Two boys fully immersed in an Open the Book assembly in Newcastle before the pandemic spread into Britain. Photo credit: Bible Society

Schools remain open to the word of God despite pandemic

One thing the pandemic has failed to stop is Bible storytelling at schools in England and Wales through our Open the Book programme, writes Martha Flavell

When lockdown started, I expected that would be the end of Open the Book volunteers leading Bible story assemblies for the remainder of the school year. How wrong I was!

Instead of putting things on hold, Open the Book storytellers were inspired to find new ways they could follow government guidance and still deliver assemblies to children.

The pandemic was unable to stop the Open the Book team
in Merton, London from sharing Bible stories with children.
Photo credit: Bible Society

One Storyteller told me she was initially intimidated by online technology. Now she’s recording Bible stories with her team and Zooming them into schools, using the online platform that’s become a buzz word of 2020. A school in Kingston sent Team Leader Sarah Rogers this response: ‘What a wonderful video, so lovely to see you all. I know how long recordings of lessons take, so I appreciate the time you all have taken to produce this. I have forwarded it to staff to use with the children as we all miss you terribly.’ 

In October, ten new teams registered with us and about 50 people participated in our online Zoom training sessions.

One school’s staff team wrote and asked, ‘Could you send us written resources to go with the Open the Book assembly stories?’

This was the first time we’d been asked to do this, so I was excited. I set to work writing resources that provided fun and interactive ways for children to go deeper into the Bible stories with games, maps, maths, crafts and things for the whole family to discuss about the stories. These were made available to storytelling teams to send to schools and on to parents who were home schooling. Children and school staff have always loved Open the Book, but suddenly these stories were going into homes and reaching not just the children, but parents too. These resources were downloaded more than a thousand times in June and July.

School staff members have also been praying for the Open the Book ministry. The Redditch Team in Worcestershire were told by their school, ‘You’ve ministered to us for years and we are now praying for you all.’ When a team member was admitted to hospital with Covid-19, the school prayed for him and thanked God as he recovered.

The wonderful end result is that the pandemic has failed to derail Open the Book, and instead the ministry continues to grow.

At the time of writing, the future remains uncertain, but one thing I do know: God has made a way for the children to continue to hear these stories.

Pray Day is the third Tuesday of November every year when schools across Europe and around the world are the focus of prayer. Please join with us in praying for these children and also for the Storytellers, that they will receive God-given inspiration and strength to continue this wonderful part of Bible Mission.

Martha Flavell is Open the Book’s Regional Training and Development Officer.

Find out more about Open the Book

A version of this story first appeared in our Bible a Month prayer letter. You can change someone’s life for good every month by joining Bible a Month. Regular giving, of even just £10 a month, allows long-term plans to be made to ensure Bible mission has maximum impact. Join us and receive a bi-monthly prayer letter through the post full of inspiring stories of how your giving is transforming lives through the word of God.

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