Her Majesty The Queen joins us to celebrate 400 years of the King James Bible at Westminster Abbey.
The culmination of a year of celebration took place yesterday, 16.11.2011, at Westminster Abbey in a service to mark the 400th year of the King James Bible. Her Majesty the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and, our Patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales joined Trustees and people from all over the world who have made special efforts to mark the anniversary this year.
The Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster and King James Bible Trustee led the congregation in giving “thanks for the contribution of so many in this year of celebration”.
Four first editions of the King James Bible were processed during the Service from Southwell Minster, Elton Hall in Peterborough, Hilmarton in Wiltshire and Hatfield House, these were joined by the Bible Society’s People’s Bible, a handwritten Bible which was launched this year and has collected two verses from thousands of people across England, Scotland and Wales during its five month tour.
Readings came from The Marquess of Salisbury, Trustee of the King James Bible Trust and Riona Kelly from University Academy, Birkenhead. Prayers were read by The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, Joseph Ewing from Bacon’s College, Rotherhithe and Elaine Duncan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Bible Society and King James Bible Trustee.
The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury gave the address saying that in remembering the translation of the KJB we should recognise “the absolute seriousness with which (the Translators) sought to find in our language words that would pass on to us hearers and readers in the English tongue the almost unbearable weight of divine intelligence and love pressing down on those who first encountered it and tried to embody it in writing”. Their translation which was made to be read aloud has meant that we can listen and have the “shared experience” of understanding the message of the Bible.
The congregation were delighted by the playing of the Anthem “Out of the south cometh the whirlwind” inspired by the words of the Book of Job and composed by Zachary Wadsworth, winner of the King James Bible Composition Awards.
Her Majesty The Queen was presented on leaving the Abbey with a posy from Miss Martha Campbell, granddaughter of the Marquess of Salisbury and descendent of Robert Cecil, James I’s chief minister. The beautiful flower arrangements and bouquet were made by National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies to which the Trust would like to offer our particular thanks.
The Service marked the end of the Trust’s work in publicising and celebrating the Bible this year. We would like now to echo the sentiments which The Rt. Hon. Frank Field MP., Chairman of the King James Bible Trust made on the day: “I would like to thank all those who have made such efforts to ensure today has been such a successful occasion, and for those who have travelled from far and wide to be here to celebrate with us. The King James Bible was translated in 1611 to make the Bible more accessible, and to bring people together. It is with great pleasure that I see its legacy has remained as we celebrate 400 years later”.