Bring lasting peace to Northern Ireland through World Day of Prayer
Bibles for Babies crosses the oceans
When religion has been blamed for lasting divisions in society, as in Northern Ireland, the church can often be seen as an obstacle rather than a solution to lasting peace.
That’s why the Bible Society of Northern Ireland (BSNI) is collaborating with churches across denominations in its Whole Family Engagement Plan, which aims to bring God’s good plan of peace to children, families and young people through fresh Bible resources.
Bible Society Australia supports Northern Ireland’s project under the umbrella of World Day of Prayer for 2022, which is celebrated in hundreds of churches across Australia and 170 countries worldwide tomorrow, March 4.
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Northern Ireland is still a deeply divided place more than 20 years after the ceasefires that brought an end to “The Troubles” – the many years of sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants that led to the deaths of more than 3500 people.
With identity and religion intertwined in the region, numerous towns and communities are still divided along sectarian lines, and violence can spark at a moment’s notice.
The past two years of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns have only added new causes for grief and lament.
That’s why BSNI is planning to support babies and their families in the early years of a child’s life by sending each baby a storybook Bible upon registration. Then sending greeting cards and Bible resources on each birthday until the child reaches the age of five when they will receive an age-appropriate Bible for use in the coming years.
“This is a simple act of generosity from Bible Society of Northern Ireland to new babies and their families.”
“This is a simple act of generosity from Bible Society of Northern Ireland to new babies and their families. We want to reach as many babies and their families with God’s word in Northern Ireland,” says Catherine Little, general secretary of Bible Society of Northern Ireland.
The Bibles for Babies program is modelled on Bible Society Australia’s Bibles for Bubs, which has provided more than 10,000 free Storybook Bibles to our nation’s babies since 2018. The program encourages families to make engaging with God’s word a daily habit from the earliest days of a child’s life.
BSNI has also created a year-long family Bible reading program that takes readers through the Bible’s big story. In addition, the team has developed a small group resource. Daring to Hope is aimed at helping adults who are weary after two years of lockdowns to pause, reflect and understand God’s sovereignty and goodness through mourning and grief.
World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical Christian women’s initiative that began in the US and Canada in 1927. Last year in Australia, 26,880 people attended 861 services across the country, slightly down on the pre-COVID figures of 29,890 people who attended 932 services in 2020.
This year the host countries are Wales, Northern Ireland and England and the theme is:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not harm you,
Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
According to the WDP website, God’s promise to his people in exile in Babylon invites us to also place our trust in God in times of suffering and uncertainty, such as a global pandemic.
BSNI would love to get these resources into the hands of as many people as possible in Northern Ireland. For more information and resources, head to World Day of Prayer’s website.