 20.

The center which includes office space, classrooms, open meeting areas, a commercial kitchen, a computer lab and a spacious sanctuary (seating 500 comfortably!) hosted the visitors for painting and other clean-up projects.

Typical of the MLK Day workers were groups from the Center City office of IBM, local graduates of Spelman College, and a dynamic bunch of young people from the Franklin Institute.

As they worked, paint rollers in hand, the visitors were treated to a history of “Presbyterian Corner” in Southwest which includes:

  • The Common Place, formerly Westminster Presbyterian Church dating from 1906 (succeeded by New Spirit Community Church) at the Chester 58th Street corner.
  • Myers Recreation Center and Cornerstone Christian Academy, facing each other at Kingsessing and 58th which was previously the Presbyterian Orphanage dating from 1877.
  • Presbys Inspired Life Affordable Apartments for seniors located one block down 58th Street at Greenway – previously the Presbyterian Home for Widows and Single Women which was built in 1883.
  • The Orphanage morphed into Presbyterian Children’s Village over at 6517 Chester Avenue (now merged with Silver Springs – Martin Luther School, an organization based in Plymouth Meeting.

The stately grey stone church at 58th and Chester had aged ungracefully until some 8 years ago when it was purchased from the Presbytery of Philadelphia by Wayne Presbyterian. In the ensuing years, it has been renovated, re-roofed, and remodeled as a meeting place for families, afterschool and Saturday morning enrichment gatherings for school-aged children and youth, a worship center for Sunday services, and many more special programs to enhance the quality of life for Southwest residents.

The Common Place is also home to Turning Points for Children programs and CityLights Ministry, an urban/suburban, faith-based outreach of Wayne Presbyterian for the past 31 years.

For more information about activities, accommodations for meetings and office space, contact Gene Burke, geneburke@thecommonplacephilly.org or 2675-275-8238 x 304.

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