The Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon, “Taking Our Cities,” that began last weekend in Fremont County on the courthouse lawn in Sidney is scheduled to continue there and in Hamburg's City Park this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15 from 2 to 6 p.m.
This is the second year for the event, in which people volunteer to publicly read the Bible aloud from cover to cover in each of Iowa's 99 counties.
The idea began on April 26, 2016, when then-Governor Terry Branstad issued a proclamation extolling the historical importance of the Bible in our national history, establishing a 99-county four-day Bible Reading Marathon in late June and early July, 2016, and encouraging all Iowans to “read through the Bible on a daily basis.”
The entire Bible was read aloud in the capitol building in Des Moines over the course of one week in January, 2017.
On June 9 of this year Governor Kim Reynolds signed the same proclamation, updating it to encourage Iowans to repeat the marathon for one week in early summer in front of all 99 county courthouses in the state.
Over 50 counties had completed the reading of the entire Bible by July 4 this year.
The group would like to see the marathon become an annual statewide occurrence.
The Hamburg event is being coordinated by the Inter Church Council. Volunteer readers will select slips of paper containing 30-minute passages from either the Old or New Testament.
Readers can read aloud more than one segment or less if desired, simultaneously with other participants. They are welcome to bring their own Bibles, and there will be Bibles available at the park.
Laura Shafer is the captain of the Fremont County marathon this year, and regional co-coordinator with Norma Fast of the southwestern Iowa region. She said that readers can sit or stand anywhere in the park, reading in an audible voice with no microphone.
“Everyone is welcome,” she said, “individuals, families, friends and neighbors, youth groups, churched or non-churched. The more people involved, the better.”
Readers will receive a certificate of participation to take home, as well as materials to write a note of thanks to Governor Reynolds.
In the event of rain, readers can go to The Center in Hamburg or the library in Sidney.
More information is available by calling Laura Shafer at 712-621-1388 or emailing her at