Amazing opportunity to step back in time to Newton’s Olney

MORE than 1,000 school pupils from Milton Keynes, Olney and Bedford happily abandoned their classrooms for a fun-filled day in Olney.

They were taking part in Lifepath Newton, an opportunity to explore Christianity through a first-hand encounter with the church in which John Newton, slave-trader turned Christian, served when he wrote the words of the much-loved hymn Amazing Grace. About 300 pupils each day swarmed into St Peter and Paul’s Church, the Glebe, the Bell Tower, the Baptist Church, the URC, the Cooper/Newton Museum and the museum garden. Pupils spent their time in groups of about 20, each with an adult guide, taking part in workshops, singing, and getting the chance to address their friends from the Newton pulpit.

Lifepath began in 2003 based on an idea from Piers Lane, a Scripture Union evangelist, and has been held in Durham Cathedral, Jervauix Abbey, Scrooby, Wimborne Minster, Southend, Great Malvern, Elstow and Olney. Lifepath Newton is organised by Scripture Union, Bridgebuilder Trust (Milton Keynes), the Bedford Schools Trust and the churches of Olney. The Rev Janet Lawrence, who has been helping to look after St Peter and St Paul during its interregnum, was a member of the core planning team for this year’s Lifepath – Newton.