Local coordinator Ruth Larson will lead a group in reading from the Bible as part of Georgia’s first Statewide Bible Reading Sunday at the old Baldwin County courthouse. The reading will kick off at 7:14 a.m. and last about 45 minutes.
In the Bible, after dedicating Israel’s Temple, Solomon heard from God as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14— “If my people who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
That verse spurred a movement to hold simultaneous readings of the Bible across U.S. states and nations worldwide. Georgia will participate for the first time in 2019. Representatives from each of the state’s 159 counties will meet at their respective courthouses at 7:14 a.m. on July 14 (7/14) to read from a selected portion of scripture. Together, residents will simultaneously read through the Bible in its entirety.
Jerri Tuck, secretary of the Cochran-Bleckley Ministerial Alliance, who has helped lead Bible reading events in Georgia, including the annual Bible Reading Marathon in Milledgeville, is coordinating the logistics of the reading statewide. Tuck began organizing the event after Iowa event coordinator Dianne Bentley contacted her.
“What I am hoping to do is encourage Christians to go their courthouses at 7:14 a.m. on Sunday morning, July 14 (7-14-19) and read a small part of scripture simultaneously with Christians in every county in Georgia,” Tuck said in a letter to prospective participants.
In Baldwin County, Larson has led a Bible Reading Marathon for 12 years after forming a friendship with Tuck. Due to logistical reasons, the marathon will be on hiatus in 2019, but Larson said she hopes to hold both events each year in the future.
“Usually, we have the Bible Reading Marathon, and we’ve been doing it for 12 years, and it takes about six days. This year, due to the work that they’ve been doing at the courthouse, we decided to wait, and in the meantime, (Jerri Tuck) called me and said, ‘why don’t you join us for this project — the statewide reading?’ So this is gonna take no more than an hour. It will take probably 45 minutes,” Larson said.
Larson said Tuck started recruiting counties in May, with Baldwin as one of the first to sign on. As of Tuesday morning, every county in Georgia was set to participate in the event.
“Every county in Georgia,” Larson said. “I tell you, that’s not an easy task.”
Larson said there might be only a handful in attendance locally— or there might be a crowd. Either way, the word of God will have an effect, she said.
“As Christians, we believe that the word of God is powerful. We’re releasing the power, the spoken word, into the atmosphere. I know that that brings change. We might not see it immediately, but as a group of the faithful ones, we have been able to see how God has protected us many times,” Larson said. “God has been faithful with us, and that’s what it’s gonna take for the nation. This is why we’re doing this according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. We believe that if we as a state come together in unity, what a powerful statement that is.”
Groups from six other states and at least seven countries worldwide will also participate Sunday in simultaneously reading from the Bible.
The public is invited to arrive at the old courthouse at 7 a.m. to be a part of the local reading. Those in attendance are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. Readers will cover Genesis 31-36.