“The Lord has done a new thing, a wonderful thing, a great thing!”, declared Rev Dr Cao Shengjie in her sermon at the Thanksgiving Service for the Completion of the 80 millionth Bible held in Nanjing on 8 Nov 2010. Rev Cao is the Co-Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Church in China and former President of the China Christian Council.
Rev Cao recounted the time of the Cultural Revolution when Bibles were confiscated and destroyed. The Chinese Christians were deprived of their Bibles during those years. She remembered when the Chinese Church leaders gathered for their first Standing Committee meeting after the end of the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai in February 1980, they decided that one of their first urgent and important tasks was to print Bibles to meet the crying needs for the Word of God.
With the strong support and help of the UBS Fellowship, the Chinese Church leaders set up the Amity Press in 1987 which has since printed more than 80 million copies of Bible, including the 54 million copies distributed within Mainland China.
Praising God for this miracle, Rev Cao added that it was unimaginable that a Bible printing press could be established in China and that it could print so many millions of Bible for China and for overseas distribution. She expressed grateful thanks to UBS and to churches around the world for their prayers and support.
This same sentiment was echoed by Mr Qiu Zhonghui, General Secretary of Amity Foundation and Board Chairman of the Amity Printing Company, in his speech at the Celebration Ceremony, which followed the Thanksgiving Service. He thanked UBS especially for helping to establish Amity Press and for helping it to grow into one of the largest Bible printers in the world.
Amity Press is now producing an average of 1 million copies of Bible a month. It took the Press two years to reach its first million in 1989. It took Amity Press nearly eight years to produce its first 10 million copies of Bible. Now, the Press produces 10 million copies in less than a year!
Mr Qiu lauded Amity Press as “a great model of international cooperation and partnership between Chinese and overseas Christian community – one which is built on mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual support.”
Representing the UBS fellowship, Mr David Thorne, UBS Asia Pacific Area Secretary, said that “the worldwide Bible Society movement considers it a great privilege to be in partnership with the Amity Foundation.” He paid tributes to the Christian leaders who were instrumental in the formation of Amity Foundation and in the development of the Press. He also thanked the Chinese Government for their support, without which it would not have been possible for Amity Press to print so many Bibles over the years.
In this regard, Mr Jiang Jianyong, Deputy Minister of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, reiterated the Chinese Government’s continued support of Bible printing and distribution in China. He said that the 80 million copies of Bible have not only helped to satisfy the demand of the Chinese Christians, but also that of the overseas Christians, thus boosting the exchange between Chinese and overseas churches. “The Chinese Government encourages Chinese churches to enhance its exchange and friendship with overseas churches,” Mr Jiang said.
Reflecting on the Celebration, Mr Kua Wee Seng, UBS China Partnership Coordinator, praised the Lord for the amazing growth of the Church in China and for the Chinese Christians’ love of the Word of God, which have contributed to the huge and ever growing demand for the Bible in China. He also acknowledged the wonderful achievements of the Chinese Church in distributing all these Bibles to the millions of Chinese throughout the vast country. He thanked the Lord for the faithful prayers and generous support of the Bible Societies and their donors, which have sustained the Bible printing and distribution in China all these years.
Mr Kua found the prayers said at the Thanksgiving Service especially meaningful:
“By means of printing and distributing the Bible, may your gospel be widely spread to the ends of the earth.”
“May God bless our Bible printing ministry through which more people could get to know Him and come to Him.”
The Lord has indeed done a new and wonderful thing in and for China!
Submitted by United Bible Societies, China Partnership