|by Bible Network News Staff|
|BRANTFORD, Ontario, Canada, April 24, 2006 — Hollywood could not have come up with a better story. A First-Nations boy snatched out of his burning village by a Scottish soldier in 1760. Raised in Scotland by the soldier who saved his life, he had his own child, John Norton, who would make his way to Canada as a soldier. There, Norton was attracted to the ways of his father’s ancestors and subsequently left the army to become Teyoninhokarawen — a First Nations warrior who led his Six Nations people as allies to the British, fighting against the Americans in the War of 1812…
But that’s not all he did. In 1804 this First Nations leader and war hero translated the Bible’s Gospel of John into Mohawk.
Teyoninhokarawen’s most lasting legacy will be re-enacted and celebrated for the public at 3:00 pm on June 25 at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks in Brantford, Ont.
His gift to his people was the Gospel of John. His gift to the world was the first ever foreign translation of the Bible Society-a movement that would sweep the globe publishing, translating and distributing the Scriptures.
In Canada, that movement lives on in 2006, as the Canadian Bible Society celebrates 100 years of translating, publishing, distributing and encouraging the use of the Bible in Canada.
"John Norton’s story really is amazing," says Dennis Hillis, district director of the Canadian Bible Society for South Central Ontario. "He played a significant role in the War of 1812, but even before that, his translation of the Gospel of John marked the beginning of something so much bigger than himself."
The June 25th commemoration includes a re-enactment of the arrival of the first 500 copies of the Gospel of John in Mohawk at the very spot where this special delivery took place 200 years ago.
The highlight of the ceremony will be a reading from one of the original translations of the Gospel of John (only two are known to still exist) that Norton created for his people.
Copies of both the children’s book and the movie about Norton’s life will be available July 1 through your local CBS District Office.
By Keich Whicker
Telegraph Staff Writer
People of faith from across the state will converge on Cochran next week to participate in the state’s only annual Bible marathon, as volunteers take turns reading Bible passages from the steps of the Bleckley County Courthouse until the entire work has been finished.
The third annual marathon will kick off Friday when 6-year old Elijah Phinazee reads the Book of Genesis and will end on the National Day of Prayer on May 4 after 98-year old Virginia Hallet reads the last chapter of the last book and 101-year old Estelle Holland recites the Lord’s Prayer.
The idea of reading the entire Bible from beginning to end began in 1990 when the International Bible Reading Association read it from the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Since then, the practice has spread to numerous countries and dozens of states.
"We were the first ones to do it in the state of Georgia," said Jerri Tuck, one of the marathon’s facilitators.
Tuck said she seized on the idea of starting a reading marathon after learning about them from a series of devotional booklets.
"I just thought that would be a cool thing to do right here in Georgia," she said. "And why not Cochran? Why not a little community like this?"
Since it began in 2004, about 350 people from at least 45 churches have participated in the marathon each year, Tuck said.
"It’s been well received," she said, explaining that the event attracts people of all ethnic groups and of all Christian denominations. "It’s been a real unifying thing for the community."
Tuck said the marathon is split into 15-minute reading segments, which people can ask to sign up for. All told, it will take about 90 hours of reading from hundreds of individuals to cover all the pages between Genesis and Revelation.
The special guest for the opening night is Secretary of State Cathy Cox. On the National Day of Prayer, state Sen. Ross Tolleson will attend.
But neither of these guests is indicative of a political purpose behind the event, Tuck said.
"When this becomes a political thing, it loses the whole point," she said. "The point is to read and hear the word of God."
Given the nationwide debate about the separation of church and state, Tuck said many of the people who attend the event or hear about it from others later are surprised it exists and is able to operate on the steps of a government building.
"Most people are very excited and very amazed that we’re actually reading the Bible in public like that," she said. "You probably couldn’t do this in California or Massachusetts, but there’s not been anything but a favorable response here. … We have not had any flak from anybody about it."
But what about the actual reading? Does the prospect of having to read tricky names such as Bathsheba, Nebuchadnezzar and Methuselah out loud and in front of a large gathering of people trouble anyone?
"I tell people, ‘Don’t worry about the names,’ " Tuck said. "You’re reading for God, and he knows how to pronounce it, so just read it and do the best you can."
People interested in reading are encouraged to bring their own Bible, but Tuck said event organizers will have copies of the King James and New International Version available for anyone who arrives empty handed.
Of all the Bibles used during the event, the version prepared at the request of a Protestant English king more than 400 years ago is the one chosen more than any other.
"I think probably the most popular is the King James," Tuck said, referring to the version known and admired by many of the faithful for the poetic simplicity of its prose.
But not everyone will be reading the King James version, Tuck said.
In addition to hearing the Bible in the native tongue, people at the event will be able to hear it in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and two distinct Filipino dialects.
"It’s wonderful," Tuck said. "Some people just come and sit for hours and just listen."
To contact writer Keich Whicker, call 744-4494 or e-mail email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
People will be gathering next week in Cordele to read the Bible from cover to cover. The times of the reading sessions are:
6 p.m. to midnight Friday
6 a.m. to midnight Saturday
2 p.m. to midnight April 30
6 a.m. to midnight May 1
6 a.m. to midnight May 2
6 a.m. to midnight May 3
6 a.m. to midnight May 4
People interested in attending the event should call Jerri Tuck at (478) 230-8316. For more information about Bible marathons, visit www.biblepathway.com.