Recent Tyndale Wanderings

Rowland Whitehead

Feeling rather like a mediaeval minstrel I wandered in the early months of this year giving talks on Tyndale – one hopes entertaining as I went. First, on 31st January, I returned to the North London Collegiate School for girls to give a second lecture to the sixth form. The school is consistently top in A level results putting Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton and Winchester to shame. Bright lot. Actually I am an ‘Old Boy’ but that’s another story … The previous talk had covered Language and Translation. This time it was William Tyndale straight from the shoulder. In fact the school’s pupils comprise 30% Asians, 20% Jewish and the rest the usual agnostic bunch of C of E’s. A nice task and they asked really good questions. The Tyndale OT and NT, with our society’s dedication, are already in their excellent and comprehensive library.

Next, on 3rd February, I was in the pulpit of St Michael’s Cornhill in the City of London. This is a very beautiful church which manages a Sunday service and an enthusiastic congregation comes up from Kent and outlying places to worship. Rev. Peter Mullen is well known for his views on preserving the Book of Common Prayer and the KJB, so I was on a secure foundation. A fifteen-minute, at the most, sermon is hardly time to expand on Tyndale and there are no visual aids to prop the text but the congregation responded with interesting comments over coffee afterwards.

The 27th February saw me in Guernsey where I lectured at the Christian Centre of St Peter Port to about 70 people who belong or are associated with it. Rather oldish lot I thought, my sort of age, but they asked excellent questions. The director of the Centre is a Catholic and I think that the bias of activity and interest takes its cue from Rome. We are knocking at the Trans Alpine doors!

On 25th April, I gave an hour-long lecture to the Prayer Book Society of Winchester at Odiham church hall in Hampshire. This was an audience of about 50 ‘worthies’ all of whom seemed to ‘take it in’ quite well. The talk expanded my thoughts on the theory of translation and the contribution of William Tyndale. It is quite difficult, one must say, to prepare a lecture when one has no idea of the background of the listeners. Slides depicting ‘homonyms’ and ‘onomatopoeia’ with Tyndale’s wonderful Gloucestershire slang expressions (it was mizzling out over the hillside, at the time) seemed to go down well and the questions ran into overtime.

That is my Tyndale work so far. On a final and happy note His Grace George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, asked me to contact him when the new archbishop is elected so that our Society can present the Tyndale story to him. The doors of Lambeth are always open to us.

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