News Letter

Observance of Kandhamal Day August 23, 2022

The Bible Society of India commemorates Kandhamal Day to stand in solidarity with all Christians — Children, Youth and Adults who faced the Kandhamal religious violence and to remember victims of targeted violence against Christian Adivasis and Dalits, and to express solidarity with all victims of hate and violence across India.  This day was observed as Combined Prayer Fellowship on a virtual platform through Zoom across the BSI Offices in Central Office and all the Auxiliaries and Translation Centre, Shillong by following a very meaningful Order of Worship prepared by the Jabalpur Auxiliary. Archbishop Rajiw Satish Toppo, President, BSI Ranchi Auxiliary and Archbishop of the Northwestern Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ranchi was our Guest Speaker. The speaker emphasised that “Without Crucifixion, there is no Resurrection '' by way of talking about the firm faith which the victims of the Kandhamal riots are holding on in Christ. As they cling on to the crucified Christ, their faith and spirits are not shaken and they continue to rise above the threats of evils.

According to Archbishop Toppo, the forces of evils are nothing but temporary forces that came from the instigated socio-political and religious factors in and around Kandhamal. As Christians, we need to pray constantly to do away with the forces of evils that surround us and pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen and give us an understanding of our socio-political and religious context so that we can be on guard and fight for justice in this world.

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BSI E-NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2022

Freedom to be what we are meant to be – Luke 15:11-32

Freedom and independence are the words we all love and strive to experience in our personal and community lives. This year, as we celebrated our 75th Independence Day, we were reminded once again of the struggle and the sacrifices of many who made it possible. God never intended for us to be enslaved; rather, God desires that we be free. In the parable of the so-called “prodigal son” Jesus teaches us how and where we can truly enjoy and experience freedom…

Mr. Caleb Martin,

Associate Director, Media and Special Audience Department.

Observance of Kandhamal Day August 23, 2022

The Bible Society of India commemorates Kandhamal Day to stand in solidarity with all Christians — Children, Youth and Adults who faced the Kandhamal religious violence and to remember victims of targeted violence against Christian Adivasis and Dalits, and to express solidarity with all victims of hate and violence across India…….

Observance of International Literacy Day on September 8, 2022

The family of the Bible Society of India, throughout the Central Offices, Translation Centre Shillong and all our 17 Auxiliaries observed the International Literacy Day declared by the United Nations Organization on September 8, 2022, in our respective offices. This day was observed with morning prayer by following a very meaningful Order of Worship prepared by the Media and Special Audience Department, Bible Society of India….

Message from the Indigenous Delegates of the 11 th  Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Karlsruhe, Germany from August 28 to September 9, 2022.

The theme of this Assembly was to “Christ’s Love Moving the World to Reconciliation and Unity”. On this overarching theme, many workshops and presentations were held from various perspectives and platforms. Here is a message from the Ecumenical Indigenous Pre-Assembly meeting for the Christian World in general and for the Churches in particular drafted by Lori Ransom, a delegate from the Presbyterian Church in Canada……

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Biblical Reflection: Freedom to be what we are meant to be-Luke 15:11-32

Freedom and independence are the words we all love and strive to experience in our personal and community lives. This year, as we celebrated our 75th Independence Day, we were reminded once again of the struggle and the sacrifices of many who made it possible. God never intended for us to be enslaved; rather, God desires that we be free. In the parable of the so-called “prodigal son” Jesus teaches us how and where we can truly enjoy and experience freedom.
 
People have looked into this parable from various perspectives. They see it in the context of the other two parables: the lost sheep and the lost coin. Some have looked into it from the legal perspective and tried to understand how the son can even ask for his share while the father is still alive. Some others have seen it from a financial perspective, and some others have tried to understand how famine and difficult times can help us see the truth and respond to it, and the perspectives go on and on.
 
I invite you to look at this parable from the perspective of freedom or independence.
 
The younger son here wanted to be free and have the time of his life. Try new things that probably no one in his town ever thought of, or even go to new places. Is it wrong to think this way? Not necessarily, but the problem was that he wanted to isolate himself from the father and his family. He did not want anyone to question his actions, thoughts, or decisions. He thought freedom was about being able to do, say, and go anywhere he wanted to. For him, freedom was being whatever he wanted to be. There are many people today who might think and understand freedom this way.
 
