Synod 2022 set up a Biblical Literacy Task Group to examine the state of Biblical Literacy in the Diocese of Christchurch. This group reported back to Synod this year. It recommended the following:
- That hard copy Bibles be made freely available in parishes and outreach initiatives.
- That the Diocese recommend Bible Study and discipleship resources to Parishes according to stages of faith.
- That the Diocese recommend resources that teach the overarching narrative of the Bible.
- That the Diocese promote the use of the Psalms in worship and their use personally and devotionally.
- That preachers devote a proportion of their preaching to books and topics from the Old Testament.
- That parishes prioritise the formation of new, and the sustaining of existing, Small Groups for the purpose of Bible Study and discipleship.
- That the Diocese and individual Parishes resource families in such a way that children and their parents read, discuss and engage with the Bible together.
- That the Diocese recommend particular resources to help grandparents read and engage with the Bible with their grandchildren.
- That the Diocese recommend to Parishes to especially target, with studies that teach the overarching narrative of the Bible, the over-65 age group who have been Anglicans all their lives but still lack a coherent understanding of Scripture and the Christian worldview.
- That the Diocese recommend that strong Christians are appointed to Anglican Schools.
The Diocese has already recommended some of the resources referred to. You will hear more about them in due course. I thought that we could implement Recommendation 9 by looking at the big picture of the Bible as a Lenten Study in 2024. As a good Old Testament scholar I am already devoting preaching to books and topics from the Old Testament. That does not seem to be the case with some of my colleagues. However, the recommendation gives me the confidence to continue doing so in future.
One of the questions for us is how we might promote the use of Psalms in our worship. Do you think we should have a regular responsorial reading of a Psalm during our services? Are there other ways of using the Psalms? One Sunday next month I’ll give an example of reading a Psalm together with a modern paraphrase. At St Paul’s we don’t read a Psalm every Sunday, but quite often one of the Bible readings is taken from the book of Psalms—only the Gospel of Matthew has formed the basis of more sermons since we posted sermons on the website. Any feedback on the use of Psalms is welcome.