Picture credit: Bible Society / Clare Kendall

Cornish Bible app brings God to the beaches

It’s taken six translators more than 20 years, but today, Cornwall’s 532,300-strong population can read the Bible online.

Or at least, part of it. The New Testament and Psalms are now available as an app that’s intended to bring God to the Cornish.

It follows the county receiving National Minority status in April.

Translator Morris Watts said the app (which was supported by Bible Society) represented ‘unfinished business’ after the Cornish had been ‘denied the Bible in our own language’ in 1549.

There are an estimated 500 fluent Cornish speakers and a further 3-4,000 who can hold a conversation.

‘The Cornish have been fervently Christian,’ says Watts. ‘It’s been an important part of our culture.

‘But now anywhere you are in the world you can get this for free and read the Bible in your language.

‘It makes use of the modern technology. It’s really accessible now for people on their smartphones and brings the Bible into this century.

‘We should have done this years ago,’ he adds.

Forty-five year-old Conan Jenkin from Truro is on Perranporth beach with his children Elowenn (7), Kelyn (6) and Davey (2).

‘I’m more likely to read Bible stories to them now it’s an app,’ he said. Elowenn and Kelyn put in requests for Noah’s Ark and Jonah and the whale.

‘It’s brilliant,’ says Conan. ‘Most of the world has scripture and we have had to wait an awful long time.’

But surfers on Perranporth’s beach found the new app more challenging. Emily Owen (23) and Matt Timms (38) are leading a surfing beach mission.

‘It’s amazing how you can read French or Spanish and make sense of it,’ said Emily, ‘but Cornish looks so foreign.

‘But to be honest, anything that makes the Bible accessible to people has got to be a good thing.’

The message of the Angel Gabriel to Mary telling her that she will give birth to Jesus, read in every church at Christmas becomes, ‘Hayl, leun a ras, an Ardloedh genes. Bennigys os yn mysk benynes.’

The opening line of the Lord’s prayer goes from ‘Father, hallowed be thy name’, to ‘Pan wrewgh psyi, leverewgh, a Das, sanshes re bo dha hanow.’

And John 3:16, possibly the most well-known Bible verse, ‘For God so loved the world,’ starts, ‘Rag kemmys y karas Duw an bys.’

An Testament Nowydh ha'n Salmow 2014 (ABK) is available to download as part of the Bible app provided by Youversion.

Bringing the Bible to life

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