Through this parable, Jesus teaches us what true and genuine freedom is all about.
 
1. Freedom needs to be understood within the context of relationships and not in isolation. As the saying goes, “The right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.” The young man wanted to experience freedom by being on his own. He wanted to leave his father and his household to experience freedom. As individuals, as husbands or wives, as children, or in our work places, communal and social lives, we need to understand the limits of our freedom so that we can have a meaningful life.

2. Freedom is knowing that we are loved, accepted, respected, and valued. And experiencing this in our personal and community lives. In the mid-80s, I spent a few days with refugees in Tamil Nadu. One day, as I was getting ready to go home, an elderly man came to me and said, “I know why you are leaving now. It is because you have a mother who would ask if you are late, but many of these children have no one to ask or even correct them.” Some people may think that these children are very free to live the way they want to. But are they really free?

3. Freedom is not about being what we want to be, but being what we are meant to be. While many may think that smoking, drinking, adultery, etc. is an expression of freedom, it is not. True freedom is having the power to say “No” to things that destroy our physical, mental, emotional, personal, family, social and community lives.
 
The young man learnt his lessons, maybe in a hard way, but he learned that true freedom is in the love and embrace of his father and not by going away from him. The only way we can truly understand what we are meant to be is in and through God’s Holy Word, and to constantly grow in our relationships with God, our fellow humans, and the rest of creation. The command that our Lord Jesus gave to us is all about our relationship with our Creator and creation.
 
The Bible Society of India is committed to sharing God’s Word with everyone so that lives and communities may be transformed to live the life that we are meant to live. We carry the only message that can offer true freedom to anyone who seeks and believes. In John 8:32, Jesus Said “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This makes our work more important and needed than ever.

In the last 75 years of independence in India, we have seen fourteen Prime Ministers and fifteen Presidents. We have gone through many changes, and we will continue to go through changes. Through our journey, we have learnt that we cannot experience freedom in isolating ourselves from others, but in oneness and unity. There is nothing that should hinder us from being united, except evil. As the prophet Amos cried out, “Hate evil, love good.” Amos 5:15. Let us shun evil and embrace God’s love in doing good.
 
May God Almighty help us to be the channel that brings healing and God’s blessing to this great nation.

Mr. Caleb Martin

Associate Director,

Media and Special Audience Department.

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BSI E-NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2022

Biblical Reflection: (in the Context of the Celebration of the International Indigenous Day on August 9, 2022)

When the eager followers of Jesus keenly listened to when he was using a simple metaphor of “light” to tell who they were, saying “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” I could see the enthusiastic tribal communities, young and old, whose sparkling eyes could connect themselves with that light of the world, the light that sparks on the hill top, illuminated by the gospel of Jesus……

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi,

Associate Director, Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation.

Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department, Initial Equipping Session – Trauma Healing

A brief report of the Trauma Healing Initial Equipping Sessions held at Praggoloy, Pastoral and Development Center, Kolkata (5 th -9 th  July, 2022) and YMCA International House, Mumbai (11 th – 15 th  July, 2022)……

Report on the Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department Programme with Gujarat Auxiliary on July 21 – 25, 2022.

We had a very meaningful interactions and fruitful engagement with all the participants for Four Days programme of Training the Auxiliary Staff, Auxiliary Committee Members and BSI volunteers such as Branch Leaders, Collectors and Donors in the surrounding cities of Ahmedabad and Anand in Gujarat State towards Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilization strategies…..

Virtual Meeting With Auxiliary Secretaries

The Department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation organised a virtual meeting with all its Auxiliary Secretaries on July 28, 2022 from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI extended a warm welcome to the Auxiliary Secretaries and encouraged them from God’s Word from the book of 1 Kings 20:28…..

Observance Of Tribal And Adivasi Day

Like any other years, the Bible Society of India observed the ‘Tribal and Adivasi Day’ virtually on August 9, 2022. Ms. Elina K. Horo, Founder of Adivasi Women’s Network (AWN) and Inter State Adivasi Women’s Network (ISAWN) and Chief Functionary of Women and Gender Resource Centre (WGRC) was the speaker for the day…..

