Bibles for the community
When Rev. Dr. Teresa Charlton took up her post last summer at Knox Presbyterian Church, she discovered boxes of Bibles in the church basement.
And, while the church did not need them, she hated to see them go to waste. Instead, she came up with the idea of donating the books to people in the community.
“There has been a sharp increase in the cost of printing books and a lot of companies used to give away Bibles — Gideons still does — but the cost of a good, hardcover Bible can be as much as $50 and a lot of people can’t afford that.
“People are desperate for them, and I always have a lot of extra Bibles I am not using. All of us have a favourite we like to use. I find at our Bible study, we all bring our favourites, so I figured that if I’ve got Bibles sitting on my shelf that I’m not using, I bet others do as well.”
To that end, members of the congregation have been asked to donate Bibles that are no longer in use.
“I want to have this be a community thing, for people to come and get a Bible,” said Charlton. “There are many people who would like to have one but simply can’t afford it.”
The church will host an open house on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, each day, as well as Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“We invite people to drop in, have a cup of tea, sit down and pick out a Bible, or feel free to bring one that you would like to exchange,” she said. “This is for the community, a way for us to share what we have.
“And if there are any left over, we will give them to organizations to send them where they are needed, such as remote locations in Canada and around the world.”
For Charlton, it’s also a way of sparking a renewed interest in making Bible reading a daily habit.
“For most people, it’s not part of our daily routine; if we have one on the shelf, we are not reading it, so I’d like to start conversations between people and their Bibles.”
When Charlton encourages members of her Bible study group to bring their favourite, it leads to some interesting conversation as to why certain words or phrases are used and not others.
“One will speak to me and the other one won’t, so people are having conversations. Don’t have them sitting on the shelf, and if it’s not working for you, let’s find one that is,” said Charlton, who regularly turns to the New International Version for inspiration.
“People don’t give themselves permission to say I need to hear God in a different way, but there is a wide variety of ways to tell the story, and if you are not hearing God, let’s change things. I challenge myself to read different versions and if I read it and it’s not speaking to me, I move down the shelf. It’s keeping myself open to hear the Bible in different ways, so I keep one of each version on my shelf.
“At our Bible study, I find it’s a matter of keeping an open mind to what people are hearing.”
Knox Presbyterian Church is at 3701-32nd Ave. (Alexis Park). For those who are unable to make it to one of the open houses, please call the church at 250-542-8613 to make an appointment.