On right now until Friday 9 March is an exhibition in the Thurrock Local History Museum charting the incredible life of Rev John Newton, writer of the world’s most famous and most sung hymn, Amazing Grace.
The exhibition has been researched and collated by Marylynn Rouse of the John Newton Society who exist to promote Newton’s legacy, the story behind Amazing Grace, and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Born in Wapping, John was son of a seafarer. His mother was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and sought to bring him up in the Way. However, she tragically died when John was still quite young. His father remarried a lady from the Parish of Aveley, and John was billeted there for a number of his formative years, living close to the river in Purfleet.
The influence of his natural mother soon waned, and John became a bit of a ‘lad’, getting into all sorts of trouble. As soon as he could, he became a cabin boy on his father’s ship and eventually entered the slave trade. But God had not finished with him – in fact, it was God’s purpose for his life to be convicted by the practices he witnessed and took part in, and upon his return to Christ, John became one of the original voices that spoke up for the cause of the Abolition of Slavery.
The exhibition has been put on as part of the lead up to the unveiling of the Rev. John Newton Thurrock Heritage Plaque at Purfleet Children’s Centre (on the green between Royal Hotel and No.5 Magazine) on Saturday 10 March at 11am by the Mayor of Thurrock. All are invited. (See linked invitation from Jonathan Catton to left of this article – ‘Amazing’ History of Thurrock.)
To find out more about John Newton’s extraordinary and inspirational life, please see the exhibition at the Thurrock Local History Museum which is on the first floor of the Thameside Theatre / Grays Library complex in Orsett Road, Grays.