Can ALL your church access the Bible?

“We can – and must – celebrate what has been done to give access to this, the most important of books. But our celebration is muted by the awareness of a task that is far from complete. This is our cue for prayer.” – Dr Gordon Temple, Torch Trust.

Torch Trust’s TOUCHING THE WORD celebration of accessible Bibles was held at St Martin-in-the Fields Church in Trafalgar Square last month. The event, held as part of the Biblefresh year included a service of thanksgiving and a display of accessible Bibles and Christian literature.

Dr Gordon Temple who heads up Torch Trust challenged those who attended the event:

“Giving access to the Bible, both to the text and to its life-changing message, has been the task of the Church and many Christian agencies over the centuries. Yet sadly this has not always included access for disabled people. Blind and partially sighted people have found themselves at a particular disadvantage, often only able to engage with the Bible vicariously through listening to others read it to them.

Braille – and also Moon type – opened up reading for blind people through touch. Many of the charities that serve people with sight loss today were started with the primary or key aim of distributing of the Bible in these tactile media. The advent of ubiquitous word processing has made altered text – large and giant print – an option for those with residual vision. Yet even Bibles that boast ‘giant print’ have text far too small for most partially sighted people to access. Audio is often regarded as a universal access solution for people with sight loss (save for those who have hearing loss) yet it isn’t much use in church and until the arrival of DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) was virtually impossible to navigate.

Layer this mix of media with the diversity of languages and plethora of versions and the gap between what is possible and what is available widens to a huge gulf. Reading is changing and new options are opening to sighted people and some offer access advantages to people with sight loss. But once again they have the ‘curate’s egg’ problem of being both good and bad at the same time.

We can – and must – celebrate what has been done to give access to this, the most important of books. But our celebration is muted by the awareness of a task that is far from complete. This is our cue for prayer.”

To help all your church access the Bible, you can start with this great Bibles in Accessible Media page Torch Trust has put together. It’s a one-stop site for information about hundreds of Bibles and Bible resources in accessible media – Braille, large print, audio and Internet – and for formats such as electronic Braille machines and e-readers.

 

About Biblefresh

For 2011, Biblefresh became a movement of hundreds of churches, agencies, colleges, festivals and denominations to encourage people, particularly within the church, to stop viewing the Bible as a toxic text, and find new ways to engage with passion with the Bible.