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Stop the Violence Prayer Rally

You are invited to come out and show your concern.

St. Mark’s Church will be hosting a community engagement event on Martin Luther King day from 1-3 pm on the 4700 block of Griscom at Arrott Street.

There will be a separate prayer service to follow on Hawthorne Street (where the recent fatal barricade situation transpired) at 4 pm led by Pastor Richard Smith from Faith Assembly of God.

Many community groups have confirmed their attendance. The aim is to bring the community together and have the various organization engage with the community and share a little bit about what each of us does with a goal of fostering a sense of community, discussing available resources, and addressing violence, especially gun violence, in the community. The 15th District PDAC and another group will be providing refreshments.


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Have You Seen Frankford?

You may not have seen Frankford with its wealth of history.  Join The Historical Society of Frankford and The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia on a walking tour of one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia. Enjoy refreshments at the Historical Society after the tour. 

The next tour of Frankford will be on September 8th at 10 am to 12 pm beginning and ending at the Historical Society of Frankford. On this tour, we will get to see the inside of St Mark’s Church (Frankford’s Cathedral).

Tickets for members of the Preservation Alliance or Frankford Historical Society $15.00. Others $20.00. Tickets available at the event.

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PSA 1 – Facing Tough Issues With a Lot of Heart


L-R Pete Specos, Co-ordinator PSA 1, Lt. Duane Gordon, Capt. Anthony Luca and Ronald Ryan, WalkSafePHL and Town Watch Integrated Services


Captain Luca and Lieutenant Gordon from the 15th Police District met with Frankford, Northwood and Bridesburg residents last Thursday, August 25 at Aria Frankford Hospital. With a standing room only crowd, residents listened to the litany of the crime statistics which they know all too well since they live them. Several residents reported drug houses, prostitution activity, problems with halfway houses, etc.

Burglaries are up in Northwood, shootings and stabbings continue in Frankford and Bridesburg continues to work for more police presence from a District that is the largest in the city and uses what officers and resources they have as strategically as they can.

The police continue to remind us to lock windows and doors to prevent easy access. They do have a suspect they are watching but you have to do more than just arrest them. You need proof and that takes police work and neighbors’ help. A local 7-11 has been robbed 4 times during the overnight hours and most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Police use “Leads on Lines” where pawn shops now have to id those wishing to do business with them and that is sometimes a help. Captain Luca is very much aware of the drug dealers – who they are and where they are. Some recent staffing issues have been, of course, the Democratic National Convention, nationwide police shootings, where for our officers’ sakes, they’ve been assigned 2 to a car so some plainsclothes officers were temporarily reassigned.

Change won’t happen overnight. Many residents realize this and that’s why our civic groups have gotten more active and involved. Town Watch Eyes and Ears – you don’t patrol – you just observe and then call in what you see. We’ve been told if you identify yourself as a Town Watch member calling 911 – that helps. Lt. Gordon promised to come up with a different way to help us report and get action on what we see more quickly. Get trained with your neighbors. Ronald Ryan, Recruiter, for WalkSafePHL and Town Watch Integrated Services, offered to help train residents. Frankford Forward, our community group focused on issues causing violence, can provide meeting space for ongoing training.

Relations between Police and citizens have been in the news consistently. Captain Luca says his officers are motivated and he works to deploy them so they are most effective. Change won’t happen overnight.

But there are signs of hope. Aria Frankford has donated space to have a Police substation located there. This will be used for bike cops to ride up and down Frankford Avenue and some side streets. The current grid is from Penn to Duffield Sts. and from Arrott to Brill Sts. One of the areas of concern had been Margaret and Worth – site of a former drug rehab center. Bob Smiley and I were out delivering The Frankford Gazette and we saw two bike police officers pull up there and just get off their bikes. I don’t think the people there knew what to do. The bike cops have a specific route and so far they have made quite a few arrests – for guns, in particular. One of the guns confiscated was found to be involved in multiple shootings.

The meeting took an interesting turn as the people gathered started talking about what we needed to do to take back our community. The Police alone cannot solve the problem. One resident, Josue, says he comes out and talks with his neighbors. Other residents wanted to see more officers representing the ethnicities of our community. Lt. Gordon and Capt. Luca understood that but they have no control over how officers are assigned. Captain Luca recalled that the role of police officers has changed from a “warrior mentality” back in the 70’s and 80’s to a “guardian mentality” today. Who wouldn’t agree that a police officer is taking his/her life in their hands every day? We would have to admit it can very much be the same way for some of us!

