Sunday, February 18, 2007

Amazing Grace

Across the country, lots of churches made sure that Amazing Grace was included on the hymn board.

Today was labelled as Amazing Grace Sunday, marking two hundred years since William Wilberforce and his friends “took on the most powerful forces of their day to end the slave trade. His mentor was John Newton, the slave-trader-turned-song-writer, who wrote the world’s most popular hymn, Amazing Grace.”

Although two centuries have passed since the abolition of the slave trade, today there are still 27 million men, women, and children enslaved around the globe. The need for justice and mercy continues.

Entire families work long days in rice-mills, brick kilns or on plantations. Children are abducted and forced to fight rebel armies. These people are all slaves: they cannot come and go as they please and are some are beaten or threatened with violence. They have no autonomy in their day-to-day lives and deserve the right to be free

Also watch out for the film Amazing Grace that releases in the UK on 23 March.

John Newton (played by Albert Finney in the film) wrote the words to the hymn to accompany a New Year’s Day church service in 1773. He was the captain of a British slave ship for many years until he underwent a dramatic religious conversion while steering his vessel through a storm.

Repenting and regretting the misery he had inflicted on the thousands of human cargo he had transported for many years, he devoted his life to God. Keeping his feet on dry land, he become an Anglican (CofE) rector of St. Mary Woolchurch, in London, were he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce.

Newton died in London in December 1807.

(Adapted from http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/song.php.)

1 comment:

Cybez said...

I'm revealing just how very old I am, but Amazing Grace I believe was in the pop charts some time in the 70's.Those were the days when we had great pop acts like Terry Wogan etc etc :-)