Why Wessex? A Delve into History...
With the new Filling Station initiative for Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole being called ‘Wessex Filling Station‘; it has raised the question “Why Wessex?”
Well for several reasons: firstly, we decided to hold the new monthly, mid-week, cross denominational celebration styled event at The Village Hotel Bournemouth (Littledown) opposite Bournemouth Hospital and it so happens that this estate is called ‘Wessex Fields’. And secondly to tie in with a historic legacy!
In a Nutshell:
Even though the Wessex region of old covered a vast area of Southern England; contemporary Wessex is very much seen along the South West Coast. After a bit of digging it became apparent that the ancient kingdom of Wessex had a significant role to play in promoting Christianity in England.
In ancient times this Island we now call England was a collection of smaller kingdoms each with its own king. Wessex was no exception and was in reality the “kingdom of the West Saxons” an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Britain from around 519 until England was unified by Æthelstan in the early 10th century. However, when the country was invaded by the Danes (860 onward) and the Viking warriors began to subdue kingdom after kingdoms it was the kingdom of Wessex that stood alone against them and halted their tyranny.
During the reign of Alfred the Great (849–899) who had a reputation as a learned and merciful man, he encouraged the people of the kingdom of Wessex to draw close to God and call upon Him to give them victory over their Viking enemy. Alfred, a Christian king, eventually led his armies to victory over the Vikings at the battle of Edington. When Guthrum, the Viking king surrendered, King Alfred issued certain terms of surrender; one of them being that Guthrum and his men convert to Christianity. So it was that three weeks later the Danish king and 29 of his chief men bowed the knee, converted to Christianity and were baptised at Alfred’s court at Aller, near Athelney, with Alfred as their sponsor. It is said he received Guthrum (christened on baptism with the name: Æthelstan) as his spiritual son. Even though there were further Danish skirmishes in the years to come these were all quashed and eventually in 1066 all kingdoms were brought into the United Kingdom of England.
Wessex had had a significant historic role in unifying the nation both spiritually and physically. A fact that was reinforced recently during the 2016 UK Korean Prayer Mission when the teams who had been staying within the New Forest visited Winchester Cathedral where the story of King Alfred the Great and his ultimate victory over the Viking invaders was retold under the shadow of the statue dedicated to his memory.
Well, we want to stand on the firm foundations of our Christian heritage and see our country once again won for Christ. We want to see the powers of darkness pushed back and England once again experiencing Christian Revival. Our desire is to ‘Encourage, Empower and Enhance’ people’s personal walk with God and to reinvigorate their passion for personal and national spiritual renewal. Through music and song, through praise and worship, through the teaching of the Word of God from gifted orators; our intention is to give the areas of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole another regular opportunity to come together to celebrate unity and faith in Christ.
Why not come along and see what all the fuss is about.