Congregants at N.S. church ring in New Year with non-stop Bible readathon

At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, as many were ringing in the New Year with cheers and festivities, members of a church in Trenton, N.S., began 2020 on a slightly quieter, calmer note.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” came the solitary voice from within the Trenton Church of the Nazarene.

Since that moment, members of the congregation have taken turns reading aloud every word of the Bible, through the wee hours of the night, from dawn to dusk and back to dawn again.

The church’s pastor, Leon Teal, said he first heard about churches doing non-stop readings of the Bible many years ago. He tucked the idea away until it occurred to him again last fall.

“I thought, you know, what a great way to start out the year,” Teal told the CBC’s Mainstreet Halifax.

Pastor Leon Teal reads from Leviticus on New Year’s Day. (Facebook/Trenton Church of the Nazarene)

After Teal pitched it to the congregation, about 60 people signed up for one-hour slots, including everyone from eight-year-olds to 80-year-olds.

“It kind of runs like a relay race, if you will, where you kind of take the baton, you read for an hour and then the person who you’re passing the baton off to arrives, you pass the Bible off to them and they pick up where you left off.”

Convincing people to take the middle-of-the-night slots wasn’t difficult, but Teal volunteered to take a few of those shifts himself.

The pastor said even though members are familiar with the Bible, reading it aloud brings the text alive and allows them to hear it with greater depth.

“We understand … God’s word to be filled with His spirit and we understand that as we read that word it draws us closer to Him,” Teal said. “It’s like the power of His spirit just begins to build and break loose in our midst.

“So we are believing that … we’re going to see God moving with greater power over the course of the coming days and certainly the coming year.”

The readathon wrapped up around 11 a.m. on Jan. 4.


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