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Not just “the Church of English” March 4, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Bible Translation, worship.
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” whilst she loved worshipping with her sisters and brothers in her faltering English she always longed to worship in her own language. We had no resources then to help.” – a fragment from the sermon by the Bishop of Durham at the launch of a new Farsi Communion service.

The Bishop was relating an incident in 1994 at a point when Farsi resources existed and had long been used by the church in Iran but would not have easy to find in the UK.

Since 1994 the number of languages with a complete Bible have doubled to 692 and the number of languages with some portion of scripture has gone from 2100 to 3352. Many of these are available on Bible apps already installed on peoples phones across the world.

Official and unofficial translations of liturgy have also been part of the mission of the church for centuries. Portions of the Church if England’s Book of Common Prayer were translated into at least 200 languages. Many of these have been made available online in recent years.

How many clergy and church members know how to find and share these and other resources?

How much do we see language as a barrier to overcome without also recognising that language is also expression of identity? Even when the English is no longer “faltering” there is something special about connecting with God using the language of your childhood, especially if it is still the language you use most at home.

There are over 300 languages spoken by people living in our country. I believe more should be spoken and sung in praise of God in our churches and am beginning to collect and compile resources and ideas for simple steps in using languages other than English within churches in the UK.

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