Open the Book Celebrates 20th anniversary
Thousands of people across the country are expected to mark the 20th anniversary celebration of Open the Book this summer
Open The Book is a project which offers primary school children the chance to hear stories from the Bible, from a team of people from local churches, who present the stories during assemblies, using storytelling and drama in a fun and engaging way.
Celebrations will be held in Brecon, Durham, Knutsford, and Bedford, with the first being at Gloucestershire cathedral on the 14 May at 2pm. This service will be led by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek.
Bedford was the first places to take up Open the Book in 1999. There are now 17,223 volunteer storytellers across England and Wales, based in 3,152 schools, bringing the main stories of the Bible to children such as Jonah and the Whale.
Anita Barker, head teacher at Scott Primary School, Bedford said, ‘Our children are enthralled, and they always remember the stories from week to week. The stories appeal to the younger and the older children. You can tell this when you look at the children, they are so captivated by the stories.’
Val Ralston, spokesperson for Open the Book said, ‘I feel overwhelmed to be celebrating 20 years. I never saw this as possible.
‘Stories like this are still relevant,’ she added. ‘I can’t see anything that is out there on social media that could replace a team acting out a story. The children enjoy being part of something fun.'
Open the Book is a national organisation, working with a wide range of faith and non-faith based primary schools. It began 20 years ago when a group of church volunteers started going to 30 primary schools to read and act out stories using the Lion Storyteller Bible. After being inspired by this, the project spread into Gloucester in 2001 and by 2007, a national charity was formed. Open the Book then joined Bible Society in 2013 after a significant increase in volunteer numbers.
The events will celebrate 20 years of storytelling in primary schools and will be attended by teachers and storytellers. Bob Hartman, author of the Lion Storyteller Bible and Professor Paul Williams, CEO of Bible Society will deliver messages at the events.
Bob said, ‘The fact that the Bible assembly is the best assembly the kids get is remarkable. The fact that we are in all these schools is above and beyond everyone’s dream.’