Fall 2008 Comment
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Fall 2008 Comment

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Learn all about the services we offer
4 Pages


C O M M E N T  T by Rev. Anne Robertson, MBS Executive Director Hold  on to  your hats!   As  we  come  into  Fall,  we  are  in the  final  stages  of  putting together the plans for our bicentennial celebrations in 2009.  Do we have a year for you! As I write this in late July there are still some uncertainties, but it looks like across the year and even into 2010 we will have a blowout worship service, an exhibit of our rare Bible collection with an accompanying lecture, a re­enactment of our 1809 charter signing in the Senate Chamber of the State House with a celebration dinner to follow  (did  you  know  John  Quincy  Adams  was  one  of  our  founding  members?),  a series  of  lectures  co­sponsored  by  the  Episcopal  Divinity  School  (and  hopefully streamed  live  on the  web),  and  our  usual  luncheon  lectures  coordinated around the Rev. Anne Robertson  theme “The Bible in America.” And then there are the Beck Lectures.  I have previously announced that our 2009 Beck Lecturer will be Liz Walker from WBZ­TV.  As a special addition to our anniversary, Liz is producing a documentary on the Bible. The  film  will premiere  with her  lectures  in  October,  2009.  With  our  “One  Book,  Many  Voices”  framework, she’ll  be  looking  at  how  “many  voices”  approach  the  early  stories  of  Genesis.    She  is  also  going  to  be highlighting  MBS  this  September  as  part  of  her  Sunday  morning  show,  Sundays  with  Liz.    Watch  ...



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by Rev. Anne Robertson, MBS Executive Director
Hold on to your hats!
As we come into Fall, we are in the final stages of putting
together the plans for our bicentennial celebrations in 2009. Do we have a year for
As I write this in late July there are still some uncertainties, but it looks like across
the year and even into 2010 we will have a blowout worship service, an exhibit of
our rare Bible collection with an accompanying lecture, a re­enactment of our 1809
charter signing in the Senate Chamber of the State House with a celebration dinner to
follow (did you know John Quincy Adams was one of our founding members?), a
series of lectures co­sponsored by the Episcopal Divinity School (and hopefully
streamed live on the web), and our usual luncheon lectures coordinated around the
theme “The Bible in America.”
And then there are the Beck Lectures. I have previously announced that our 2009 Beck Lecturer will be Liz
Walker from WBZ­TV. As a special addition to our anniversary, Liz is producing a documentary on the Bible.
The film will premiere with her lectures in October, 2009. With our “One Book, Many Voices” framework,
she’ll be looking at how “many voices” approach the early stories of Genesis.
She is also going to be
highlighting MBS this September as part of her Sunday morning show, Sundays with Liz.
Watch for it on
Sunday, Sept 14, 2008 at 11am on WBZ­TV. The show will be called “Witness.”
You will be receiving a special mailing about the
documentary project soon with a CD containing a
five­minute trailer describing the film.
This is an
amazing opportunity for MBS to make a significant
impact in the way that people view Scripture, but
we can’t pull it off without your help.
We need
$50,000 to complete the project.
Don’t throw that
mailing away!
Open it, watch the trailer (which
also be available online), and prayerfully
consider how you can help to make this happen.
The Massachusetts Bible Society is stepping out in
new ways to accomplish our historic mission of
making the Bible accessible to all people. Let’s not
leave spreading the Word on television in the hands
of a select few televangelists. There are many other
voices that need to be heard. Help us to be one of
them by giving generously to the project.
The rest of this issue of Comment is focused on
some wonderful books that you may have missed.
The winter issue will lay out our anniversary plans
in more detail so that you can plan to celebrate 200
years with us.
What a legacy—and what an
opportunity. Be a part of it!
14 Beacon Street
Suite 510
Boston, MA 02108
Fall 2008
Vol. 32 Num. 3
Rev. Anne Robertson
What the Gospels Meant
by Garry Wills
(Viking, 2008. Hardcover, 224 pages)
New Your Times bestselling author and
Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills turns
his remarkable gift for biblical analysis
to the four gospels of Matthew, Mark,
examines the goals, methods and styles
of the evangelists and how these shaped
the gospels’ messages.
Hailed by the New York Times
Book Review as “one of the most intellectually interesting
and doctrinally heterodox Christians writing today”, Wills
guides readers through the maze of meanings that have
accrued around these foundational texts, revealing their
essential Christian truths.
What the Gospels Meant
prove to be a valuable source of wisdom and inspiration
for all.
Retail Price: $24.95
25% Discount Price: $18.71
To order contact MBS Book Services at 617.542.2224 or
email mcolyott@massbible.org. See and order any of our
featured books online at
Bible Grants
The Society provides Bibles and other related study materials to churches, prison and hospital chaplaincies,
homeless shelters, and other similar institutions to assist in their outreach ministry. From July 2007 through
July 2008, the Society donated 8,121 Holy Scriptures and devotional materials to organizations across the
Commonwealth. Recently, Bibles have been given to the following ministries:
House of Worship, Lynn
received 150 Spanish Bibles for a church outreach event on the Lynn Commons.
Victory Programs, Jamaica Plain
received 27 Bibles in English, Spanish and Portuguese for use in their
residential detox program for homeless persons infected with HIV. The Bibles will be used as part of their
spiritual development program.
City Mission Society, Boston
received 60 Children and Youth Bibles for their summer Vacation Bible
School program with children in Dorchester and Roxbury.
Tabernacle Baptist Congregation, Roslindale
received 40 Bibles in English and Haitian Creole for a new
church plant in the area.
These Bibles were made possible by gifts from individuals and Partner Churches. They represent just a small
portion of the people who have benefited from the support of the Society. Only through your financial support
can the Society continue to provide the support to these ministries.
The Girl With No Shadow
By Joanne Harris, (Morrow, 2008)
Book Review by Christianne Humphrey
Trustee, Massachusetts Bible Society
Vianne Rocher returns with her daughter,
Anouck, and young toddler, Rosette.
family is living in the Montmartre district
of Paris and once again they call home the
upper floors of a building which houses a chocolaterie. Vianne
has taken on a new identity as the widow, Yanne Charbonneau,
and an uncharacteristic conventionality in the hopes that it will
bring a stable environment for raising her girls. Anouck attends
school and struggles to fit in with the other pre­teen girls in her
class. Vianne oversees the shop and cares for Rosette, believing
her new identity will silence the wind. Into the village breezes
Zozie de l’Alba, an opportunistic, mysterious woman who
begins to stir up the placid scene. Slowly, the mask of normalcy
is cracked as the season of Advent begins.
Harris masterfully
weaves the story of the lives of these characters and the people
of the village culminating at the celebration of the Eve of the
The book contains the enchantment and mystery of
, and reminds the reader of the dangers of pretending to
be someone you are not.
Calvin: A Biography
By Bernard Cottret, (T.&T.Clark, Eerdmans, 2000)
Book Review by Dr. Charles Dickinson III
Trustee, Massachusetts Bible Society
In the 16th century, all who hungered for the true Word of God, but neither found it in the Catholicism of the time,
nor chose to migrate to Martin Luther’s Germany, streamed to Geneva in Switzerland to hear the great reformer
John Calvin preach twice on Sunday, once even on weekdays, and to live in the Christian commonwealth—
Puritanical as it was—which Calvin had succeeded in founding by 1555, nine years before his death.
So today, it is to Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, biblical commentaries, sermons and occasional
writings that all serious Reformed and Presbyterian pastors return, even if their own theology, conception of Christian freedom, and
mode of life have progressed far beyond Calvin.
Calvin: A Biography
illuminates the political structure of Calvin‘s Geneva; the problematic events, persons, and
movements which so tried Calvin to the end of his life; and the heretics who threatened Calvin’s governance of his Christian
commonwealth, but whom he ultimately dealt with by the only means which seemed open to him. Cottret’s is a sobering account of
a serious man in grim and trying times, who saw, grasped and fulfilled his Christian duty, withstood the test to which he was put, and
bequeathed an imperishable legacy to all subsequent Christendom.
The Sunflower:
On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness
By Simon Wiesenthal
Published by Schocken Books 1969
Book Review by Fr. Walter H. Cuenin,
Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis University and MBS Trustee
Some books need to be read more than once. This book, first
printed in the late sixties, is definitely worth a second read. In
light of today’s problems with issues of healing after terrible
tragedies, i.e. the Ruanda genocide and Darfur, questions of
forgiveness are once again in the spotlight.
The Sunflower
deals with an incident during World War II.
Simon Wiesenthal was in a concentration camp and a Nazi
soldier who was dying asked for forgiveness. Simon refused.
But that becomes the raison d’être of this book. Should he have
forgiven the Nazi? Could he have forgiven him? What are the
limits and possibilities of forgiveness?
The bulk of the book is a series of responses from the major
religious leaders of our day ranging from the Dalai Lama to
Desmond Tutu. This is the part of the book that forces the
reader to think deeply about this issue. How does the human
person offer forgiveness after such horrific tragedies such as the
holocaust? Can it be done? In our world with so much suffering
and death, is it possible for us to heal and to forgive?
