BY REBECCA GRACE
| AFA Journal Staff Writer
Six months of renovation, 32 construction workers and guidance
from the Holy Spirit is what it took to transform Douglas Greshams
12-bedroom Irish castle into a home for victims of child abuse.
Gresham is becoming a household name to many because of his recent
work as co-producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe, which released in theaters December
9. But there is more to this stepson of C. S. Lewis than the world
Beyond his careers as a broadcaster, cattleman and now the creative
and artistic director for the C. S. Lewis Company, Gresham is husband
to his wife Merrie, father of five, grandfather of nine and counselor
to many. Most importantly, he is a Christian who has dedicated the
last 13 years of his life to a ministry that blossomed from the
halls of his own home after he and his family moved from Tasmania
to Ireland in 1993.
"I suppose if youre going to move, you might as well do it
properly," Gresham told AFA Journal. "I dont think
you can move any further than that and stay on the planet."
When the Greshams moved to Ireland, they were looking for a four-
or five-bedroom house since all of the children, except for two,
had left home. But the Lord had a different plan for them.
"We wound up with a house with 12 bedrooms, [so] we prayed and
said, What do we do now?" Gresham explained. "The Lord
said, Get the house ready. We hadnt the faintest
idea for what so we just launched into the renovation of this place.
birth of a ministry
The restoration of the new Gresham
home was completed just in time for a training seminar that marked
the beginning of Rathvinden Ministries, "a general non-denominational
Christian ministry [of] healing and helping healing for the
hurting and helping for the helpless.
"Having committed ones life to Christ, you sort of go where
you are sent," Gresham said. "And I suppose the best way of describing
it is to say that the Lord intervened in our lives, in a whole lot
of different areas, to demonstrate to us that He had work for us
on this side of the planet.
The work of Gresham and his wife through Rathvinden Ministries
is two-fold. One facet of the ministry is for victims of child abuse;
the other for full-time ministers.
"We administer something called the Hope Alive counseling [method],
which is devised by a Christian psychiatrist in Canada named Dr.
Philip Ney," Gresham said. "[It] is designed to help people whose
problems are the results of having been abused as children [through]
any one of the many forms of child abuse."
He explained how people instantly think of child abuse as a sexual
or violent act, but he contends that the worst kind of child abuse
is emotional neglect or rejection.
"Because those children will spend the rest of their lives trying
to prove they exist as an entity unto themselves," Gresham added.
"It just destroys them."
Therefore, the Greshams were trained by Neys organization
to treat patients who have problems resulting from various forms
of child abuse.
"In addition to that, of course, the therapy is also designed to
[teach ways of] coping [to]
people who have lost pregnancies
and whose emotional makeup is falling apart as a result," Gresham
This includes ministering to mothers who lost children through
forced adoption, stillbirth, cot death or abortion. Gresham said
post-abortion syndrome problems are more prevalent among women now
than ever before in the ministrys history.
"So that was the start of the ministry," he explained, "but it
was merely a matter of the ethos of the ministry, as its up
to the Holy Spirit of God to bring the ministry to the people He
wants to have come here and keep away the people He doesnt."
As a result, "we get all kinds of weird problems coming to the
door," he added. But that doesnt keep the couple from following
the lead of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, they go beyond the counseling aspect of the ministry by
opening the doors of their home as a vacation get-away for full-time
ministers of Christ, regardless of church denomination.
"Because one of our unwritten rules is that as you walk through
the doors of Rathvinden, your denomination stays on the doormat
with the rest of the rubbish, and your Christianity comes in with
you," Gresham said.
"So people who work in full-time ministry of any sort missionaries,
ministers, pastors, priests, whoever who cant afford
to take a vacation
can come and have a vacation at
our ministry, cost-free."
aging of its ministers
But time is short as Gresham foresees
the ministry and their living at Rathvinden coming to an end.
