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Mark inwardly digested

by
21 November 2014

GERRY LYNCH

A PRIEST from Wiltshire has performed a dramatised reading of St Mark's Gospel, reciting the 11,000 words from memory.

Canon Gerald Osborne, a farmer and Ordained Local Minister in the Vale of Pewsey, who had never even performed in a school play before, recruited the help of a scriptwriter friend who coached him for the performance.

He began learning the Gospel by heart as a spiritual discipline three years ago. He said that learning the Gospel as he went around the farm, or waited in queues at the bank, was "very soothing".

"Through learning it by heart, I came to a deeper understanding of who Christ is. The authority of Jesus came through to me very strongly as I learnt it word by word."

The idea of reciting the Gospel for others came to him earlier this year, but it took a while to pluck up his courage to do it. He sought help from a friend, who coached him in performing and acted as St Mark's scribe, Petronius.

More than 100 people came to watch the two-hour performance last Friday, which also raised money for an appeal to drill a borehole in South Sudan, which has a link to the diocese of Salisbury.

"I tried to bring it to life and feel my way into the scenes," Canon Osborne said. "I wanted it to be about the power of the gospel, and people did seem to be moved by it."

He has already been asked to repeat the performance elsewhere.

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