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John Stokes provided his "Input"

By Sarah Cahalan, Katy Kelly, and Olivia Gillingham

As part of his work with the Wellsprings Ecumenical Center, John S. Stokes Jr. frequently appeared on Input, a panel discussion program on Philadelphia television in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Conversations on the program grappled with issues of violence, race, faith, and community that remain relevant today. Each episode of Input was about an hour long with five or six panelists. Many of them were recorded and preserved by Marion Metelits, later Marion Stokes, who also represented Wellsprings as a panelist in several episodes.

Several clips selected for the Mary’s Gardens exhibit demonstrate the wide range of issues covered by the panel throughout six episodes:

In “The Anatomy of Violence: War on Trial”, Stokes moderates a conversation about the Catonsville Nine, a group that burned draft cards in protest of the Vietnam War. Three members of the group appear on the panel, which was recorded ahead of their trial.

In “Wellsprings - The Open Community”, several members of the Wellsprings Ecumenical Center explain their work in Philadelphia and the importance of creating opportunity for dialogue and confrontation in the interest of building a more open and honest community.

“Anatomy of Life - Born Free?” deals with what it means to be free, including the relationship of citizens to their government and the role of science in society.

“The Anatomy of Life - The Melting Pot Boils” addresses integration and the need for people to collaborate and work toward goals in a universal sense, while also recognizing their own identity, individually and as a group.

In “Flower Power”, Stokes gives a slide presentation on flower symbolism associated with Mary and emphasizes the importance of connecting with and appreciating nature.

“Challenge to Religion” discusses interfaith relations and the importance of contact between people from a variety of faith traditions.

These and many more episodes of Input are available to stream on Learn more about Stokes and his involvement in Mary’s Gardens and social justice issues by visiting the Mary’s Gardens exhibit!

Image used was provided by Internet Archive (
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