Who’s Who ‘R’

Ramsey Michael, Archbishop of Canterbury 1904-1988 born in Cambridge. His father was a Congregationalist mathematician – President of Magdalene Cambridge- and his mother a socialist and suffragette. His older brother, Frank was a prodigy, friend of Wittgenstein but died aged 27.  He was a member of the Liberal party and President of the Cambridge Union, Trained at Cuddesdon getting a First in Theology. Ordained in Liverpool Diocese. Taught at Lincoln Theological College and in 1936 published his The Gospel and the Catholic Church – an important book joining soteriology and ecclesiology. He held to Anglican theology of scripture, tradition and reason but appreciated the sense of “mystery” expressed in the Orthodox church, see his book Transfiguration 1949.  He engaged with Roman Catholicism and the Ecumenical Movement. He appreciated the emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic Movement.  A shy man not at home with the establishment or the Royal Family, he was at heart a liberal Catholic with a profound understanding of the faith. He sought to decriminalise homosexuality, criticised apartheid South Africa and the Smith Regime in Rhodesia and America’s policy in Vietnam. He welcomed immigration of Kenyan Asians and the Race Relations Bill.  Probably the greatest of the post war Archbishops.

Robinson John, Bishop of Woolwich, Theologian and Author 1919-1983 Educated at Marlborough College, Jesus College and Trinity College Cambridge. He was ordained in 1945 and was a curate in Moorfields Bristol. In 1951 he was appointed Dean of Clare College, Cambridge and lecturer in Divinity. In 1959 He was appointed Bishop of Woolwich by Mervyn Stockwood, Bishop pf Southwark. In 1960 Robinson took the stand for the defence in the obscenity trial against Penguin Books for publishing Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In 1963 Robinson published Honest to God. In essence it was a Liberal attempt to make God more believable to modern people by making him more human. In this way God was no longer so transcendent but more immanent –“the ground our being”. It explained the miraculous in Jesus’ life as the product of the early church. It had a universalist idea of salvation, believing with Origen that everything will be reconciled in the end to God. It questioned the divinity of Christ. The effect of the publication was both a storm of controversy but also provoked a much greater modern interest in Christianity. The themes would be taken up Don Cupitt and John Hick in the following years. Robinson returned to Cambridge in 1969. As a New Testament scholar, he argued for the earlier dating of the Gospels, suggesting an earlier John and the Synoptics being written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.                 

 Rolle Richard, of Hampole: Hermit and mystic c1300-1349 Studied at Oxford. Became a hermit near Pickering aged eighteen. Rolle wrote of his own mystical experiences using words like “heat”, “sweetness” and “song”. His work the Fire of Love: Incendium Amoris is probably his best-known work. He translated the Psalms and other works into English. Some of his works were used by the Lollards.Ryder, Sue Baroness Sue Ryder of Warsaw CMG OBE 1924-2000 Educated at Benenden School, Ryder trained as a FANY during the war and worked with the SOE. Following the war, she did relief work in Poland. In 1953 she started the Sue Ryder Foundation and overtime started 80 homes for survivors and the disabled. In 1959 she married Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC DSO and two bars DFC, the fighter pilot and observer of the atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki. Cheshire began the Cheshire home foundation. Both were Roman Catholics with a firm faith.  On their memorial plaque in Cavendish Suffolk there is the following prayer, “Thou has called us O Lord and we have found thee in the poor, the unwanted and the suffering. And there we will serve thee unto death “. A park in Warsaw is named after Sue Ryder.