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The God who Speaks initiative is launched

The ‘God who Speaks’ initiative, which is a partnership between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Bible Society, began on September 30 and ends in 15 months’ time.

There will be a St Matthew’s Gospel give-away, Bible Society dome events where you’ll get to experience the big story of the Bible all over the country. Autism-friendly editions of the Christmas and Easter stories and grants for creative projects which engage individuals and communities with Scripture.

In the Diocese of East Anglia, Bishop Alan has appointed regional champions and activities are already planned.

Peterborough champion, Rebecca Bretherton, said: “We know many parishes and groups are planning activities based on Scripture this year. If you are running a DVD course, planning to set up a Gospel sharing group, holding a day of reflection and preparation for readers at Mass, please let us know so we can share your ideas to inspire others and help you publicise your activity.”

Fleur Dorrell, the Coordinator of the God who Speaks says we need to see God speaking in the present tense: “The Word of God is dynamic, not a historical encounter. The Bible has much to say in our present times,” she said.

“Brexit is a Biblical question. It’s a question about how we relate to one another, about our identity. How we understand law and govern our societies, what our place is in the world. What defines leadership for us and from whom and where. In a divided society we look for authority and leadership, for wisdom and guidance. The Bible transcends all our societal vicissitudes and provides a perennial light. It is the source from which we draw our meaning and our purpose.”

Catholics have a reputation for paying scant attention to the Bible. Fleur says: “For Catholics, the Bible is more than the collection of 73 books; it is the Word made flesh in Christ.”

In a survey carried out before The God who Speaks, the 1,600 responses from the Catholic community showed:

84% most hear the Bible in Church

53% read the Bible daily

34% say that the Bible is extremely important to the Catholic faith

45% feel we don’t have enough time to read the Bible

41% aren’t sure where to begin with the Bible

The lead bishop for the God who Speaks, Bishop Peter Brignall, said: “We would be delighted if people took up the challenge and read the Gospels daily.”

“2020 will be 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 tenth 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 responding to this Papal invitation.”

September 30 marked the Feast Day of St Jerome, the Saint often depicted in paintings with a lion. In a nice little touch, the God who Speaks also has a cuddly lion mascot who sports on his chest ‘The God Who Roars’.

Nigel Langford, Head of Church Relations at the Bible Society said: “It’s a privilege to partner with the Catholic Church on the God who Speaks. The Bible Society was founded on giving everyone access to the Bible and we do this best through collaboration and partnership.”

Diocese of East Anglia contacts:

Co-ordinator: Fr Bruno Clifton,

Suffolk Champion: Jean Johnson,

Peterborough Champion: Rebecca Bretherton,

Cambs Champion: Sr Tamsin Geach OP,