There used to be several places youth could go in the community that are no longer there. Everyone agreed that there was respect for your elders. Parents were concerned that their children’s activities in the neighborhood would reflect on the family and, as a kid, you didn’t want to be guilty of that. Neighbors would tell your parents/grandparents what you were up to and then it all hit the fan. Today, parents are using their children to sell drugs to help support the family. No one really wants to live that way has been said at a few community meetings by people who know. That realization is why the Frankford CDC is working hard to bring more economic development to Frankford Avenue.

Another positive development is that the Police are looking to re-establish a PAL Center in the neighborhood and have the funding to develop and maintain it. A future police vs. youth softball game is in the works, too!

Everyone realized that it must be a “grassroots” effort that takes a community and its people. Would you like to get involved? Here’s just a few of the groups that would warmly welcome you, your friends and family to support their efforts:

  • Neighborhood Advisory Committee Meeting (Zoning), Thursday, Sept. 8, 7 PM, Second Baptist Church, 1801 Meadow St., 19124
  • Frankford Forward, Meets every 2 weeks, Monday, Sept. 19, 6 PM, Presentation on Mental Health First Aid and training that we may be interested in, St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave., 19124
  • Northwood Civic Association Meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7-8 PM, St. James Church, Castor Ave. and Pratt St., 19124
  • PSA 1 Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 22, 7 PM, Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club, 2901 Bridge St., 19137

There will be a Community Bike Ride in Frankford on September 24 beginning at Aria Frankford Hospital. All are invited! Details below!

Bike Rally Frankford

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Giving Hearts!

The Morgan Stanley Foundation is supported by each of the departments within Morgan Stanley. The Foundation has given Keep the Faith in Frankford much needed donations over the past two years.

Those donations go directly to helping us feed those in need through the Northeast Committee on the Homeless’ Dining with Dignity Program that operates at St. Mark’s Church. We have prepared and served over 500 people a hot meal and and have sent them home with dinner bags because of these donations.

There are very good people in our community who don’t need accolades nor do they want them. They genuinely care for others and do the right thing. Morgan Stanley does that, too! They encourage their employees to get involved in their communities and they support their efforts with matching grants and additional monies.

To our unsung hero at Morgan Stanley whose heart is in our Frankford community, thank you for all that you do! We also thank Morgan Stanley for acknowledging your efforts with their generous donations to Keep the Faith in Frankford!



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World Class Musician at St. Mark’s in Frankford

On almost any Sunday at St. Mark’s Church in Frankford, you can hear acclaimed, award winning pianist, Timur Mustakimov,  play the piano.  He has been the church’s pianist for almost 2 years.

The gig in Frankford was not a career move for Timur, he was studying at Temple for a doctorate and needed a job and Rev. Clodfelter, the Rector, managed to secure his services for Sunday Worship Service.

It is an interesting collaboration, which the two seem to enjoy.  Timur will often play a piece before the start of the service, kind of like a warm up act for the main attraction.  He always seems to find music that will support the message that the priest, Father Jon, is trying to get across. The two collaborate beautifully.

The acoustics at St. Mark’s make it a great venue for any performance in the cavernous, Gothic, cathedral building.

Timur’s most recent achievement was winning first place of the second Midwest International Piano Competition! After competing with nineteen other pianists in the senior division from ten different countries, Mustakimov was the winner of a $10,000 cash prize and a CD recording with the Blue Griffin label. Timur was also the winner of the new Audience Choice Award, for which he received $500.

From the Iowa Public Radio Web site:

Timur Mustakimov performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118 No. 2 for the final performance. Second place and $5000 winner was Alison Lee from the United States. Third place and winner of $2500 was Zhenni Li from China. First place in the Junior Division was JJ (Jun Li) Bui from Canada, winning $2500. Second place and winner of $1500 was Arthur Wang from Canada. Third place went to Jeffrey Chin of the United States, receiving $1000.

Russian pianist Timur Mustakimov, 28, is the winner of NTD International Piano Competition (New York, 2014), Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition (Westport, CT, 2013), Mannes Concerto Competition (New York, 2011), Jacob Flier International Piano Competition (New Paltz, 2007), Bach Piano Competition (Kazan, Russia, 2003).

Timur received his undergraduate degree from Kazan State Conservatory (Russia) under the tutelage of Alfiya Burnasheva. He continued his education at Mannes College in the studio of Vladimir Feltsman receiving full scholarship for the Master’s and Professional Studies programs. Timur is currently working on his Doctoral Program in the studio of Dr. Abramovic.

See the video below for a close up look.


Consider stopping by St. Mark’s on a Sunday morning at 10:00 AM.  Besides the music, the Clodfelter homily is always entertaining in itself.  It will be an experience to remember.