The 240th Anniversary Celebration of John Newton’s hymn, Amazing Grace, will be observed in Buncrana, Ireland April 4-8, 2013. The links are listed below.
John Newton (July 24, 1725-December 21, 1807) was a human with many flaws who reconnected with what were the essentials of life. In many aspects he was like you and me.
He described his younger self as a ”libertine and infidel”. For a certain amount of time he was a slave in Africa before his rescue.
He converted to Christianity on May 10, 1748. However, he continued in the slave trade as captain of the “Duke of Argyle” and the “African”.
After a stroke he became landlocked, and this is where the story takes root. He became an Anglican priest and joined forces with William Wilberforce of Parliament to abolish slavery.
Newton lived to see the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 on March 25. The act ended the slave trade in the British Empire.
Many believe the hymn Amazing Grace was inspired as Newton listened to the slaves in the cargo holes sing their spiritual songs. There are some melodies from which one cannot run in this life.
If you have the opportunity, visit Buncrana and the festival. The links below will give you a sample of what one can gain from such an experience, especially in 2023 when the 250th Anniversary is celebrated.
G. D. Williams © 2013
Amazing Grace Festival 4-8, 2013
The Amazing Grace Festival (4 – 8 April 2013) celebrates the dramatic story of John Newton’s arrival in Buncrana on the shores of Lough Swilly, Co Donegal on 8 April 1748. After a violent storm in the Atlantic Ocean, Newton was literally saved from death as his ship found refuge in Ireland.
Amazing Grace: The Film
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
Wintley Phipps at Carnegie Hall
Library of Congress