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  • The Military Significance of the date of Easter?

    A friend of mine who works in the defence industry rang me in my capacity as 'tame vicar' to see if I knew the date of Easter for 2006 - so I looked in my good old fashioned paper diary.  Having provided this piece of information he asked if I had the date for 2007.  Being the boring organised soul I am, I have already got a 'next year' diary so I could supply this too.  When I asked why he wanted this information he explained that a colleague was developing a work programme that ran past these dates.  After a little scrabbling on my cluttered desk, I found my ASB (good Baptist that I am, I'll nick anything useful from other traditions) and supplied dates up to 2025.  I was amused that a work programme in the defence industry depended on the vagaries of a religious festival.

    I decided to have a look on the web to see what resources there were for this.  Typing 'date of Easter' into Google brought up the website of the US naval observatory where it is, seemingling, a frequently asked question!  They also provide an algorithm to calculate it, though beware after about the year 4000 it'll break down!  Try looking at aa.usno.navy/faq/docs/easter.html or aa.usno.navy/data/docs/easter.html  Hmm, intriguing.  So why is it significant to the US navy?

    For a more overtly Christian site, the diocese of Ely also has a calculator which allows you to choose Julian or Gregorian calendars and to travel backwards or forwards in time.  Have fun!!

  • Unto the third and fourth generations...?

    Yesterday I was reading a history of the New Connexion General Baptists which explored the emergence, growth and decline of this movement prior to the union with the Particular Baptists.

    Within the discussion, the author noted the difficulty of retaining subsequent generations within the movement and it got me wondering how many direct descendents of those Baptist 'giants' Spurgeon, Clifford, Taylor, Carey, Fuller, etc. (or even non-Baptist ones such as Wesley, Doddridge, Whitefield, etc.) are still actively involved in Christian churches.  I'm sure someone out there must have a clue.

    Oh, and by the way I am a first generation Baptist!  If the theories are right, it is probably the "first generation" believers who keep the church alive as subsequent generations tend not to 'become' or 'remain' Christians.  Maybe this says something about our children's work and our attitude to mission?