Ranald came to faith in October 1956 through the ministry of the Cambridge Inter Collegiate Christian Union. At the end of his second year (June 1958) he met Francis & Edith Schaeffer on their first visit to the university. In March 1960, after three further Schaeffer visits, he decided to join them in their L’Abri work in Switzerland (founded 1955). A year later he married their daughter Susan. In 1964 he and Susan were asked to open a branch of L’Abri in England. This developed into the first of a number of congregations of the International Presbyterian Church. With growing interest in L’Abri worldwide, Ranald and Susan were again asked to start a larger residential work at the Manor House in Greatham, Hampshire (1971).
In 1996 Ranald handed on the leadership of English L’Abri and moved to Cambridge where he sensed that God was leading him to establish a related work in the heart of the city. With the provision in 2001 of the Round Church as a base of operations, the work soon hosted what became the annual Cambridge Summer School of Apologetics. Key speakers included Bill Edgar, John Lennox, Os Guinness, David Robertson, Andrew Fellows, Jock Mcgregor, Ted Turnau, Greg Koukl, Stephen Meyer and Ard Louis.
This Apologetics Week itself emerged from the foundations provided by the Cambridge Summer School of Theology (1998) which generally took place a week earlier, hosting outstanding teachers like Carl Trueman, Jerram Barrs, Wayne Grudem, Walter Kaiser and Don Fairbairn. The summer schools fed into year-round training seminars, internships and student mentoring. Meanwhile, the Round Church Visitor Centre provided an unrivalled context within which to engage in historical apologetics (the charity itself being known, accordingly, as ‘Christian Heritage’) while the ancient Romanesque venue offered a beautiful space for training and outreach events.
Early trustees included Lady Elizabeth Catherwood. Other significant contributors include Andrew Fellows, Ranald’s successor as Director of English L’Abri, and former Chairman of L’Abri International. Andrew first served as a trustee, then as Director and now continues as a Visiting Tutor.
…and into the future
In 2022, Ranald’s long-term friends Prof John Lennox (author and apologist) and Lindsay Brown (former global General Secretary of IFES) joined him on the board alongside Tim Laurence (formerly European Director of the Veritas Forum, now carrying roles with UCCF and IFES), local pastor Matt Lillicrap, Alex McIlhinney of the JW Laing Trust, and Jason Fletcher, headmaster of Heritage School.
The underlying holding charity was renamed ‘The Foundations Trust’ in order to allow more profile and definition to the range of inter-connected but audience-specific projects which arose in and around the ministry and its trustees over a 20 year period.
As you can read here, these projects feed into one another offering an ecosystem of rich resources and relationships. The ministry which focuses on equipping local Christians in cultural apologetic outreach has been named ‘Cambridge Apologetics’. Our resource archive is under construction.