On Saturday, March 18, 110 people gathered at St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, to participate in the “Walk Thru the Old Testament,” an interactive event guiding and educating participants about the stories in the Old Testament of The Bible.
The event was sponsored by the Diocesan Department of Christian Education. It was the sixth “Walk Thru the Bible” event sponsored and hosted by a Diocesan parish.
Parishioners from St. Leon’s Church, Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, and members of youth groups, Bible study groups and individuals from area churches spent five hours miming, speaking, gesturing, laughing and praying their way through the entire Old Testament.
Roger Petersen, a professor at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA, and veteran instructor of “Walk Thru the Bible” for 35 years, led the retreat. Between brief explanations of content, he dynamically guided participants through gestures and mnemonic techniques to help them learn and remember stories from the Old Testament, from Creation through the prophetic voices that preceded the coming of Christ. At various times, audience members imagined they were the great cities, rivers, and seas of Bible times.
Participants enthusiastically praised the biblical journey they undertook at the event. “I was very impressed with how much I learned from his method of teaching in such a short period of time,” said Toleen Farah.
The Old Testament journey would frequently pause in prayerful reflection and apply biblical lessons to people’s daily lives. Another inspiring moment included the final exercise when the entire audience faced each other in two groups and in responsorial style read verses from Genesis and then Revelation as people were moved to see the parallels and how all was promised fulfillment in time “when death and sorrow would be no more and we would once again see the Lord’s face.” (Rev 21:4; 22:4)
“This really brought the Bible to life, said Maralle Arakelian, a teenager participant from New Milford, NJ. “it became 10 times more interesting.”
The Eastern Diocese and the Department of Christian Education plan to host more “Walk Thru the Bible” events in the future.