Scroll down slightly. It will then scroll on its own. -- Speakers on for music
On March 6, 2007, my husband and I went to see the movie Amazing Grace. Having read no reviews, I really did not know what to expect. It was a very moving and powerful true story about William Wilberforce of England who was a deeply religious member of Parliament and a social reformer who was very influential in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British empire. It also showed his connection to John Newton, who is most famous for writing the ever popular religious hymn, Amazing Grace.
We found this movie a breath of fresh air which is so different from most of Hollywood's uninspiring secular productions. It would be well worth your time to view this movie which includes history, religion, politics, and social reform in a very polished and professionally produced movie. Our young people in middle and high school should view this since they will probably not be taught this in their history classes -- certainly not the religious parts.
Our African-American Civil Rights leaders should be singing the praises of this movie which vividly paints the horror of the slave trade all over the British empire and the crusade by Wilberforce and a small group in Parliament who never gave up their fight to end slavery. Maybe I have missed it, but I have not seen any advertising by the Rev. Jessie Jackson or any of our Civil rights leaders -- or the mainstream media. It was advertised and endorsed on Dr. Robert Schuller's Hour of Power, Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, other churches and religious web sites. Rush Limbaugh has sung the praises of this movie on his radio show and recommends it very highly!
William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833)
Amazing Grace (How sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snare,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has 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.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine.
John Newton (played by Albert Finney in Amazing Grace) wrote the words to one of the most beloved hymns of all time between 1760 and 1770, while working as an evangelical pastor. Son of the commander of a merchant ship, Newton was captain of a 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 across the Middle Passage for many years, he devoted his life to the Church, and wrote the lyrics to many hymns which are still popular today.
In 1780 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807.
Amazing Grace Sunday UK - March 25, 2007 -
This year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. But the work of justice and mercy continues. Twenty-seven million men, women, and children are still enslaved around the globe.
Join churches around the globe in singing Amazing Grace and in praying for the end of slavery once and for all.
Ten Amazing Facts about Amazing Grace
The words were written by a reformed British slave trader turned Anglican minister, John Newton, who wrote it to accompany a New Year’s Day church service in 1773. Amazing Grace is the most covered song in history. Over 3200 different recordings exist. The tune we now associate with Amazing Grace wasn’t matched to the words until 1835 in William Walker’s Southern Harmony. Until then it was set to a variety of tunes. The final stanza—‘When we’ve been there ten thousand years’—was added by Edwin Othello Excell in 1909 and was taken from another hymn. Amazing Grace is considered to be the anthem of the Cherokee Nation because the song was sung on the Trail of Tears during 1838-39. The first gospel recording of Amazing Grace was made in 1926 by Rev. H. R. Tomlin. Most of the recordings of Amazing Grace have been made since Judy Collins had a surprise pop hit with the song in 1971. A survey of British teenagers in the mid-1970s found that the majority thought that Amazing Grace was a love song about a girl named Grace. The popular bagpipe version recorded by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was based on the hit version by Judy Collins and was only added to an album as an afterthought. Later released as a single, it became a huge international hit. Amazing Grace was sung as the funerals of Richard Nixon, Sonny Bono, Barry Goldwater, Joe DiMaggio and John Kennedy Jr.
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