SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Although the Bible may be the best-selling book ever, the number of Americans who actually read it has diminished in recent years. Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains is working to change that with an integrated series for children and adults focused on reading the Bible. The church issues an open invitation to the community to participate in this endeavor.

Beginning Sept. 11 and stretching into the spring, the series will use Zondervan’s adaptation of the Bible, The Story, to pique an interest in knowing more about the flow of the stories throughout the Bible. The biblical story of the week will be the focus at the Sunday 10:00 am worship service. Children will spend the latter part of worship time studying that Bible story in their Sunday School classes. After worship and refreshments, adults can join a discussion group on the story with childcare available.  There will also be a discussion group on The Story offered on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm.

The Story helps people understand God’s story from Genesis to Revelation and how their own stories intersect with God’s larger story.  Consisting of 31 chapters of selected scriptures sequenced in chronological order, The Story presents the Bible in an engaging format, reading like a novel. There are various materials for each age group from children through adult, including videos, trading cards, and visual aids.

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Willow Grove's Pastor Cynthia Cochran-Carney explains: “When we looked at materials and programs, this seemed like it was the complete package with materials that stretched across all different age groups. We wish for people in the community as well as in the congregation to share in this opportunity to learn the flow of the biblical story and its message of hope for today."

study by Lifeway Research revealed that less than one in five people (19 percent) personally read the Bible daily outside of a worship service setting.  About the same number (18 percent) say they rarely or never read the Bible. Using The Story as a tool for Biblical literacy at Willow Grove Church is three-fold. One goal is to increase the daily reading habits and practices of the congregation and people in the community. A second goal is to promote an intergenerational experience of the Bible’s story of love and redemption by presenting it in a form that all ages can follow. Finally, this approach will help people have a common focus throughout the study, promoting conversation and discussion of the stories inside and outside the church setting.

“This should help people get a sense of the story of redemption presented through the Scripture,” Cochran-Carney says, noting that the presentation takes many of the individual stories that people know and links them to other similar stories without varying the Scripture. “It’s linked to provide a logical flow, allowing people to see God’s story from Creation to Revelation and realize how all the individual stories work together.”

To register for Sunday morning or Wednesday evening classes, purchase materials or request more information, call the church office 908-232-5678, email office@willowgrovechurch.org, or visit www.willowgrovechurch.org.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located in Scotch Plains at 1961 Raritan Road, across the street from the Scotch Plains Southside Firehouse and Southside Soccer Park, near the corner of South Martine Ave. The facilities are handicap-accessible and there is ample on-site parking.