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A Church of God initiative to read the Bible through in 2013 has now reached over 100,000 people signed up to participate in the program called READ. As of December 6, the number was 104,985 and growing with individuals signed up from around the globe.

BibleChurch of God General Overseer Mark Williams cast a vision for the program during his commissioning address earlier this year at the Church of God International General Assembly. The July 27 speech in Orlando outlined his commitments for the next four years.

Williams was elected to serve until 2016. This is the first time in the history of the Church of God a general overseer will have four years to cast a vision for the Church. Previously the office was for a two year period, with the possibility of four years total in the office.

The R.E.A.D. Initiative stands for Reflect, Engage, Apply, and Discipline. The goal is to work through the scriptures in a constructive way that promotes personal growth as well as growth throughout our communities.

Reports received from across the U.S. include encouraging numbers signed up for the program. In Florida, Administrative Bishop Keith Ivester reported 48,008 had signed the pledge to read the Bible through in a year. The program has been translated into other languages, including Indonesian. More than 10,000 from the Southeast Asian country have signed up. Numbers from Quebec and Ontario, Canada total nearly 5,000.

“I am deeply moved by the number of people who have committed to this initiative,” Williams stated. “The Word of God is central to all that we do and what we stand for. If we are steeped in His Word, He will guide our paths.”

Another aspect of the initiative is Bible Reading Stations where for the first seven days of 2013, churches around the world are being asked to join in corporately reading the entire Bible aloud.

From Tuesday, January 1, 2013, through Monday, January 7, 2013, members of congregations can choose to read the Scriptures aloud in the church sanctuary, with the goal of reading the entire Bible through in seven days. Each pastor and church may choose the reading plan they prefer. Some churches will have an around the-clock Bible-reading marathon, while other congregations may prefer to designate only certain hours for reading the Scriptures aloud.

To learn more about the READ initiative, log on to www.churchofgod.org and click on the READ graphic. Individuals can sign up electronically to participate. In addition, by scrolling down the page, several resources can be found to assist with the program, including a free download of REFLECT, a One Year Bible reading program in which the Church of God has partnered with Tyndale House. There are also downloads for Powerpoint presentations, bulletin inserts, and postcard mailers.

Cameron Fisher

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