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JourneyNote: A “Red Letter” Year

Photo: The entire Dedication Tour group poses for a photo at Salisbury Cathedral in front of a Heritage Edition. Dan Whalen is pictured to the left of the Bishop of Salisbury, the Most Reverend Stephen Lake.

Hand-written, illuminated manuscripts from medieval times are the precursors of The Saint John’s Bible.  Most of them were never finished and many of the medieval Bible manuscripts we enjoy today are missing pages or entire sections—such as the Winchester Bible, upon which Donald Jackson based the design of The Saint John’s Bible.   

But another commonality among many medieval manuscripts is the presence of red lettering.  Whether in a formal government document or religious calendar, these red letters were meant to stand out as particularly important days or notes.  Hence the term “Red Letter Day.” 

If we were hand-writing a historical account for the Heritage Program of The Saint John’s Bible, the entire year of 2023 would have to be written in red ink—it has certainly been a Red Letter Year!  Here are some of the remarkable reasons why: 


  • We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the commissioning of Donald Jackson.  
  • Tim Ternes initiated a process to determine how to bind the original manuscript. 
  • We were major sponsors at the Episcopal Parish Network, Parliament of World Religions, and Council on Educational Standards and Accountability. 
  • Saint John’s Abbey hosted the first “Bible Festival” celebration in the abbey church. 
  • An Apostles Edition was presented and blessed at Washington National Cathedral. 
  • A Heritage Edition was presented and blessed at Salisbury Cathedral and Sarum College.
  • A group of 49 supporters along with Donald and Mabel Jackson traveled throughout England for 8 days of events, activities, and liturgical experiences. 
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby hosted us at a private reception in the Crypt Chapel of Lambeth Palace. 
  • An Apostles Edition was dedicated to the memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Lambeth Palace Library. 
  • A Heritage Edition was presented and blessed at Canterbury Cathedral. 
  • The Story Behind The Story featuring Donald Jackson, Fr. Eric Hollas, and Tim Ternes was hosted at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. 
  • The Pax Christi Award was presented by Abbot John Klassen and President Brian Bruess to the entire Saint John’s Bible Team at a banquet event in the Inner Temple Hall, London. 
  • And so many other remarkable moments in which the spiritual imagination of people was ignited around the world! 


As we walk the road of Advent enroute to Bethlehem…and as we prepare to turn the page of time from 2023 to 2024…I want to thank all of you for being part of our Saint John’s Bible family of friends and stewards.   

May you enjoy the happiest of holidays and a blessed new year! 

John Ross signature 

Rev. Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director 

The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program 

Rev. Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director
Rev. Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director