Setting up a Marathon Bible Reading


  1. Share the idea – do you have a core group to carry the vision?
  2. Decide on location – public or private?
  3. If public, sort out permissions
  4. Confirm time availability
  5. Planning team to consist of one person who will be the contact/co-ordinator, and perhaps two others to act as time keepers and share with the contact person the welcoming of readers
  6. Who do you want to involve
    1. your church community
    2. other churches?
    3. local schools?
    4. other faith communities?
    5. local council officials?
    6. members of the public?
  7. How could you build up the event to impact your target community
  8. Advertise among local churches and on Diocesan/District/Area web pages
  9. Advertise in the local press especially if you are drawing in the local community
  10. Advertise well in advance – several months!
  11. Send out invites for people to book in (See booking form)
  12. Ensure that Bookings are confirmed
  13. Recruit teams, e.g. families, choir, MU, youth groups etc and encourage them to book an hour.
  14. Recruit individuals for a fifteen minute slot, some will request more so allocate with caution initially as teams respond somewhat slower and you need to keep space for a team hour
  15. Readers to be given an indication of the Book of the Bible but not an actual reading as people read at different speeds and they may be ahead or behind of schedule, so readers read as far as they are able in their allotted time space, the exception would be schools as the teachers will print out the portion for each child.
  16. A team could undertake the reading of a whole Book e.g. St Mark, Revelations. The Passion Gospels could be read in dramatic form, down load from Web page, and Pat prepared the Emmaus and Ascension stories in the same format, email Pat Francis for a copy.
  17. Arrange to have a team for the opening and a team plus others for the closing hour when you have reached Revelations OR the end of your allocated section of the Bible.
  18. Especially good if you are able to have a local church or civic leader to read final chapter, and then lead an act of celebration. (A Liturgy written by Canon David Kennedy for the 2010 Durham Bible Read is available as a suggested format.
  19. Encourage e-mail as means of correspondence.
  20. No need to have names of team members just the team leader name and contact
  21. Recruit ONE or TWO people who will share the monitoring of the schedule and keep the timing.


  1. Local collections of churches (Deaneries/Districts/Council of Churches) could promote and move it around several churches each reading so many Books; this could be done sequentially or simultaneously, ecumenical whenever possible
  2. Alternatively, they could identify a central church which would host the event, drawing in ecumenical contacts, schools, community and youth orgs., civic leaders etc. – if there were sufficient churches interested then each could read an allocated part of the Bible and thus ensure the reading aloud of the entire Bible throughout 2 or 3 days through sharing the reading. A central gathering to ‘’commission’’ the communities involved to go out and read…
  3. Application form circulated, to give schedule times only for people to mark all available times this will then allow the contact person to allocate. Ask name address, tel no. email address, church or organisation, any special needs, e.g. impaired sight, wheelchair etc.
  4. Readers will still be being recruited as the Read is in progress, either folk who have just heard or who are inspired in seeing it work, make sure that you have email and tel. no of these late recruits too.


  1. Large print copy of Bible to be used throughout the reading, the exception being the school groups who will come with individual prepared scripts from the Bible translation familiar to the children. Provide a good sized copy for person monitoring the schedule.
  2. You will require a Lectern and two small tables, one for monitoring of schedule and other as the welcome desk
  3. Seating also for readers as they await and for those who have come to listen/support
  4. Jug and paper cups for drinking water
  5. Candle and stand to be lit at the opening of each day
  6. Prayer collect could be prayed at the beginning and end of day by first and last readers, see suggested one at end of the notes.
  7. Schedule for reading in an additional document
  8. Time slots crucial, and each day must begin at the scheduled reading. The schedule enables the co-ordinator gauge how well the day’s allocation of readings is ‘keeping up’ or ‘running slow’.
  9. It is good if the person recruiting the readers is the one who greets them on arrival, as hopefully he/she will have built up a relationship with them.
  10. Be reasonably flexible to enable casual visitors who would like to read do so, they can be fitted in when teams are changing and one chapter can be ‘’taken from’’ the team and given to the casual reader.
  11. Notices to be placed in and outside the church to advertise the event.
  12. Arrange for a memento to be given to each reader e.g. a Bookmark containing the Books of the Bible.
  13. Encourage local press /radio/TV coverage
  14. Invite Civic Dignitaries and local councillors
  15. Do not be concerned about pronunciation of names, esp. in OT just encourage readers to read, the Durham BR had a reader who made them sound most poetic!

Prepared by and Copyright: Patricia Francis June 2010

Suggested opening and closing prayer.

Blessed Lord,

who caused all holy Scriptures

to be written for our learning

help us to hear them,

to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them

that, through patience, and the comfort

of your holy word,

we may embrace and for ever hold fast

the hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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