What's the last story you read or heard that captivated you? Let us know in the comments! Here's our Children & Families Minister, Debbie, with our latest blog post and an insight into our Open the Book team's recent adventures!
Do you enjoy a good story? Fiction, fact, romantic or horror, the Bible contains so many stories. From barbaric wars in the Old Testament, to the parables, crucifixion and resurrection in the New. Written over thousands of years ago, over hundreds of years. It is written by men and women, inspired by God. It can be a difficult and challenging read. There are so many different translations and each of us will have our own favourite version for reading. Which is why the Bible Society set up the Open the Book programme. The programme contains stories and scripts that teams can use to share in school assemblies or in Church, during intergenerational worship.
A couple of weeks ago, St George and St Paul’s Open the Book (OTB) team, went to an event hosted by the Bible Society to launch the new programme for OTB. The author of the Lion Story Book, Bob Hartman, was there and told us some amazing stories. We heard, watched and joined in with the Creation story. It was a story we all know so well, however, it’s in the repetition of the words and actions, oh yes, we had to make noises and pretend we were the animals. To be honest, it was great fun.
The reason we attended is because as an OTB team, we are invited into Heathcoat School, every other week, for a whole school assembly. It is an exciting storytelling project where Bible stories are shared with children in a way that is fun, interactive and memorable. The script allows for the children to be involved as much as possible.
One of our last stories was about Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. We had recruited children from across the year groups, one was the eldest son of Pharaoh, some Israelites, and some the Egyptian Army. The team take in costumes and props to help the visual setting of the story. So, the narrator starts reading. As we reached the part where the eldest son dies, the young man fell to the floor, then the two groups run on the spot and then Moses, also known as David, parted the Red Sea, and as the Egyptian army went past, the sea closed and the children lay on the sheets engulfed by the sea. Every child who takes part, puts their heart and soul into the acting out of the story. And it's not just the children! These stories inspire us as an Open the Book Team and we want to tell the story as God would want us to. Valerie has been known to wear a beard and play Noah, Abraham and God. Suzanne and Juliet have had the Mother, Princess and Narrating roles. It is great fun, sharing our faith in a practical, positive and interactive way. The children then see the team out and about and tell their grown ups who we were or how they know us. It is a super way to start a conversation and build relationships.
It is an absolute joy to work in this team and share the stories in such an interactive way. Thank you to everyone who gives up their time, to read, act and help the children. In September we will be starting with the new programme, the old one has been going for 25 years, so it needed a little updating. It is an awesome way to talk about the Bible, who God is and bring the pages of the Bible stories to life. We summarise the meaning of the story and pray at the end. OTB meets the school curriculum, and our presence in school is embraced by the senior leadership team.
It is a fantastic way to share across generations God's living word.
I will leave you with this quote from the Bible Society:
'A Bible story well told has the power to spark the imagination, inspire exploration, give hope, create a smile, teach important lessons and connect generations.'
If you are interested in finding out more about Open the Book, please chat to anyone in the team.
Debbie Children & Families Minister