The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton
This month's letter from the clergy
Opening the Book
In 1999, a small group of church volunteers started going into 30 primary schools in Bedford to read and act out stories using the Lion Storyteller Bible. After being inspired by this, the project spread into Gloucestershire in 2001. Later, in 2007, a national charity was formed. With increasing growth of volunteer numbers into the thousands, Open the Book joined Bible Society in 2013. Now, in 2019 it is the twentieth anniversary which is being marked by a celebration service in Gloucester Cathedral on 14th May.
A number of folk have been involved in Open the Book in our parishes. Each week of term time a Bible story is acted out. Our current team consists of Clive and Jenny Bennett, Glenis Penny, Jane Hampton, and Carol Hamer. Sue Lord regularly helps with props and occasionally helps play a part. In the past Sue Holloway was a member of the team…. And we are always open to new folk joining the team. And I want to express our gratitude to them. The children love Open the Book and often they join in themselves with the acting out. If we cannot have the whole team, then the stories are read aloud in an interesting way using the Lion Storyteller Bible.
Over the course of a couple of years children get to experience a wide variety of stories from both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. In an age when so many in our society are biblically illiterate I believe this gives an important foundation. Even aside from its spiritual importance (which I believe to be fundamental) you cannot make sense of so much of our culture and history as a nation without a basic knowledge of the Bible.
I believe it is good for adults to also become more and more familiar with the Bible, and if anyone would like to try some Bible reading notes which have a short Bible reading with a reflection for each day then do let me know.