Wake Forest will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a concert performed by six Winston-Salem churches and a library exhibition of rare and historic Bibles.
“The King James Bible was first published in 1611, and remains one of the most influential books in the English-speaking world,” said Gail R. O’Day, Dean of Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity. “It has shaped Christian piety and practice for centuries, yet its influence also extends beyond the religious sphere. Hundreds of English idioms, more than any other single source including Shakespeare, were popularized in the King James Bible and are still used today. ‘Feet of clay’ and ‘reap the whirlwind’ are two examples.”
For the first time ever, choirs and organists from Augsburg Lutheran Church, Centenary United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and the Wake Forest School of Divinity will perform together in a celebration of psalms.
The concert, titled “Singing Our Faith: A Choral Celebration Honoring the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University. The concert is sponsored by the University’s Office of the President and coordinated by the School of Divinity. Admission is free and open to the public.
“Winston-Salem is uniquely blessed with incredibly talented organists and choir directors,” said Wake Forest University Organist Don Armitage. “I am excited to bring so many of them together for a celebration of this magnitude.”
To mark the 400th anniversary, the Special Collections Department of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library has curated an exhibit of 30 historic Bibles from its collection. The exhibit, titled “God’s Sacred Word Amongst Us,” is currently on display in the Library’s Special Collections Reading Room and will remain available until January 2012.
The exhibit includes bibles dating to 1546 and features a 1611 first edition folio King James Bible; some of the first Bibles printed in North America; and examples of artistic and technological innovation inspired by the Bible’s publication and representative of milestones in book design.
To coincide with the choral celebration, the Special Collections Department and the School of Divinity will co-sponsor a travelling exhibit of historic Bibles from the private collection of Michael Morgan during the last week of October. Morgan has assembled one of the most comprehensive private collections of English Bibles, New Testaments, and Psalters in the United States.
Morgan is organist at Atlanta’s historic Central Presbyterian Church and seminary musician at Columbia Theological Seminary. He has played recitals and worship services across the country, and throughout Europe. He will be the featured speaker at a Library Lecture Series event Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. His lecture, titled “The King James Bible: Its Legend and Legacy,” is open to the public and will take place in the ZSR Library Special Collections Reading Room.
For more information about the international 400th anniversary celebration of the King James Bible, visit http://www.kingjamesbibletrust.org/
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