The God Who Speaks: A Scripture Revolution
Fleur Dorrell, Catholic Scripture Engagement Manager, shares more about the new campaign between the Catholic Church in England and Wales and Bible Society.
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life. 1 John 1: 1
A Scripture revolution is unfolding through a unique partnership between the Catholic Church in England and Wales and Bible Society. This campaign is focused on creative and inclusive ways to engage with the Bible, because the Bible is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
Encounters with Christ
Our campaign is a creative model for any Church group or community to focus on the Bible in a sustained way and is primarily based on enabling encounters with Christ. We want to make Christ visible and prominent through opening the Scriptures to everyone we meet. We want to share what we have heard, seen, looked at and touched regarding the Word made flesh and the word of God. To do this we need to work with every level of our Church structures so that there are no barriers to engaging with the Bible.
For Catholics, the Bible is more than the collection of its books; it is the Word made flesh in Christ. The Bible is not self-sufficient or self-determined, it is a gift of which our Church is its curator and interpreter. The Sacred Scriptures are foundational to the life and teachings of the Church, in the daily Mass and Divine Office, the celebration of the Sacraments and rituals, in the lives of the Saints, and in the Church’s traditions, culture and heritage.
This wealth of inter-connections between the Bible and the living out of our faith are easily adapted into other faith groups. We contextualise the Bible according to where we live and we utilise all our faith resources to share the Gospel in all places and with all people.
Why is it called ’The God Who speaks’?
We’re not just disciples of an inherited faith – God always speaks to us in the present tense. Faith is handed down, but it is not second-hand. This is what Scripture is about – listening to God in the present tense. When we create opportunities and spaces for people to experience God in the present tense, then they meet Christ in their hearts.
We therefore, have a responsibility to share the Bible in the public domain – to let God speak in all places and at all times. Whether on the bus, at the community table, in the office, school, or at home with the family [see note 1 at end of article].
How are other church traditions getting involved?
CTBI have just created a new Lent resource which highlights our ‘Year of the Word’ and is in support of our campaign, and is entitled: Opening the Scriptures - ctbi.org.uk/lent
Ipswich Churches Together are hosting an event to support The God who Speaks on 7th March – Enjoy the Bible: Sensing the Sacred through Art and Music at the St Nicholas Centre, Ipswich.
Portsmouth Catholic diocese and Portsmouth Anglican diocese are coming together to host a Scripture Tour at Winchester Cathedral between 26-27th September, with a variety of ecumenical workshops, events and worship, as well as the showing of our commissioned artwork by artist Pete Codling.
2020 is the 1,600th anniversary of the death of St Jerome – our most important Biblical scholar who translated the Bible from the Hebrew and the Greek into Latin. It’s also the 10th Anniversary of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) in which he proposes giving everyone access to Scripture as a democratic imperative; our Bishops are, therefore, responding to this Papal invitation.
How does this campaign work?
We have three themes for dioceses to focus on:
Celebrating God’s Word – enriching our worshipping and spiritual community.
Sharing God’s Word – enriching our evangelisation, proclamation and formation.
Living God’s Word – enriching our social action and outreach.
We offer a sustained collaboration between all 22 Catholic dioceses and Bible Society in shaping education, evangelisation, creative arts and social action. By enabling subsidiarity models, each diocese is equipped to make the campaign their own. With grants and training to support dioceses; a Scripture Tour and Roadshow; an official artist; National Gallery videos of Biblical paintings; St Jerome and the Lion toys; and a variety of inclusive resources and formats available through our website, we invite everyone to engage with the Scriptures at grassroots level. We want to increase Bible confidence so that we can move from passive membership to active discipleship within our faith and church life.
New Apostolic Letter on the Bible
Pope Francis has just issued a new Apostolic Letter on the Bible – Aperuit Illis, in which he says: “The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible.”
This campaign takes place between 30th September 2019 and 31st December 2020.
Visit godwhospeaks.uk and find out more about this campaign.
Email Fleur Dorrell at email@example.com to receive our free campaign brochure.
 Verbum Domini, 2010
The word of God given to us makes us not only hearers, but also heralds so that we share in Christ’s mission and are empowered by the Holy Spirit. . The word that we receive is meant for all; it cannot be kept to ourselves. Since it is true, it belongs to everyone.