Partners-in-Christ: 30 Years and Beyond

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SHANGHAI, China – It is a partnership based primarily on God, as well as on mutual trust and cooperation, which lasted for 30 years and is still going strong.

On 9 November 2015, the China Christian Council/Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) invited leaders from the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Bible Societies from over ten countries, together with representatives from Amity Foundation and Amity Printing Co. as well as church leaders from various provinces to celebrate a partnership of Bible ministry in China reaching its 30th year milestone.

Recalling Past Achievements  

CCC President Rev Gao Feng

CCC President Rev Gao Feng who chaired the thanksgiving celebration thanked UBS for 30 years of Bible ministry to the Church inChina contributing not just to Bible paper subsidy but also to Bible printing and distribution, ethnic minority Bible translation and the provision of Bible-cum-medical vans. He added, “As we commemorate today this bilateral cooperation of Bible ministry before God, we give Him thanks for His provision these past years and look forward to greater cooperation in the years to come.”

Elder Fu Xianwei

Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of National TSPM, recalled the period in the 1980s when churches were re-opened, there was such a severe Bible drought that attempts to print Bibles in Shanghai and Fujian province were grossly inadequate. Chinese Christians relied then on the few hand-copied Bibles stashed away during the Cultural Revolution. Through the Grace of God and the Holy Spirit’s leading, support from UBS and the Chinese government led to the establishment of Amity Printing Press in 1987 which was a turning point to Bible ministry in China. “No matter how times have changed, the Word of God has never left us and the cooperation between both parties has testified to the blessing and abundant grace of God upon China and the Church in China.”

“The reason why we could achieve the various Bible accomplishment in the last three decades is owing to the spirit of Christian fellowship, built on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding between UBS and the Church in China,” Elder Fu commented. Elder Fu highlighted that through the long term cooperation, UBS has a more extensive understanding of the situation of the Church in China compared to other overseas Christian organizations. He hoped that UBS will continue to share with the universal body of Christ and people of the world about the Church in China. He further added, “I feel that this open and candid relationship we enjoyed now will lead us further to many more years of mutual cooperation.”

Looking Forward

Bishop John Chew

Speaking on behalf of the UBS fellowship around the world, UBS Global Council Member Bishop John Chew congratulated the Church, saying that this was a historic moment as they gather to celebrate the 30th anniversary of partnership in Bible ministry. “I believe that the foundation of these three decades of cooperation is the Bible. Although the past 30 years has been important years, they were merely the beginning. As the Chinese saying goes, “At 30 years old, if a person is established, he will not be confused at 40 and he will know his destiny at 50”.  It is time to expand our partnership from Bible printing to promoting Bible ministry in a more holistic and comprehensive way so that our partnership will deepen further. I believe God will grant us a bigger and heavier responsibility to promote the various Bible ministries in China in the many years to come.”

(L-R): Cardinal John Onaiyekan (UBS Global Council member), Dr Roy Peterson (American Bible Society President and CEO) and James Featherby (British Bible Society’s Board Chairman) during the open session.

During the thanksgiving open session, representatives of the Bible Society around the world also expressed their heartfelt congratulations to the Church, highlighting the historical significance of today’s event. The delegates were honored to have the opportunity to participate in serving the Church in China and grateful to witness the progress achieved through the cooperation in the Bible ministry.

To mark 30 years of partnership, an agreement facilitated by UBS was signed on the licensing of the Chinese Study Bible by Crossway (UBS ministry partner) to National TSPM/China Christian Council for publishing and distribution in Mainland China. Elder Fu commented that the agreement is a good example of cooperation between the UBS and the Church in China. He believes that the Chinese Study Bible will benefit many pastors, preachers as well as believers.

Bible Paper and Beyond

Mr. Kua Wee Seng
The gift: a miniature model of the Bible paper roll.

One of the highlights at the thanksgiving celebration was the presentation of a special gift by UBS to CCC/TSPM.  Mr Kua Wee Seng, UBS China Partnership Director, explained: “We chose a miniature model of the Bible paper roll as a gift to mark the 30 years of Bible ministry partnership between CCC/TSPM and UBS.  In response to the urgent needs for Bible and to support the Chinese Church in printing Bibles to meet these needs, UBS donated and shipped the first 100 metric ton of Bible paper from Finland to China in 1985.  Since then, UBS has continued to support the Church in China in supplying and funding Bible paper for the past three decades. Over the past thirty years, the Church in China has printed and distributed more than 70 million copies of Bible in Mainland China. UBS is committed to continue to serve and support the Church in China in the sacred ministry of providing the Word of God to the millions in China in the years ahead!”

See photos of the thanksgiving here.

Written by: Pamela Choo
Edited by : Cynthia Oh
Pbotos: UBS CP/ Jared Wong
2015 © United Bible Societies China Partnership