Annual Christmas Party
Dear Atlanta Branch Members:
I recently accepted the challenge of serving as your president for the 2016-2017 year, and I have been gratified at the support of directors, officers, and members.
It is indeed an interesting time to be a member of the English-Speaking Union. In 2015 we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta and the 200th anniversary of Wellington's victory at Waterloo. This year, we observe the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte.
A member of our Branch, Dr. Sally Parsonson, presented us with a visual and verbal account of how Wordsworth's poems referenced the scenic world around him. We learned that William Wordsworth wrote several travel guides of the Lake District, and needless to say, Grasmere was a favorite.
His poems reflected his life and the memories he had of his childhood near the Derwent River in the Lake District. His passages consisted of recollections of his youth and experiences with nature – the lakes, rivers, streams, animals and plants.
Even though he left the Lake District for a time, he returned there and lived in the well-known Dove Cottage from 1799 to 1808. Wordsworth lived in several different places in Grasmere and died in his home in Rydal Mount near Ambelside in 1850.
Gordon Mathis, former principal at the Galloway Upper School, gave an interesting presentation on the origin of the King James Version of the Bible. We welcomed his expertise on the subject which was based on the book, "God's Secretaries." King James, assigned a committee of 47 Anglicans who were given the task of developing an authorized version. It took about 7 years to gather the many versions of the Bible at the time and compile them all into what was the third English translation that we revere as the official King James Version. It was a fascinating account of the evolution of a version of the book that is still used to this day. This was a perfect topic for the English-Speaking Union.
This year's Garden Party on May 25 was to celebrate the special occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday. The British Consul General, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, kindly allowed us to have our event in his beautiful home. Our Branch Chairman, Wesley Devoto, OBE, toasted the Queen and the Consul General, in turn, offered a toast to the President of the United States.