the friend online
11 July 2008


Bad Pyrmont – a Meeting house in the heart of Germany - preview

At July’s Meeting for Sufferings those present heard a report from a Britain Yearly Meeting representative who went to the FWCC European and Middle East Section annual gathering. Here Ute Caspers of German Yearly Meeting shares British links with the his

On 27 July German Friends will have a jubilee celebrating the seventy-fifth birthday of Pyrmont's second life!

This Meeting house, the one and only in all of Germany, has had an eventful history
  • It was originally built in 1800 by British Friends for a group of Quakers who had a little settlement called 'Friedensthal' just outside Pyrmont
  • London Yearly Meeting remained the owner of the adjacent cemetery even when numbers dwindled over the next two generations and the Meeting house was finally sold in 1893
  • The new owners used it for some time as a stable for donkeys

  • Ute Caspers

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    Mary Burnet, 31 July
    The photo of Bad Pyrmont evoked many memories. At the end of war a colleague and I were asked to set up the first intentional school for the newly formed Central Commission in Bad Oeynhausen – their headquarters.

    After many doubts and help from elders I decided to go – after the briefing (and many injections) at Pletdoh we were ready to go. Then the MoD vetoed my appointment because I was a conscientious objector. I took this to our Quaker MP and I was allowed to go – this incidentally also cleared the way for Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren helpers to go. Living in the depressed, defeated town where the Allies enjoyed luxury and a surplus of food unknown here for years was really hard.

    Feeling very helpless and adrift I managed to get a lift to Bad Pyrmont one weekend. The four Friends there made me so welcome and our Meeting for Worship was for me an unforgettable, renewing and confirming experience. In the silence true peace and healing became a certain vision for the future and I really found a new depth from faith.

    I didn't apply for membership in the war because then, being a CO was too easy if you were a Quaker, but did so as soon as I came back to England. Sixty-five years later I give thanks for all that I have found with Friends.

    (Note: this comment appears in the 1 August 2008 letters page).

    Grigor McClelland, 31 July
    Ute Caspers pays generous tribute (11 July) to British Friends for their help to German Friends over the seventy-five years since the Bad Pyrmont Meeting house was established. It should be remembered, however, that this spiritual support has been a two-way traffic. Friends engaged in relief work in Germany in the months after VE Day found in Bad Pyrmont a place where, under the quiet but kind ministrations of Leonhard and Mary Friedrich, they could feel at home. Friends Relief Service chose it, for example, for one important conference in February 1946 on the role of education in re-building German society, and some of us (in my case from the Friends Ambulance Unit) were privileged to attend part of a one-week conference in June 1946 for young Germans connected with the German Fellowship of Reconciliation.

    Well positioned in its spa town, the Meeting house in Pyrmont stands comparison with what Jordans means to many British Friends. The plaques on the external retaining wall in the foreground of your picture bear the names and dates of deceased German Friends, and call to mind their contributions in turbulent and quieter times. Since the early post-war years, and with the urging and support of German Friends, the nearby Jewish cemetery has been largely recovered from the wilful depredations of the Nazis, and stands as a reminder of what was once a flourishing and peaceful neighbouring community. Long may Germany YM flourish, and also the contributions which the Bad Pyrmont premises make to it and to visiting Friends from other nations.

    (Note: this comment appears in the 1 August 2008 letters page).


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    Meeting for Sufferings
    Oliver Robertson
    News round-up
    Bad Pyrmont – a Meeting house in the heart of Germany
    Ute Caspers
    Challenging statements
    Roger Sawkins
    Anne Bancroft & Alison Leonard
    Quakers and healing

    Christian meditation
    Anne Austin
    Another kind of silence
    Reg Snowdon
    Jesus for Quakers
    Michael Wright
    Young people in the workplace: valued or cheap?
    Alan Sealy

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