By John Pontifex
Help is at hand for UK families with young children stuck at home during the Covid-19 lockdown thanks to a new initiative involving a familiar friend – the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Child’s Bible.
Devised by the schools’ team of the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, the ACN UK Child’s Bible project is based on ‘God speaks to his Children’, the little red book of paraphrased Scripture stories beloved of children all over the world.
Now, more than 30 years after the Child’s Bible first appeared, ACN has begun collecting videos of people reading and reflecting on each of the stories, recordings which are being released chapter by chapter to inspire youngsters doing home-schooling during the lockdown.
About 25 bishops from Argyll and the Isles in Scotland to Plymouth in south-west England are among those who have signed up to do a video recording of themselves reading extracts of the book.
Headteachers, lay leaders as well as ACN staff and volunteers have also taken their share of the readings – 99 chapters in total – and even UK actor Alex Macqueen, who appeared in last year’s Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, recently took part in the initiative, reading the chapter for Monday 27th April.
For each weekday a video is uploaded onto ACN’s YouTube channel, along with a reflection on the story by each reader.
The initiative, which comes in response to a Bible focus ‘The God who speaks’ set by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, celebrates the enduring value of the little red book, which has been translated into 190 languages with more than 51 million copies printed.
Dr Caroline Hull, ACN UK’s community outreach manager, said: “ACN project partners around the world tell us that the Child’s Bible is in some cases the only book a child will ever own.
“The Child’s Bible project provides a fresh opportunity for youngsters to learn the story of our faith, to grow in their understanding of how God has spoken through the ages and have plenty of fun along the way with crafts, drama, puzzles and other challenges.”
The Child’s Bible Project is designed to be used at home while schools are closed, but will also work well in a classroom setting. Children can follow the chapters in numerical order, or make use of individual chapters to complement topics covered in other lessons.
• A chapter of the ACN Child’s Bible Project videos is promoted each weekday through to the end of August 2020 through Twitter (@ACN_Schools, @ACNUK_NW and @ACN_Scotland). Weekly workbooks (including links to the videos) and interactive games can be found on the ACN UK website (https://acnuk.org/resource/childs-bible-project/). Copies of ‘God speaks to his Children’, the ACN Child’s Bible can be purchased directly from ACN’s website (https://acnuk.org/products/childs-bible-god-speaks-to-his-children/). Discounts on larger orders may be available for schools and parishes within the UK; please contact our schools’ team for more information ([email protected]).
• ACN’s schools team invites schools and families to join in the Maisy Milk Rosary for Peace – one decade of the Rosary each day for one week beginning on 11th May – asking for Our Lady’s intercession on behalf of Syrian families and Nigerian widows and orphans. (https://acnuk.org/resource/maisy-milk-rosary-for-peace/).
Picture: A youngster from Togo with a copy of ACN’s Child’s Bible (Aid to the Church in Need).