Naomi Dunn is International Advocacy Support Officer at the British and Foreign Bible Society.
There is boundless creativity within the UBS fellowship for Bible advocacy
This was the response of one of the participants at the Global Advocacy Exchange at the end of our week together in Siem Reap, Cambodia, when asked about the most valuable thing they had learnt. The event brought together representatives from over 19 Bible Societies and partner organisations for a week of learning and sharing on the theory and practice of Bible advocacy. It was a fantastic, vibrant week full of inspiration and conversation.
The Global Advocacy Exchange is just one of the ways in which IBAC aims to support and resource those working to develop Bible advocacy projects. Through teaching, discussion and the sharing of experiences, participants can grow in confidence about the place of advocacy within our mission as Bible Societies, and the opportunities they can take hold of for advocacy within their own contexts.
Developing projects in the arts
This year’s event focused on how Bible advocacy can address socio-political issues, and particularly on developing projects in the arts. Participants drew inspiration from Bible Society in Cambodia’s advocacy performance, Spean Metrey, which uses theatre to explore the biblical message of forgiveness and reconciliation 40 years after the genocide. Taking this as our starting point, we spent the week discussing how to develop projects that are deeply rooted within culture, advocating for the Bible in an engaging and relevant way.
Andy Frost, Director of Share Jesus International, brought some great insight on why we should advocate for the Bible, and how we can start to set up projects that gather people with a common vision together. We then reflected on and shared our own approaches to Bible advocacy – both successes and challenges. It was really encouraging to hear about the breadth of advocacy work being done around the Fellowship, from the Bible Society of Costa Rica’s work with artists and journalists to the Palestinian Bible Society’s work with the Muslim community there.
There is so much existing work to be proud of, as well as opportunity for the future.
Quality and creativity
One of the highlights of the week was an ongoing small group task to create a new Bible advocacy project. Bible Societies from similar contexts worked together to create an innovative project idea in response to a given context. We were blown away by the quality and creativity of the ideas that emerged, ranging from a dressmaking advocacy and income generation project with vulnerable women in Asia, to a viral social media campaign around football violence in South America. The diversity was incredible and a perfect embodiment of the ‘boundless creativity’ in the fellowship.
Bible advocacy is a rapidly growing area of ministry within the UBS fellowship, and there is so much to be encouraged about. At IBAC, we’re excited to play our part in this; helping those Bible Societies who are looking for support and guidance as they develop projects of this kind. We welcome any and all Bible Societies to get in touch with us, and we look forward to having some of you with us for next year’s Global Advocacy Exchange in South Africa.
Although IBAC exists to foster conversations on Bible advocacy-related issues, the views or opinions represented in this blog are solely those of the author