Bible Read with the Big Read #bigread2010

It’s Lent 2010 and we’re in Durham Cathedral….:

There are 67 books in the Bible and Bishop Tom invited the churches ecumenically to share in reading one of the Books- The Gospel according to St Luke – throughout Lent, but it was decided to read aloud all of the Books in Durham Cathedral. Pat Francis, a member of the Cathedral Community, was invited to organise this and was somewhat taken aback when she discovered that the schedule she had worked out would require a minimum of 304 people to be recruited! The schedule divided the Bible into 15 minute slots and would require 86 hours so she invited her friend Anne Lindsley a Lay Canon of the Cathedral to share the project with her.

A Truly Ecumenical Event

The response from the churches was wonderful and in the end 506 people shared in reading, 106 came as individuals, and the remainder from 30 teams and 7 school classes. Teams came from Prison chaplains, Industrial Mission, Methodist preachers, Churches, Mothers Union, Christian Aid,  Grandparents with their grandchildren, family groups, Salvation Army Hostel, University and many more. They represented: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reform Church, Elim, Bethany, Community Church, an ecumenical cell group and Salvation Army. The youngest reader was 5 years of age and the oldest 91 years.

Lent for Everyone: Luke

Midway through the fortnight, Bishop Tom with Bishop Mark and the Dean along with church and civic guests gathered in the Cathedral to launch Lent for Everyone-Luke’, the book to be read during Lent. This was a unique ecumenical occasion, involving Bishop Seamus the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Martin of Newcastle, and ecumenical Church leaders. The presence of several Mayors truly linked church and civic in supporting not only the reading of the Bible but the study of St Luke in particular.

Great Stories: From North to South

The Passion story, the Emmaus road story and the Ascension were all read in dramatic form by St Mary’s Church Whickham, the church at which Anne worships, the Gospel of St Mark was read by St Cuthberts, Benfieldside, and Stanhope Deanery came to read Revelation and share in the closing liturgy, led by Bishop Mark Bryant. Throughout the fortnight 926 people stopped long enough to sit and listen, and some visitors to the Cathedral welcomed the opportunity to read a chapter, coming from various places with  Cornwall being the furthest South and the Scottish border the furthest North .

A Great Success

Pat said ‘’We  were exhausted by the end, but so very pleased to have had the opportunity to be part of the venture, meeting so many interesting people all having such enthusiasm ,acknowledging the privilege and honour of being one of the readers.’’ Pat also added that she removed 1,556 emails from her laptop at the conclusion of the Read!

Pat Francis and Anne Lindsley    Easter 2010

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