The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

OUTSIDEIN COVERFree church resource welcomes everyone to the Christmas story 

Christian charity Lifewords is helping churches and individuals experience the Bible’s Nativity story in ways that are accessible to all this year through its free booklet resource OUTSIDE/IN.

This illustrated booklet and accompanying resources have been designed to extend access to the Bible for people who are non-hearing, visually impaired, and who have a lower reading age. Created by Lifewords to help people share the Bible as good news, it also provides a challenge for churches to welcome those marginalized in their own communities.

“The Christmas story welcomes everyone. We wanted to help people experience this for themselves this Advent season”, says Matt Currey, Lifewords’ UK Development Manager. “In an increasingly divided world, the story of Jesus’ birth is an invitation to all, and an opportunity to be welcoming, as God welcomes each of us.”

OUTSIDE/IN re-tells the story from the perspective of those often considered to be outside the mainstream. The shepherds, Mary and Joseph, the sages – all resonate with how contemporary society relates to those who are excluded or at the margins. Yet all ‘outsiders’ are drawn in to the heart of this Christmas story.

Corin Pilling, Assistant Director of Community Engagement for Livability remarks: “By using more accessible resources like OUTSIDE/IN churches can do so much to create a place of welcome for all. There are always a range of communication requirements within a congregation. With its careful consideration to invite all into the story, making for an accessible narrative, these resources will support more people to celebrate the Christmas story.”

OUTSIDE/IN uses Biblica’s NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) created to be accessible to reading ages from aged 7+ making it easier for everyone to engage with the story.

Lindsey Holley, Biblica’s Executive Director for Europe says: “Our passion is for everyone to access the life-changing Word of God. We’re delighted that Lifewords are using text from the NIrV Accessible Edition to further increase accessibility. Our prayer is that through it many will discover the unique story that truly turned the world upside-down.”

In the UK, BSL (British Sign Language) is the first (‘heart‘) language for 50,000 people. Globally there are 70 million sign language users, and 400 unique sign languages. Lifewords have produced a new downloadable animation for streaming or sharing on social media with BSL signing included. For the visually impaired, the font size in this booklet has been increased in line with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) standards. Torch Trust has created braille, super-large print and audio CD versions of the booklet.

Julia Hyde CEO of Torch Trust says: “Often Torch Trust finds that people with sight loss feel excluded, left on the edges of the action. It’s our mission to change that. So what better Christmas partnership than OUTSIDE/IN, which brings home just how important the people on the edges really are. After all, without them, there would be no nativity story to tell.”

To order your free OUTSIDE/IN booklets, posters, cards, banners, presentation, or downloadable animation visit www.lifewords.global/christmas or call 020 7730 2155.

To submit a story or to publicise an event please email: web@networknorwich.co.uk