Welcome to East Cheshire Quakers.

Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone, and that there is Light within each of us.

At the core of our faith are our values - simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality. We have no creed that states our beliefs. Rather, we try to live our lives in such a way that we are each living examples of the Spirit.

This is a place of seeking, of finding, of sharing, of experiencing, and of being together - not unlike our meetings. 

 

Stockport Pride Event 2024

The Stockport Pride  Parade was described by one Stockport Friend as such a celebration, with lots of people clapping and cheering: A very friendly atmosphere, and our participation was appreciated.

 

The stall generated great interest and quite a few looked at the Stockport for Peace section. Some enquirers had Quaker connections, others had been to the building. There were many compliments - and they were curious to find out more

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Manchester and Warrington’s  T shirt slogan "Quakers do it in silence" attracted attention, and several people took photos.

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

Quakers in Buxton come together in a Peace-Circle

Wars, hunger, terror …. But what can I do?

An article by Heike Huschauer with poster by Ben Evens.

 

Every Saturday

from 11 am to 12 noon at the 

Turner Memorial below the Slopes in Buxton

Stand in a circle of stillness with others who long for peace

‘Quakers in Buxton’ are a worship group of F/friends coming from Bakewell, Disley, and Macclesfield Meetings.

During the last months we have felt increasingly distressed, hopeless, and helpless in the light of wars, terror, and famine in so many countries around the globe.

What can we do; here, where we live our daily lives?

How can we “…undo some of the hurt in this world and take positive action for a better future” as written in one of the oldest leaflets of the Northern Friends Peace Board?

As we all experienced in the 1980s, holding a Vigil for Peace with like-minded F/friends can be empowering and hope-giving.

Buxton F/friends discussed thoroughly how a vigil could be held in these times and how others or passers-by might be invited to join.  Should we use posters, leaflets, press releases – where, when, how?

Our decisions:

Ø  A vigil open for everyone. Therefore no Quaker or other banners, only one big neutral placard (see above).

Ø  Aim is to create a space for reflection, showing solidarity, finding a moment of hope, giving witness, sharing the sorrows of the world.

Ø  A circle looking inwards leaving gaps for easy joining. Some chairs.

Ø  Beforehand invitations (A5 poster – same as the big placard) for faith and environmental groups, in cafés, in the library and some public spaces.

Ø  Press release afterwards.

Ø  Doing it every Saturday, same place, same time until it becomes a tradition in Buxton. Saturdays 11am-12pm, the Turner Memorial (bottom of The Slopes), Buxton.

 

The first peace circle was held on Saturday 30th March 2024. Twenty six people of all walks of life joined and stood for 5 minutes or more, many for up to an hour.  There were people from churches, a festival volunteer, a couple of tourists, some Saturday morning shoppers, someone from a Tai Chi-course – some known to us and some we had never seen before. And, one dog.  Many pledged to come again.

Many experienced this first Saturday morning vigil as something precious and powerful. It had the spirituality of a Quaker Meeting.

We will be there again and again – every Saturday – bearing witness that peace is a real alternative.

Please, come and join us. 

Saturdays 11am-12pm, the Turner Memorial (bottom of The Slopes), Buxton.

Buxton Peace Circle, 30th March, 2024.

Photograph by Véronique Pin-Fat.

Peace vigils in Buxton

Quaker Friends in Buxton have organised a series of peace vigils in Buxton at  Turner's Memorial in the Crescent. The first 3 vigils will be on:
 
Saturdays 11am-12pm - 30th March, 6th April and 13th April.
 
 
We will stand (or sit) in an inward facing circle with spaces for others to join us. Ben Evens has made a fabulous poster that reads: "Stand with us in Stillness for Peace".
 
Please come and join us if you are free. Bring a chair if you need one (!)

The Fire and the Hammer planning meeting

Tuesday, 30. April 2024 - 19:00 to 20:00
Central Manchester Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester

This is a planning meeting to consider putting on a performance in the Manchester area of the cantata The Fire and the Hammer by Tony Biggin (music) and Alec Davison (lyrics) to mark the 400th birthday of George Fox.  The cantata tells the story of the early years of George Fox and the beginnings of Quakerism.  More information in the attached leaflet.