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Biblical Reflection: (in the Context of the Celebration of the International Indigenous Day on August 9, 2022)

Matthew 5:14 “You are the Light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”

This Bible verse is found within the famous words of Jesus “Sermon on the Mount” that begins in the book of Gospel of Mathew chapter 5. This particular verse is set in the context of the beautiful yet hard teachings of Jesus “the Beatitudes”. When Jesus saw the multitude, who faithfully trusted him and followed him wherever he went and who were unmindful of their long and dusty journeys across the length and breadth, up and down of the Galilee, Samaria and other places. When I imagine the simple and many an unassuming people, who with their simple faith trying to understand the Kingdom’s value of love, hospitality, social ethical values and ethos that are embedded in Jesus’ teaching, I could see in them a group of people, children, youth, women and men of different calibers. I could connect the crowd who were following Jesus, especially with the tribal communities, who live on forest hills and mountains, with whom I interact in the course of the ministry I am engaging with as I travel the length and breadth of India.

When the eager followers of Jesus keenly listened to when he was using a simple metaphor of “light” to tell who they were, saying “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” I could see the enthusiastic tribal communities, young and old, whose sparkling eyes could connect themselves with that light of the world, the light that sparks on the hill top, illuminated by the gospel of Jesus. In one of the Missiological Study courses of Master of Theology under the Senate of Serampore College (University), India, there is one question that asks “Why are Jharkhand and North East India receptive to Christianity? The one important answer I could probably give is, for the tribal people especially who dwell on hills and mountain regions the gospel of Jesus makes meaning to them, literally connecting themselves with their geographical location. I imagine Jesus would have said a longer statement within our Indian context, saying “My people, who dwell on mountains and hills, who do not practice the evil of castecism, who believe in me and in my words, to lighten the world who are in darkness, to transform the world where darkness of ignorance and slaveries of castecism holds its fort, no one can ignore you, as you are the light, children of Zion that shine on the hill top.” This is how it would ring in the ears of the tribal Christian community when they read the Gospel of Matthew 5:14. The call is loud and clear, they are the light that shine on the hill to enlighten and dispel the darkness of social evils clouded by discriminations due to caste system, gender bias due to patriarchal structure, female foeticide, child marriage, dowry and its related evils, shrinking place of tribal women and men in their participation and their roles in the society. The call to the people on the hills is not to always remain on the hills and mountains, but to be the light of this world including the valleys and the plains. One of the gospel songs beautifully sings “God on the Mountain is also the God of the valleys” in its literal sense.

Prayer: God of Light, you have enlightened us to be the light of the world. Though the darkness of social evils engulf us, yet as you have set us as the light on a hill, give us the courage to hold our light shine, strengthen us so that we may be the agent of your love and peace in this troubled world. We submit our lives into your hand as we choose your words as a lamp for our path and a light for our feet. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi,

Associate Director,

Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation.

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Church, Public Relations & Resource Mobilisation Department, Initial Equipping Session – Trauma Healing

A brief report of the Trauma Healing Initial Equipping Sessions held at Praggoloy, Pastoral and Development Center, Kolkata (5 th -9 th  July, 2022) and YMCA International House, Mumbai (11 th – 15 th  July, 2022).

We begin this report by thanking God Almighty for His blessings on  the Initial Equipping Sessions  held in Kolkata and Mumbai. By God’s grace the programmes went on very well and all the participants were so grateful to BSI for organizing such a programme which according to them was unique.  We were blessed to lead the Trauma Healing Programme in India through our 17 Auxiliaries. After organizing four such programmes in different parts of the country for different groups of people, we realized how important this BSI ministry is as the Trauma Healing touches lives through the Word of God. 

The Initial Equipping Sessions in Kolkata began on the 5 th  of July 2022 at Proggoloy, a Catholic Centre. We are thankful to Rev. Philip Bhari, Auxiliary Secretary, BSI Calcutta Auxiliary and Rev. Gershombhai Kristi, Pro tem, BSI Bombay Auxiliary and their team had done their best in arranging suitable places for the programme. We had participants from Andaman Nicobar Islands, Kolkata, Ranchi, Odisha, Bombay, Gujarat and Karnataka along with the respective Auxiliary Secretaries. There were 48 participants from all these states. Mrs. Amber Bernard, Rev. Shashikala Alva and Rev. Sudhakara Raju facilitated the Sessions.  Most of the participants including the Auxiliary Secretaries testified that they were personally blessed by the programme and assured us that the same would be taken back to their families and Churches that are in need of healing from their wounded hearts. Since the programme is Bibleis based, it helped the participants to engage themselves more with the Word of God and to know about the God of the Bible in the process of finding healing for their wounded hearts.

