Pupils given pocket gospel to mark translators' anniversary
Every child in a Church in Wales School in north-east and mid Wales is to receive a gift from the Bishop of St Asaph to celebrate the work of the Welsh Bible Translators, more than 400 years ago.
It is part of plans by the Diocese of St Asaph to mark the 400th anniversary of Edmund Prys’ 1621 translation of the Psalms into Welsh suitable for congregational singing. Prys and seven out of the eight Bible Translators were born in the Diocese of St Asaph and are commemorated by a memorial outside St Asaph Cathedral.
In partnership with the Pocket Testament League UK, a charity which promotes the distribution of St John’s Gospel, the Bishop of St Asaph has commissioned a bespoke edition of the Gospel in Welsh and English to be given to all 6,000 church school pupils. The book includes an introduction from the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron and information explaining the importance of the Bible translators.
Bishop Gregory said, “Christians believe that the Bible contains God’s message to humanity, summed up in the person of Jesus Christ. The translation of the Bible into Welsh is a remarkable story of how people can achieve something great through their joint commitment and their desire to make the story of Jesus known more widely. The story of the translation is very much part of our story too, as it is rooted here in the diocese of St Asaph.
“The work of William Morgan, Edmund Prys and all the translators is recognised as a major accomplishment, impacting on the language, society, culture and identity of the people of Wales.
"The publication of the Welsh Bible meant that people could at last hear and read the story of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ for themselves, in the language of their heart.”
A special cover has been created for the books, which will be distributed to all 51 church schools in the diocese of St Asaph ahead of the Church in Wales’ celebration of Edmund Prys on 15 May.
An online service celebrating work carried out by church schools to investigate the life and legacy of all the translators will be available to watch from Wednesday 12 May. The service will feature the Bishop of St Asaph and the Dean of St Asaph Cathedral as well as recorded music and singing from schools across the Diocese of St Asaph.
The service is the culmination of work carried out by schools across the diocese investigating the story and significance of the Bible translators. The schools’ officer for the Diocese of St Asaph, Jennie Downes, devised the learning programme with the Activities Coordinator at St Asaph Cathedral, Lorna Kernahan. Jennie said, “Translating the entire Bible into Welsh was crucial is keeping the Welsh language alive and flourishing. Our schools have been investigating the life and legacy of each translator and looking into the impact they’ve had on Wales.
“The story of the translators fits so well into the style of learning nurtured by the new curriculum for Wales. Learners are encouraged to investigate and uncover elements of the story for themselves and consider how this relates to their lives today.
“Alongside this, five schools have been working remotely with local artist, Juliet Staines, on a piece of commemorative art which will be on display in St Asaph Cathedral.”
Edmund Prys’ translation of the Psalms, Salmau Cân, was included as an appendix in the 1621 Welsh edition of the Book of Common Prayer. His version of Psalm 23 was translated into English, becoming the very popular hymn The King of Love My Shepherd Is.
On 2 June, St Asaph Cathedral will join with Westminster Abbey to celebrate the story of the translation of the Welsh Bible and the links between these two places. The virtual family day will explore the life and role of Gabriel Goodman, born in Ruthin, who went on to become Dean of Westminster Abbey and a key ally of Bishop William Morgan. To find out more about this event and book a space, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding for these events has been provided by Bible Society, the Archbishop Rice-Jones Charitable Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Pocket Testament League UK assisted with the production of the special edition of the Gospel according to John.