Welcome to Crewe and Nantwich Meeting!

We meet the second and fourth Sundays of each month (and the fifth when there is one) at 3:00pm.

All are welcome, anytime. We meet for about an hour, and afterwards we have coffee and tea and an informal chat. If you like, you can just come and join us for that bit.

We have a loop system, and the church is fully wheelchair accessible.

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Manchester Peace Walk

Crewe and Nantwich Friends were grateful for the opportunity to join with other Quakers to explore Manchester’s peace history and thank Gill Alcock for organising the trip.

Joan Sharples writes:

It was a short - ninety minute - walk from a second-hand statue of Engels to Manchester’s Peace Garden, but it introduced us to many aspects of Manchester’s history, highlighting connections with the struggle for peace and social justice.

Steve, our guide, a long-standing CND activist, enthralled us with stories of individuals and movements. 

There were stories of local people: a bust - made from weapons - of Black woman, Ermina Bell, recognised for her work on combatting gun crime in the city; Elizabeth Raffald, eighteenth century writer on cookery and midwifery; and Yomi Mambu, the first Black Lord Mayor of an English city.

It was at the Peterloo memorial that I found my personal connection with history: people from Irlam and Eccles had walked to Manchester in August 1819 to ask for the right to vote. My mum was born in Irlam. Her parents had married in Eccles.

Many national and international figures had had links with Manchester: Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx, Alan Turing, John Bright, the Pankhursts and many more. The library housed a memorial to the people of Manchester who had served in the International Brigade. At the cenotaph, I noticed recently laid flowers honouring Polish dead in the Second World War. The legacy of violence continues.

Walking past the edge of a protest for ceasefire in Gaza brought us sharply back to the present, as did the sculpture of the homeless Jesus outside St Ann’s church. 

So many different contexts. So many examples of people trying to change the world: putting peace into practice. ‘When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope’: words of Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Wangari Maathai, which form part of the Peace Garden. The ginkgo trees grown from seeds given to Manchester by Hiroshima inspire and challenge me in my own walk of peace.

More information on Manchester Peace Trail at www.discoverpeace.eu

Crewe & Natwich Link Group

Sunday, 18. February 2024 - 15:00 to 16:00
Bradfield Road, Crewe

Crewe & Nantwich Link Group will meet to share their understanding of peace. Followed by tea and biscuits.

Crewe & Nantwich Commemoration of the Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

On Sunday 6th August, six members of Crewe & Nantwich Meeting gathered beside the river on Water Lode then proceeded to the pedestrian bridge over the river. Howard Hilton then reminded the gathering that we were there to commemorate the thousands of civilians killed by the dropping of the first Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. He then asked if anyone would like to speak, and Linda spoke extemporarily on the Quaker Commitment to Peace from the earliest years of the Society, shortly after the Civil War, at the Restoration of the Monarchy. Howard then asked if he might speak, and began by recalling that he had just started “big school” at the time, as, no doubt, had many Japanese girls and boys, but they, together with their younger brothers and sisters, and their Mums and other relatives, were vaporised or left with dreadful injuries and radiation sickness. It was not necessary, as the Japanese were already negotiating the terms of peace, but scientists like to see their experiments (now commemorated in the film “Oppenheimer”) through to The End.

Some have argued that the Japanese had treated their opponents and prisoners with extreme brutality and deserved what they got, but war exaggerates everything: ordinary people do acts of great heroism, and those of a brutal nature have opportunity to indulge themselves. The artist and cartoonist Ronald Searle (famous for his “St Trinians” creation) left Art College to join the Royal Engineers and endured the war in Burma and the “Bridge over the River Kwai” in reality. Like all true artists he never stopped making drawings, even in captivity somehow, and eventually published a book of them. However, he tells the story of how when the war was ended he was in Changi Jail, still under Japanese control, waiting for arrangements to be made for repatriation. He was one of a party of men given the job of maintenance tasks on a building used as an Officers’ Mess. One day the Camp Commandant, an officer called Takahashi, came in for a morning drink, took off his officer’s sword, relaxed and looked around at what was going on. He saw that Searle was drawing (as usual) and went over to look over his shoulder. He then reached down, took up a pencil, and with a few quick strokes drew a beautiful mother and child, which could be a Madonna. He then said, in his careful English, “I too am an artist, a painter, and when this business started was studying in Paris. I was recalled to Japan.” He gathered his belongings and turned to go, then went back to Searle and said “I almost forgot - you may find these useful” reached into a pocket and gave Searle a handful of pencils. He too was a member of the human family.

Finally, Hiroshima was not the end but the beginning: ever since then we have all lived under the shadow  of nuclear weapons - the arms race, the Cuban Missile Crisis and so on. And it distorts our priorities. The Government plans to spend, 2021-2025, on military affairs £201.6 billion, whilst on reducing UK carbon emissions £27.7 billions.

We then turned to the bridge parapet, and threw into the river below the white flowers we had brought. As the ever-rolling stream took them away, it seemed appropriate to recall the words of the Anglican General Confession: Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have offended against thy holy laws, we have done those things we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those thing which we ought to have done, and there is no health in us, but Thou . . .

After that we needed  a cup of tea - and a place on Welsh Row provided it, so that we could sit in the sunshine and enjoy companionship

 

 

 

Exploring Membership

After Meeting for Worship on Sunday 13 August, Crewe and Nantwich Friends reflected together on their understanding of membership. 

 

Attenders asked what membership involves and asked, ‘Do I know enough? Would I do it right?’ Some described concern about being expected to take on roles of responsibility.

 

Members shared their own journey into membership. Two Members who had visited people discerning whether to seek membership described the process. 

 

It was clear that there were a number of people keen to consider membership further. All were reassured that, ‘if you’re a Member or an Attender, you are welcome.’.

Seeking Kinder Ground

 

Crewe and Nantwich Attender, Joan Sharples, recently attended a workshop, Seeking Kinder Ground in which Gerald Hewitson and Anne Wilkinson of the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group (QTIG) spoke of the fundamental importance of the values of truth and integrity in our lives. 

Workshop participants readily named examples from personal experience and political life of signs of light - and of its absence. Gerald and Anne described the group’s determination to ensuring the Nolan principles continue to govern public life through writing letters of encouragement to those who have acted with integrity in difficult situations and through its new Truth and Integrity Award. 

The workshop, which took place at a Catholic-based Conference on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, was well attended and enthusiastically received and opened up possibilities for further cooperation. Do take a look at the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group website.

Photo: l to r - Joan Sharples with Anne Wilkinson of QTIG.