Book Sale in support of Book Aid

Monday, 4. March 2024 - 10:15 to Thursday, 21. March 2024 - 10:15
The Dome, Buxton

Book sale in aid of Book Aid. A wide variety of books available. Do come along and have a browse and support Book Aid.

Venue: The Dome, Buxton, Derbyshire.

Marple Quakers and Methodists held a joint service in January

In January we joined with Marple Methodists for a shared service.  This had been a regular annual event until the disruptions of 2020.

Deacon Jude Laycock and Hilary Brooks devised a programme of worship which included readings from Quaker Faith and Practice and a very enjoyable question-and-answer session where Jude and Hilary reflected on the similarities and differences between our two traditions.

Sue Pounder presented a “Quaker Feely Bag”, containing items that reflected various elements of Quakerism: peace flag, fox, candle, Cadbury’s, old £5 note showing Elizabeth Fry, tin of Quaker Grey paint, Quaker Oats promotional plate, “The Light that Pushes Me”, picture by our youngest member of a smiling person with outstretched arms..

After listening to some verses by John Greenleaf Whittier we settled into silent worship for about ten minutes, and then closed with our final hymn “The Spirit lives to set us free – walk, walk in the Light”.

It was – as always – a joyful occasion, and we were warmly welcomed.  Several interesting conversations followed over coffee.

When the old Marple Meeting House was sold, in the late 90’s, and the Methodists heard we were seeking new premises, they immediately offered us the use of one of their spare rooms.  A formal ‘licence’ setting out the terms of use – a legal agreement,  is renewed each year.  However, we also have what we call ‘The Real Agreement’, which reads as follows, and carries the signatures of about forty Methodist and Quakers.

Marple Quakers and Marple Methodist Church

The message of the gospel is love. It is in this spirit that we come together under one roof. We will celebrate that which unites us and guard against differences becoming a barrier between us.

We will:

Welcome one another to worship

Share fellowship together

Seek opportunities of learning from one another

Share pastoral concern

Share information of interest to one another

And remaining faithful to the insights of our traditions we will share one heart for the light given to us.

Sue Pounder

February 2024

A prayer for Palestine

Saturday, 2. March 2024 - 17:00 to 20:00
Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church

There is be an Inter-Faith meeting between Muslims and Christians, to pray for and understand more about the conflict in Gaza and hosted by the Jasmine Peace Group. Please try to come, your presence will be very welcome.  See attached poster.

Racial justice: Quotations for spiritual reflection

The ECAM Racial Justice Group offer you a few quotations on racial justice that you may wish to contemplate, in order to explore what's involved in being anti-racist as a Quaker. Thank you to Ann Lewis for compiling them. 

You are welcome to download the full collection. 

"‘Our Quaker wish to believe in the fundamental goodness of each individual doesn’t help here. We can be as individually good as we like but unless we actively work to dismantle a system that maintains

white people in a global leadership role with a perceived right to extract wealth from countries that have already been made poor, we will continue to inadvertently act against our testimonies." 

Helen Minnis, Swarthmore lecturer 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheadle Hulme Churches Christian Aid Lunch

Saturday, 16. March 2024 - 12:00 to 14:00
Cheadle Hulme Quaker Meeting House

Cheadle Hulme Friends are hosting a soup bread and cheese lunch to raise funds for Christian Aid.  These lunches are held each Saturday during Lent hosted by the churches of Cheadle Hulme in turn.  All are welcome to come for lunch.  Friends are needed to help set up in the morning and tidy up afterwards.

Dates of Racial Justice Reading Group

Invitation from Disley LM to all Friends in ECAM to join us in a Book Group to discuss on Zoom Helen Minnis’ 2022 Swarthmore Lecture ‘Perceiving the Temperature of the Water – Quakers speak about Racism’.

Dear Friends,

At Yearly Meeting 2022 we resolved to work towards becoming an anti-racist faith community – quite a challenge.  This is just one contribution to helping us to think about how we can do that. 

The group will run on 4 Wednesdays in 2024: Jan. 31st, Feb. 7th, 14th and 28tfrom  7:00-8.30pm on Zoom. We hope you will be able to commit to all 4 sessions but if you cannot, we would rather you came to some rather than none. The Zoom meeting ID is: 331 243 767.

