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New Faith Formation Program Features The Saint John’s Bible Illuminations

For years, pilgrims have journeyed to Saint John's to see firsthand the breathtaking pages of The Saint John's Bible, the first hand written, illuminated Bible to be commissioned in over 500 years. Countless others have encountered the beauty and mystery of this project through museum and print exhibitions that have crossed the globe. What hasn't been available, until now, is a formal program for individuals and groups that marries the experience of viewing the illuminations from The Saint John's Bible with a faith-formation program.

Over the past two years the faculty from The School of Theology·Seminary at Saint John's University have collaborated and then piloted with Liturgical Press a new program that combines the illuminations from The Saint John's Biblewith a prayer practice called visio divina or divine seeing. Named Seeing the Word, this program is intended for a diverse range of audiences interested in using The Saint John's Bible as a tool to enrich and ignite their spiritual imagination.

Barbara Sutton leads a group using the Seeing The Word program.  Photo Credit: Mike Becker.

Piloted early in 2010 with over twenty faith communities across the country, the main component of the Seeing the Word program is a four page Reflection Guide. This deceptively simple piece takes participants through a flexible process of reading scripture, meditating or praying on that scripture, viewing a corresponding illumination from The Saint John's Bible, discussing the illumination and a final concluding prayer.

Each Reflection Guide features a four-color reproduction illumination from The Saint John's Bible . Users are encouraged to take notes and write personal reflections. Photo Credit: Mike Becker.



Additional facilitator materials will be available in early 2011, including a Program Manual, music and projectable illuminations. (Covers may change). Photo Credit: Mike Becker.

Five Reflection Guides, each featuring a single illumination, are now available in packets of ten that include a two-page facilitator's guide. Two Reflection Guides, Birth of Christ and Messianic Predictions, can easily be implemented into existing Advent and Christmas season programs. The remaining guides will make excellent additions to Lenten programming, sacramental preparation courses and small faith-sharing leadership training sessions. The entire scope of the program will culminate in thirty separate reflection guides, with five new guides to be released every spring and fall for the next three years.

Starting in early 2011, additional facilitator materials will be available. Developed by Barbara Sutton, Associate Dean, Formation and Outreach at the School of Theology·Seminary, the Seeing the Word: Program Manual provides facilitators with guidance for leading groups, timing for sessions, further insight into sacred art and a wealth of additional information intended to assist facilitators in creating an enriching and meaningful experience. As an added bonus, several video resources are included with the program manual that offer additional background, guidance, and helpful suggestions for group facilitators. Saint John's Abbey's very own Abbot John Klassen, OSB, provides a Benedictine perspective on the history and practice of lectio divina.

The Saint John's Bible has a very real ability to revitalize the mind and rejuvenate the spirit. Combining this with visio divina, Seeing the Word helps make Sacred Scripture come alive and speak to the hearts of participants.

Click here to watch a new video on Seeing the Word.

In This Issue

• New Faith Formation Program
   Features Saint John’s Bible
   Illuminations

• Upcoming Exhibitions & Events

See the Bible

Print Exhibitions

Historical and Cultural Society
of Clay County

Moorhead, MN
October 4 - January 3, 2011

Carroll Art Gallery at Carroll College
Helena, MT
January 10 - March 1, 2011

Central Presbyterian Church
Atlanta, GA
January 23 - March 3, 2011


Find a gallery near you >



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