SEOUL: For the first time in UBS history, representatives from the China Christian Council/ Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) and China’s Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) attended the United Bible Societies’ World Assembly.
The 8th UBS World Assembly was held on September 20-24 in South Korea. It was a time where delegates of all 147 Bible Societies gather as one body to reiterate their shared vision, review actions taken since last Assembly and strategize plans for the future.
Representing the China Protestant Church in the World Assembly is the Associate General Secretary of CCC/TSPM, Rev Bao Jiayuan, who is also the Director of CCC/TSPM Bible Ministry Commission. Prior to his current portfolio, Rev Bao served as Director of the Bible Publishing and Distribution Department of CCC/TSPM. Father Joseph Zhang Qiulin, representative from China’s Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), is a lecturer at the Catholic National Seminary and member of the Bible Reading Promotion Committee at CPA. Both representatives expressed their gratitude to God and to UBS for this opportune and unprecedented chance to be at the World Assembly.
Addressing the Assembly, Rev Bao conveyed his thanks to UBS when he read out the greetings letter on behalf of CCC President, Rev. Gao Feng and TSPM Chairman Elder Fu Xianwei, saying that “CCC/TSPM cherishes its special fellowship and longstanding partnership with the worldwide UBS family, and we are always grateful to UBS for its support and help.”
As the Word of God continues to increase and spread (Acts 12:24) in China, there is a surge in the number of Christians in China leading to a growing demand for Bibles. Since the early 1980s, CCC/TSPM has undertaken the publication and distribution of Bibles with UBS’ support in subsidizing the cost of Bible paper for production. “Since 1980, the Church in China has printed more than 54 million copies of Bibles in various editions and formats, with the invaluable help from the UBS Fellowship… We look forward to further cooperation (with UBS) in the future to fulfill God’s mission for us in China.”
Father Zhang also thanked UBS for the deep friendship forged with the Catholic Church in China as he read out a letter by Mr. Liu Bainian, Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Patriotic Movement. “UBS has contributed greatly to the Bible distribution, evangelism and pastoral ministries of the Catholic Church in China… Since the 90’s, about 100,000 new believers were baptized and joined the local church ever year. We believe these fruits are a result of your unselfish and sacrificial giving… I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the UBS leaders, staff and supporters. Our warmest greetings and sincere thanks especially to those who have contributed to the Bible paper funding.”
Later in a separate interview, both Rev Bao and Father Zhang said that they were most impressed by ecumenical nature of the World Assembly and its wide display of project showcases from sign language, youth, leadership academy, Catholic partnership to Bible advocacy.
“I’m very impressed by how the global fellowship of Bible Societies are working together to fulfill the Lord’s command to spread the Word around the world. I’m also inspired by the spirit and dedication of the Bible Societies in this mission. There is so much we from the Chinese Catholic Church can learn from the UBS Fellowship — to provide the Bible to every Christian and to promote the reading of the Word of God amongst the believers in China,” said Father Zhang.
Similarly, Rev Bao also felt that he has gained a lot of knowledge from the World Assembly which he can share with his fellow leaders of the Protestant Church in China so that they can better promote the Bible work in China. In addition, what made a particular impact on him was the Assembly’s focus and emphasis on Bible ministry to the young people. “This is something we should also work on in China. We have started work in this area but much more needs to be done,” he remarked.
While both Father Zhang and Rev Bao has returned to China and their respective ministries full of new ideas and insight into Bible work, we thank God that He has made all things possible in His time, specifically for providing a way for Chinese Christian leaders to be represented at the UBS World Assembly for the first time.
Written by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership