...from the Christian Institute.
Monday, September 28, 2020
...when something with which you have been actively involved becomes the stuff of memoirs..
Keston College was an excellent institution run by Rev Michael Bourdeaux, which chronicled the plight of Christians and other religious believers under Communism. It did a most useful job, and highlighted some of the courageous men and women who spoke up for truth and human dignity under a cruel regime and often suffered hideously in prisons or labour camps in the USSR as a result.
Michael's new book telling the Keston story is a good read. As I got into it, I was fascinated to learn how the project began, and then rather moved to reconnect with people who over the years became part of the story. It felt strange to come across, suddenly, a quotation from a letter in the Catholic Herald by some one called Joanna Nash, calling for more public action on behalf of persecuted Christians...
Memories...standing outside the Soviet Union in vigils of prayer...especially one Christmas Eve, when passers-by stopped to give us their support...
And one particular memory: meeting Irina Ratushinskaya, the poet who endured imprisonment for her courageous writing. She told us of a strange prison experience: being in a bitterly cold punishment cell at night, in solitary confinement, unable to sleep...and suddenly having a sensation of warmth, and a deep understanding: "Some out out there is praying for me at this moment."
Friday, September 25, 2020
After an hotel in Northern Ireland rudely interrupted a speaker and stopped him addressing a group discussing marriage, the hotel has now climbed down, apologised, and more...read here...
It is, of course, disgraceful that this incident should have occurred in the first place. What on earth did the hotel staff think they were doing? I mean, literally - what did they think? What was in their minds? What had they been taught and told? Why did they imagine they had any right to prevent some one from speaking about marriage?
Boys and girls who have been attending schools in Britain over the past few years have not been encouraged to think freely and along large lines. They have been taught to pass exams, and to adopt words and phrases that will help them to do that. They have not been encouraged to read widely, to debate freely, to ponder history, to argue over ideas and ideology.
It's really rather frightening. Thank God, at least, for the small mercy of this apology...and for what it now means for wider freedom...
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Saturday, September 12, 2020
A visit to the Royal Air Force Memorial overlooking the Thames at Runnymede
My Uncle John's name is on this memorial - Pilot Officer John Michael Campbell RAFVR.
His name is on Panel 123. He was killed in 1943.
There are 20,000 names on this memorial - airmen who died for our country in World War II and have no known grave.
Recently our family received some extraordinary news. Uncle John's aeroplane - a Stirling bomber - has been found deep in a lake in Holland where it fell. It was identified by its number...and the crew were identified when Uncle John's silver cigarette case was found, bearing his initials JMC. The Dutch army is now helping to recover the aeroplane, and a local museum honours the crew. The Dutch are grateful to the Royal Air Force for helping to liberate their country from Nazi occupation.
The Queen's words at the opening of the Runnymede memorial in 1953 have never seemed more important. At Runnymede King John signed Magna Carta, establishing the freedoms that British people have treasured down the years.
Saturday, September 05, 2020
They call themselves "Extinction rebellion". But they are not rebelling., merely shrieking out the standard leftwing line on a range of issues, and using militant tactics in attempts to stop healthy debate and if possible to wreck Britain's economy, on the grounds that our industries damage the world's ecological balance.
Meanwhile China mines coal and launches new power stations month by month, and buys up large tracts of land across Africa, establishing ports and transport links on a massive scale, establishing her new empire.
There could be no music - all the restrictions were obeyed. But it was good to get together, in our robes, and to honour St Gregory and be inspired and reminded of our calling as Christians...and the need to re-evangelise our country and to offer the glorious message oi Christ...
We posed for the traditional photograph - robed and masked, a picture for history.