Many ‘felt blessed” during Easter Bible reading marathon

One of the special readers was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the lead Primate of the Worldwide Anglican Communion

Richard Froese
South Peace News

An Easter tradition that started in a High Prairie church about 20 years ago – and growing – was celebrated worldwide online for the fourth year.

People in the Peace region and around the world joined the Holy Week Bible Reading Marathon online from Palm Sunday, March 24 to Maundy Thursday, March 28.

Readers were welcomed to read the Bible aloud in one-hour blocks on Zoom and Facebook in the 100-hour marathon organized by the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca.

People were moved as they were able to view the marathon online on Zoom and broadcast on Facebook, says Diocese Rev. Deacon Canon Peter Clarke, of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in High Prairie, who organized and initiated the event.

“After people had read for their hour, we received a lot of kind messages detailing how much they enjoyed the experience – many said they felt blessed,” Clarke says.

More than 70 people read the Scriptures, he adds.

“We had people from all across Canada and from other countries, including the diocese,” Clarke says.

One of the special readers was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the lead Primate of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Rev. Dr. Linda Nicholls, also read.

Athabasca Bishop David Greenwood, of Peace River, read in the first hour and the last hour.

“It was definitely not just an Anglican event,” Clarke says.

Many people represented a variety of churches read from various translations, he says.

“One person reading from Germany chose to read the Bible in Flemish,” Clarke says.

“Another person read in Shona, the language of Zimbabwe.

“Somebody from the Philippines read from the Ilocano translation of the Bible, plus others read in four different dialects of that country.”

He says the readings inspire him in more than one way.

“Personally, I find it wonderful how I can listen to somebody read the Bible in another language and follow it in my own Bible,” Clarke says.

“Last year, a person in Mozambique read in Portuguese and – surprisingly – I could follow all the way to the end of the chapter.”

It takes 80 hours to read through the Bible, he says.

“This year it took longer,” Clarke says.

“However, we never wish to disappoint any upcoming readers, so we start again to read the New Testament until Bishop David concludes the marathon on Maundy Thursday at 5 p.m.”

Clarke initiated the marathon when St. Mark’s opened its doors to people from other local churches and the community to read Scripture.

After the event was cancelled in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, it was resurrected in 2021 and expanded online around the world.

The annual marathon will return in 2025 from Palm Sunday, April 13 to Maundy Thursday, April 17.

Next Easter occurs April 20, 2025.

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