ABOVE PHOTO: FUMCOG awardee (from right) Phyllis Strock, Barbara Revere, Religion and Race Co. Chair, Rev. Lorelei Toombs, Senior Minister, Harry McKinney, Religion and Race Co Chair.
The First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG), at its Martin Luther King, Jr. observation, presented its annual Social and Racial Justice Award to one its members, Phyllis Strock. The award is given to honor those who cross racial or ethnic lines to make significant contributions toward the resolution of issues of social and racial injustice.
Seven years ago, Phyllis identified a need to reach out to children as part of Sister Mary Scullion’s Project H.O.M.E. which was initiating a comprehensive program in the 23rd and Berks Street area of North Philadelphia. To address the children’s needs, she founded The House of Peace and Hope to provide a safe and healing environment for children living chaotic lives.
There Phyllis spends her weekday evenings leading a therapeutic program for 40 children whose experiences with loss, violence and homelessness have left them deeply wounded. Through role play, reassurance and acceptance at the program, the children learn alternatives to anger, temper tantrums and violence. Phyllis has recruited other volunteers including medical students from Thomas Jefferson University.
Drawing on her background as a registered nurse and psychologist, and bringing her compassionate heart and zany energy, Phyllis comes into the neighborhood each night — rounding up kids, cajoling parents and interceding with families to help them grow stronger and deal with crisis. Phyllis has become a trusted confidante and a welcome presence in the neighborhood, building bridges and helping people find strength to deal with difficult lives.
The award was presented at the morning worship service by co chairs of the Religion and Race Committee, Barbara Revere and Harry McKinney. First United Methodist Church of Germantown is located at 6001 Germantown Ave.