At a recent meeting of the Ministry Team of the Diocese, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, Director of Training, introduced us to a new resource entitled Bible in life of the Church. This is a study and a collection of resources prepared by the Churches of the Anglican Communion around the world which was presented to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) at its meeting in Auckland New Zealand in November last year. Canon Monberg is the representative of this diocese on the ACC.
As Canon Monberg explained, "the project, commissioned in 2009, is an attempt to let the Churches of the Communion reflect on the ways in which they actually use the Bible - how they read it, whom they read it with, what they bring to the reading, what their experience is of transformation. It is geared towards 'ordinary Anglicans' in the pews. There is no agenda in the project, no liberal or traditional preference. The title of the project is important. This is about the Bible in its true place - not in a library, not even on an individual's bookshelf, but in the life of the fellowship of believers".
As this was a global project (Anglicans from 8 different regions in the world contributed to its preparation), and as we in this diocese are, in our multinational and multicultural identity, the 'Anglican Communion in miniature', the Ministry Team had a sense of excitement about how the Bible in the life of the Church project could be engaging for us and help us to foster a deeper love and understanding of the Bible among our people.
As a result, the Ministry Team is now actively considering ways that the project can be introduced at the Diocesan level. One way will be to hold a training event for Readers, the lay theologians of our diocese, to equip them to be confident facilitators of the way we engage with and interpret the Bible. But there is so much more to be drawn out of this project, from specific bible studies on particular topics, to theological reflections on what Anglicans over the years have taught about biblical interpretation. We look forward to sharing our plans with the people of the Diocese.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote in the preface to the report: "To be a biblical Church is surely to be a community that lives out this great story day by day and commends it to people everywhere as the most comprehensive truth possible about the nature of God and God's world. May God use this work to further that end, in our Communion and in all communities of his people."
More about the Bible in the life of the Church project can be found here.