 

‘Perceiving the Temperature of the Water – Quakers speak about Racism’ is a wonderful lecture. Click on the link so you can taste some of what the 2022 Yearly Meeting audience experienced in May 2022.

 

The expectation is that you will have also read the book which was published after the lecture. Copies are available from the Quaker Book Shop at Friends House for £10. Our experience is that it takes time for copies to be delivered so try to order as soon as possible.

 

Please let Ann Lewis know whether you would like to receive further detailed information about what we have planned in terms of format, etc by January 24th 2024.

 

We hope the group will be an opportunity to share all the ideas in Helen Minnis’ lecture.

In Friendship,

Ann Lewis, convenor.

On behalf of Karl Beswick, Bridget Dunbar, Paul Gee and Jan Vulliamy. 

Marple Quakers present at Marple Remembrance Sunday

Marple Quakers were represented at the Memorial Gardens (Marple park) on remembrance Sunday (12/11/23) and contributed a wreath of mainly white poppies with a few of the usual red poppies. Churches Together and others also brought wreaths which included some white poppies. (see the pictures following).

Our representative joined with Stockport for Peace and both laid wreaths composed of white poppies in remembrance of those who had fallen in war.

In addition to hymns, prayers were said including for the current wars in Ukraine, Gaza and also for those engaged in seeking and maintaining peaceful resolution.

For background to red and white poppies, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_poppy and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_poppy

 

 

Perceiving the Temperature of the Water - Disley Racial Justice Reading Group

Disley Meeting are planning to read Helen Minnis’s Swarthmore lecture 2022 called ‘Perceiving the Temperature of the Water’ (cost £10). The idea is to host  4/6 sessions on a weeknight at the end of January through February 2024 on Zoom. Disley hope it will be open to all Friends in ECAM. Details to be sent to all clerks as soon as dates have been confirmed.

Friends can purchase the Swarthmore lecture from the Quaker bookshop here: https://bookshop.quaker.org.uk/Perceiving-the-temperature-of-the-water_9781739226008

Helen Minnis' Swarthmore lecture is also available to watch on YouTube.

 

 

 

Quakers in Buxton

Quakers in Buxton meet at ‘The Green Man gallery’ on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month at 7.15pm.  All welcome.

Meet the Quakers at Macclesfield

Saturday, 7. October 2023 - 13:30 to 16:30
The Unitarian Chapel, King Edward Street Macclesfield SK10 1AA

This is an opportunity to find out more about Quakers.  Everyone is very welcome. 

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.

Wilmslow Quaker Social

Friends and family enjoyed a very social afternoon of tea, cake and games on Saturday 10th June 2023

A new venture for Wilmslow Meeting, this was a really successful afternoon, welcoming Friends past and present, including young people. Conversation, tea and much cake were enjoyed.  There was also time to play dominoes, snakes & ladders, boggle, scrabble, skittles and more!  We thank those who worked behind the scenes to make this a memorable event.

 

                                       

                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheadle Hulme Friends support the Chelwood Food Bank

The Foodbank based at Chelwood Baptist Church in Stockport (https://chelwoodfoodbankplus.org/) is supported by Churches Together in Cheadle Hulme by collections of food etc twice a week at local churches and financial contributions.  It is one of the projects Cheadle Hulme Meeting supports from our Quaker and Local Projects Fund.  We heard at our most recent business meeting that additional support is urgently needed because of increased demand for their services and so are encouraging Friends in our Meeting to consider supporting the Foodbank if they are able to.  Others in the area may be interested in helping too. 

Children and Young People

Whilst Frandley Meeting has children and young people’s activities every Sunday, all our meetings welcome families. We have an Area Meeting Children Young People’s Committee keen to promote events like pantomime trips, picnics, walks, that draw in more children and young people.

Christian Aid week in Cheadle Hulme

As usual Cheadle Hulme Quakers have joined with members of other churches in Cheadle Hulme to deliver during Christian Aid Week (14 - 20 May) a Christian Aid collection envelope to every house in Cheadle Hulme.

We no longer call back to collect the envelopes (which was the part of the job that nobody enjoyed) but provide a number of collection points around Cheadle Hulme where people can drop off an envelope with cash contribution and also provide a website for online contributions. 

Last year Cheadle Hulme churches raised £11,045 for Christian Aid from this envelope collection and other activities.