New Year Message
“The Eternal God: Yesterday, Today, and Forever”
Dear Co-workers in Christ,
As we stand at the beginning of the year 2024 to delve into the timeless truths of God’s Word, I am reminded of the unchanging nature of our Creator God. The God we serve is not confined by the constraints of time and space; our God is the God of our Past, the God of our Present, and the God of our Future – the “Immanuel” – the boundless God.
What a comforting assurance that the God who walked with our ancestors in the past, the God who sustained us in our present, is the same God who holds our future as we read in Jeremiah 23:23-24 “I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?” and Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The God of the Past: In reflecting on the past, we see the faithfulness of God throughout history. From the creation of the world to the redemption of fallen human kinds through Jesus Christ on the Cross, God’s design is evident. As we recount our personal histories, we can trace the fingerprints of God’s grace, love, mercy, and providence. The challenges we faced, and the victories we celebrated – are testaments to the God who walked beside us in the past.
The God of the Present: In the present, we experience the tangible presence of God in our lives. In Psalm 46:1, we are reminded that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The same God who sustained us in the past is with us today, guiding, comforting, and empowering us for the challenges of the moment. Our moment of challenges be it financial, physical, or mental health, broken relationships in the family and friends circle, war, conflicts and violence, political unrest, displacement, scarcity of food, repeated natural disasters due to climate change, … We can go on counting challenges that are unlimited. Amid these crises, where there seems to be no hope in our human understanding and limitations, there is one truth that stands out, that is, our reliance on God’s presence brings peace amid life’s uncertainties.
The God of the Future: As we step into the future of time and space we face the unknown with confidence in the God who holds our tomorrow. Isaiah 46:10 affirms, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” Our God, who orchestrated the events of history, continues to hold the future in God’s sovereign hands.
Dear fellow sojourners, let us rest in the unchanging character of our God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As we navigate the complexities of life, may we find solace in the God of our past, the God of our present, and the God of our future? (Hebrews 13:8). The Ministry of the BSI is a beacon of hope, a vessel of transformation, and a proclamation of the love of Christ. In Romans 10:15, we are reminded of the importance of bringing the good news: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Let us anchor ourselves in the promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” May this year be a year of deepened faith, renewed dedication, and an outpouring of God’s grace upon each one of us. Together, as co-workers in Christ, let us press on with unwavering commitment, knowing that our labor in the Lord is never in vain. Let us journey forward with the assurance that the God who has been faithful in our past is faithful in our present and will be faithful in all the days to come. Amen.
Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
A/D – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department
As part of the tradition, the Mary Jones Women’s Fellowship once again organized the Christmas Tree Programme on 10th December 2023 at the Christ Church Cathedral premises. There were approximately 150 participants along with special invitees such as visually impaired and senior citizens. Women from various Churches of Jabalpur participated. Rt. Rev. Ajay Umesh James, Bishop of Jabalpur Diocese, CNI was the Chief Guest for the event. Rev. Bruce Thangadurai, Treasurer, BSI, Jabalpur Auxiliary and Priest in charge of Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. Subh Venketgadi, Assistant Priest of Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. Ms. J. C. Luke, Advocate Arpan Pawar, Executive Committee Member were our dignitaries and they were honored with bouquets. Rev. Subh Venketgadi offered the opening prayer. Ms. Arpita Steele and Mrs. Parimal Mayo led the program beautifully.
The Mary Jones Women’s Fellowship Committee Members led the praise and worship. Mrs. Manjulata Robert read the Bible scripture taken from John Ch.5: 30 – 47. Our Chief Guest shared the Christmas message and emphasized the importance of preparing ourselves to receive Jesus in our hearts, apart from our physical preparations with lights and decorations and varieties of Christmas programmes. He also shared about Mary Jones and her Bible. The message was very meaningful and well-received. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful performance of Group Dance, Song and Christmas Skit by the Members of the Mary Jones Women Fellowship. The BSI Audio Bibles were presented to our special invitees, which was greatly appreciated by all. Mrs. Prabha David who is blind was in tears while receiving the Audio Bible. Ms. Teresa Irene Rodrigues, staff, BSI, Jabalpur Auxiliary presented the Vote of Thanks. The program was concluded with prayer by Rev. Bruce Thangadurai and Benediction was pronounced by our Chief Guest.
Christmas with the “Mission to the Blind, Jabalpur”
On December 17, 2023, the Bible Society of India Jabalpur Auxiliary had the privilege to be part of another Christmas Tree Program organized by the “Mission to The Blind” at Prince of Peace Church, Johnson Compound Jabalpur.
It was a very joyful time in Praise and Worship led by Prince of Peace Church Choir. Mr. George B. Lall who is visually impaired read the Braille Bible from the Gospel of Matthew. It was really a heart touching experience for many people who witnessed how a visually challenged person reads the Bible. The group presented wonderful Christmas carols.
Rev. Cornelius delivered a very meaningful Christmas message, focusing on the meaning of Christmas, which is all about God’s love to humankind. The Auxiliary Secretary Rev. Daniel Nath also shared the Christmas Message saying, “Christmas brings Love, Joy, Hope and Peace we received from God’s sacrificial incarnation in Jesus Christ. To understand this Christmas message we need to develop this sacrificial attitude of God within us.” Braille Scriptures & Audio Bibles were distributed to the visually impaired and we are truly thankful to the BSI Media and Special Audience Department for providing us these Scriptures. The beneficiaries of the Braille Bibles and Audio Bibles were filled with joy and gratitude to God. It was a Blessed moment for all the participants of this event.
