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Anglicans pursue goal of reading 100 passages in Bible

| Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Over the next year, people in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will be reading 100 Bible passages.

Last month, more than 4,000 people from 48 churches in the Pittsburgh region began to read 100 "essential" readings in the Bible -- 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament.

The E100 challenge is a Bible reading plan that provides an overview of the biblical narratives and aims to advance participants' knowledge of the Bible through regular reading.

Each week, people use a punch card to keep track of what they have read.

The program was developed and promoted by the Biblical Literacy Task Force -- a group that promotes biblical literacy within the diocese -- in conjunction with international biblical literacy advocacy group Scripture Union.

Local Anglican churches participating are St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Monroeville; St. Alban's Anglican Church, Murrysville; and St. James Episcopal Church and All Saints Anglican Episcopal Church, both in Penn Hills.

Fred Carlson of Monroeville, a member of St. Alban's Anglican Church, is one of seven members of the Biblical Literacy Task Force. He said the group was formed 18 months ago, when Archbishop Robert Duncan announced he wanted to increase biblical literacy within the diocese.

"This directly helps people with regular Bible habits and Bible knowledge," Carlson said. "Very rarely do people read through the Bible completely."

Theresa Newell of Sewickley enthusiastically embraces the program.

"We had never tried this before," she said. "We had to get ourselves educated and work with pastors throughout the region to implement the program. This is an encouragement to get the big picture and to get the story."

Allie Overly of Oakmont joined the group this year. She said she's excited that the challenge has taken off.

"It thrilled me to see that it was finally realized that churches are biblically literate," she said.

Through the program, people read passages on their own, and pastors incorporate the readings into the week's lesson.

David Trautman, director of communications for the diocese, said he hopes the challenge reaches more people.

"It has turned into a movement I don't think people foresaw," he said. "It's been a contagious thing."

Newell agreed.

"We'd like to challenge other churches to promote real Christian unity," she said. "The sky is the limit with this thing. It'd be neat if it caught on throughout Pittsburgh."

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