Shanghai: It was a day worthy of celebration. November 6th 2012 was a day of celebration for the distribution of 60 million Bibles in China.
Leaders from the United Bible Societies (UBS) and donors of Bible Societies from various countries were invited by the Chinese Christian Council/Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) and government officials from the State of Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) to grace a ceremony to celebrate the blessing of God upon the Church in China. Today more than 60 million Bibles have been published and distributed all across China — a miraculous feat achieved only by the Grace of God.
“This feat would not have been possible if not for God’s bountiful blessings on China and the support of the United Bible Societies,” said Rev Gao Feng, President of the Chinese Christian Council, as he introduced the distinguished guests from UBS which included the Rt Rev Dr John Chew, UBS Vice-President and Mr Michael Perreau, General Secretary of UBS.
Mr Jiang Jianyong, Deputy Minister, on behalf of Minister Wang Zuoan of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), reiterated the long-standing support and partnership UBS has established with the Church in China in the area of Bible publication and distribution. In his opening address, Mr Jiang also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the donors of Bible Societies from all over the world.
In his speech, Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of National TSPM, attributed China’s Bible miracle first and foremost to God, then to the support of the Chinese government particularly SARA and the provincial ARA (Administration for Religious Affairs), the guidance of the leaders from the Church in China, as well as to the UBS partnership.
“The partnership between UBS and the Chinese Church which is based on mutual cooperation and respect is an excellent model for all other international organisations to adopt. If not for this spirit, the 3-decade long partnership would not have grown from strength to strength and contributed to the phenomenal growth of Bible ministry in China. Today, China is printing 3.5 million copies of Bibles yearly!” remarked Elder Fu.
Vice-President of UBS, the Rt Rev Dr John Chew, in his address, thanked God for His Grace on the Bible ministry in China and emphasised the importance of continual partnership between the Church in China and UBS, saying that “in this critical time and age, we want to pray that the confidence established by this partnership over the decades will be strengthened so that God’s Words will be preached and applied throughout the nation and to the world at large.”
UBS General Secretary Mr Michael Perreau congratulated SARA and CCC/TSPM, thanking the Chinese government and SARA leaders for their gracious friendship and support of UBS partnership with the Church in China. He added, “In today’s fast-paced digitised world where there’s so much spiritual hunger and poverty, many still yearn for relational and spiritual connectivity. More than 2000 languages in the world are still without a translation of the Bible, while many poor Christians in the rural areas of China are still waiting to receive their first Bible. Therefore, it is my hope that through this long-standing relationship, UBS will find continuing opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the Chinese people.”
The ceremony closed with a time of gift exchanges between CCC/TSPM and the various Bible Societies present. As an expression of UBS’s long-standing support of the Bible missions in China, Mr Kua Wee Seng, Coordinator of UBS China Partnership, brought the gift to be presented to CCC/TSPM which was a copy of the same edition of the New Testament given to the late Empress Dowager on her 60th birthday in 1894. The original 118 year-old New Testament was published by British and Foreign Bible Societies with funds raised by 10,000 Christian Chinese women. This was followed by thanksgiving speeches by leaders from the various Bible Societies and their gifts of appreciation to CCC/TSPM.
Written by by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership