How’s Your 9/11 Alibi Doing, Serco’s Chris Hyman? – Nicky Gumbel’s Alpha Course – Ken Costa, Chairman of Alpha International – Crypto-Jews, the Church of England, and 9/11 – Do You Know Your Who?


The MT Interview: Chris Hyman

Published: 01 Dec 2007

In 1994, he [Hyman] was head-hunted by Serco to be its European finance director, although, as he puts it: ‘I found Serco – the company fitted everything I was looking for.’ When he joined, annual turnover was £238m. In 2006, it was £2.5bn.

On 11 September 2001, he was in the World Trade Center. He was on the 47th floor when the plane hit, talking to Serco shareholders. They got out – but not the people in his previous meeting. He does not like talking about that terrible day. ‘It confirmed my faith. It renewed my zest for getting the balance right and made me realise that time is not always your own. It made me think about my family and my health more – and about putting the balance back. You know, it’s not a bad thing, to step back sometimes.’

At Serco, he worked closely with Richard White, the previous executive chairman, then his successor, Kevin Beeston. Since September 2007, Beeston has moved to become non-executive chairman, leaving Hyman as CEO.

It’s a role he clearly loves. He talks about Serco with almost evangelical zeal. It is, let’s face it, a firm that most of us have never heard of, doing work in the decidedly unfashionable area of public-sector outsourcing.

He shakes his head. ‘It used to be called outsourcing but we’ve moved on so much. Now we talk a new language, about partnerships, of making things better, of delivery.’ | March 14, 2013


Date: Mon. May 13, 2013
Speaker: Chris Hyman

Chris Hyman | Leadership Conference 2013 | Main Session

Nicky Gumbel interviews Chris Hyman, Chief Executive of Serco Group plc, at the 2013 Leadership Conference.

View video:


NICKY GUMBEL: Could you give a very warm welcome, to Chris Hyman. [audience applause]

Chris, welcome, thank you so much for coming; it’s wonderful… to have you with us.

Chris, um, I know you don’t talk about this very often, but, on September… 9/11, you were in the World Trade Center, and you were on the 47th… floor of that building.


GUMBEL: Just tell us about that.

HYMAN: Well, um, thank you, it’s a… it’s a, pleasure and a privilege to be here and, um… um… I guess we all probably know, like other, um, similar events in the world, where we were and what we were doing. Um… unfortunately for me, I was there. Um, I, as you’ve rightly said, I, um, I run a listed company that’s listed here – we’re a, a business that’s in… many countries around the world – but, twice a year, part of my role as the chief executive is, um, uh, and then I was, uh, I was the finance director of the group. And the finance director and the chief executive go to see, um, the shareholders. And the shareholders are generally institutional shareholders, ah, which are large funds based in, sort of… from, you know, ‘cross the world: from Sydney, you know, uh, Tokyo, Milan, London, New York, Boston, uh, San Francisco. Um, and we were due to… to do that, that whole week. And I remember that, um, that morning – in fact, every time I see a clear blue morning to this day, with, uh, without a cloud in the sky, it, uh, takes me back to that morning as we travelled… to, um, that part of New York where the, where the World Trade Center was.

It, it was, an incredible day, um, for the world, I guess, but, personally for me, my experience was, um, how God became even more real to me, in my life. Uh, I always considered myself to be… someone who wanted to be close to God and took my Christianity very seriously, um. But it, it checked me in many ways, um. And I’m very grateful to God, and, um…

GUMBEL: Ijji, just, vuddi* – you’re on the 47th floor of this building.

HYMAN: Yeah. Yeah.

GUMBEL: What, where, where did the plane, what floor did the planes hit?

HYMAN: Um, the, um, I’d just been into the, uh, the North Tower where it, um, where it hit first… the night before; and there’s a story there in how God worked an amazing way. There’s, there are two buildings that, uh, were, they’re, they’re attached and they, uh, the, um… uh, uh, I was on the 47th floor of, of the, uh, of Building 7. And it hit, on the, on the North Tower, which is just above us. And you know, as you know, all of those buildings came… down… in… well, minutes, it was. And…

GUMBEL: Didn’t somebody tell you to go down to the basement, and you said, “I’m not going down there”?

HYMAN: When we – yes, when we got down, um… I, I wouldn’t, I’ll never know because I guess we, it’s not there anymore, but, when we got down, there was an underground basement for the whole of the World Trade Center, which was, um… I guess a, a bunker, in case something like that happened, because seven years prior, of course, there was, there was a bomb at, uh, I think it was the Metal Exchange. And so when we got down, um… I don’t know what fire and brimstone would look like, but, um…. It’s a very high atrium in those buildings, but we looked down, and, I could just see people giving up. And that’s the one thing I remember. The buildings hadn’t fallen then; the second plane hit, as we, as we exited the building, above us, and there must have been a few hundred metres of just fire in the sky, when we came out. But as we got down, people were, literally, throwing us out of, out of lifts, um, and trying to usher us in, to what, um, was a doorway to, they said, the underground safety, ’cause they said that was a completely… um… bombproof… um… I guess, in a phrase. And, I, I don’t know what it was, but, um, I refused to go in there. And the colleague I was with said to me, “These people know what they’re doing; we need to look out there.” ‘Cause outside you could just see concrete smashing vehicles, and bodies… uh, landing from people that were giving up, uh, jumping out.

And, uh, I refused to go there. And, um, I said, “I’m, I want to go outside where I could see.” And we had to, uh, we had to kick down a door… um, I got four people out through the gap that we’d made, with me, and, um… as well as a colleague, and then we, we ran from there, which was, uh, a long time.

GUMBEL: When you say you ran, you ran pretty f[ast]; you, you run the 100 metres in – eh, you ran the 100 metres in 10.8, didn’t you, at one stage?

HYMAN: Very long time ago. [laughs] I might have, huh, I might have been faster that day if it was timed, I suspect. But, uh, I wasn’t focused on that, um, on that day, but we – yes, we ran for a long time, um, and I remember, just almost in constant intercession, just praying, and asking God to take control. We couldn’t see a lot, because the cloud formed very quickly, the dust cloud. And, um, I know we see it on TV, but, you had to be there to have the, uh, the utmost respect for the men and women of the rescue services. We were running away, f-, from a disaster, in the cloud where we couldn’t see. These folk were going the other way, past us, into the cloud, to meet whatever they could meet, to save other people, so, uh, it was an extraordinary day.

[* Here, Gumbel is: speaking in tongues? giving Hyman a hypnotic cue? stuttering?]


On 11 September 2001, he was in the World Trade Center. He was on the 47th floor when the plane hit, talking to Serco shareholders. They got out – but not the people in his previous meeting. –Chris Hyman, MT Interview, Dec. 1, 2007

“I was on the 47th floor of Building 7” –Chris Hyman, 2013 Leadership Conference [Are you sure it was Building 7, C.H.?]


Elvis Costello: “Alibi” (2002)


Chris Hyman

• Extensive sector experience in running businesses in Defence, Transport, Government outsourcing, Education, Healthcare and Science.
• Previously the Group CEO of Serco, a FTSE 100 business, with £5bn annual turnover in 40 countries and 130,000 staff.
• Experience of bidding for and buying loss making/underperforming businesses and with excellent track-record of returning investee companies to long term profitability.
• Awarded CBE by the Queen in 2010.
• Chartered Accountant, trained and qualified with Arthur Andersen.
• Ambassador for the Prince of Wales and chaired his charity IKD. Now on international Board.
• Durban Howard College and Harvard Business School.


The HTB Show: All About the Bling

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Each year, Holy Trinity Brompton – or “HTB” – holds a high octane, big numbers show at the Royal Albert Hall. This year, three senior banking executives and a nuclear weapons manufacturer show that whatever the Alpha Gospel is about, it’s definitely about the bling.

Already this year, we’ve heard from the new Archbishop of Canterbury and his commitment to peace and reconciliation among Christians, and the line-up for the second day is no less dizzying: the chief executive at Serco and Brian Griffiths, the executive director at Goldman Sachs, are both invited to speak, as is Benjamin Grizzle, Goldman Sachs’ Executive Director.

Ken Costa, investment banker and Alpha’s biggest funder, who wrote of the Occupy LSX camp as “naïve” and of “little consequence” before being appointed by St Paul’s Cathedral to listen respectfully to them (you couldn’t make this stuff up!), will – as ever – be part of the conference this year.

Last year, the big treat was Tony Blair. Tony Blair is known internationally as someone who led this country into war on a false premise after misleading many from both parliament and the nation into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Many Christians consider him to be guilty of war crimes. He now spends a great deal of time making money from his neo-liberal solutions to conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. HTB didn’t listen to concerns about their ‘big name’ in 2012 and they’re not listening today.

Along with Lockheed Martin, Serco manage a nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston, which Christians from all traditions have been protesting, lamenting, and blockading for six decades. Nuclear weapons are designed to deliberately target civilian populations, illegal under international law and immoral by almost any standard. Yet here is HTB celebrating the man who oversees their production and maintenance as a ‘Christian leader’.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, have been one of the most fraudulent of banks in the world and were pivotal to the banking crisis. To date, their leadership have shown little remorse or sign of a change in culture.

I wonder if Brian Griffiths will get the same robust Christian witness meted out to HSBC’s Stuart Gulliver in February when Archbishop Justin Welby said, ‘It seems to me that you are putting huge effort into a values-based organisation and yet at the end of the day, particularly for your most senior staff who are most important as regards setting values and culture, you seem to be saying the only way you can motivate them to any significant extent is with cash’?

Probably not.

Well done to the folks of Christian CND who stood outside in the rain yesterday, banner in hand, to engage Alphanes in conversation about SERCO. Thank you!


Alpha: The slickest, richest, fastest-growing division of the Church of England

Meet the Church of England’s most dynamic – and controversial – proselytisers

Matthew Bell | 30 November 2013

When the announcement was made that Justin Welby, a disciple of the Alpha course, was to become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, his Alpha brethren did not punch the air in triumph. Not publicly, in any case. Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton and the man who turned Alpha into a global phenomenon, made a point of keeping a low profile, travelling abroad on various missions. When I interviewed him earlier this year, he played down HTB’s role in Welby’s ascension, saying, ‘I think we have to believe it is the providence of God.’

But for all His mysteries, it can hardly be ascribed to coincidence that the head of the Church of England has come from the slickest, richest, and fastest-growing division the church has ever seen. The Alpha course is only nanoseconds old within the C of E’s 1,500-year history. It was founded in 1977 by Charles Marnham, and grew under Gumbel during the 1980s. Around 1.2 million people have now taken an Alpha course in the UK, and a further 23 million people worldwide, in 169 countries. Its nucleus is still Holy Trinity Brompton, or HTB, a Victorian church tucked behind the Catholic behemoth of the Brompton Oratory, across the road from Harrods.

If, 30 years ago, you had predicted that the Archbishop of Canterbury would one day be HTB positive (as it is known), the scoffing would have been heard in Rome. But today, Welby’s ascension is endorsed by almost every side. Stephen Glover and Charles Moore hail him as the man who can bring unity to the church, while Andrew Brown of The Guardian has applauded his attempts to address homophobia. So how did the HTB evangelists, once viewed as guitar-wielding weirdos, manoeuvre themselves into a position of such power?

For one thing, they don’t call themselves evangelists. The term has connotations of, at best, a goofy Ned Flanders naivety, and, at worst, a brainwashing cult that expects 50 per cent of your salary in the collection bowl. But evangelising is what they do. ‘The Alpha course is for people who don’t go to church,’ explains Mark Elsdon-Dew, a former Express news editor who runs the PR operation. ‘But it’s not a church. It’s a publishing company. It’s a resource for churches to use, to introduce people to Christianity.’

Gumbel has more staff than the Archbishop of Canterbury, and has been far more influential than Welby for years, but he insists he has never converted anyone to Christianity – ‘that’s the work of the Holy Spirit’. He also bristles at the term evangelical. ‘I hate the word,’ he says. ‘If you torture me, I’m Anglican. It’s not helpful. We label people in order to dismiss them.’

Gumbel and Welby were at Eton together, and then Trinity College, Cambridge. (Strangely, Charles Moore was another contemporary, though of course he took a different spiritual path.) Their rooms abutted, and though initially they embarked on different careers – Gumbel the law, Welby to become an oil executive – they remained close friends. Since Welby’s enthronement, a clear nexus has opened up between the Archbishop’s office and HTB. Welby was the star speaker at HTB’s sell-out ‘leaders conference’ at the Royal Albert Hall in May, where more than 5,000 delegates paid £120 to watch him being interviewed by Gumbel. Mark Elsdon-Dew had by then already begun a three-month secondment from HTB to Lambeth Palace, where he conducted a thorough review of the PR operation there. And in June, Dr. Chris Russell was appointed Welby’s adviser on mission and evangelism. He was previously on the staff of the hugely influential and thriving evangelical church Soul Survivor in Watford.

As Rowan Williams learnt to his cost, getting the PR right is nine-tenths of the challenge. And PR happens to be something Alpha does very well. Their schtick is to be non-threatening, accessible, and open. They use clever and well-targeted non-religious marketing to bring in rich and influential people. Typical strategies include posters on buses asking tired commuters if there is something missing in their lives. The first meetings are always friendly and social: a chat and supper, nothing ritualistic. That comes later. And for many, Alpha works: it brings them a new purpose and plugs them into a social scene of like-minded people that happens to involve prayer.

But according to Alpha’s critics, there is a hidden and not so wholesome agenda to all this. ‘Nothing short of outright victory is what most evangelicals want,’ says the Revd. Richard Kirker. ‘The Alpha movement is no different. It exerts its influence by being well-organised and well-funded, and so sure of its own dogma, and so persistent, that it eventually wears down its opponents into passive submission, or drives them away from the church.’

Kirker is the former chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, an issue on which HTB and Welby take a conservative line. According to HTB, the act of gay sex is a sin, and therefore homosexuals must remain celibate. It has become a thorny issue, and within weeks of assuming office, Welby held talks with the equality campaigner Peter Tatchell. The fact that homosexuals have yet to be accorded equal rights may be an example of the influence Alpha can exert within the wider church.

‘George Carey vigorously sought to marginalise gay people when he was Archbishop,’ says Kirker. ‘When Rowan Williams came in, we all thought he would relax Carey’s polices. He had a track record of disagreeing with him on theological issues, and had called for a change on the church’s teaching. But once he was in, he was nobbled and pressurised by the evangelicals, of which Alphas were a main constituent, and bowed to all the threats that flooded in.’

Perhaps the most startling aspect of HTB is the practice of speaking in tongues. This is when congregants lose control of their voices, apparently overcome by the holy spirit. You only have to watch YouTube clips of the Toronto blessing to get an idea of how disturbing this is. That was the bizarre episode in January 1994 when the entire congregation of a church in Toronto went into a state of mass hysteria; they can be seen crawling around on all fours and howling like animals. Many considered this a cruel con trick played on impressionable people. Gumbel flew straight out to see it and hailed it as a ‘wonderful, wonderful thing’.

Back in England, he started a quiet but constant programme of expansion. He pioneered the practice of ‘church planting’ – in which a small congregation targets a failing church and turns it round. A typical example is St. Peter’s in Brighton, which was semi-derelict five years ago. It now has a congregation of 700, under HTB’s former associate vicar Archie Coates.

If the Alphas are well-organised and well-run, they are also well-funded. They have built up a small but generous clique of donors, who essentially bankroll the whole operation. Though their identities remain secret, high-profile supporters include Nat Wei, the Conservative peer, a charismatic evangelical, and Paul Szkiler, chairman of Truestone Asset Management, who also runs A Call to Business, a network for Christian businessmen. The turnover of Alpha International is £9.6 million, all of which, according to Elsdon-Dew, is spent in the course of the year. ‘It may sound like a lot, but it all goes towards running the course,’ he says. ‘We start again at zero on 1 January.’

At a time when most Anglican churches are seeing attendance fall, Alpha’s reversal of that trend should be welcome. But some, like Kirker, say the courses do more harm than good. ‘They fundamentally deceive people from the outset,’ he says. ‘They invite people in as if there were no hidden agenda, and they make people feel as though they are inadequate for not understanding the meaning of life. They have a message which arrogantly implies that you don’t understand the Christian faith, but they do. It’s presumptuous and manipulative, and can put people off Christianity altogether.’ But even Kirker agrees that HTB’s quiet but efficient takeover is impressive. HTB was once compared to the sci-fi film Invasion of the Body Snatchers: it looks and acts like the C of E, but one day it will consume it. It’s hard not to believe that day is now at hand.


Archbishop of Canterbury – An Illuminati Jewish Shill

August 22, 2015 |

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, with (dry-eyed, fake sobbing – as at Sandy Hook) Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner of Reform Judaism and Imam Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra at a human rights vigil outside Westminster Abbey.

The New Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has all the hallmarks of an Illuminati Jewish imposter.

The 80-million-strong Anglican communion is headed by a crypto-Jew. Perfect to usher in a one-world religion and morally support the New World Order.

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

I was sickened to hear that Justin Welby “only learned as an adult that his father was Jewish”, which makes him half-Jewish.

It reminded me of John Kerry who spent his life parading as an Irish Catholic only to discover as an adult his father was also a Jew, one linked to the CIA. The Illuminati are usually half-Jews who intermarry with other generational satanists, usually Freemasons. I find it repugnant that they have placed their agent in the position of head of the Church of England. Christians are not permitted any genuine leadership.

Justin Welby’s background features all the hallmarks of the Illuminati.

1. Grandfather Bernard Weiler was a German Jewish immigrant and importer of luxury goods who came to England in 1886 and changed his name to Welby. What kind of people but subversives disguise their identity by routinely changing their names?

2. Welby’s father Gavin, a full Jew, was a bootlegger and playboy in the US during the Depression. He dated JFK’s sister Patricia. Welby’s mother, Jane Portal, a former personal secretary to Illuminati go-fer Winston Churchill, was the niece of R. A. Butler, a member of the Churchill Cabinet.

Welby’s parents were divorced in 1959. His mother married banker and company director Charles Williams in 1975. Welby’s stepfather was the nephew of career soldier Brigadier Arnold de Lérisson Cazenove and Elizabeth Laura Gurney, of the investment bank Cazenove.

3. Like Illuminati agents such as part-Jews Adolf Hitler and Barack Obama, Welby’s rise from obscurity was rapid and unexpected. Welby “found religion” late in life. He spent 11 years working as an executive in the oil industry, but “retired” in 1989 (age 33) when he felt a calling to be ordained. He was Bishop of Durham for just over a year before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in November 2012.

Justin Weiler was not the natural choice for Archbishop of Canterbury, and the choice was a disappointment for traditional conservative congregations. There were other more suitable candidates, such as the Archbishop of York, John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu.

The Archbishop of York is second to Canterbury and usually the natural successor. Ordained in 1979 at age 30, Sentamu joined clerical orders after escaping Idi Amin’s Uganda.

The Church of England was not ready for a black bishop whose views are closer to the African continent on issues like same-sex marriage. He is not an establishment person. The media had attacked him for several of his comments. Welby’s oil industry experience stands out as unusual compared to other candidates.


So far, Welby remains opposed to gay marriage, but this will not last. Under him, the Church recently agreed to consecrate female Archbishops.

In a BBC interview, Welby admitted to having doubts about the existence of God and disclosed that, on a recent morning jog with his dog, he questioned why the Almighty had failed to intervene to prevent injustice.

“The other day I was praying as I was running and I ended up saying to God: ‘Look, this is all very well but isn’t it about time you did something – if you’re there’ – which is probably not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say.”

This is a primitive understanding of God for a man in his position. God depends on divinely inspired people to enact His will. He cannot intervene to save a bunch of cowardly profligates who have chosen Lucifer.

Welby’s job is to affirm God and an intelligent and moral Life Force. Instead, as a satanist shill, he sows doubt.

The rest of the interview contains vague platitudes. Welby is clearly more comfortable preaching the gospel of socialism rather than Love. He has raised questions about the “inexplicable” increase in energy prices, which he has said are putting strain on low-income households.

He has criticized government changes to welfare and targeted payday lenders, saying that he wanted to “compete Wonga out of existence”, although it was later pointed out that at the time the church was an investor in Wonga.

Finally as The Times of Israel opined, “if he doesn’t succeed, the father-of-five can always retire to Israel – where, as a descendent of a Jewish father and grandfather, he is entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return. For an Archbishop of Canterbury, this is surely a first.”

This option is open to many dual-citizen traitors.


Jews and Christians alike need to understand that Judaism, defined by Cabala, is a satanic cult masquerading as a religion. The crucifixion of Christ was the tip. First Jews and Freemasons, and now society as a whole, have been inducted into this cult which abjures the Spirit of God and embraces Lucifer. Mankind must miss its rendezvous with God. Christian civilization must fail so that Satanists can rule. A deliberate long-term satanic strategy is reaching fruition. Justin Welby is yet another example.


Justin Welby | Leadership Conference 2013 | Main Session

Nicky Gumbel interviews Archbishop Justin Welby at the 2013 Leadership Conference.

View video:


Do you Know Your Why? Archbishop Justin Welby schmoozes with Ken Costa [Would Jesus do usury?]

Ken Costa: “You’re a person who I admire greatly, ’cause we were at [Cambridge] University together…”

Ken’s Story [Warburg, UBS, Chairman of Lazard International, Chairman of Alpha International; South African Marxist Jew]

Alpha Partners, which was formed in 2001 to support the growth of Alpha International and fund capital investment worldwide, is headed by a very interesting Jewish banker. Ken Costa, the Chairman of Alpha Partners, just happens also to be Vice-Chairman of UBS-Warburg, London.

While the gullible, naive, or ignorant may have been largely deceived, the well informed certainly have not. UBS-Warburg (Union Bank of Switzerland–Warburg) has long been linked with the giant international, Marxist, Rothschild banking conglomerate based in the City of London Corporation (a separate, sovereign, independent, old banking “kingdom” located inside the old Roman walls of London), which controls the entire world banking system on behalf of the British sovereign.

UBS-Warburg is now the leading investment bank in Europe. Vice-Chairmen of the bank are Sir Leon Brittan (now Lord) and Ken Costa, both City of London Jews. Needless to say that when you’ve got a City of London Marxist Jew, Ken Costa, both Vice-Chairman of UBS-Warburg, an affiliate of N. M. Rothschild & Sons, and also at the same time Chairman of Alpha Partners funding the worldwide expansion of the Alpha course, you do have a serious problem!

Warburg would be just about the last people in the world you would want running a Christian organization. If Ken Costa were truly a genuine Christian, it would be the first time in history unbelieving Jews have appointed a genuine “Christian” Jew or Gentile to head up one of their leading banking organizations.

Source: Hidden Secrets of the Alpha Course


Modern Day Prophet [Making Modern Day Profit]

Date: Tue. May 14, 2013
Speaker: Ken Costa

Learn to read the times, act decisively and hear the signal of the Holy Spirit through the noise.

View video:


The Spirit That Breaks Borders [George Soros?]

Date: Sun. May 19, 2013
Speaker: Ken Costa

The Holy Spirit breaks out and breaks through – have a look at His transforming impact in your life.

KEN COSTA: Now, many years ago – Nicky’s let the cat out of the bag, why he did that, I know not, when he introduced us as saying that, you know, we’ve known each other for 40 years, um, it sounds like a long time but it isn’t really, um, it was just but the other day – and, but 40 years ago, [speaking in tongues] [I’ve now] fallen into the same trap; anyway…

View video:


Ken Costa

Ken was born in South Africa and studied philosophy and law at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he became President of the Students’ Union and was active in the student protest movements against apartheid. He went on to study law and theology at the University of Cambridge.

Following university, he went to work for an investment bank in the City of London [S. G. Warburg & Co., now part of UBS], where he has worked for over 30 years. After serving as Vice-Chairman of UBS Investment Bank, a global financial institution, where he advised international corporations, Ken was named as the Chairman of Lazard International, joining the bank in October 2007 until 2011.

Ken was the Chairman of Alpha International, which promotes Alpha – an introduction to the Christian faith attended by over 2 million people in the UK and 27 million worldwide – and was Churchwarden of Holy Trinity Brompton. Ken is also the Emeritus Professor of Commerce at Gresham College in the City of London. He was Chairman of the Tick Tock Club appeal on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital; a member of the Advisory Council of the London Symphony Orchestra; and a Trustee of the UK arm of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

He and his wife, Fi, live in London. They have two sons and two daughters.

Ken Costa talks

Pastor Rick Warren [Saddleback evangelical Christian megachurch, Lake Forest, California] and Ken Costa Interview

Talking Heads – Slippery People


The Archbishop of Canterbury looks back on 9/11

Sunday 11th September 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reflects on the events of September 11th 2001 when he was in a building located 100 yards from the Twin Towers at the time of the terrorist attacks in the US.



In this interview for ‘Songs of Praise’, first broadcast in March 2010, Dr Williams describes the horror of that day, and how he and his companions reacted.

On Sunday 11th September 2011, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Archbishop was a guest on ‘Good Morning Sunday’ on BBC Radio 2. Listen to the interview here.

Dr Williams also presided at a special Eucharist service at Canterbury Cathedral. The preacher was the Revd Jamie Callaway from Trinity Wall Street in New York, who was with the Archbishop at the time of the disaster in 2001.

In 2002, Dr Rowan Williams wrote a book “Writing in the Dust: Reflections on 11th September and its Aftermath” (Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0340787198) in which he took his personal experience of 9/11 as the starting point for some broader reflections.

In the Epilogue, he writes: “This isn’t a theology or a programme for action, but one person’s attempt to find words for the grief and shock and loss of one moment.”

In 2006, the Archbishop appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and gave his “Thought for the Day” five years after the event.



Rowan Williams: September 11, where the hell was God?

