Archbishop Donald Coggan

Archbishop Coggan died on 17 May at his home in Winchester, aged 91. He concluded a full life of high academic and Church appointments (he was, for example. from 1937-44 Professor of New Testament at Wycliffe College, Toronto) as Archbishop of York from 1961-74, and of Canterbury from 1974-80. He was glad to give his powerful support to the William Tyndale Quincentenary Trust, 1992--94, the forerunner of the Tyndale Society. Most significantly, Lord Coggan gave the Quincentenary Lecture for Gresham College in the City of London it. May 1994, to which the members of the Trust were especially invited. The City Church of St Lawrence Jewry was packed to hear his account of Tyndale and his significance. Happily, the Church Times for 21 July 2000, as part of its double-page spread on Tyndale and the Society, coinciding with the launch of the British Library's publication of Dr W.R. Cooper's transcription of the 1526 NT, printed long extracts from Lord Coggan's fine address on that occasion, under the title The Word of God in Everyday Words.

David Daniell

Archbishop Robert Runcie, Patron of the Society

The whole world was saddened to hear on 11th July, 2000, of the death of Robert Runcie, who had fought with a prostate cancer for some years, and died at 78. The members of the Tyndale Society especially grieved to lose such a concerned Patron. The long obituaries in the media, and special broadcasts, told well the story of his distinctive tenure at Lambeth, 1980-91, marked by courage. Many people across the world have their own stories about Robert Runcie, but l want to write here my own personal, and Tyndalian, memories of him. My family has lived near St Albans since the 1950s, and we were aware of how much he was loved as Bishop of St Albans for the ten years before his appointment to Canterbury. He retired to St Albans in 1991. Lord Runcie was one of the seven signatories to the May 1992 letter to The Times, arranged by Sir Edward Pickering, from which all the Quincentenary celebrations, and the Society, flowed. He gave the sermon at the never-to-be-forgotten commemorative service, 6 October 1994, in St Paul's Cathedral. The Quincentenary Trustees had absolutely no idea how many would come - perhaps a hundred? When I stood at the high lectern to read the Old Testament lesson (Deut.32 from Tyndale) I found myself facing over a thousand people. Lord Runcie spoke memorably about sacrifice, about martyrdom, reminding us that when the news of Tyndale's burning reached the Dean and Chapter of that Cathedral, they rejoiced. Many remember that address. Unique to me is what happened just before. I arrived early, just as the last of the visitors were being ushered out, and stood alone in the nave gazing up in wonder and thanksgiving. A figure came and stood silently beside me for a while, and then spoke: 'David, I have just come from the BBC' - it was Robert Runcie - 'where I have been recording an update of their obituary of the Pope.'

Soon after the founding of the Society, I needed his advice about a matter relating to it, and he gave me time one summer morning before breakfast (he had another meeting over breakfast, 1 recall). His capacity for delight was infectious. My wife Dorothy and 1 recall, at Magdalen College, after a morning eucharist with baptisms which he had movingly conducted, sitting knee-to-knee with him at an informal ham-and-roll lunch. He was splendidly funny in his loving mimicry of people and congregations in China, from which he had just returned: he told us that the King James Bible is extremely popular there, and he wanted to assure us that there was an opening for Tyndale. Nothing to do with Tyndale, but all to do with delight, 1 met him once in London when he was just back from Oxford, where for his old college, Brasenose, he had been umpiring a cricket match, something he loved to do. He was rejoicing that there had been a celebration of the fact that in the hundred years of the college club, there had only been three groundsmen, all from the same family. Very much to do with Tyndale, we asked him to give the 1999 Hertford College Lecture: very reluctantly he declined, but was eager to be Chairman. We were happy that Professor Martin Biddle accepted our invitation, but in the event Lord Runcie had to go to hospital for a check up on that day.

He had been both a soldier (awarded a Military Cross for battlefield valour) and an academic -- a long-remembered Principal of Cuddesdon College, 1960-69 - with Honorary Doctorates from Oxford, Cambridge, and ten other universities across the world. His recreations were listed as 'opera, reading history and novels, owning Berkshire pigs'. He was very pleased to be a Patron of the Tyndale Society, and he brought to us his extraordinarily wide human sympathies. Above all, he understood the significance of William Tyndale as a scholar who wrote for the ploughboy, and his place at the centre of New Testament Christianity at the time of the English Reformation, and above all, today. In spite of all his many activities, right to the end, he was for us a still centre of faith.

I wrote on behalf of us all to Lady Runcie. She tells me that there will be a Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. I feel that many Tyndalians will want to know about this, and we hope that many will be able to attend.

David Daniell

Editor's Note
The Service of Thanksgiving /or the Right Reverend and Right Honorable the Lord Runcie will take place in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, November 8th at 12 noon. If you wish to apply for tickets you should do so soon by writing to the Protocol Office, Room 8, The Chapter Office, 20 Deans Yard, London, SWI P 3PA, enclosing an S.A.E.

W.D. McHardy, Revised English Bible Translator

On 9 April of this year W.D. McHardy, director of the team that produced the Revised English Bible, died in his native town of Cullen. in northeastern Scotland, aged 88. In 1973, the Joint Committee of the Churches, chaired by Donald Coggan, then archbishop of York, called on W.D. McHardy to undertake a thorough revision of the New English Bible.

The Revised English Bible, published in 1989, was a version for the man and the woman in the pew, since a great effort was made by the ecumenical team to eliminate gender-specific language. 'Modern English is not too wellequipped to express gender in inclusive terms,' McHardy commented when the work was completed. Literary advisers included the poet Philip Larkin and novelist Mary Stewart.

The completed work had a number of striking changes, including the substitution of 'a valley of deepest darkness' for the King James' the valley of the shadow of death', which McHardy said was a misreading of the original Hebrew. In the book of Ecclesiastes 'vanity of vanities ... all is vanity' became 'futility, utter futility'. McHardy's comment was 'If a phrase is not true, you can't put it in just because it is nice'.

McHardy retired from Oxford University in 1978 where, from 1960, he was the first layman to hold the post of Regius Professor of Hebrew.

Anglo American Press Gleanings
from Neil Langdon Inglis
Selected and compiled by Joan Wilson

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