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Nov 26, 2022

In this episode Jon talks to James Walvin OBE Professor Emeritus in History at York University. James is a world renowned authority on the subject of the transatlantic slave trade and has written extensively on the subject. As a young man John Newton was a sailor and rose to be captain of a ship transporting enslaved Africans to the Caribbean. At one stage he nearly drowned and promised his life to God, despite which he returned to slave trading. We find this hard to understand today. James describes a worldwide economic system which held the slave trade in place for so long. It was protected and supported by the British Government and penetrated every walk of British life.

From July 2022 to July 2023 a small English town called Olney will be at the centre of commemorations marking the 250th anniversary of the writing of 'Amazing Grace' possibly the world's most beloved hymn. The famous words were written by Revd John Newton in the weeks leading up to his New Year's Day service at St Peter & St Paul Church on 1st January 1773. The hymn, in various musical styles, has gone on to inspire countless people and has even become known in America as the nations's 'spiritual anthem.'