In our exclusive excerpt from the biography of the Archbishop of Canterbury, we reveal how Rowan Williams’s faith was tested to the limit in the attack on the World Trade Centre

From The Times | November 10, 2008

On September 11, 2001, Rowan Williams was due to address 22 spiritual directors from across the US in a church-owned building next to Holy Trinity, Wall Street [New York], on “the shape of a holy life”, and reached the venue, 74 Trinity Place, at 8.35am. His host was the Rev Fred Burnham, director of the Trinity Institute, an educational foundation attached to the neighbouring church. The two went up to the 21st floor. Burnham was sitting in his office when the World Trade Centre’s north tower was hit at 9.03am; and even though Flight 11 came from the opposite direction (Trinity Place is south of Ground Zero), the noise sounded like a sonic boom. Burnham raced to the room where Rowan was and cried that “some cowboy” had just gone through the sound barrier. Then came a scream: one of the secretaries could see what had happened through her window. Burnham, Rowan and the others joined her to look. Though aghast, they assumed that the crash was accidental.

After a few minutes of watching smoke spurt from the north tower and debris flying by, they decided to go down to the studio where Rowan would give his speech. It was not until the second tower had been hit that everything changed.

Suddenly, as Burnham recalled later: “We knew we were in the middle of a war zone and this was not a happy day.” Burt Medley, one of his colleagues, suggested that the Archbishop be asked to lead prayers, and this happened almost spontaneously. Rowan’s words were like balm; the group began to feel more composed. Not only did he pray about the obvious things – the loss of life, the general anguish – he also began to lift up to God the anxieties of everyone in the room.

For 20 minutes they were able to watch a television monitor showing what was happening at the World Trade Centre, but then the first tower disintegrated with a colossal roar, 74 Trinity Place itself began to shake, and the monitor went blank. When it flashed on again a short while later, the group became more aware of what had happened. At the same time, smoke and soot began to enter their auditorium. The urge to move was confirmed by security staff, who came to guide them towards the bowels of the building via a service stairwell. It was thought that the absence of windows and air vents on this route would make respiration easier; but this hope proved to be misplaced. Some of Rowan’s companions went back upstairs to the nursery that was also housed in the building; there they found blankets, which they tore up and moistened with water, to provide impromptu face masks.

Scarcely able to breathe, yet convinced that the atmosphere in the street was more treacherous, Burnham felt close to death. “We were pretty much told to stay where we were and the most profound moment of the whole day, for me, was when five or six of us were gathered on the landing in the stairway, where the air had become virtually suffocating and I began to think, Well, it’s worse outside, and I don’t know how much longer we can tolerate this, maybe we’ve got 15 minutes, and beginning then to realise I would die.”

Elizabeth Koenig, a friend of Rowan who teaches at New York’s General Theological Seminary, now laid a hand on the Archbishop’s shoulder and said: “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather die with.” At that moment Burnham felt enclosed in “a circle of love” that he would never forget.

“We were bonded for life. We became comrades in the face of death. And there was in the group a total submission and resignation to the prospect of death. No fear.”

Their thoughts of the hereafter were interrupted by screaming harbingers of the here and now. Police officers had broken down a back door of No 68 and were ordering everyone to evacuate, knowing that the second tower would almost certainly collapse soon. Rowan’s group descended two flights of stairs and emerged into a cataclysmic scene on Greenwich Street, parallel to Trinity Place. Everything lay covered in ash and shards and personal belongings – bags, books, shoes.

They began making their way towards the southern tip of the Financial District, from where ferries and buses were escorting people to safety. The distance was small – barely 700 yards – but before the group had covered a block and a half, the second tower came down. They turned to see the elephantine dust cloud sweeping towards them. Again, the group thought it highly likely that they would die and Burnham recognised Rowan’s courage. A woman on the staff of Holy Trinity was paralysed by fright. One of her colleagues asked the Archbishop if he would help; he put his arm round her and walked her down the street. They were breathless and coated with soot by the time they reached the Staten Island ferry terminal. The group approached a trailer with an open door and were welcomed inside by a group of construction workers. As in certain fictional tragedies, a macabre scene was briefly tinged with humour. One of the builders decided that everyone needed to turn to the Lord. He began to lead prayers himself, unaware that there were clergy by his side.

Half an hour later the air was clearing and the police began evacuating people on buses. The Trinity group were driven slowly up East River Drive, on Manhattan’s eastern edge, and down 32nd Street to the junction with Fifth Avenue. From there, Rowan walked to his hotel and was able to contact his secretary by phone and to leave a message for [his wife] Jane that he was all right. Over lunch and a bottle of wine, the Archbishop and Burnham began to shed tears. Burnham set off for home towards the end of the afternoon, leaving Rowan to work on a brief article for that week’s Church Times. “I’m obviously very glad to be alive,” he wrote, “but also feel deeply uncomfortable, and my mind shies away from the slaughter.”

