April 13, 2012 Hazel of Old Windsor (UK) Hazel's previous articles
Open the Book
Reading the article about children not knowing the Bible
stories, I thought you might be interested in a project that I am involved in in Old Windsor.
A group of about eight or nine of us from the Methodist Church, Anglican Church and me, led by the local Methodist (lady) Minister, go into the local primary school every Wednesday morning for their assembly, when we act out the traditional Bible stories, using simple props and involving three or four of the five year olds. No attempt is made to learn words and the costumes and props are extremely simple - tea towels for headdresses both for the children and adults and a quick shawl thrown over the shoulders - dressing gowns are very useful! For the dove leaving the ark and the descent of the Holy Spirit at the Baptism we used a cut-out dove at the end of a length of string dangling from the end of a pole!
This project is based on "The Lion Storyteller Bible" with an accompanying handbook and is called "Open-the-Book" (www.openthebook.net). We have been doing this since last September and gone through the Old Testament stories of Noah, Joseph, Moses, the Exodus, the fall of Jericho, etc. We did the Christmas story in the village hall and have just finished the boyhood of Jesus with the Finding in the Temple, so next week we begin his public ministry with the Baptism of Jesus, Jesus' Special friends and the glut of fishes and then Through the Roof!
The five-year-olds seem to enjoy our weekly visits and are beautifully behaved, and the staff, who are very supportive, often reiterate the message of the day - be kind to others etc, and we are getting known around the village and hear the children say "that's Open-the-Book" as we pass! I have a feeling this has started from the Methodists as it was their Minister who started it off here but it is spreading ecumenically throughout the UK - maybe Australia will follow suit? You may be able to pass it on if they haven't heard about it already! You may also find it useful in HK!