In February 2020 the phonelines were hot between Biblica and the Scottish Bible Society (SBS) as a unique edition of Mark’s Gospel was finalised and published. The plan was that 7,000 copies would be distributed to churches and individuals across Scotland to share in their communities with a further 3,000 copies for Scripture Union Scotland to use at their 2020 Summer Camps.
It will not surprise you that when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Scotland and the country went into lockdown, the plans were shelved and the 10,000 copies of Mark’s Gospel, which arrived just 2 days before lockdown, went into storage.
A number of months on we were keen to get an update from SBS and to find out about other projects Biblica have been involved with, so we had a chat with Fiona McDonald, Director of National Ministries.
On Mark’s Gospel Fiona said “First off they are beautiful books! We are so pleased with them. They are beautifully illustrated to show contemporary life and designed to be an accessible read for those outside the church”. Fiona went on to confirm that “they arrived just as lockdown began and so we had to warehouse them as distribution was impossible”.
However, Fiona explained that in the months that followed they were able to send copies to some churches which was great in terms of getting some early feedback from others. One rural church in the Highlands of Scotland had been distributing ‘Boxes of Blessing’ containing various essentials for people who were having to isolate due to the pandemic. The boxes contained food, toiletries, games and a copy of Mark’s Gospel. Rev. Andrea Boyes said, “When we packed up the boxes in the food bank, we included a copy of Mark’s Gospel, and have given out 300 so far. Such a great opportunity to spread the message of hope found in God’s word while showing practical love and care”.
Fiona told us that SBS had planned to distribute copies of Mark’s Gospel at a couple of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As the Festival was cancelled, many theatre groups have been forced to take the unprecedented step of moving online. Not to be left behind, SBS have been involved with a group of actors in creating an 11-part audio drama for a serialized podcast, based on the book of Ruth in the Bible, called “Where You Go”. Having sorted out the licensing with Biblica, SBS set about using Ruth in NIrV, printing a give-away booklet for families linking with the audio drama.
Fiona said “this has been such a success story of our Summer. A few thousand families have benefitted from our Ruth themed ‘Bag of Love’. We created a 5-day online event that could be used in place of holiday bible clubs, which included activities and an episode from the audio drama of Ruth. So far there have been 1,400 downloads of the audio drama, and it was even featured on BBC Radio Scotland”.
(You can access the audio drama here: https://scottish.bible/bible2020/whereyougo/)
On behalf of SBS, Fiona said “Biblica has been enormously and incredibly flexible. People like Trevor Wilson and Marius Roetz have been so willing to help us as we have moved to get more of the Bible online.”
Just when we thought the conversation was over, Fiona let us know that following on from the Ruth audio drama, SBS are planning to run an Advent version. It is clear that the Scottish Bible Society are adapting and evolving in these times to continue to put the Bible into people’s hands and hearts, and we at Biblica are so blessed to be part of that with them.