More than 30,000 Britons transcribe Methodists's Bible

Thousands of people across Britain and Northern Ireland havehand transcribed the Bible in the past 12 months, and the finalversion was presented to the Methodist Conference in Southport thisweekend.

As part of the 400th year anniversary of the King James Bible,people were invited to join Methodists in handwriting verses fromthe Scripture. Volunteers joined in from across communities,including prisons, schools, colleges, libraries, nursing homes,airports and shopping centres to copy verses from the NRSV versionof the Bible after Methodists voted to transcribe the scripture attheir Conference in Portsmouth last year.

Revd Lionel Osborn, President of Conference, said: "Thehand-written Bible has been a tremendous success. It has enabledpeople to engage with Scripture at perhaps a slower pace than usualand to really think about what they are copying. For many it hasbeen a deep and enriching experience."

The Methodists' handwritten Bible, which will be bound in 31volumes and then tour the country, will also be available to readonline on the Deepening Discipleship website. Verses havebeen written in English, Chinese, Welsh and braille withaccompanying illustrations.

Revd Jenny Ellis, Co-ordinator of Evangelism, Spirituality andDiscipleship, said: "It has been wonderful to see how this projecthas captured the imaginations of many local churches. Methodistshave used it as an opportunity to reach out and work together withpeople in their communities. The Scriptures were originally passeddown through word of mouth and then through handwritten scripts,and so asking people to write out verses is a particularlysignificant way of valuing Scripture and its life giving words. TheKing James Bible was a book that changed the lives of many."

The idea to celebrate the year of the Bible with a handwrittenversion was put forward by Daniella Fetuga-Joensuu from the Londondistrict at last year's Methodist conference. Revd Jenny Ellis drewup guidelines for the 31 Methodist districts, enabling them toorganise the project as creatively as possible in their regions.The guidelines included advice on how to organise scriptoriums orwriting "sit-outs" in public places. A scriptorium outsideWestminster Central Hall attracted so many people that participantswere limited to writing one word per verse. Some churches filmedtheir scriptoriums and posted them on You Tube. The handwritten Bible - a project that cost £3,500 intotal - also travelled through Durham and Frankland prisons.

Janet Deakin, an administrator at Methodist Church House in London,wrote her verses in braille. "I have a version of the Bible inbraille," said Jan. "It is made up of 35 volumes and they sit ontwo shelves of my bookcase at home. I also have five versions ofthe Bible on my braille sense machine."


Notes: For pictures see here.

If you have occasions or places where you would like to display oneor more volumes of the Bible, or the whole collection, please emailJenny Ellis at ellisjenny@methodistchurch.org.uk