New children’s author in Connor Diocese
Answering some questions, David begins with what his book is about.
“In the 1920s a journey to the Arctic was perilous. Most settlements were accessed from Britain just once a year, by boat, and travellers faced the risks of drowning, exposure, and starvation. Along came Jack Turner, a BCMS missionary to the Arctic, in 1929. His heart’s desire was to spread the gospel of Christ to the wonderful Inuit people throughout that land, no matter the personal risks he faced. He wanted to translate as much of the Bible into Inuktitut, the local language, so that they could read the Bible for themselves. He also translated parts of the Book of Common Prayer into Inuktitut so the people could be biblical, ordered, and clear–minded in their corporate worship of Almighty God. He spent many years travelling to local Inuit settlements across the land by foot or dog sledge. He travelled nearly 25,000 miles in his time there. But sadly Jack’s service was cut short by an unfortunate shooting incident.”
Why did you decide to write this book about Jack Turner?
“A number of years ago I read a book about the First Twenty–Five Years of the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society (BCMS) and discovered the Anglican mission to the Arctic. It’s an incredible story that’s filled with sacrifice, noble endeavour, and great accomplishments. Then I had the wonderful opportunity of travelling to Baffin Island in the Arctic back in February 2017. At the time I was Ireland Director for Crosslinks (formerly BCMS), and I was invited by the Bishop of the Arctic, David Parsons, to teach ordinands at the Arthur Turner Training School in Iqaluit. (Arthur Turner was Jack’s older brother who served in Baffin Island at the same time as Jack). My time in Iqaluit gave me first–hand experience of the wonderful people, the challenging terrain, and the inclement climate of the Arctic. It did prove very useful when writing the book about Jack Turner’s missionary service there.
“When I was invited to Bible colleges or churches in Northern Ireland, to speak about mission, I would often ask people if they had a mission interest for a particular country in the world: Africa, many hands would go up; South America, many hands would rise; Europe, again hands went up; and when I asked about the Arctic, usually no hands would be raised because it’s not a place that people usually think of in terms of global mission. Indeed on one occasion, someone lightly said it was too cold to go there! But there are many people who live in the Arctic, scattered over a vast region, and little is said of the place, or the mission endeavours that go there today. It was because of people like Jack and Arthur Turner, laying a good foundation on which to build, that the church continues to grow to this day. That’s when I realised the importance of telling this story and decided to write the book about Jack Turner.”
How do you think your book is unique?
“My book is unique because it is not set in Africa, or South America, or even Europe. It is set in the Arctic, at a time when contact with the world was only once a year by ship and in the form of a letter or package. It is also unique because unlike many people in the Trailblazer series who would be well known before a book was written about them, Jack is unknown to today’s global Christian family. But his story is worth knowing.”
The Rev David Luckman is the church planter at Hilden Community Church in Lisburn, which is part of Lambeg parish. He is married to Sarah and has two daughters.
David’s second book in the Trailblazer Series, Thomas Cranmer – The King’s Ambassador, will be released in September 2022.