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Children from CofE primary schools Christ Church, Charnock Richard (top pic); The Redeemer, Blackburn (second pic); Christ Church, Lancaster (third pic) and St Michael’s, Kirkham (bottom pic) were just some of many thousands of youngsters who received special certificates recently from the soon-to-retire Bishop of Lancaster, the Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, to mark their successful completion of his Bible Challenge.

The aim of the Bishop’s Bible Challenge was to encourage children in school years 3-6 across Lancashire church schools to explore and respond to the New Testament Gospel of Luke.

Launched at schools throughout Lancashire in September last year, some 3000 children completed the eight activities which were set each month from October 2016 to May 2017.

The children pictured, who have completed all eight activities, received a special Bishop’s Bible Challenge Certificate and a mini edition of the book ‘Diary of a Disciple’. Each school has also been given hardback copies of the full version of the book, which are available to the children in their classrooms and libraries.

Bishop Geoff, who established the first Bible Challenge five years ago, was keen to personally present as many certificates as possible to children that completed the challenge.

He has personally met with more than 2000 of the participants from schools and parish groups to congratulate them for their efforts, and encourage them to enjoy reading more of the Bible.

The remaining certificates have been presented by other members of the team who worked on the initiative.

The response from the children (and teachers) that participated has been hugely positive. Quotes from the youngsters who took part included:

  • ‘I’ve enjoyed it so much, learning and doing all the challenges.’
  • ‘When’s the next one coming out?’
  • ‘Can we do it again next year?’
  • ‘It’s been so much fun learning all about the Bible.’

Bishop Geoff, who retires on July 31, said: "I have been thrilled by the enthusiasm for the Challenge, the committed leadership of the teaching staff in making it happen and the grasp of the eight bible stories from Luke's Gospel.

“Some schools have displays about the challenge and have done a lot more with the children on each topic than just earning a sticker.

“The co-operation between Northern Inter-Schools Christian Union (NISCU) and our Diocesan Board of Education has been brilliant. And so many teachers have made the challenge live for the children.

“Going around the schools and giving out several thousand certificates and books has been thrilling, and I could not think of a better way to end my time in the diocese.”

Debbie Green, from NISCU, which helped to organise the Challenge with Blackburn Diocese, added: "What a wonderful response to the Bishop's Bible Challenge. 

“With 3000 children completing it, it's been an honour to meet some of those who worked through all eight activities based on Luke's gospel. 

“May God continue to inspire them through His word and bless those members of staff who encouraged them and helped to make this possible.”

 

Ronnie Semley, July 21, 2017