Methodist Church prepares for #Biblefresh

Having passed resolutions at this year’s Conference to support Biblefresh and to create its own handwritten Bible, the Methodist Church’s preparations for the year are now well under way.  Earlier this week, over forty people met in Methodist Church House in London to report how different areas of the country are preparing to celebrate Biblefresh.  The Church is focussing on four specific areas:

  • First to support the BigRead2011 project – this project offers housegroup resources centred on Tom Wright’s Lent for All: Matthew.  Churches are being encouraged to set up housegroups in their neighbourhood with their friends, neighbours and other local Christians.  A website has been set up to provide all these resources and more: http://archive.bigbible.uk
  • Secondly to look at marathon Bible readings – reading the Bible from beginning to end, from cover to cover, preferably in a public place and making full use of local resources.  It can be done between Thursday and Sunday if read continuously.  The stories eminating from where it has been done before of spiritual growth and community development are so encouraging.  Someone at the meeting from Dronfield in Derbyshire told of how positive experience their Bible Reading was.
  • Thirdly to create a series of Biblefresh Festivals across the country.  These are many and varied.  Already, there are 19 dates for festivals in Methodist Churches or in ecumenical venues.  For example – in the North-East, there will be a major festival in Chester-le-Street in February where John Bell from Iona will join other speakers to explore the ‘Word of God’; in Bristol, the Cathedral, its grounds and College Green will be the focus for a city-wide ecumenical celebration of Biblefresh; in Cornwall, Nottingham, High Wycombe, West Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Sheffield, Bolton, London and Wales other festivals are being involved and developed…and that was just the people who had time to share on the day.  Some of these festivals will be huge, multi-venued, multimedia celebrations.  Others will be quieter experiences centred on worship and a specially created drama.  But it will be good to look for the festival near you and get involved.
  • Handwritten texts – Ireland, Portugal, USA, Dronfield – some of the venues where handwritten bibles have been developed already.  Some of the stories are amazing.  God is meeting people in the scriptoria (where the Bibles are being written).  People are encountering the Word of God in new ways, in powerful and intimate ways.  It is possible to create your own local handwritten Bible, but the Methodist Church will also be creating its own handwritten text focussed on the Methodist Conference 2011.

There were lots of other ideas shared at the preparation day: drama, music, USB wristbands with chapters of the DJ Bible, videos, bible classes and seminars.  In Lancashire, they will be running a competition called ‘Extreme Bible Reading’ – asking participants to send in a picture of the most extreme place they have read their Bible. Others are setting up geocaches with Biblefresh-related treasures or routes.

Methodism has really taken Biblefresh to heart and what is being offered looks so good.  If you want to establish something similar – see the Biblefresh website (www.biblefresh.com) or related sites (archive.bigbible.uk / www.deepeningdiscipleship.org.uk) for ideas and resources to bring your churches into the heart of the Biblefresh movement.

About pmphillips

Pete Phillips Bio: I'm into the New Testament (especially John's Gospel), technology, literary theory, postmodernism, football and that kind of stuff. I am married to Theresa and we have three great kids (and a Westie called Grace). I'm a Christian and love the whole church thing, which is good because I also work for the Methodist Church in the UK. My formal job titles are: Director of Research for CODEC at St John's College, Durham University and Secretary to the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church.