Everyone loves a good story – telling them and listening to them – and stories are all around us, on the news, soaps, documentaries, books, films and social media.
What story could be more important to tell today than God’s story, found in the Bible?
The Bible is often described as the greatest story ever told, but for most people the Bible is a boring, irrelevant, closed book.
But now, across the UK, children are seeing the Bible ‘come to life’ in their schools through Open the Book, which is part of the Bible Society.
Teams of volunteers from local churches provide 15 minute assemblies using carefully prepared and easy to use resources based on the Bob Hartman Storyteller Bible.
Here in Cardiff, Cyncoed Methodist Open the Book team have been visiting their local primary school for 5 years. They spent a lot of time preparing props and practising before their first visit and were rather nervous, but Marion Thomas, the team leader remembers the response from the children and staff was amazing, “We needn’t have worried – the children loved it, especially when we asked for volunteers to help us!”
Liz Capper is a member of the St Mark’s, Gabalfa team. She says, “A friend had told me about the wonderful opportunities of teaching children Bible stories they haven't heard before - I couldn't wait to be involved and help out on the team.''
Children are also overwhelmingly positive about Open the Book – many have never heard the Bible stories before – as the stories are acted out and they participate with sound effects, motions and ‘acting’ alongside the team.
''I love it when you come in,” says a year 4 pupil in Birchgrove Primary school, Cardiff. “I said to my Mum, ‘Is it Monday?’ she said ‘Yes!’ I said ‘Great they're coming back again!''
On average the Open the Book office receives one phone call per day from schools asking for a team to visit – a fact confirmed in Radyr, where each of the 3 primary schools has responded positively to Reverend Canon Jenny Wigley’s offer to vist with the newly formed team.
Today nearly 12% of schools have a team visiting regularly. From the school’s perspective OTB ticks several of the necessary boxes for collective worship and community links and is sincerely appreciated by Head teachers and staff alike.
Reverend Michael John, vicar of Pentyrch explains why his parishioners have recently got an Open the Book team together,
“I was attracted to Open the Book because our Parish was looking for ways of regularly engaging with local schools which would be straightforward for us as a team of volunteers and a help to the teaching staff of local schools.”
Could Open the Book be a useful tool for your church too? All resources are avialable in English and Welsh
For more information about how you can use Open the Book in a school near you visit the website www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/openthebook/