Growing a Bible Garden (YOTW 2020)

Fresco of garden at the villa of Livia (first century BCE), Prima Porta. Image: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/herod-the-great-ancient-gardens/

The designation by the Roman Catholic Church for the year 2020 to be the ‘Year of the Word‘ has created the opportunity for a number of exciting initiatives that explore different aspects of the Bible, its use and meaning. There is special focus this year on on the plants and the Bible.

To celebrate this, the Bible Society (one of the co-supporters of the YOTW) is sponsoring the award winning garden designer Susan Eberle to create a garden themed on Psalm 23 for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Garden Show this year.  

The proposed ‘Psalm 23 Garden’ designed by Sarah Eberle for the RHS 2020 show at Chelsea. Image: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens/2020/bible-society-the-psalm-23-garden

This is part of a wider project that involves communities and schools developing their own Psalm 23 gardens. Alongside this, the Bible Society are producing a wide range of (practical and spiritual) resources.

Additionally, for the annual 3 day Flower Festival to be held at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, on 12th to 14th June the theme will be ‘The God who Speaks’.

Flower display at the 2019 Flower Festival at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. Image: https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/news/flower-power-has-arrived-at-st-chads-cathedral

How you can get involved

In support of this, we are producing a set of resources for children and adults to encourage you to grow your own ‘Bible garden’. These might be of particular use for teachers, (grand)parents and guardians. All the plants which we will be featuring are mentioned in the Bible and have been specifically chosen because they are simple to grow and require low maintenance. Seeds can also be purchased cheaply and easily, which makes it an ideal activity for primary and junior schools as well as at home.

I am delighted that Alexandra Leighton, a second year Theology undergraduate from the University of Birmingham who has been working with us as part of her placement, has provided a number of resources for this project. The resources will be paired, with one set being directed to adults and the other to children (see below). They can be accessed through the ‘Plant a Bible Garden‘ tab on the menu bar.

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The Bible in Today’s World

It was a very real honour and joy for the NRCBR and Newman University, yesterday (09/01/2020) to host the launch of the Birmingham diocese ‘The God who Speaks‘ programme for the Roman Catholic ‘Year of the Word (2020)‘.

The God who Speaks

The theme of the event was, ‘The God who Speaks: The Bible in Today’s World‘ and three talks that explored the (sometimes surprising) ways in which the Bible functions within the contemporary world.

Professor Susan Docherty (head of the Theology and Philosophy at Newman) extended a warm welcome to all and introduced the day.

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The Bible in Today’s World

January 9th 2020

Newman University

13.30 – 19.30

Is there still a place for the Bible in the modern world? It might be the sacred text of Christianity and as such central to the Christian faith and community. It might also be frequently counted as one of the most influential pieces of writing within Western history and (in regards to the King James Version) to English language. However, does this collection of ancient writings really have a place in the world of the 21st century? Why is it still read? In what ways is it still being used? Does it still have the capacity to influence our ideas and values?

Exploring these questions concerning the place and function of the Bible in today’s world is the focus of the ‘God who Speaks: The Bible in Today’s World‘ event at Newman University on January 9th. The event forms the launch of the Birmingham ‘The God who Speaks’ programme for the Catholic ‘Year of the Word (2020)‘ that celebrates the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) and the 1,600 of the death of St Jerome.

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Great free offer for ‘The God who Speaks’ (2020)

We are also delighted to announce that De Gruyter, the publishers of Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (EBR), which to date runs to 17 volumes, has very generously offered 30 days free access to the online EBR database to all those who have booked a place on our ‘The God who Speaks‘ event for the Year of the Word (2020).

The EBR is the definitive and authoritative source for biblical scholarship and contains over 30,000 articles written by over 4,000 authors from over 50 countries. Approximately 1,500 new articles are added each year by leading experts from over 20 fields. The database is fully searchable.

The editorial board is presided over by renowned international scholars: Constance Furey, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, and Eric J. Ziolkowski. The print edition of the encyclopedia was the winner of the 2010 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award.

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