YBIBLE Launch Event

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undefinedOn the evening of 15th September about 300 people attended the Cathedral for the Launch of YBible. There were clergy, readers and other church members from across the Diocese. Everyone received a welcome pack which included a copy of the 52 Thoughts book, a selection of favourite Bible verses with reflections.

There was something of a street-market feel with a bookstall run by St Denys Bookshop from Manchester and information stalls run by Bible Society, the British Sign Language Bible Project, the Bible Reading Fellowship, Scripture Union and Exploring Faith Matters.

On the main stage, events began with a welcome from the Bishop Keith and a video presentation of Favourite Bible Verses - including messages of support from Bishops Peter and Libby. (Thanks to Steve Freeman for putting this together.)

The main speaker was Dr. Peter Oakes, Head of Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester, and a well-respected New Testament scholar. He spoke about The Bible for Real People: Then and Now. He explained how academic study, such as the use of archaeological discoveries, can help us to understand the original audience of the Bible - real people whose lives were affected by what they heard. Just as the Bible can change the lives of real people today.

After an interval, Hannah Dobbins from Bible Society introduced an Open The Book team. This is an initiative designed to bring the Bible to life for children in primary schools. The team acted out a wonderful presentation of Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s response (Matthew 14:22-33).

Then a member of the British Sign Language Bible Project, Peter McDonough (himself deaf), told us about the Project. He used sign language with Gill Behena (another member of the Project) interpreting for those present. Gill also signed all the other speakers for the evening. It was interesting to learn that for many deaf people, English is not their first language and that seeing a video of the Bible being signed speaks to them more directly.

One of the highlights of the evening was The Big Bible Quiz hosted by our very own quizmaster, Archdeacon Mike. Teams of clergy and laity responded bravely to some hard questions. The laity came out easy winners. (The clergy thought it was fixed!)

Finally, there was a YBible Challenge: What will you and your parish do? There was the opportunity to write something down to take back to PCCs or Deanery Synods. A few people quickly shared ideas: such as learning Bible verses and encouraging people to read the Bible in pairs.

Then Bishop Keith closed in prayer.

This event was just a starter. Already some parishes have responded. Why not give your feedback or ideas for the YBible website. Email ministry@chester.anglican.org with YBible in the subject.

. . . and a response from Hannah Dobbins, Church Relationship Manager North West and West Midlands Bible Society:

Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of the event. It was great to see so many people from the Diocese come together and discuss the different aspects of bible engagement. I think it was also encouraging for our Open the Book Team from Northwich to receive such good feedback from those who attended. They left feeling very encouraged! We also had many church leaders take more information which is great!  I hope the event was what you envisioned and I pray that Bible engagement across the Diocese goes from strength to strength during  this next year.