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The fourth annual Bible Reading Marathon in New York Mills will get underway on July 9.

By Tucker Henderson


Now in its fourth year, the New York Mills Bible Reading Marathon is already gearing up for their week-long session of reading the Bible from cover to cover.

Sandi Bentley, the local coordinator of the event, emphasized that the event is open to everyone from seasoned Christians to those who are unsure of their faith.

“It’s for everybody,” said Bentley. “I see how when we come together and you can feel the bigger body of Christ working together. We’re so used to working in our own church and there is something special about the broader grouping of the body of believers coming together during the Bible Reading Marathon.”

The marathon will take place from July 9 through July 15 at 12 West Gilman Street in Mike Malone’s front yard. On July 9, a worship service will begin at 3:30 p.m. and reading will commence at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. All other days will hold readings from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jesse Roediger, co-founder of Bible Reading Ministry International, also spoke about the importance of the Christian community coming together.

“The Bible Reading Marathons are meant to draw the church community together to begin with,” he said. “The way I understand the Bible is that church community, no matter what denomination they are, we all have the same God, the same Lord, the same Jesus Christ, so I look at it as, we’re all part of the same body, and no matter what part of the body we are, we all have a job to do. And if we don’t learn to work together as one body, we’re missing the boat, we’re all going to come out on the losing end.

“We’ve got to understand that our brothers and sisters in Christ are our brothers and sisters and we have to treat them as such,” Roediger continued. “We might not always like what they do, but they’re family. We must respect and work together.”

Readers will start in Genesis and work their way through Revelation in 15 minute increments and readers from all ages are welcome to participate. Children are welcome to read as long as they like, whether that’s one verse, five verses, or the whole 15 minutes, all are welcome. Bentley has her own favorite memories of younger readers in the past.

“A lot of kids go by because they’re on their way to summer rec., or the pool,” said Bentley. “This little girl last year had stopped with my great niece and great nephew, she was not more than six at most, but she would read a little, you know, one verse or something like that, and we encourage that, we really love that.

“On Saturday morning,” Bentley continued, “It was our last day and I see this little blondie walking from the east on down towards us, nice little frilly dress, I could see she had a nice little bow in her hair and I realized it was that same little girl! I thought, ‘I wonder where she’s going today?’ Well, she was coming right to us! She said, ‘Can I read again today?’ I said ‘You sure can!’ It’s priceless, those kind of things that happen, the innocence of those little ones.”

Bentley noted that there were 50 readers during each of the past two years, which was up from 25 the first year, and during the past two years there were nine kids. She said that she believes there were 14 churches represented last year which was up from years before. She commented that the idea of reading in front of others can be a stumbling block for eligible readers.

“I think it certainly can feel intimidating,” she said. “The setup is very simple, you come at your sign-up time or come and see when there is one open. I know the most intimidating thing is reading a lot of the names in the Old Testament. We always emphasize, just do your best and don’t worry about it.

“Once you do it, you discover, ‘well, that wasn’t so bad,” Bentley continued. “The 15 minute unit of time goes really fast and a lot of people come back to read again.”

The Bible Reading Marathon ministry was created to spread the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. Roediger stated that the importance of the Bible in everyday life is a large lesson to be taken from the marathons.

“Our ministry is not one to single out any denomination,” said Roediger. “We want them all. We want them to read the Bible out loud. What that does is puts the word out in the atmosphere and God’s word doesn’t come back void. It works for God’s purpose for whatever He wants it for and we don’t know what that is. We just know he has a purpose for it.

“If we all work together and put it out there, it’s going to come back for the purpose God intended it and it’s going to bless the readers,” he continued. “Our Bible is a living Bible, it’s good today, it’s good for yesterday, it’s good for our lives every day, it’s a guide. If we have a problem, we need to go to the Bible and read, there’s an answer in there somewhere and it will jump out and hit you when God feels it’s time to hit you with it. I’ve had that happen myself several times. It’s a living Bible and it’s there for our daily guidance. It speaks to our daily living.”

Bentley encouraged anyone interested to sign up and join her and the other readers at 12 West Gilman Street. Interested individuals and families can sign up online at and click on the “NYM Sign Up Here” link to secure as many 15-minute reading spots as desired.

“It’s an exponential factor,” said Bentley. “You come together and you know this is bigger than your own individual experience when you come together as a community.”