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Virtual Meeting With Auxiliary Secretaries

The department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation  organised a virtual meeting with all the Auxiliary Secretaries on July 28, 2022 from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI extended a warm welcome to the Auxiliary Secretaries and encouraged them from God’s Word from the book of 1 Kings 20:28. He reiterated that our experiences on mountain top and valley are unique. Emphazising that the God on the mountain is also the God of valleys, God of the Bible is our God in our good times and difficult times, God who is journeying with us in all times and places. Therefore, we shall not be moved. GS also had emphatically affirmed that with a beautiful statement saying “Bible is a Public Document”, therefore the mandate of the Bible Society of India is to take the Bible in the Public Square with its truth and integral ethics and ethos for the pursuance of peace, justice and reconciliation of the world, while respecting traditions of any context we need to approach traditions with critical examination for the transformation of our lives to make the world a better place to live in.

At Post-lunch, Marketing and Accounts staff from all the Auxiliaries had joined our conversation with special invitees from the Financefrom Department. Mr. Tinku George, Director Finance and Mr. G. R. Samal. Assistant Director, Finance. It was a blessed time of listening to our Auxiliary Secretaries their challenges and prospects in and through their activities, strategies on Church, Public Relations, administrative skills and responsibilities, and their activities on fundraising methods and various strategies. We are grateful to our General Secretary and the Auxiliary Secretaries for a very meaningful time we all spent together through the Zoom platform.

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Observance Of Tribal And Adivasi Day

Like any other years, the Bible Society of India observed the ‘Tribal and Adivasi Day’ virtually on August 9, 2022. Ms. Elina K. Horo, Founder of Adivasi Women’s Network (AWN) and Inter State Adivasi Women’s Network (ISAWN) and Chief Functionary of Women and Gender Resource Centre (WGRC) was the speaker for the day. The Bible Society of India, being a member of the National Council of Churches in India (hereafter NCCI) adapted the order of worship prepared by the NCCI in our observance of the “Tribal and Adivasi Day/International Indigenous Day”. The theme for this year was “The Role of Tribal and Adivasi Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge”. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994. By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9th August every year. By following this UN day, on 17 September 2010, during the Annual General Body Meeting of National Council of Churches in India in Bangalore, for the first time the NCCI announced observance of the NCCI-Tribal and Adivasi Sunday. NCCI, therefore, urges and requests constituent members to annually observe every Sunday closest to 9th August as NCCI -Tribal and Adivasi Sunday and the date to be marked in the Church calendar and dairy. In order to have a better understanding of the life situation of the Tribal and Adivasi communities in India and to have a common form of worship for this special Sunday, NCCI therefore brings out this Liturgy. Nevertheless, NCCI acknowledges that many churches do not follow a liturgical form of worship; still NCCI requests those churches to adopt liturgy suitable to their own tradition. At the same time, NCCI is also aware of the absence of Tribal and Adivasi communities in a few churches, yet NCCI requests all those churches to observe this special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday to show their solidarity with our fellow tribal and adivasi friends who are oppressed and marginalised in various ways. NCCI hopes that the observance of this special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday will be an enriching one in our faith affirmation and for widening the horizon of our ecumenical Journey. Since 2011, Tribal and Adivasi Sunday have been celebrated in many parts of our country in sensitizing the local congregation on Tribal and Adivasi Concerns. We would like to thank all the churches, dioceses, parishes and institutions for the enormous support we have received in celebrating this special Sunday.

Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI welcomed the august body and the guest speaker. Staff from the Auxiliaries took active part in the order of service to make it meaningful and blessed.

Ms. Elina K. Horo in her speech reiterated the importance of listening to the wisdom of tribal women, especially elderly women, whose experiences speaks volumes of wisdom and life-skills; she also urged her audience to be mindful of the rights and dignity of the Tribal and Adivasis in our Indian constitutions in order to protect them from all kinds of atrocities meted out to them. Calling the Church and Christian Institutions to work together for increasing awareness of the Tribal and Adivasi issues and be an agent of justice in upholding and respecting their Rights, Preservation and Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge in our Indian society.

