Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The UK's Christian heritage- Raines Foundation School

Raines Foundation School

In about 1719 a London brewer Henry Raines established and endowed two schools in the East End of London for the teaching of fifty boys and fifty girls. Children were to be taught the catechism and instructed in the Christian faith. As with many such endeavours this was imperfectly done, with some practices which were not consistent with evangelical Biblical teaching. Nevertheless, the following was thought a worthy charge to give to those who headed the schools: "Come in and learn your duty to God and man". The establishment continues as a voluntary aided Church of England Secondary School for boys and girls in Approach Road, Bethnal Green.

The educational climate in which the school now exists is increasingly hostile to the Christian faith and the curriculum imposed upon it has thoroughly relegated that faith to the margins. The wonderful motto which adorns its entrance seems to be little more than decorative in effect.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Christian roots of the UK -Wandsworth's Coat of Arms

Wandsworth Coat of Arms
The coats of arms of many Boroughs of the United Kingdom give a clue to the Christian Heritage of our nation. Perhaps none is more enigmatic than the tearsdrops on the Coat of Arms of the London Borough of Wandsworth. Each gold square on the shield bears a teardrop representing the tears of the French Huguenots, many of whom settled in Wandsworth in 1685. Among other marks they left are streetnames which are still with us today.

In 1685 Wandsworth became a place of sanctuary for large numbers of Hugenots escaping from persecution in France. This was the year in which the Edict of Nantes was revoked and French Calvinists and other Protestants lost the right to worship according to their conscience as guided by their understanding of the Bible. Over the following decade between 200,000 and 500,000 fled France. Many of those coming to Wandsworth brought considerable weaving skills to the area.

The Christian Roots of the UK - Broadcasting House

BBC Buildings Portland Place

The BBC Buildings in Portland Place were dedicated in 1931. They were the first purpose built broadcasting studios of their sort. We do not know of the faith of its first Director General, Sir John Reith, but we do know that he had been deeply affected by the Christian faith. He was not ashamed to adapt words from the Bible and to have them inscribed over the entrance to the buildings. The BBC has long since rejected the principles put forth by its founders. A look at one day of its broadcasting now will easily demonstrate that it is no longer guided by concepts such as "good seed", "good harvest", "purity"or the passage quoted from Philippians 4:8. Complementing the inscription and just beneath it is a figure of "the sower" of Jesus' parable.
Below is a translation from the Latin of the wonderful words inscribed in marble in the entrance.

"This Temple of the Arts and Muses is dedicated to Almighty God by the first Governors of Broadcasting in the year 1931, Sir John Reith being Director- General. It is their prayer that good seed sown may bring forth a good harvest, that all things hostile to peace or purity may be banished from this house, and that the people, inclining their ear to whatsoever things are beautiful and honest and of good report, may tread the path of wisdom and uprightness."