Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Clapham Academy

If you look at my blog labels, or follow me in any social media, you will see me mention "Clapham Academy" when I talk about homeschooling. In case you are wondering "What in the world is Clapham Academy?" this post is for you. If you aren't wondering that...I don't blame you!

In the lovely state of North Carolina, you have to register your homeschool academy, basically declaring to the world and the Department for Non Public Education that your children are not truant but you are attempting to school them at home. You fill out a simple form, give your school a name, and agree to a couple of requirements (attendance and yearly standardized tests).

The school name was the hardest thing to determine. If you do not choose a name, you become ______ (Last name) Academy. As terrific as Finn Academy sounds, Nathan and I wanted something else. We discussed names multiple times. Seriously, I think we had a harder time with this name than picking our children's names! British names just seemed to work best for us, so we talked about different British historical figures or places that were significant, particularly to Nathan's interests (Baptists).

Nathan suggested Clapham, we mulled it over briefly and decided that it worked. So Clapham Academy it is! Right now, Clapham is part of London, but it once was an area outside of London where William Wilberforce and his friends resided. They became known as the Clapham Society or the Clapham Sect, and the 'members' of this society are most known for ending slavery in England. 

Nathan recently wrote about the Clapham Society at Canon and Culture. Here is an excerpt from his article: 

The Clapham Sect was a close-knit group of mostly upper class Anglican evangelicals who were active between 1790 and 1830. They were named for the London neighborhood in which most of them lived and worshiped. The best-known member of the Clapham Sect is William Wilberforce (1759–1833), the famous Parliamentary moral reformer who played a key role in bringing about the end of the transatlantic slave trade and, ultimately, slavery itself within the British Empire. Though at the center of the Clapham Sect, Wilberforce was surrounded by other socially conscious laypeople like the banker Henry Thornton (1760–1815), the scholar Granville Sharp (1735–1813) and the writer Hannah More (1745–1835), as well as influential clergy such as John Newton (1725–1807), John Venn (1759–1813) and Charles Simeon (1759–1836). What might be called “Clapham Spirituality” is a model for how contemporary evangelicals can thoughtfully and effectively combine the twin emphases of personal spiritual formation and faith-inspired social activism... 
The Clapham Sect’s commitment to personal spiritual formation helped to fuel the social activism that is commonly associated with Wilberforce and his contemporaries. The Clapham Sect is understandably most famous for its role in ending slavery, but it is important to understand that their anti-slavery motivations were grounded in their faith. Slavery was an abomination because every human being is created in God’s image. Aside from treating fellow humans as property, slavery promoted the worst sorts of vices: physical abuse, rape, separating families, malnourishment, etc. The crusade against slavery was a moral crusade born out of Clapham Spirituality...Clapham Sect members also championed prison reform, education reform, healthcare reform and (in the case of some members) the abolition of capital punishment. 

Read the entire article here. The Finn family is excited to share in the legacy of William Wilberforce and his friends by naming our school after those great reformers. We pray that our children will be great crusaders for the gospel and champions for the needy. 

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