In May, Catherine and Mark had the privilege of attending the United Bible Societies’ Bible Engagement Forum in Toronto. This followed the forum in Swindon in 2022 and was part of a major research project commissioned by the United Bible Societies and the British and Foreign Bible Society, investigating people’s perspectives on the Bible worldwide.

Thirteen countries were represented, with 30 delegates from around the world with similar missional contexts. It was an opportunity to deepen relationships, develop areas of collaboration and to engage meaningfully in the UBS family.

Catherine and Mark embarked on a long journey, departing from Dublin on an eight-hour flight followed by a two-hour journey to the forum venue in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Participants began to arrive on Tuesday, coming from different parts of the world. They enjoyed a nice meal together and settled in for the upcoming days. Wednesday and Thursday were intense, filled with work and discussions centred around Bible engagement.

Jet lag eventually caught up with Catherine and Mark, as they had to rise early in the morning to start their day. Nevertheless, it provided a wonderful opportunity to witness the falls and prepare for the scheduled meetings.

The focus of this year’s forum was the practical outworking of the collaboration between these countries. It was narrowed down to three main action points; focusing on engaging with the Lord as Bible Societies, asking him where he may be leading us, developing research so that we can engage more effectively with our audiences and developing strategies for engagement with partner organisations. Each Bible Society was then given action points to work on.

It was also a wonderful time of friendship with other believers and a time of encouragement and love. Catherine and Mark particularly felt the amazing benefit and blessing of being part of a global family and felt a real sense of welcome into the group.

The Canadian Bible society cared for them particularly well with great opportunities of fellowship over good food and a chance to visit Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist (an experience not to be understated) after long days of working together.

We are so thankful for this opportunity and look forward prayerfully to see how the Lord might use it to further our work particularly here in Northern Ireland.