Big Read 2011 gets underway for Lent

It’s the first day of Lent today and Christians across Britain are taking a fresh look at the Gospel of Matthew as part of the Big Read.

The Big Read has been rolled out nationwide after its successful launch in the Durham area last year.

This year, it is extending its reach even further through Twitter, Facebook and other multimedia resources on the Big Bible blog.

The project is being coordinated by the Big Bible project, an online digital community that promotes regular Bible reading and engagement with contemporary culture.

Small groups will be reading from Tom Wright’s ‘Lent for Everyone: Matthew’ and making use of free online study materials throughout the period of Lent.

The website also allows users to discuss the book and their reflections with people from around the world.

Big Bible project manager Bex Lewis said: “People become really comfortable in their own house groups, staying in the same one for years.

“The Big Read offers another layer of conversation in the online forums, where they can engage with others and where thinking can be challenged.”

The Rev Dr Peter Philips, of the CODEC biblical research initiative, encouraged people to rediscover the Bible during Lent.

He said: “Researchers at Durham University have found that although three quarters of the population own at least one Bible, only one fifth of people commit to reading it week by week.

“Big Bible offers a great opportunity to dust off your Bible, share with your friends and neighbours and learn more about what God wants for your life.”

Lent is being marked in other ways by the church. The Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Rev David Thomson, is launching his Round the Bible in 40 Days today and is encouraging people to join him by stopping by his blog where he has provided a simple reading plan and will post reflections.

The project will be launched at Ely Cathedral today before the bishop heads into town to give away 80 Bibles.

24/7 Prayer is marking Lent with a series of video podcasts with contributions from Pete Greig, Carla Harding and Etienne Piek among others.

The five-minute devotional films have been designed to help people pray during the season.

The Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Rev Nick Baines (@nickbaines), will be joining the Bishop of Huntingdon (@bpdt) in tweeting daily reflections and actions during Lent as part of Christian Aid's Count Your Blessings initiative.

A Count Your Blessings calendar has been made available for download to help people look at the good things in their lives and respond through giving, reflection, action or prayer.

On the web:
bigbible.org.uk/the-big-read-2011roundthebible.wordpress.com
www.24-7prayer.com/podcasts/category/spaces
www.christianaid.org.uk/lent

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