Book about POW vicar Ray Rossiter March 2014


undefinedA book that looks at forgiveness through examples of real-life experiences features a retired priest from our diocese. ‘Against the Odds: true stories of forgiveness and healing' by Carmel Thomason (pictured) has a chapter looking at the experiences of the Revd Ray Rossiter, who was one of the soldiers to survive the building of the Burma railway.

Revd Ray preached for many years to his fellow prisoners of war to encourage them to forgive the atrocities they suffered at the hands of their Japanese captors in the Second World War.

His story is told in the first chapter of the book and includes this observation: “The Japanese didn’t observe the Geneva Convention with regard to prisoners of war. Their guards roamed the camps, and we never knew when we would stumble across one, with dire results in many cases if we were not quick enough to jump to attention and bow.

“There could be a beating or torture at every turn – treatment not reserved solely for the prisoners. I saw a Japanese sergeant fell one of his own soldiers and gouge his eye out with the heel of his riding boot. The soldier’s offence – coming into camp drunk and answering back.”

Ray, now aged 92, lives in Nantwich. He was ordained in 1977, and served until a couple of years ago at St Anne's in Sale.

The book is designed for both individual reflection and group study. Each of the stories is followed by thoughts and theological reflection from a church leader or practitioner, and discussion questions.

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, wrote the book’s reflection on Ray’s experiences. Bishop Peter said: "Ray's account is an encouragement to us all. Our sufferings may involve only the foothills of comparable experience, but at the end of the day we are all on a common journey."

Against the Odds: True Stories of Forgiveness and Healing’ by Carmel Thomason, is published by the Bible Reading Fellowship, £8.99, or on Kindle, £7.19 (Kindle price subject to fluctuation). The book can be obtained in Christian bookshops.

ABOVE ... Forgiving soldier and priest Ray Rossiter  

BELOW ... Ray robed for a service a few years ago