I had the wonderful opportunity to visit several British-Israel groups in a number of cities throughout England, meeting many wonderful Christian people, on a three-week lecture visit this past October. Such a trip proved to be both inspirational and educational, and a brief overview may be encouraging to our readers as well.
The first stop was the new B.I.W.F. headquarters in Low-Etherly, a pretty town in northeastern England. This beautiful newly-acquired building was originally built in the 1860’s as a literary institute for the many men who worked the nearby coal mines in bygone days. The main hall has now been transformed into a library for their own large collection of B.I. books spanning many decades. David Aimer, who is their secretary and now lives at the headquarters, relayed to me his enthusiasm for outreach and many excellent ideas for expanding our message. In-house book publishing is on the agenda in the immediate future, and efforts to reach a younger generation of Britons are underway with a special lecture-day on the subject of “Britain and the Bible” which was to be held in November in the city of Leeds. The B.I.W.F. has also launched a beautiful, glossy quarterly magazine, “Covenant Nations,” whose first issue has just been published in November, 2007.
The following weekend was the B.I.W.F. Congress, held this year at the Gilsland Spa Hotel in northeastern England, near Carlyle, about eight miles from the Scottish border. The Congress had good attendance, with attendees in excellent spirits for a time of fine worship and fellowship. A more beautiful location cannot be imagined. Sir Walter Scott frequented an earlier inn here in the late 18th century and proposed to his wife at a large “poppin stone” along the riverside. Nearby is the famous “Hadrian’s Wall,” built by the Romans around 135 A.D. to quell tribal incursions and plundering in the region. It is accessible to the public and a brisk walk along the ancient wall in the warm, sunny fall weather was a highlight.
Next was a train ride to the southeastern coast and the town of Gravesend for a home group B.I. meeting of the local believers. As always, the attendees were happy for the opportunity to gather together around the Word of God. Everywhere one goes, England is laden with history, and Gravesend is no exception. Nearby on the grounds of the downtown church are buried the remains of the famous Indian maiden, Pocahontas, of early American loreAnother trip by train brought me to the southwestern area of Somerset, where a meeting was arranged at a United Reformed Church in Yeovil. Again the audience was in good spirits and excited to hear the Word of God proclaimed in their midst. This meeting was sponsored by the Bible Truth Fellowship, whose secretary, Paul Boyd-Lee, gave me an enjoyable motor tour of the Somerset region. Included was a stop to admire the view of Glastonbury Tor from a distant height which gave a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding area. We also visited the site of the ancient Priddy Mine near the town of the same name, where an ancient legend there states, “as sure as our Lord was at Priddy.”
After three enjoyable days spent in the Cambridge area with host Dr. Michael Bennett, the president of the Bible Truth Fellowship, and his wife Anita, it was off to London for the Thanksgiving Conference at the historic Orange Street Congregational Church. Here another audience eager to hear God’s Word gave a warm and attentive greeting, with a dinner and good time of fellowship afterward. This organization publishes an excellent bi-monthly Bible-based magazine, “Bible Truth,” which is well worth reading.
On Sunday, the home congregation at Orange Street was in attendance, bright and eager, for the regular weekly worship and fellowship. Leaders of Orange Street Congregational Church also spearhead a B.I. journal, “The Ensign Message,” a bi-monthly magazine published by the Ensign Trust, which is also distributed world-wide.
Next was a train ride south to the coastal city of Brighton to visit Reverend Tony Martlew’s fellowship, which publishes yet another worthy magazine, “The Lantern,” filled with interesting and informative articles in its 32 pages. Also attending was Reverend Kenneth Whittaker, who leads his own organization, The Covenant People’s Fellowship, and publishes a colorful and artfully arranged quarterly magazine, “Covenant Voice,” filled with informative articles of interest to B.I. believers.
Another highlight of the trip was an enjoyable tour of the Brighton area and visit to both the home and gravesite of John Wilson, a founder of the British-Israel movement in the mid-19th century. The Canadian British-Israel Association is planning to publish a full-length book before the end of next year as a tribute to this man and his trail-blazing research and writing. Included will be an account of his life with pictures, and selections from nearly all of his many books and journals. More news on this important book will be available in the coming year on the CBIA website at www.israelite.ca where links to the organizations and their magazines mentioned in this article may also be found.
A return to London and three days of fruitful research in the famed British Library rounded out an enjoyable and truly eventful trip.
Lastly, I wish to give my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the wonderful hosts who gave their time and effort to make this lecture-tour a success, and pray that the messages delivered were both helpful and encouraging to all of those who attended.