The Social Justice Bible Challenge
This Advent, join the St. Peter's community as we engage with the Word of God and explore issues of social justice, poverty, and compassion for all of God's children. This is a 40-day reading challenge, which we begin on December 4 and complete in January, transformed.
Why read the Bible?
The Bible Challenge began as a simple idea: to encourage daily reading of scripture. Simple ideas can bring forth great change.
Developing a daily spiritual discipline or practice is crucial for all Christians who wish to be faithful followers of Jesus. Saint Augustine and many other great Christians have written about the power of reading the Bible quietly on our own. There is no other book in the world that can so transform the human heart, motivate the human spirit, and give us the mind that was in Christ Jesus himself.
Regular engagement with the Bible develops a strong Christian faith, enhances our experience of worship, and helps to create a more committed, articulate, and contagious Christian. This is exactly what the world needs today.
Following the footsteps of Jesus, alongside exceptional leaders like Pope Francis and Bishop Curry, we can blend a passion for the Bible and fervent prayer with a strong call for social justice and combating poverty.
Founder, the Bible Challenge
Read with us
The Social Justice Bible Challenge is a 40-day reading plan. We will start in Advent and proceed through Christmas and into Epiphany. Although we will read individually, by participating as a larger group we will be supported in spirit and prayer by the whole St. Peter's community.
On each day of the challenge, participants will read a selected Bible passage and a reflection written by one of a variety of spiritual leaders and writers from around the world. There are also questions for reflection and a brief prayer.
Engage with us
As a community, we will be offering the following opportunities to engage with others who are also participating in the Bible Challenge:
- We will hold an Opening Plenary Session on Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 pm in the Hein Room. A Closing Session will be scheduled in January.
- Father Dirk will be at Panera Bread (Mounts Corner, Rt 537, Freehold) on most Tuesdays of the Challenge, at 7:00 pm.
- Clergy and formation staff will be available for group chats at Fellowship Hour each week of the Challenge in the Parish Hall.
- Father Dirk and other staff members will blog throughout the Challenge.
Minister with us
Members from ministries across the entire St. Peter's community will be participating in the Bible Challenge beginning this Advent. Ministry leaders are asked to include the day's reading and reflection questions at the beginning of their meetings during this period.
Additionally, St. Peter's continues to minister to the community in support of social justice in the Freehold area and beyond. Some of our outreach ministries in this area include:
- The St. Peter's Thrift Shop
- Friday night Community Suppers
- Feed All God's Children lunch program
- After School Tutoring
- Emergency Housing and Advocacy Program
- Open Door Food Pantry
- Various 12-step programs for those living with addiction
See our website or contact the office to participate in any of these programs!
How to Read the Bible Prayerfully (from The Center for Biblical Studies)
- We suggest that you try to read the Bible each day. This is a great spiritual discipline to establish.
- If you need more than forty days to complete the Social Justice Bible Challenge, we support you moving at the pace that works best for you. And if you want to keep going when you're done, a list of additional scripture citations is included in the back of the book. Keep reading!
- Other resources for learning more about the Bible and engaging scripture can be found at Forward Movement or at The Center for Biblical Studies. The center also offers a Read the Bible in a Year program, and reading plans for the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.
- Because the Bible is not a newspaper, it is best to read it with a reverent spirit. We advocate a devotional approach to reading the Bible, rather than reading it as a purely intellectual or academic exercise.
- Before reading the Bible, take a moment of silence to put yourself in the presence of God. We then invite you to read this prayer written by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer:
Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- We encourage you to read in the morning, if possible, so that your prayerful reading may spiritually enliven the rest of your day. If you cannot read in the morning, read when you can later in the day. Try to carve out a regular time for your daily reading.
- Have fun and find spiritual peace and the joy that God desires for you in your daily reading. The goal of the Center for Biblical Studies is to help you discover God's wisdom and to create a lifelong spiritual practice of daily Bible reading so that God may guide you through each day of your life.