Our Year with

The Saint John’s Bible

It is a tremendous opportunity and blessing for St. John’s, Essex to spend this year (September 2022-August 2023) with The Saint John’s Bible. It is our hope that this very special Bible will reinvigorate our community with a love of Holy Scripture through its dynamic pages. The intersection of art, theology, and scripture is truly incredible and captures the minds and hearts of all who spend time in its pages. We hope this background about the Bible helps you to understand what we have in our midst. Please share it and invite others to come and see!

– The Saint John’s Bible Core Team (Allison Fresher, Jennifer Miller, Dan Taylor-Stypa, Maggie Walden, & Kate Wesch)

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The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible

The original Saint John’s Bible is protectively kept at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. A fine art version was created to be available around the world to appreciate and study. The large size of The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible makes this possible for various types of communities in churches, schools, museums, etc., fulfilling its’ goal of igniting spiritual inspiration. Each of the 299 sets that were created, contain the entire Bible divided into seven volumes.

As creator of The Saint John’s Bible, Donald Jackson wanted to ensure the artistic intent that went into it would be as close to the original as possible. The Hill Museum and Manuscript Museum at St. John’s University imaged all 1,150 pages in ultra-high resolution. He personally approved of every page prior to it being accepted for printing. He went so far as duplicating the original Bible’s transparency on some vellum pages by utilizing water stains on the cotton paper. Unable to reproduce the 14K gold of the illuminations to his standards, gold foil was added by hand, resulting in no two editions being identical.

A special offset lithographic printing technology was used from a German printer that was not even in existence when the original Bible was being created. The paper is 100% cotton, guaranteeing hundreds of years of durability, and is bound in Italian calfskin leather. The binding headings were hand-sewn in Pakistan. All 1,150 pages of all 299 sets were hand-stitched and bound in Arizona.

Approximately half of the 299 sets have been acquired by institutions, churches and individuals around the world. No more copies of The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be printed. St. John’s, Essex has entered the program of having one volume in our possession for one year. We chose “Gospels and Acts”, Volume #6.

How can one engage with The Saint John’s Bible?

We are excited to offer parishioners and the wider community multiple ways to explore The Saint John’s Bible:

Every Tuesday morning, from 10:30-11:30 AM, join us in the Parish Hall for Bible Study. During this time, we examine thoroughly one of the illuminations contained in the Gospel & Acts Volume of The Saint John’s Bible. Not only will participants immerse themselves in the beauty of the illumination but also, will deepen their understanding of its Biblical context.

During all of our services, The Saint John’s Bible features prominently. The Gospel is proclaimed directly from its text, and the Gospel & Acts Volume is open and available for viewing.

Once a month on Sundays, Rev. Kate Wesch or another leader will share an illumination, helping to further explore and deepen our understanding of the day’s Gospel reading and sermon.

One Saturday per month, (please check our church calendar), join us from 12:30-3:00pm in the Parish Hall for a Visio Divina workshop, focusing on those illuminations that move you most. This workshop is open to anyone interested in quiet time to view the illuminations and/or create art. You can stop by any time during the class to learn and create. Stay for 30 minutes, an hour, or the entire time.

During the season of Advent & Lent, Evening Prayer, will be offered Thursdays at 6 PM. As with all of our services, The Saint John’s Bible will be used in the service and open for viewing.

The Saint John’s Bible is “on the move” throughout our community and our docents are always available to bring The Bible to retirement communities, schools, libraries, museums and other organizations.

With permission, images from The Saint John’s Bible were designed to illustrate our year with Bible.

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