Proclamation is the reading of God’s word aloud in public and in its entirety from beginning to end, traditionally over a 10 day period. Reading schedules have been developed integrating Old Testament readings with Psalms and Proverbs and New Testament readings.
For many Canadians, both those who listen and read it is a remarkable new experience. But the roots are as old as the book of Nehemiah, where in the eight chapter, Ezra and the priest reads the law aloud to the whole assembly of Israel from beginning to end and spiritual renewal follows.
As well as reinvigorating the church, Proclamation is a public witness. The events bring together many different congregations, parishes from many denominations and confessions. This co-operative spirit makes a powerful statement of unity to the community.
Proclamation: The Word of the Lord/La Parole du Seigneur began in the Spring of 1995 when some 200 people representing many different denominations and speaking more than 12 different languages came together in the small Anglican parish of St. James in Rosemère (Quebec) to read the Bible over a 10-day period.
In 1998, Proclamation was held at 5 locations in the Montreal area with 2000 readers. In Nova Scotia, 2 events brought together some 1000 persons from over 30 churches; and in Brockville almost 400 readers from 16 churches took part in a Proclamationevent and Brockville has continued to host an annual event.
As of 2001, every province in Canada had experienced at least one Proclamation event. Proclamation continues to grow and to encourage more and more Canadians to proclaim the Word of the Lord publicly in their communities.
Rolling through my mind over and over, during those months of preparation was the determination that “come what may”, we will accomplish this, even if I would need to do many readings myself. Of course, that didn’t happen, in that way, since we had almost 300 people sign in to read several times each, and had a team of approximately 25 strong, willing leaders, who took on various aspects of the 10-day operation. I marvelled at the unity and joy in participation. From 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each of those days, groups from various churches, and family connections, and many individual readers came – interesting to listen to and to watch, and a delight to meet and chat with them. Also to take note of the building up of relationships within these small groups, joining together, with their focus around God’s Word, has been something to ponder and remember.
I believe, for those who participated, God has given new desires and a fresh glimpse of how much we need this daily “road map” and guide and comfort. The comments received at the time are on-going, and very encouraging.