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Personal Stories
Latest public book-reading craze
Cover to cover and coast to coast

by Sue Carless – Freelance Journalist

The latest book-reading craze is both humble and ambitious.

At book festivals, prize-winning authors read from their latest works. On stage, professional actors read from the novels of Charles Dickens or Mark Twain. But the latest book-reading venture is a massive undertaking. Poetry, history, great literature, drama, love songs and letters are being read aloud in public, not by authors or actors, but by ordinary Canadians, children as young as four and adults as old as 96.

Thousands of Canadians are publicly reading the entire Bible out loud, cover to cover from coast to coast over a ten-day period that began March 28. The deaf sign and the blind read Braille.

"Proclamation - the Word of the Lord" is the combined effort of dozens of local churches, Catholic and Protestant, and the Canadian Bible Society. Readings will end Friday evening, April 6.

Readings usually take place between 7am and 9pm for ten consecutive days -with a brief pause for Sunday morning services. Each hour contains readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels and other writings of the New Testament for approximately 40 minutes.

And, is this an English or French-only phenomenon. Each reader chooses the language and version he or she would like to read. So Proclamation is proving to be an incredibly multilingual event in this multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nation.

"We believe that public affirmation of the Christian faith is important in Canada," says Rev. Greg Bailey, National Director of the Canadian Bible Society. "And certainly public proclamation of that faith through the reading of God's Word has added credibility when so many people from so many different churches pull together."

The Canadian Bible Society has Bibles available in 80 foreign languages as well as almost a dozen Canadian aboriginal translations.

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