News, November 2019

Photos by Philip Wood


British Quakers disrupt London arms fair

On Tuesday, September 3, approximately 700 Quakers came together to block the set-up of the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair as part of a “No Faith in War” day. Around 50 were arrested. The protest significantly hampered the arms fair set-up in ways they hadn’t been able to in past years with smaller numbers.

DSEI is a trade show event for the arms industry. The four-day event happens in London every two years and provides an opportunity for more than 1,500 companies to display their products and services to 30,000 visitors from around the world.

Quakers have been involved in protests against DSEI for many years. But following the 2017 arms fair, Quaker activists sought to significantly increase the number of Quakers present at the event. Roots of Resistance was founded to organize Quakers against the arms fair in 2019.

“We were able to more than double the number of Quakers protesting from 2017 to 2019,” said Samuel Donaldson, a core group member of Roots of Resistance. “The increased numbers allowed us to block an entryway to the fair for over nine hours.”

Oliver Robertson, head of Witness and Worship for Quakers in Britain, explained the protest action:

As part of our witness to peace, we held meetings for worship on the road leading to the arms fair venue at the ExCeL Centre. This was interrupted by a police announcement that we would be arrested if we did not move out of the road. Quakers spoke to police officers, including the inspector in charge, explaining that this was not just “quiet time” but a holy gathering. Police should behave the same way they would during a Catholic Mass or Muslim prayers towards Mecca. To their credit, the inspector apologised for this and offered to take that as a learning point for the future.

This cross is one of the few pieces from the Urakami Cathedral to survive the 1945 bombing in Nagasaki, Japan. Photo by Randall Sarvis/Wilmington College.

Wilmington College returns atomic-bombed cross to Nagasaki cathedral

This August, Wilmington College returned a wooden cross to the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan. The cross had been a part of a display of items related to the atomic-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the college’s Peace Resource Center (PRC) since it was given to the college in 1982. Wilmington College is a Quaker liberal arts college of over 1,000 students in Wilmington, Ohio.

PRC director Tanya Maus returned the cross to the cathedral in Japan accompanied by five Wilmington College staff and students. “As an artifact that embodies the sufferings of those Urakami parishioners who died in the atomic bombings, it is held sacred by those of the Urakami Cathedral—and should be returned,” Maus said.

Wilmington College campus minister Nancy McCormick ceremonially returned the cross to the Nagasaki church at an August 9 mass, the seventy-fourth anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing. “They were overjoyed that the Peace Resource Center recognized the sense of loss and pain that resulted from the atomic bombings and destruction of the cathedral,” McCormick said. “The people there appreciated that one small piece of what was lost was returned.”

Walter Hooke, a Catholic U.S. Marine stationed in Nagasaki shortly following the atomic-bombing in 1945, retrieved the cross from the rubble of the Catholic cathedral and sent it to his mother in the United States. Hooke died at age 97 in 2010, but had become publicly critical of the atomic bomb’s use on civilian populations in Japan. During his protest activities, Hooke’s path crossed with that of Barbara Reynolds, the founding director of the PRC, who had many connections to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hooke gave the cross to the PRC in 1982.

A series of events led up to the cross’s return. In 1927, the American United Church of Christ initiated a doll exchange where more than 11,000 dolls were given to Japanese children. In 2018, Wilmington minister McCormick led the making of 108 Quaker-style rag dolls that she and Maus presented in Nagasaki and Hirado, Japan, as another international gesture of goodwill.

Hirokazu Miyazaki, an anthropologist at Northwestern University who is writing a book about the 1927 doll exchange, was excited to learn of this modern version. He visited Wilmington this spring to interview the women making dolls, and Maus learned he had ties to the Catholic community and cathedral in Nagasaki.

“He reached out to the archbishop in Nagasaki, Mitsuaki Takami, who didn’t know the cross existed here,” Maus said, noting that Asahi journalists located a photograph of the cross lying in the ruins of the cathedral taken in August 1945. She said a Japanese news organization has reported that the Nagasaki Peace Association had been trying to locate the Christian symbol for 30 years.

Jeanes Hospital founding benefactor receives historical marker

Anna Thomas Jeanes, a Philadelphia Quaker whose philanthropy led to forward thinking in medicine and other areas of social justice, was honored on September 12 at the dedication of a historical marker on the grounds of Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa.

“More than 90 years into our existence in Philadelphia, Jeanes Hospital still embodies the Quaker legacy of compassion and holistic care that were the hallmarks of Anna T. Jeanes and others like her,” said Marc Hurowitz, president and CEO of Jeanes Hospital, at the dedication ceremony. “We are proud that this recognition of her legacy is installed on Jeanes campus as a reminder of the rich history of this Philadelphia institution.”

Jeanes Hospital was founded in January 1928 with 46 beds and a mission to care for “those with cancer, nervous, and disabling ailments,” according to Jeanes’s bequest of $200,000. The hospital has continuously served the community since then, growing in size and complexity of clinical offerings while earning quality accolades from several rating agencies.

Jeanes (1822–1907) was a visionary Philadelphia Quaker abolitionist and activist. Her own personal experiences with breast cancer led to her hospital bequest. Consistent with her wishes, the Institute for Cancer Research was founded in 1946 on the Jeanes Hospital campus. The institute would merge with the American Oncologic Hospital in 1974 to become Fox Chase Cancer Center. Both entities would go on to become part of the Temple University Health System.

In addition to Jeanes Hospital, her bequests also funded the Negro Rural School Fund, which appointed Booker T. Washington as a trustee. The fund supported the training of black teachers, known as Jeanes Supervisors, who provided southern black youth with academic and vocational education.

Historical markers are awarded by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. The markers are placed in designated approved locations in coordination with the commission. Anna T. Jeanes was one of 18 historical markers approved in 2019 from 55 applications received by the commission.

Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering?
Send us tips at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.