Amazing Persistence, Liberating Grace

Watching the William Wilberforce/John Newton film Amazing Grace at a home group around the day the church remembers William Wilberforce (30 July) encouraged New Zealand vicar Michael Berry to use some of the themes in the Sunday sermon at church at St Heliers, Auckland, on Sunday 2 August 2009.

Hearing him prompted me to look back at some ‘John Newton’ photos I took a while back.

Robin Meredith Jones, actor & friend, has for many years been doing a show base on John Newton, also (inevitably) called ‘Amazing Grace’. On the 200 anniversary of John Newton’s ‘promotion to glory’ on 21 December 1807, Robin and his wife Christine Way did a version of the show in the London City church of St Mary’s Woolnoth, where John Newton was vicar for 28 years.

Robin Meredith Jones as John Newton, in his original pulpit
Robin Meredith Jones as John Newton, in his original pulpit

Most people know that Newton was involved in the slave trade – though not all are aware that Newton was himself a white slave briefly early on, after an altercation with a the captain of a slave ship he was crewing on.

What is well documented is John Newton’s conversion to the Christian faith, and his penning of the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
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3 months down…

Sorry to have missed out on the third tranch of OneAndOther ballot selections, even though I was glad not to have had to give up a place had I been selected for August. Preferrring to be in NZ!