Once upon a time there was this little community living in a village called Clapham. Just south of London. A rich guy called Thornton kinda funded their life together (not to mention his 34-bedroomed housed where many of them lived). A few of them - Sharp, Clarkson, Macaulay -were set aside as researchers, gathering evidence. A woman called Hannah More popularised their concerns in tracts and schools. A number where hymn-writers, and John 'amazing grace' Newton was a bit of a guru. There was just the one clergyman among them (but another one travelled from Cambridge to be a spiritual advisor - actually we named our son after that one - Charles Simeon - he is a legend). But most of them were Members of Parliament - about 30 in all. And yes, lets not forget, they were pretty much all deeply committed followers of Jesus...
Under the leadership of William Wilberforce (whom the current Archbishop of Canterbury considers to be the most influential Briton of the last 1000 years) this community decided that slavery was wrong and so for 40 years - yes, 40 years!! - they dedicated themselves to fighting it through parliament ... until it was abolished. Along the way there was the founding of Sierra Leone, the growth of overseas mission, and the transformation of the social landscape of Britain.
Read all about it in Clifford Hill The Wilberforce Connection (Monarch, 2004)
Well ... did you know that 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade? And so here at Carey Baptist College we are beginning to plan a forum in 2007 where we will explore modern slaveries, 21st century slaveries both in NZ and abroad. Where is abolition needed today? From what do people need to be freed?
What do you think? Help me out with the planning!
When you consider modern slaveries - what comes to mind?