CMS Pioneer leads new women’s audio Bible project
UK’s first NIV audio Bible voiced fully by women launches on International Women’s Day
UK’s first NIV audio Bible voiced fully by women proclaims the message that women’s voices matter to God
The UK’s first NIV audio Bible voiced by solely by women will be launched on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day. ‘Her Audio Bible UK’ is the brainchild of Rev Katy Partridge, an Anglican curate based at Holy Trinity, Combe Down, in Bath, and features the voices of women drawn from across the country. Each contributor brings her own style, accent and interpretation, resulting in a unique blend of cultures, ethnicity, and church backgrounds, representative of the worldwide Church of God.
At a time when many women are struggling to see God as relevant, Rev Partridge hopes that that Her Audio Bible UK can bring healing to women who have felt the pain of exclusion and can bring alive the truth that God welcomes all. Rev Partridge explained: “The way women are treated in religious spaces impacts the way they see God. If they are excluded from leading, or speaking, or worshipping, the message they receive is that their voice does not matter to God.”
Rev Partridge is studying for an MA on Church Mission Society’s pioneer mission training programme. She first had the idea when she noticed a general lack of women’s voices in many of the Christian resources available. In response Rev Partridge and her team of volunteers auditioned over 60 women, and based on their tone, diction and ability to narrate, chose 17 women to record the New Testament. Voices include the Rev Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley, former chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev Sonia Hicks, a previous president of the Methodist Church, and writer and teacher, Rev Canon Liz Shercliff.
The team behind Her Audio Bible UK recognised that the UK is rich in its diversity, and so wanted to involve a wide range of backgrounds and voices. As well as sharing their individual testimony, each reader speaks from a place of faith and adopts a personal approach as if they were reading to a friend, in order to engage listeners. Rev Partridge said: “Listening to the Bible not only has the potential to bring a new vibrancy to the words of Scripture, but also makes it more accessible to those who find reading a struggle, or those with visual impairments. A woman’s voice is particularly helpful to those for whom male voices can be triggering, such as women who have experienced domestic abuse, or human trafficking.”
Dr Cathy Ross, Head of Pioneer Mission Training at CMS, said: “It has been amazing to see Katy develop this project while she has been studying with us. She has a real passion for women being able to hear God’s word in a way that speaks to us, so I am thrilled that she has pioneered this wonderful audio Bible.”
Her Audio Bible UK is free to listen to. Rather than being accessed through an app, it will be available through digital audio services such as Spotify, as well as its own dedicated website. The initial launch will include the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, and more books will be released each month, with the complete New Testament available by end of the year. Recording of the Old Testament will start later in 2023.