This book does not offer one answer. It challenges all who read
it to be engaged in this vital question. This is a book well suited
to a discussion group for high school, college and adult groups.
Some books are clearly worth a second read.
Expression of Thanks from Rev. Donald Wells
Many, many thanks for presence of so many MBS people who
brought comfort to me and my family at the funeral and through your
phone calls and emails. It means a lot to be upheld not only by God’s
grace, but by my beloved community.
Blessings, Don Wells
Sponsor Bibles to Africa
With the Bible Grant money we have on hand we meet the
Massachusetts. Recently we received a grant request for 500
Bibles from a ministry in Nakuru, Kenya, which is normally
beyond our scope. They seek to distribute Bibles in prisons,
hospitals, and the destitute in East and Central Africa. The cost
of providing these Bibles would be $3,000. If you are able to
help us extend our ministry in this way, please send your
contribution to us marked for “Africa”
In Case you Missed them...
Two of our luncheon speakers in the first half of the year are
authors. In case you missed them, check out…
The Lost Epistle of Jesus
Rev. Dr. Evan Drake Howard
Pastor, Community Church of Providence, RI
Evan Drakes first novel imagines a world where
Jesus Christ's struggles with his love for Mary
timeless wisdom for today.
The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early
Christian Women
Dr. Nicola Denzey, Lecturer, Brown University
through Roman burial artwork.
The 2008 Harrell F. Beck Lectureship
The Trouble with Scripture:
What's So Good About the Good News?
The Rev. Peter J. Gomes
Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and
Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church at Harvard University
Jesus came preaching, but the church wound up preaching Jesus. Why does the church insist
upon making Jesus the object of its attention rather than heeding his message?
Harvard minister Peter J. Gomes believes that excessive focus on the Bible and doctrines
about Jesus have led the Christian church astray. To recover the transformative power of the
gospel—“the good news”—Gomes says we must go beyond the Bible and rediscover how to
live out Jesus’ original revolutionary message of hope.
Identical Evening Lectures with the Rev. Peter J. Gomes starting at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Federated Church of Hyannis
Helen Hills Hills Chapel
Old West Methodist Church
310 Main Street
Elm Street, Smith College
131 Cambridge Street
Hyannis, MA
Northampton, MA
Boston, MA
Evening Lectures are free and open to the public
The Trouble with Scripture: The Politics
Representative Byron Rushing
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Identical Luncheon Lectures with Rep. Byron Rushing starting at noon
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Old South Church
Western New England College
645 Boylston Street
Rivers Memorial Hall, 1215 Wilbraham Road
Boston, MA
Springfield, MA
Luncheon cost is $12.00 per person, reservations required by Monday, October 13, 2008
to register for the luncheon call 617.542.2230, email admin@massbible.org or complete the form below and
mail with your check payable to “Massachusetts Bible Society”, 14 Beacon Street #510, Boston, MA 02108
Name(s): __________________________________________________________________
Day Phone:
Address: __________________________________________________________________
Check :
October 20
, Old South Church, Boston
___ Tuesday,
October 21
, Western New England College, Springfield
For more information visit www.massbible.org
In this Issue
MBS Featured on WBZ­TV, Sunday, September 14
, 11am
Harrell Beck Lectures—October 19
8,121 Bibles Donated!
14 Beacon Street, Suite 510
Boston, MA 02108
Return Service Requested
is a publication of the Massachusetts Bible Society, 14 Beacon Street, Suite 510, Boston, MA 02108.
Executive Director: Anne Robertson
Editor: Michael Cooper. For information about the work of the Society, call (617) 542­2230, fax (617) 542­1386 or e­mail: admin@massbible.org
Massachusetts Bible Society’s Luncheon Series….
Our luncheon series for business and professional people provides an ecumenical setting for those who work in the
Boston and Cambridge area to share a meal together and hear a presentation on biblical and theological themes to help
empower faithful living.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ noon
Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston
Rev. Dr. Rodney L. Petersen
Executive Director, Boston Theological Institute
Wednesday, October 8, 2008 @ noon
Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston
Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire
pastoral scholar in ecological theology
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ noon
Lawrence Room, Episcopal Diocese Building, 138 Tremont Street, Boston
Rev. Maren C. Tirabassi
Poet and Pastor of Northwood (NH) Congregational Church
Reservations are needed for these luncheon. Please call (617) 542­2230 or email admin@massbible.org. The suggested
donation is $10.00 to cover the cost of the luncheon. We would be pleased to add your name to our luncheon email list
so you can get updates on the MBS luncheons and other educational programs sponsored by the Society.