This special day of lectures, hosted by The Open University, will explore how the hymn Amazing Grace originated, its legacy and why it has proved so enduring. As we get more information on the lecturers, break-out sessions and booking, these will feature here.
A day to explore the origins, legacy and enduring popularity of ‘Amazing Grace.' You will be warmly welcomed into the Church of St Peter & St Paul - so central to the story of John Newton, where he is commemorated in stained glass. More lecture details and booking information will follow.
Join the 'Amazing Grace morning service' in John Newton's own church. It was here he held his morning service- the sermon for which the hymn 'Amazing Grace' was written. A unique experience marking the formal start of the 2023 anniversary year.
In 2023, Olney will be at the centre of celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of one of the world’s most beloved hymns, ‘Amazing Grace’. John Newton, the former-slave-trader-turned-Anglican-priest, composed it in the weeks leading up to his New Year’s Day service at St Peter and St Paul Church in the town, on 1 st January 1773.
Since then the hymn has been featured in various different musical styles, but without doubt has gone on to inspire countless people. In the U.S, it has even become known as the nation’s “spiritual anthem.”
Preparations are already well underway to mark the anniversary, with a number of events throughout 2023. On the 1 st January, we had the honour of launching the official online calendar to begin raising awareness. It is hoped this will inspire people in and around Olney to think about organising their own events, which they can now add themselves to the site.
Cowper and Newton museum trustee, Amanda Molcher, says “’Amazing Grace’ is a hymn that means so many things to so many different people, and so we didn’t want to mark its 250th anniversary with just one big official event,” adding “In the coming months, we’ll be looking to fill the calendar with more and more events to celebrate this incredibly important song, and we’d love to hear from local groups and individuals who would like to join in by organising their own events and celebrations.”
The calendar above already lists events, but other plans include the setting up of an Amazing Grace Community Quilt Project which will lead to the creation of a large quilt dedicated to the hymn that will then tour venues around Olney and beyond. The Olney Allotment Association will use the celebrations to establish a new community orchard, while the Cowper and Newton Museum has begun work on a ‘Sharing Heritage’ project, that will tell the stories of the people and places of Olney through new information boards and heritage trails.
If you have an idea for Amazing Grace 250, or would like to offer support for the anniversary preparations, please email the event team at firstname.lastname@example.org – or alternatively register on this site and add your event details yourself.