05 May 2011
Unique Bible reading event in braille
A unique event celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible was put on in the town centre of Market Harborough in Leicestershire at the start of the Easter weekend.
Four local blind readers read aloud the Gospels of Matthew and John from braille in the Waterstone's bookshop. The event attracted a great deal of interest and over 60 people attended throughout the day, many staying for extended periods to listen.
The event was organised by Torch Trust, the Christian organisation for people with sight loss.
"The anniversary of this hugely important and transformational translation of the Bible is being marked across the country by several hundred events during 2011, a number of which are public readings," said Torch CEO Dr Gordon Temple. "But the Evangelical Alliance has confirmed that our event is the only one they have heard of that involved blind people reading the Bible in braille."
"The event was a great encouragement to us on many levels. Firstly, what better way to celebrate the Bible than by sharing the Good News accounts of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus at Eastertime. We were also blessed by the willingness of this town centre bookshop to host the event; by the many people who came along at this busy time of year to support us so warmly; and also by the attendance of our local MP Edward Garnier."
Torch Literature Leader Lydia Tebbutt, one of the organising team, said: "It was a joy to listen to the four readers - Sheila Armstrong, Jan Turner, David Angell and Mike Townsend."
"Whenever longer portions of the Bible are read out loud, there is always an impact on individuals listening. The readers were so fluent and expressive that the Word of God really came alive. This is no small achievement in braille. Unlike print, it's not possible to see what's coming ahead on the next line. And the event required quite a bit of stamina. The reading of Matthew's Gospel took over three and a half hours, and it was over two and a half hours for John."
Reader Sheila Armstrong reported that she was 'really shattered' after the reading.
"But it was a great honour to read God's Word publicly. And I was glad to demonstrate that through braille the Bible is accessible to blind people - that you can read it with your fingers instead of your eyes!"
Visit the Biblefresh website for more stories on how churches are re-engaging with the Bible this year.