The Dallas County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan Tuesday by a coalition of religious groups to stage a four-day, marathon reading of the Christian Bible on the south lawn of the Dallas County Courthouse starting June 30 and running through July 3.
The cover-to-cover public reading will take about 80 hours, according to Dallas County resident Scott Brunscheen who serves as Development Director at Spurgeon Manor, a Christian nonprofit retirement community in Dallas Center.
“Last year the Iowa Prayer Caucus Network and many others read the Bible from cover to cover in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building,” Brunscheen told the supervisors at their regular weekly meeting. “There are now plans to do the same thing in front of the courthouses of all 99 counties at the same time, leading up to the Fourth of July, our nation’s 240th birthday.”
Gov. Terry Branstad signed the Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon Proclamation April 26, encouraging all Iowans to participate in the statewide religious event. Brunscheen said 55 Iowa counties have so far organized readings, and he is volunteering to help coordinate the effort in Dallas County.
“Our plans are to read the Bible on a continuous basis,” he told the supervisors, “and it takes approximately 80 hours to complete its reading.” He said the reading would begin Thursday, June 30 at 8 a.m. and end “with a concluding gathering of readers to finish the event” Sunday, July 3 at about 4 p.m.
“We know it is possible that it may take a while longer depending on the speed of those reading,” Brunscheen said, “so the ending time is only an approximation. We do plan, however, to be finished on July 3.”
Brunscheen said he is seeking 320 volunteers to fill the 15-minute reading slots.
“I hope interest will catch on with churches, small groups, youth groups, businesses and families signing up to cover two- to four-hour blocks of time or coming back multiple times,” he said. “Especially difficult may be finding people willing to help read through the night.”
Bruscheen noted the marathon reading “is a grassroots effort, and it is not sponsored by any on denomination or group. The purpose of the Bible Reading Marathon is to honor God, bring Christians together in unity, encourage reading the Bible and celebrate our religious liberty and living in a free country – all leading up to celebrating the Fourth of July.”
The Dallas County Courthouse will be open for normal public business Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, but “there would be no hindering of the public entering or exiting the building,” Brunscheen said. “Since the courthouse will be closed on the weekend, there will be no inconveniences to the courthouse business on those days.”
He emphasized “the event will be held entirely outside the courthouse.”
Along with the supervisors’ permission, Brunscheen also asked for the board’s approval of “any necessary permit that may be needed and, if possible, access to electrical power for lighting at night.” He said his group will use a pop-up tent, a few chairs and possibly a podium.
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