Third annual Bible Reading Marathon ends in NY Mills

A group of volunteers gathered to read the Bible from June 19-26. A total of 50 people took turns to read in 15 minute increments throughout the week. 

By Stella Strong


For most people, the week of June 19 marked some of the hottest days of the summer with record temperatures in the high 90s and weather that left phones buzzing with severe storm warnings. But for a group of individuals, June 19-26 marked New York Mills’ third Bible Reading Marathon (BRM).

Founded by Jess and Bonnie Roediger, Bible Reading Ministries International (BRMI) is a ministry dedicated to spreading God’s word by publically reading the entire Bible. Bible Reading Marathons occur all across the globe. Specifically, Jess and Bonnie Roediger oversee nine marathons in the United States and they were in NY Mills to provide their support during Mills’ Bible reading.

Hosted at BRM committee member Mike Malone’s property, the NY Mills Bible Reading Marathon began on Sunday afternoon and concluded the following Saturday afternoon, reading 12 hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All in all, 50 people took turns throughout the week reading from Genesis all the way through Revelation. Despite the rather challenging weather conditions, readers persevered, sometimes seated in their vehicle to stay safe and dry.

The Bible Reading Marathon brought together people from the neighboring towns like Henning and Sebeka, to places miles away like Washington D.C. and Texas. Even though the Bible can tend to have some complex words and wording, it didn’t stop anyone that wanted to read. Nine kids took the microphone and read this year. The youngest of the readers was only 6 1/2 years old.

“We had kids that came with parents, and we asked the kids if they wanted to read. Some kids from the neighborhood walked up to the tent and asked if they could read. Some read a little bit, and they said, ‘can I read some more,’” said NY Mills BRM Committee Member, Sandi Bentley. “It’s so impressive. These kids have an interest. It’s not like the adults are dragging them to do it.”

Not only were there a variety of ages, there were also people from several different denominations and those with no church affiliation read the Bible. It wasn’t limited to a certain church or a certain group, it was open to anyone willing to sign up for an easy 15 minute reading time slot. While Bibles were provided, people could bring whatever Bible they felt most comfortable with.

“That’s the exciting thing,” Bentley said. “It brings people from all different kinds of backgrounds together.”

Volunteers as young as 6 1/2 all the way into their 80s took turns to read the Bible in New York Mills from June 19-26. 

From places like Washington D.C. to ages ranging from six to well into their 80s, Bible Reading Marathons are about bringing people together regardless of age, denomination, or distance.

For some people, the Bible is a source of constant knowledge. One reader mentioned that “You could read the Bible 50 times and still keep learning.”

As for the importance of reading it aloud; “When you read something aloud instead of reading it to yourself, it makes it come alive,” said committee member Louise Amberg-Jokela.

“It’s pertinent to today,” Bentley said. “A lot of us see it as the manual for life.”

All in all it took them 85 hours to read the whole bible. As a tradition, they read the final chapter of Revelation aloud together.

“Thank you to Mike Malone for hosting the Marathon on his property and for being a great host, and much thanks to all fifty readers. Let’s do it again.” Bentley said.

The NY Mills Bible Reading Marathon Committee is hoping to keep this event going long into the future. With young kids that are taking an interest in it, and people that are taking time out of their busy summer to read, they shouldn’t have a problem with finding readers. But they do need more committee members for 2023. If interested in being a part of next year’s event contact Sandi Bentley at (218) 686-9680.