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Richard Mabon, Dean of Jersey

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the reign of God is at hand; change your mind and believe in the Good News.”       Mark 1: 14 [Jesus beginning his teaching AD 30]

The year is 1515 AD. Richard Mabon, Dean of Jersey, has just returned from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He is very, very enthusiastic.

There is something Christian (now forgotten but possibly a kind of “Jerusalem hospice”) at the prehistoric burial place of a tribal chief at La Hougue Bie. The Dean owns La Hougue Bie and surrounding land. He decides to re-build a chapel atop the mound. It’s still there now.

Salvation at that time was proclaimed and preached as by and large to be purchased, to be earned through what one did. People needed to try to please God by pilgrimage to Jerusalem, by going to church, by giving tithes, by making donations.

Dean Mabon decidedto help Jersey people to earn their way to heaven. There would now be a place of pilgrimage in Jersey....... And a statue in the newly built chapel which automatically thanked folk for their tithes even when no priest was present to receive them.

Let Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens take up the story in their own words. (Extract from Balleine’s History of Jersey 1981 Revision).

“Others, however, like Luther, began to draw from St Paul’s Epistles a new concept of salvation, not as a prize to be worked for, but as a gift to be received. ‘We are saved’, they said, ‘not by pious observances, but by faith alone; not by the love we show, but by the love we trust. Cast yourself in simple faith directly at the feet of Christ. Give up trying to earn salvation and trust Him to save you’.
‘I am under obligation both to the Greeks and the non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.' (St Paul in his Letter to Roman Christians, AD 60)

“This doctrine, which received the name of Justification by Faith, seems to have emerged simultaneously in several different quarters. Jacques Le Fevre, a Frenchman, (1455-1537), taught it in his Commentary five years before Luther.

“It sounded so refreshingly simple that thousands gave it a trial and declared that it worked.

“A new power came into their lives which they were eager to share with others.”

Take a fresh look at the words of Jesus Christ in bold above.
‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith [made righteous by faith] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....' (St Paul in his Letter to Roman Christians, AD 60)

Today 2000 years after Jesus spoke those words the Alpha Course and Christianity Explored are running in Jersey because folk have “changed their minds and believe in the Good News”.

Today 500 years after Jacques Le Fevre wrote his Commentary, “A new power has come into the lives of Jersey folk which they are eager to share with others”.

Richard Syvret also declares: “It works.”
Richard Syvret

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