Bible marathon success in West Chiltington

Bishop Mark reading a part of the New Testament
Bishop Mark reading a part of the New Testament

More than 60 volunteers teamed up to read the New Testament in its entirety in West Chiltington last weekend.

The marathon charity challenge began at St Mary’s Church on Friday (December 13), continued through the night and ended on Saturday (December 14), lasting 20 hours and 15 minutes in total.

Four members of the church stayed for the entire reading - the rector David Beal, his wife Mary and church wardens Dianne Bennett and Pam Wells.

Dianne said: “We are still on a bit of a high and we are glad we did it.

“Everybody said how wonderful and well organised it was.

“We are very proud of our church.”

There was a great interest in the challenge as people came from all over the district, including those who attend churches in Storrington and Steyning.

Dianne revealed that the early hours of Saturday morning was the hardest time of the challenge, but added that soup and bacon sandwiches in the morning kept the team upbeat.

“We are still suffering!” she joked.

“We thought we would fall asleep but there was quite a lot of turnover of people.”

Bishop Mark, the bishop of Horsham, gave the first reading, and dozens of volunteers continued the challenge in 15-minute time slots.

The event raised more than £700 for the Bible Society, a charity aiming to make the Bible available and accessible to all.

Mary Beal, wife of the rector David, first came up with the idea.

Dianne added: “A lady from the Bible Society came and spoke to us about the work they do, and she was inspirational.

“Mary said ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could raise some money for them?’.”

David added: “This was a profoundly moving event for all who shared in it, reminding us of the power of the Bible.

“It will live in our memory for a long time – and we are delighted to have raised so much for the Bible Society.”

Heather Clements, the regional manager for the Bible Society in south east England, said: “In many parts of the world there is a great hunger for the Bible.

“In China alone, it is estimated that there will be one million new Christian believers this year.

“Bible Society are very much committed to help subsidise the cost of these Bibles.”