Henry Martyn Day Celebrated at Westminster College

Just two weeks earlier than his official “slot” in the Anglican Lectionary (19th October), right at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term, here at CCCW in Cambridge, UK, we launched our inaugural Henry Martyn Day celebration with an inspiring seminar, “in conversation” and reception. It seemed so fitting to have Professor Paul Williams, CEO of the British and Foreign Bible Society talking about the distinctive mission of the Bible Society; how the pioneering spirit of the 18th Century is being transformed and actualised in the technologically driven 21st Century. The Bible Society’s brief has always been taking the words of scripture from the page, to the mind, to the heart, to the life transformed! The connection between the search for truth in our postmodern world and the Bible is as relevant as ever even if the ways of doing that have to change.

Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, David Ford (himself a Vice President of the Bible Society Board) then engaged his friend Paul in a wonderfully rich and far-ranging conversation drawing out more themes and ideas.  You can watch it all on our Youtube channel. Link here:

The Collect for 19 October is this:

O God of the nations, who gave to your servant Henry Martyn a longing to share your Gospel with all peoples; Inspire the church in our own day with that said desire, that we may be eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One of the texts for the day is from Isaiah 49:6

“The Lord says, ‘Is it too small a thing for you to be my servant

To restore the tribes of Jacob

And bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,

That you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth’

It was indeed a smashing event and it was wonderful to connect meaningfully with many of our local supporters.  Paul and his wife Sarah (from Oxford) seemed to really appreciate the stimulating fellowship and scholarship of the centre and of those they met. I admit I have a wonderful new appreciation of Henry Martyn and his faith.

Almost 30 people joined us in person and 50 more online and my prayer is that they were as challenged and inspired as I was by all that I heard about “God and All Reality” and that maybe some will follow in Martyn’s footsteps (or encourage others to) in the expansion of the Kingdom of God…?