Outlook Issue 18 Winter 2014
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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From the Rector
John  Clarkson  (1764-­‐1828)  is  buried  in  our   churchyard.  The  younger  brother  of  Thomas   Clarkson,  who  is  buried  in  Playford,  John   joined  the  British  Navy  at  the  age  of  12  in   1776.  By  1783  he  had  reached  the  rank  of   Lieutenant.  In  1785  the  black  poor  of  East   London  had  become  noticeable,  with  large   numbers  living  on  the  streets.  John,  with  his   brother  Thomas  and  other  abolitionists,  was   instrumental  in  persuading  Parliament  in  1807  and  1833  to  abolish  slavery   in  the  colonies  and  here.  He  was  later  appointed  Governor  of  Sierra  Leone,   where  black  slaves  were  being  resettled.  In  the  course  of  time,  he  came  to   work  in  a  bank  as  a  partner  in  Woodbridge,  and  it  was  here  that  he   subsequently  died.     John,  a  clergyman’s  son  and  later  closely  associated  with  the  Quakers,  was   greatly  driven  by  his  Christian  beliefs.  His  resting  place,  to  the  north-­‐west  of   the  tower,  has  been  restored  by  his  descendants  to  commemorate  his  service   to  our  country  and  society.  Of  course,  his  life  is  rather  eclipsed  by  that  of   Thomas:  that  is  a  pity.  John’s  presence  in  our  midst  is  a  reminder  to  all  of  us   who  use  the  church,  walk  around  the  churchyard,  or  just  sit  to  absorb  the   peace  and  tranquillity,  that  no  church  building  honours  the  living  or  the  dead,   those  with  faith  or  those  with  none,  unless  it  represents  some  kind  of  focus   for  an  understanding  that  the  human  condition  has  a  value  which  needs  to  be   protected,  nurtured  and  cared  for.       Christian  people  believe  they  journey  towards  a  better  understanding  of  the   significance  of  the  human  condition  by  engaging  with  it  through  a  conviction   that  at  the  heart  of  all  is  a  loving  and  life-­‐enhancing  energy  which,  for  the   sake  of  a  word,  they  call  God.  For  all  of  us  who  travel  this  way,  the  God  we   believe  exists,  and  in  whom  we  put  our  trust,  can  only  be  properly   understood  when  expressed  through  a  total  commitment  to  other  people,   regardless  of  the  cost,  in  money,  in  time,  in  energy,  and  indeed  in  image  and   reputation.       The  world  and  society  are  transformed  when  men  and  women  put  in  their  all   for  the  sake  of  human  dignity,  respect  for  another  life  –  and  the  enhancement   of  the  freedom  just  to  be  and  to  love  and  to  live.       John  Clarkson  is  a  hero  for  our  community.  We,  like  him,  just  need  to  …     Get  on  with  it!     With very best wishes Kevan