pastor michael hall
May 1, 2012 – Some 540 pilgrims joined Faith and Action to read God’s word aloud for 90 continuous hours on Capitol Hill during the 23rd National Bible Reading Marathon. They preached in God’s own words during daylight, dusk, dark and dawn; during sunshine and rain; during warmth and cold.
Most of the readings were in English, but this year we were also blessed to hear sacred scripture read in Chinese and Russian, a stark reminder that generations of Chinese and Russian Christians suffered torture and death at the hands of communist regimes if they dared to read the Bible and worship God.
Hearing Bible passages in Chinese was also fittingly poetic as the brave blind Chinese attorney, human rights activist, husband and father, Chen Guangcheng, had reportedly escaped house arrest in China. Among other atrocities, Mr. Chen protested his government’s one-child policy and the government brutally forcing pregnant mothers to abort their unborn children.
This year, Reverend Rob Schenck was on sabbatical to finish his doctoral dissertation. Therefore, the 23rd National Bible Reading Marathon was led by Faith and Action’s chief of program, Peggy Nienaber, and our friend, Pastor Michael Hall. Patty Bills from Faith and Action also welcomed hundreds of individuals and bus loads of church groups. For the first time during this longstanding tradition, no members of Congress attended because they were on district recess.
On Friday, the Christian Post interviewed Terry Shaffer Hall. Read the report by clicking here.
On Sunday, the Associated Press wrote: “Readers on Saturday persevered through a cold rain that forced cancellation of other outdoor events. Mitchell says a waterproof Bible was used during those hours.
“After reading a portion of the Psalms Sunday under sunny skies, Sarah Miller said she considered it a privilege to read the Scriptures from the Capitol steps, looking west toward the Washington Monument.”
At the closing ceremony, Shelly Walsh sang “Temporary Home,” “Jesus Takes the Wheel,” and she led everyone in singing “God Bless America.”
We all recited “The Lord’s Prayer,” otherwise known as the “Our Father.”
CNN joined us today and interviewed Pastor Hall.
On Faith and Action’s Facebook, Lisa Hnath wrote: “So glad you are reading God’s word! He promises to watch over His word, to perform it and that it won’t return fruitless but will accomplish His divine purpose. Blessings on you and our great land, the United States of America.”
Thank you, Lisa. Faith and Action thanks everyone who read scripture with us and stopped to listen to God’s saving words of truth, love, justice and mercy.
Faith and Action president and lead missionary Rev. Rob Schenck launched the 20th annual US Capitol Bible Reading Marathon Sunday night, May 3, from the famed West Steps of the US Capitol, only a few yards from where the president swears the oath of office on Inauguration Day.
As part of opening ceremonies, he read Genesis Chapters one and two, including the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, in its original Hebrew. Over three and half days, scores of readers will stand at a podium shaped like an open Bible and proclaim God’s Word aloud, verbatim and without interruption or commentary. The reading will last a total of 90 hours. It will conclude on Thursday afternoon, May 7, the National Day of Prayer.
A steady rain and cold temperatures on Sunday tested the commitment of organizers and volunteers.
“You can get anything in Washington at this time of the year,” said Pastor Michael Hall of Washington’s People’s Church, who together with his wife, Terri, have coordinated the event for each of its 20 years. “A few years we had sun and warm temperatures. It really spoiled us.”
Most of the other years, though, have been like this one, cold, rainy and blustery. Still, volunteers come and so do the tourists. Bus loads of sightseers disgorged from buses into the late evening hours on Sunday, pausing to listen as chapters in Genesis and Exodus echoed off the stone walls of the imposing Capitol.
During the preliminary prayer and dedication ceremony, singer Linda Keller of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, performed her original song, “One Nation Under God.” She was helped by a back-up vocal ensemble of young teens called, “Kids’ Connection.”
“One of the really wonderful aspects of this event is the diversity of participants,” said Rob Schenck. “The kids’ ensemble was mainly African-American, readers will be from every ethnic group imaginable, plus we’ll hear the Bible in numerous languages and dialects. Members of Congress come to read and they will be from both parties. It speaks to the universality of the Bible’s message and appeal.”
The entire Marathon can be viewed live over the Internet at www.faithandaction.org/web.
Rev. Schenck will preside at the official closing of the Marathon on Thursday. Following the ceremony he will go the US Supreme Court to conduct the only National Day of Prayer observance held each year at the High Court.