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Open the Book reaches 2000 schools

Thousands of UK children are gaining a better knowledge of the Bible thanks to storytelling programme Open the Book

Open the book300Open the Book sees church volunteers going into primary schools to enact stories from the Bible. They don’t teach or preach, but simply tell stories, using a range of mime, drama and props.

Organisers recently announced that 2000 registered primary schools are now taking part in the scheme, with more than 11,000 volunteer Bible storytellers now going into schools across the UK.

Open the Book began in Bedford in 1999. In 2013 it became part of Bible Society in a bid to expand the project to more schools. More than 400 have registered since October 2014.

James Catford, Group CEO of Bible Society said: ‘This is an amazing achievement and Bible Society is thrilled that 2000 primary schools are now taking part in Open the Book. The Bible’s contribution to our culture – language, literature, the visual arts and music – is immense. The Bible enriches life, and every child should have the opportunity to experience it.'

Open the Book programme coordinator, Dianne Brookes, said the 2000 school target had been achieved much faster than expected. She said: ‘Good news travels fast. Open the Book is exactly the type of good news that people like to tell others about. It’s easy to get involved and great fun to do.’

Alison Richards, member of Minchinhampton Baptist Church, began going into schools with Open the Book ten years ago. The church has subsequently adapted the scheme for the school over the decade, but keeps the same story-telling principles from Open the Book.

Alison said, 'It is so wonderful to see how they [the pupils] enjoy the assemblies.  When we go to the classrooms to ask for kids to help us they are all so eager to join in.’

And the learning isn't limited to the children, Alison explained. 'Parents have told me how their kids go home and tell them about what happened with Open the Book that day - how fantastic is that?!'

She continued, 'For many of these kids, what they learn in school is the only exposure to the Bible and the Christian message that they will get.'

Picture: Bible Society

Open the Book is a resource that assists schools in meeting their statutory collective worship obligations. For more visit: http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/about-bible-society/our-work/open-the-book/

Baptist Times, 08/07/2015
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