A biblical marathon

Area youths read entire Bible in three days
February 28, 2005

Episcopal youths from eastern Kansas retreated from the world in January for a weekend to practice early Christian traditions of reading aloud and meditating on the Bible.

They participated in a miqra, the ancient Hebrew word for a public reading of Scripture. The miqra -- a weekend retreat for teens held at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka, included a continuous reading of the Bible from Friday morning until Monday morning, a meditation walk and other religious instruction.

Cathedral youth coordinator Chad Senuta said 78 teens ranging from sixth to 12th grade from the church’s eastern diocese lived at the church with adult chaperones during the event.

Senuta said the miqra began in 2001 as a way to make Bible study less intimidating to teens in the congregation, he said. “I really like the idea of the Bible not only being in this place [in the church] but also going out."

Kathy Slawson, the cathedral’s campus minister, said eight or nine teens from Grace Cathedral attended the miqra, while most of the others came from congregations in Kansas City, Wichita and other neighboring cities.

“That’s one of the most exciting things about miqra, is coming together,” she said. “The cathedral is home.”

Steven King, 18, a student at Bishop Seabury Academy in Lawrence, said the weekend was a good way to involve younger teens in religious study. “It’s just kind of cool to know the Bible’s being read,” he said.

Lenexa senior Jesica Layton, 17, said she was attending for the third year because she liked the emphasis on individual reflection. “It’s a lot less people preaching at you,” she said.

On Sunday, the teens participated in a lectio divina, an ancient Christian tradition of reading aloud a passage of Scripture three times and reflecting silently after each reading. Miqra participants divided into groups and walked through the neighborhood around Grace Cathedral, practicing lectio divina.

Senuta said the meditative reading and walk were a way to take the Bible out of the church and into the world -- and to get the teens out of the church for fresh air.

Erin Adamson can be reached at 785-295-1186 or erin.adamson@cjonline.com.
Reprinted with permission from The Capital-Journal.