#2—Ted Byfield, the back story: Byfield has an impressive list of accomplishments to his credit, but he does not consider his mission complete. As a young man in the Fifties, he was a key figure in the founding of the three St. John’s boys schools in Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario. Carrying on the British tradition of providing the best quality of education through boarding schools, the St. John’s Schools are private Christian schools combining excellence in academics with firm discipline, sports, and adventure. The schools’ original in-house newsletters were in demand and grew into the weekly Alberta Report news magazine and expanded to other provinces. In the Nineties, he published a series of 12 Alberta history books. He then began work on the Christian Millennial History Project Inc. as general editor to a history of the first two thousand years of Christianity. The first of the 12 volumes was published in 2002, the last in 2013. In 2008, he wrote an essay, “Why History Matters, and Why Christian History Matters in Particular,” which shows the best understanding I have seen of the forces which have all but eliminated Christian influence from the public sphere in our formerly Christian country. This essay can be downloaded free from the website christianhistoryproject.com. After the completion of the book series, he established the website theChristians.com as “A Journal of Contemporary Christian History,” a compilation of related current news and events.
During the years of work on The Christians history books series, he experienced the loss of his home to fire and his daughter to cancer. During the past year, he lost both his wife and his older son to cancer. He will be 87 this summer. In spite of all this, he is pushing ahead with his latest project, what he calls the “last Hurrah.”
The mission: Throughout his illustrious career, Byfield has recognized the close connection between faith and culture, and has developed a number of ways to assist younger people to have a broader understanding of that connection both historically and in the present. At the St. John’s schools, he developed a particularly interesting and insightful way to teach history. Now he is searching for ways to get younger people interacting with The Christians history books, to understand our civilization and how it came about, and to learn to read, think and write about it effectively. One effort has been to get sets of the books into Christian schools, both Catholic and Protestant.
Now his greatest effort is to attract students and editors to the unique program, The Society to Explore and Record Christian History, SEARCH, The Christians: Editor Tutorial Program, based upon the 12-volume history series “The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years.” The program consists of 13 units of 10 assignments. Each assignment involves reading a chapter in the books, and answering a question related to it in a 300 to 500 word response. It provides practice and instruction in reading, thinking and writing, in that order. Each written assignment is then assessed by his or her personal editor on two grounds: “First: Was the response reasoned and does it provide adequate supporting evidence? Second: How adequately was it expressed?” Those doing the assessments are experienced retired newspaper and magazine editors. Some of them also have experience in teaching writing. Their goal is to help the students to achieve a quality of writing that approaches the professional level. There are also plans to provide assignments for graduates of the program for publication on the web journal theChristians.com, thereby providing a record of published work to aid in gaining employment in the communication field. Any high school or university student or adult interested in learning more about the program may obtain a brochure giving complete details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a message at 1-888-234-4478. The plan is to cover half the costs through charitable donations to SEARCH and half through student fees.
Thus Byfield continues his life-long mission to communicate the importance of Christianity to a democratic society, and he is doing so in partnership with a son.