TAMIL NADU AUXILIARY – BSI Christmas Programme
The Bible Society of India Christmas programme was held in the Bible House of BSI TN Auxiliary on December 21, 2023 at 11.30 a.m. Rev. John Giridharan, Senior Presbyter (Retd.) who is also a member of ESV Global Study Bible Translation started the programme with prayer. Rev P. Moses Devadason, the Auxiliary Secretary welcomed the gathering and greeted the Presbyters, Auxiliary Committee Members, Branch Officers and the staff who participated in the Christmas programme. Rev. Sam Rajkumar coordinated the events of the Programme and brought special greetings about the birth of Jesus Christ.
The following distinguished guests such as Rev. John Giridharan, Rev. Samson, Mr. V. S. Jebaraj, and Mr. Stephen Bakianathan brought special Christmas greetings and encouraged the gathering to support the BSI ministry. A very meaningful Christmas message was shared by Rev. N. G. Mathew, Presbyter in-charge, CSI Risen Redeemer Church, Kodambakkam from the text Luke 2: 9 – 20, the sign of the birth of Jesus Christ to the Shepherds. Rev. D. Manogar our Sr. Marketing staff presented the vote of thanks. The programme came to a close with prayer by the Rev. T. Devaputhiran, Executive Committee Member BSI, TN Auxiliary and benediction by Rev. John Giridharan.
KERALA AUXILIARY: The CELEBRATION of LOGOS to the COSMOS
(the Word became flesh and dwelt among us)
During Christmas season, as part of the Scripture engagement programme, the Auxiliary Secretary shared the Christmas message and introduced BSI ministry in the ‘Christmas celebration and Crib competition’ held at Government Dental College, Kottayam on 21st December 2023. We really appreciate College Principal Dr. Suja Ani, all Doctors, staff and students for their great efforts.
On 17th December, the Auxiliary Secretary attended the ecumenical carol night and delivered the Christmas message in ‘Painter Hills Carol Night 2023’, organised by the Churches established by Rev. A. F. Painter at Mankompu, Idukki district. Around 400 members and 11 Church Choirs participated. BSI Melukavumattom Branch President, Rev. James P. Mammen presided the meeting, Idukki Region Coordinator Dr. Josemon George felicitated the gathering. We praise God for the wonderful program.
The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal shared from the Word and about BSI ministry in the Christmas Carol programme arranged by Power in Jesus Ministries, (a worship group for all language people) at Kattappana on 25th December 2023. Around a thousand migrant workers from various states attended the program. We appreciate the great ministries of BSI Kattapana Branch Treasurer, Mr. Vincent Thomas, and the leadership of Rev. Dr. Benoy P. Jacob (Patron), Rev. Joseph Mathew (President), Pr. Jacob Samuel(Secretary). God bless all the efforts of reaching the World with the Word.
The Auxiliary Secretary also attended the Platinum Jubilee Carol Service at Holy Trinity CSI Church, Mundakayam on 23rd December evening and Christmas Carol at St. Stephen’s CSI Church, Ayyappancovil on 24th December evening. Rev. Jacob Antony shared the Christmas message of the Divine becoming Human.
Christmas with Widows and Poor Women in Srinivaspur Kolar, Karnataka
On Monday, the 11th of December 2023, the Karnataka Auxiliary visited the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship Church in Srinivaspur Kolar, Karnataka for a Christmas programme with project Bible distribution. The service started at 6.30 p.m. The in-charge Pastor Peter Palathoti had invited around 150 poor women and widows from the nearby villages to take part in the Christmas service. A very meaningful time was spent in the service by sharing the Word and about the ongoing ministry of the Bible Society. Special program by the children and free distribution of the Bible was the highlight of the church service.
Mrs. Dafni and Mrs. Dorcas expressed their heartfelt thanks to BSI ministries while receiving the very first copy of the Bible in their lifetime. Their gratitude underscores the profound impact of this gesture, emphasizing the value of access to spiritual guidance and the significance of providing such resources to individuals, which can bring immense comfort and inspiration to their lives. The Auxiliary was greatly thankful to Pastor Peter Palathoti for giving them the opportunity to visit his congregation for Scripture engagement during Christmas season.
Christmas with Widows and Poor Women in Bangarapet, Karnataka
As part of advance Christmas Scripture engagement, on Sunday, the 17th of December 2023, the Karnataka Auxiliary visited the Bethel Mission Church, Bangarpet for distribution of Bibles as part of project implementation. The first service started at 6.00 a.m. The in-charge Pastor Rev. John Peter had invited around 150 poor women and widows from the nearby villages to participate in the service.
The Auxiliary had the privilege of sharing about the ongoing ministry of the Bible Society in two services. There was a time of Praise and Worship, and sharing the Word, which was followed by Scripture distribution program. Mrs. Priya Yeshu and Mrs. Joyce, the beneficiaries among many expressed their gratitude to the Bible Society for the thoughtful gesture and shared their joy of receiving a copy of the Bible directly from BSI. All the beneficiaries expressed their heartfelt thanks, reflecting the significance of such initiatives in bringing hope and comfort to individuals in challenging circumstances. The Auxiliary was deeply thankful to Pastor Rev. John Peter for giving them the opportunity to take part in their worship and to have BSI women project implementation. In return, the church offered donation for the BSI Ministry, which was much appreciated.