TWO Bible marathons concluded last weekend, a few hours apart, after hundreds of people read the Bible, cover to cover, in both Winchester Cathedral and in St Michael’s, Warfield, in Berkshire.
Warfield’s Bible marathon was organised as a celebration of the church’s 1000th anniversary. Readers included people from the church’s youth groups and the regular congregation, as well as the Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Ven. Olivia Graham; and the MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie. The book of Job was read by one group, in character.
The 79-hour reading of the 66 books of the Bible finished on time on Saturday. The whole congregation read the last verses of Revelation together.
The organiser, Chris Taft, said: “We read 24 hours a day, non-stop, through the day and night. It has been an amazing experience for all involved. We have really seen the power of the Word impacting people in all sorts of ways.”
A chapel was built on the site of St Michael’s, Warfield, in 1016, reputedly with the permission of Emma, the wife of King Cnut. A millennium later, the church now has seven different congregations. The Queen sent the church’s PCC a letter congratulating them on the anniversary and the way they had chosen to celebrate it.
Forty-four miles away, a parallel round-the-clock reading was under way at Winchester Cathedral. It was organised to raise money for the conservation and display of the 12th-century Winchester Bible.
Ten-minute slots for adults and five-minute for children were charged at £30 and £10, which could be raised by sponsorship or donated. More than 100 people took part, and the read-through was completed in 74 hours — slightly quicker than in Warfield.
The Acting Dean, Canon Roly Reim, read alone throughout the first night, notching up six-and-a-half-hours and finishing at 8 a.m. The cathedral’s newly appointed Assistant Curate, the Revd Katie Lawrence, took on some of the other overnight slots.
A cathedral spokesman said that about £2500 had been raised by the event. “However, it was not primarily a fund-raising effort — rather, part of the cathedral’s ongoing spirituality programme, which has also been able to assist the appeal as a result of people’s generous donations of time and stamina,” he said.