Who’s Who ‘B’

Baxter, Richard, Puritan Divine 1615-91.  Largely self-taught he left a post at the court of Charles I to study theology. He was ordained in 1638 by the Bishop of Worcester and served at Bridgnorth. He 1641 he became curate at Kidderminster and sought co-operation between Independents, Presbyterians and Anglicans.  He joined the Parliamentary Army as a chaplain, but was a champion of moderation and opposed The Solemn League and Covenant. He supported the restoration of the monarchy, refused the bishopric of Hereford having doubts about episcopacy and wrote The Saints Everlasting Rest, a devotional classic on heaven and a further 200 works including the Reformed Pastor. He agreed to the accession of Willian and Mary and the Toleration Act. A man of deep devotion, careful pastoral care and preaching, great honesty and of eirenic and ecumenical spirit.

Bede, the Venerable c 673-735 Biblical scholar and ‘Father of English history.’

Sent to monastery at Wearmouth aged under the rule of Benedict Biscop. Ordained c692. Wrote extensively and widely Biblical commentaries on Genesis, Samuel, Kings, Luke, John, Mark, the Epistle etc. He also wrote on calculation of the date of Easter De Temporibus, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum c 731, De Natura Rerum on science and The Life of Cuthbert.  Although a great admirer of the Celtic/Irish Mission to Northumbria, he was loyal to Rome. His shrine is in Durham Cathedral.

Bell, George, Bishop of Chichester 1883-1958 educated Westminster School and Christ Church Oxford He was ordained in 1907, and in 1910 Bell returned to teach Classics at Christ Church, Oxford.  In 1914 he became Chaplain to Archbishop Davidson. From 1919 he was active in the newly founded World Council of Churches, developing links with Sweden and Germany.  Dean of Canterbury from 1925-29. During these years he became a close friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer when Bonhoeffer worked in the German church in London. In 1929 he was made Bishop of Chichester. Bell supported the Confessing Church in Germany who opposed the Nazis. He worked in Geneva from 1932-34 witnessing the Nazi’s rise to power. Bell opposed the civilian bombing of Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden speaking against it in the House of Lords in 1943 and 1944. He was passed over for Archbishop of Canterbury in 1944 as he was opposed by Churchill. He opposed the trial of the German High Command for War Crimes, the nuclear arms race and the expulsion of Germans by the Russians in East Prussia. Sixty years after his death he was accused of Child Abuse but was cleared by the police and in a judicial review of the charges. 

Bloom Anthony Metropolitan Bishop in London of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Author and Teacher on Prayer 1914-2003 Although Bloom was Russian, he spent fifty years ministering in England. Born in Switzerland he spent his first years in Russia until after the Revolution his family moved to Iran and then Paris. He trained as a Doctor and during the war and worked with the French Resistance. He became a Christian as a teenager and in 1948 was ordained. He became Chaplain to the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius which promotes Orthodox /Anglican understanding. In 1950 he was appointed Vicar of the Orthodox Patriarchate church in London, and Bishop in 1957. In 1966 he was made Metropolitan Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Christians in the UK and Ireland. He wrote extensively on prayer, publishing six books between 1966-1986 and had a large following in London and further afield.

Boniface Wynfrith , Saint,  Bishop , Evangelist , Martyr c675-754   born in Crediton Devon and became a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to Frisia from 716. He returned to Frisia with papal authority in 719 and had success in Bavaria and Thuringia and converted many Hessians. After a further visit to Rome, he returned to Germany felling the pagan Oak of Thor at Fritzlar in Hesse. Boniface began a reform of the Frankish church, played a part in founding Fulda Abbey, became Archbishop of Mainz but returned to Frisia in Holland where he met with martyrdom. Feast Day June 5        

 Booth William, Founder of the Salvation Army 1829-1912, from Nottingham and part Jewish he was apprenticed to a pawnbroker in 1842. Professed Christ as a Methodist in 1844. Two years later he became an Evangelistic preacher. In 1855 he married Catherine Mumford, herself a preacher too. In 1861 he left the Methodists because of his desire was to be an Evangelist full time, and not a pastor. In 1865 he founded the East London Mission which developed into the Salvation Army with its military bearing, uniforms and eventually brass bands.  Booth worked among the urban power, embraced teetotalism, provided food for the destitute. although in the early days he faced opposition, by the time of his death he was a “national treasure”. Queen Mary and 40,000 attended his funeral at Olympia. The Salvation Army spread overseas in Booth’s lifetime. Many of his family served in the Army with Bramwell his eldest son (of 8 children) becoming the next General, now they are elected.

Bunyan, John Author and Pastor 1628-1688 born near Bedford, he had experience as a soldier in the Parliamentary Army. He married in 1650s, his wife came from a pious background.  He joined a Non-Conformist Church meeting at S John’s Bedford. In 1661 Bunyan was arrested and tried fur breaking the Act of Uniformity and the Elizabethan Conventicle Act, banning attendance at meetings other than the Parish church. Bunyan was gaoled for 12 years for breaking the Law and refusing to give up preaching to Nin Conformist congregations. His second wife was pregnant and was looking after four step- children, one of whom was blind. In prison he wrote Grace Abounding and began The Pilgrim’s Progress. He was released in 1672 and returned to preaching. After one more short spell in prison he died in 1688 and buried in Bunhill Fields in London. The Pilgrim’s Progress went through 1,300 editions by 1938 and is one of the most popular books in the English Language .     Butler Josephine, Social Reformer1828-1906. The daughter of John Grey and married George Butler, Canon of Winchester. He main focus was fair treatment of prostitutes. She fought for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act, whereby only women were detained in lock-ups for infectious diseases and forced examination of women, known as ‘surgical rape’. She also exposed the trafficking of young girls to the continent for prostitution.  She brought pressure on Parliament to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16. This was successfully passed in 1885. She was supported by William Gladstone in his second ministry from 1880.  Her work was undergirded by continuous prayer inspired by Catherine of Siena, whose biography she wrote in 1878.