"Its a big ministry, [and] its just that were
getting too old for it, really," Gresham admitted. "Its winding
down because were both in our 60s now." With that in mind,
Gresham and his wife have been anticipating the entire familys
homecoming to celebrate the Christmas season as well as the premiere
of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on his stepfathers
literary masterpiece first published in 1950. Bringing the whole
family to Ireland means having 22 family members sitting around
the dining table which conveniently seats 22 people the maximum
"So the whole family will be in our one home at the one time,"
Gresham said with anticipation. "I think its the last time
we will ever be able to do that
[since] were not going
to be there very much longer."
But regardless of a possible move in the future, having the Gresham
family home is a treat in and of itself since the five children
and their families are spread out all over the world, literally.
foundation of a family
"My oldest son is an airline captain
in the States," Gresham said. "I have another son who is
businessman with a global medical diagnostics company,
and my third son is an architect in Australia."
Greshams youngest daughter is a student at Trinity College
in Dublin, Ireland. She is the only one of five who was not born
in Australia. Instead, she was born in Korea and adopted by the
His eldest daughter is studying custom-jewelry design and manufacturing
in Florence, Italy.
"Shes been doing it without the training for a while, and
shes very good at it so she decided to get the proper training,"
Gresham explained as he held out his hand on which he wore a ring
designed by his daughter to resemble Aslan, the messianic lion who
saves Narnia. Gresham asked his daughter to design similar pieces
of jewelry as gifts for the four children who star in the movie.
"I wanted to thank them personally for their efforts, so I
had a ring made for each of the boys and a pendant for each of the
It has always been in Greshams nature to give to others.
For example, he gave up a career in broadcasting so that he and
his wife could raise their children in a farming environment.
"We thought farming and being out amongst the wilds and amongst
animals and so forth out of the urban environment
was the very finest way we could raise our kids," he explained.
the children all grew up on the farm, and it stood them
in good stead.
"Theyve become independent, strong-willed [and] sensible,"
he added. "[And] theyre all Christians."
life with Lewis
Raising his children in such a way is,
perhaps, a direct result of being raised by the "finest man and
best Christian I (Gresham) have ever known" that being C.
S. Lewis, whom Gresham affectionately refers to as Jack.
"Watching Jack live his life, I think, was hugely exemplary for
me an enormous example to my thinking processes, to my behavioral
patterns, I hope.
," Gresham said.
"[You see] if youre brought up by a drunk and abusive father
when youre a boy, youre liable to become a drunk and
abusive father yourself," he explained.
"If, on the other hand," he added, "youre brought up by a
man [like Lewis] who is polite, compassionate, considerate, patient,
tolerant, generous, charitable, all of those things, I hope that
its likely that one will become similar oneself."
Although Gresham was apt to follow in the footsteps of his stepfather,
whom he considers a mentor, the relationship that Lewis had with
Christ, as reflected in his writings, is something Gresham had to
come to terms with on his own. And so he did, many years later when
his attempt to help someone in need forced him to take a hard, long
look at himself.
"I tried to help a young girl through a
very difficult circumstance
and because I tried to figure out myself how to do it I thought
I was right in what I was doing I messed it all up," Gresham
explained. "It turned into a semi-sexual relationship, which should
have never happened. A lot of people got hurt, and I was forced
face the fact that I was living my life based in arrogance,
conceit and pride, and I needed to eat a whole large helping of
humble pie, which doesnt taste very good but is very nutritious
to the soul."
Through that painful experience, Gresham realized that he is not
qualified to run a human life. As a result, he handed himself over
to Christ after merely believing in God all of his life.
never want[ed] to submit my life to the authority of
anyone but myself," he explained, "and, of course, anyone who does
that who lives the way I did for many years is worshipping
himself rather than God, which means they have a fool for a deity"
a lesson easily learned from The Lion, the Witch and the
"We have thrown away
all the lubricants that make society
flow," Gresham said the ultimate lubricant being Jesus Christ.
"If you dont get Him back into [our schools and workplaces]
According to Gresham, there is nothing else in his life that is
of any importance in comparison to Christ.
"Ones life is ones faith when you commit your life
to Christ," he said. "If you really want to be a Christian it will
cost you your life. I learned that from a man who wrote books."