BSI Staff nation-wide affirmed their faith with these words:

We believe in God, the source of all life, who invites us to be partners of the creative processes that enhance life; who entrusts us with the responsibility of caring for the earth and everything in it; who delights in justice and righteousness, and detests all kinds of injustices, oppressions and exploitations.

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born as a human to reveal God’s love by sharing in the life of the suffering communities, protesting against the structures and powers that oppress people, powers and structures that exploit the earth’s resources, and powers and structures that destroy life and breed death.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, who leads us to truth, who inspires us for every good work, and who challenges us to work for the cause of just peace.

We believe in the Church, which is called out to be a community that stands with all who are oppressed, following the way of Christ.

We believe in the interdependence of all God’s creation; humans are not above other creatures but stewards with a responsibility to care and nurture for creation, resisting practices that are life- negating.

Intercessory prayers were offered for the Tribal and Adivasi community of our country.

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Report on the Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department Programme with Gujarat Auxiliary on July 21 – 25, 2022

We had a very meaningful interactions and fruitful engagement with all the participants for Four Days programme of Training the Auxiliary Staff, Auxiliary Committee Members and BSI volunteers such as Branch Leaders, Collectors and Donors in the surrounding cities of Ahmedabad and Anand in Gujarat State towards Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilization strategies.

We greatly appreciate the Gujarat Auxiliary Secretary Rev. David Desai and all the staff of the Gujarat Auxiliary for their commitment and hospitality for hosting many programmes. The commitment of the Auxiliary Committee members, branch leaders and all the donors for the Bible cause is a great encouragement for the ministry of the Bible Society in the state of Gujarat. For the first time in their history a Meeting at the Church of North India, Anand City with the 250 BSI branch leaders and donors was great encouragement for the BSI activities in the Anand city.

Scripture Engagement programmes with special group of people with the Slum Dwellers in Ahmedabad city, with the Poor children at the Irish Presbyterian Mission Girls Hostel, Anand City, and the Widows at the CNI Church Ranipur, Irish Presbyterian Mission near Ahmedabad were all a heart-rending moment yet a joyful time. Sharing the Word of God in the midst of their suffering and challenging life situation, with the word of God’s comforts and sustaining love is what we could offer to encourage them to take life positively. The most beautiful faces are seen when each of the participants in these programmes received a copy of the Holy Bible in their hands. May God’s sustaining love keep them safe always.

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The Release of the Trial Version of the Interconfessional Four Gosples in Kannada

Relations between the Bible Society of India and the Catholic Church is growing stronger with the release of the trial version of the four Gospels in Kannada (CL), which is a joint venture project on Re-editing Interconfessional Kannada Bible (CL) on July 6, 2022 at 3:00 pm at the Ascention Church Hall at Da Costa Square, St. Thomas Town, Bangalore – 560084.

The Bible Society of India and the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council had signed a Memorundum of Understanding for this partnership project on July 19, 2021 after several rounds of  meetings of the Steering Committee representing both the BSI and the Catholic Church under the leadership of His Grace Archbishop Peter Machado, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangalore and Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, the General Secretary and the CEO of the Bible Society of India. We truly are thankful  to their leadership for being the driving force for this partnership project. The reediting work has been taken up by the Translation Core Team with good knowledge of Hebrew, Greek and Kannada languages from both the insitutions. Their commitment and expertise of the needed languages and the software technological application has helped the translator core team to work within a stipulated time frame for the trial version of the four Gospels for the release.

In the presence of His Excellency Bishop K. William K.A., Chairman of the KRCBC Bible Commission, Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI, Members of the KRCBC Bishops’ Council, the Steering Committee Members, Translation Core team, Senior Management Team of the Bible Society of India, a few special invitees, the Four Gospels Trial Version was released by His Grace Archbishop Peter Machado, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangalore. This Trial Version will be sent out to Theologians, Pastors, Professors of Kannada Language, Lay committed readers from both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church for their review.

We are thankful to God for the partnership engagement of the Catholic Church and the Bible Society of India for this noble and important project. We seek your prayer support for the completion of the Re-edited Interconfessional Kannada Bible (CL) for the Church and the Kannada speaking community world wide as per scheduled.

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