Diocese of Chichester to celebrate a “Year of the Bible”
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, has announced that 2017 will be the “Year of the Bible” across the Diocese of Chichester. (Listen to Bishop Martin speaking about the Year of Mercy and the Year of the Bible in a Youtube video published today here)
Clergy, congregations, chaplains, church schools and students will be challenged to examine the importance of the books of the Bible in daily life and contemporary culture. “2016, the second year of our diocesan strategy, has been the Year of Mercy. Our third year, 2017, will be the Year of the Bible. I hope it will be as challenging and as thought-provoking for service of neighbour and as devotionally formative as the Year of Mercy has been," said Dr Warner today.
The Bishop has set up a working party to produce resources for parishes and schools to grapple with the subject. A range of ideas and initiatives are being planned for people of all ages. Visiting scholars will look at the bible in politics, science, the media and scholarship in a series of lectures across Sussex. A special Lent Course is being produced through which church goers will be challenged to get to know their bibles better and to understand the origin and purpose of key biblical texts.
"The Christian faith flows out of the holy Scriptures as the definitive guide to God's love. But the Bible is not a dusty rule book; it comes in a rich wrapping of centuries of Christian experience and interpretation. We need to know it better and allow the experience of our own generation to be viewed through its rich message of hope, peace and joy for all people," added Dr Warner.
The Bishop of Lewes, Richard Jackson, Chair of the Strategy Working Party, said he was looking forward to 2017 and to all that the Year of the Bible promised: "Our goal is to encourage individual Christians to engage with the Bible as part of their discipleship and to look closely at how these texts feature in their spiritual life."
Plans for the year will be unveiled at a meeting of the Chichester Diocesan Synod next month. The Year of the Bible will run from Advent Sunday (27 November 2016) and last for one year.