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Bath: gospel from memory at the abbey

Bath Abbey is the impressive setting for a dramatic retelling of St Mark’s Gospel on September 26 ...

Bath Abbey is the impressive setting for a dramatic retelling of St Mark’s Gospel on September 26.

Canon Gerald Osborne is appearing as St Mark, reciting the entire Gospel to his scribe, Petronius, played by professional scriptwriter, Colin Heber-Percy.

Gerald, who is Rural Dean of Pewsey and a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, spent a number of years learning the Gospel and decided that it was such a powerful story that he wanted to dramatise it and share it with others.

He said: "I was inspired by the discipline of learning St Mark in full after being challenged by a sermon at a service in 2011. I committed it to memory during moments when nothing else was happening, like time around the farm, waiting in queues and when travelling."

He describes the Gospel as "a thrilling and powerful story of events and encounters through which we learn who Jesus is and why he came, in what is a very close eyewitness account".

Others have described the two-hour performance as “completely captivating” and “wonderful and very moving” and appreciated the chance to hear a gospel as a whole.

The performance is in support of the international development charity Send a Cow, which works with some of Africa’s poorest rural communities to give them the hope and the means to build sustainable futures for themselves. Canon Osborne has been trustee of the charity since 2008 and is chair of its UK board. He has also been farming in Wiltshire since 1987 and was ordained in 1999.

Simon Barnes, chief executive of Send a Cow said: "We are very grateful to Gerald for his fantastic support and for taking part in this very special event. With more than 11,000 words and 16 chapters, learning the entirety of St Mark’s Gospel by heart is an incredible feat.

"I hope others will join us for this rare opportunity to appreciate the journey of discovery and misunderstanding around the authority of Jesus that the Gospel provides in the historic setting of Bath Abbey."

The performance starts at 7pm. Tickets are £5 in advance and include refreshments at the intermission. They are available from Bath Box Office in person, or online and by calling 01225 463 362.

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