The following day he managed to reach St John the Divine Cathedral, where he was due to give a lecture, with time to spare. He was immediately asked to celebrate an unscheduled Eucharist at the high altar and agreed to do so. Burnham was inspired.

“When [Rowan] got to the rubric for the homily he was totally surprised; he hadn’t expected to preach, so he preached off the cuff. He went back to an encounter that he had with an airline pilot on the streets at 7am that morning. The pilot said to him, “Where the hell was God?” Rowan’s answer was that God is useless at times like this. Now that’s pretty shocking, but actually what he then went on to unpack is that God didn’t cause this and God [was not] going to stop it, because God has granted us free will, and therefore God has to suffer the consequences of this like we do. So in a sense he exonerated God…”

Rowan gauged each intercession so as to address a different facet of the disaster. At first the response (“Hear our prayer”) to the invocation “Lord, in your mercy” was quiet. Then Burnham sensed a swell of feeling throughout the congregation.

“As they realised how he was touching them, each one individually, they began to shout their response and by the time he finished, the response was like a football game… I was standing there with tears streaming down my face and I could hear people on all sides of me sniffling… in a magnificent way Rowan had liturgically connected with the people. And it was profound.”

The ‘big mistake’ that preceded his saving grace

After Rowan Williams had decided to pursue a teaching career, the post of chaplain at Westcott House, Cambridge, fell vacant in 1977, and might have been tailor-made for him. He was ordained to the diaconate in the college chapel at Petertide that year.

Intellectual brilliance, spiritual maturity and an unusual mixture of wisdom and artlessness – these are among the main distinguishing features of Rowan’s Westcott years, and part of the background to his relationship with Corinna, a Lutheran ordinand from Germany, who was spending a year at Westcott on an exchange programme and arrived at the college in Michaelmas term 1978. In early 1979 Rowan suddenly became engaged to her.

As a child Corinna had been severely burnt in a fire. The accident left her partially disfigured, despite a series of skin grafts and other treatment. But neither her appearance nor her status as Westcott’s only woman student seemed to affect her self-belief. Rowan’s friends thought her confident, clever and intense. She was a regular visitor at his flat; the two were often observed in highbrow conversation. Many of Rowan’s friends found the bride-to-be forceful, even overbearing. Sarah Coakley felt that the relationship didn’t ring true – that the couple were play-acting, rather than genuinely in love. Other friends felt that Rowan was “unmarriageable” because he had always seemed so self-contained. But a wedding date was fixed for the late summer and a venue booked.

The bride-to-be – nicknamed Brünnhilde by the nuns at Fairacres when Rowan showed her the convent during a visit to Oxford – insisted that she would be pursuing a career in her own church. Rowan therefore agreed to move to Germany and, given the thinness of the Anglican presence there, let it be known that he was thinking of joining the Old Catholics – the Church that broke with Rome after the First Vatican Council (1870-01) because it refused to accept papal infallibility.

Apart from feeling disorientated by the thought that his greatly admired teacher was making a “big mistake”, Peter Atkinson speaks for others in suggesting that Rowan was partly motivated by pity for Corinna. Her evident self-confidence tells against this but whether it is true or not, Atkinson’s broader verdict is widely endorsed: “When the engagement was called off over the summer, we felt that this was a very necessary step in order to avoid frustrating one and possibly two vocations.”

Yet 1979, apparently a nadir for Rowan’s personal life, was to prove the opposite. He had known Jane Paul, a very bright and popular graduate member of Clare, since the autumn of the previous year; they had met at the D Society, a place of invigorating theological debate. The two became an item in early 1980 and married 18 months later.

The success of the match had something to do with their differences, as well as what they had in common. Jane was as steeped in religion as her future husband, but of another stripe. She and her four sisters had grown up in India, where her father, Geoffrey, worked for the Church Missionary Society before his eventual appointment as Bishop of Bradford. The experience of studying theology might have led to a crisis of faith, but she had held fast to her evangelical roots, and was active in the Christian Union at her college.

Jane’s faith in general was resurrection-shaped. She came from a tradition where speaking in tongues was relatively common, and suggested to her fiancé that the impulse to let God take over in this context had a parallel in the Catholic habit of silent contemplation. Above all, she was not too serious and has always felt that her easygoing personality marked her out from the other women who had been in love with Rowan. In short, she liberated him from his earnestness.

– These are edited extracts from Rowan’s Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop by Rupert Shortt, published by Hodder & Stoughton on November 13 at £20. It is available from Times BooksFirst for £18, free p&p: 0870 1608080


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