November 2022

BSI E-NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2022

Psalm 103:  Thanking God in our Lives

As the Advent Season of the year is just around the corner, Christians across the globe are started observing Thanksgiving prayers. There are so many reasons to thank God for God’s sustaining mercies and blessings in our lives as individuals, families, churches, communities and nations. The book of Psalms is one of the most beautiful collections of thanksgiving songs we could reflect upon…….

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi,

AD – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation

Celebration of Reformation Day

Like any other year, the Bible Society of India commemorated Reformation Day on October 31, 2022 in all our offices at the Central and in all 17 Auxiliaries across India. This year, the BSI celebrated this day by adapting a special Order of Worship prepared by the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on the theme “Witnessing to the God of Life”. Reflection was done from the chosen text for the day –  Psalm 104 : 24, 27-30 and Romans 8: 18 – 25…..

BSI Kerala Auxiliary news

Kozhencherry Branch : Golden Jubilee Celebration Closing Session

The closing session of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Kozhencherry Branch was held on 26 October ‘22 at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Kozhencherry. The event was blessed by the esteemed presence of Bishops, Clergies, Pastors and other leaders of various churches. The meeting was presided by the Branch President Rev. Thomas Mathew, Vicar, St. Thomas Mar Thoma  Church, Kozhencherry. Rt. Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa, Central Council Member, BSI & Kerala Auxiliary Committee member delivered the inaugural address…..

Activities of the Gujarat Auxiliary

Golden Jubillee Celebration of the Uttarsanda Branch, Gujarat Auxiliary

On September 16, the Uttarsanda Branch had completed 50 years and they had arranged Thanksgiving Service and called Church leaders of the surrounding areas. The BSI Auxiliary President and Secretary and few staff members attended the service. We had a very meaningful time of meeting with church leaders, friends of BSI and donors who happily and willingly donated for the BSI ministry….

Four Students of United Theological College – Bangalore, successfully completed their 25 Days of ​Intensive Field Education with the Bible Society of India

The Bible Society of India for the second time hosted four Students of UTC namely Mr. Samuel Sunith R. (BD 4), Mr. S. Ebinesar Christopher Moses (BD 3), Mr. Bruce K. Thangkhal (BD 2),​ and Mr. Vigil Wilson (from the ​Young Men’s ​​Christian ​​Association – YMCA​) for their 25 Days Intensive Field Education from October 10 to November 3, 2022. Together with all the ​staff of ​BSI​ under the leadership of the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, the UTC students had a very educative exposure in terms of Office Administration, Field Exposure with Scripture Engagement, ​Bible Archives, ​Financial Management, Property Management, Bible Translation Process, Media Engagement, Information and Technological scales, Production of Scripture and Engagement with the Printing Press and  Marketing Strategy of the ​ministry of the Bible​Society of India….

Prayer Concerns for the Bible Society of India

Pray for the Audio Bible recording currently in progress in the Sourashtra language. The Sourashtrians are settled in the state of  Tamilnadu and Gujarat.

Pray for the Audio Bible distribution for 500 elderly and visually impaired people during this Christmas season. May they find the joy of Christmas through the gift of the Audio Bibles to them.

Pray for challenges of printing Scriptures due to shortage of raw material supplies so that the people in need of Scripture may not experience Bible poverty.

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Four Students of United Theological College

Four Students of United Theological College – Bangalore, successfully completed their 25 Days of ​Intensive Field Education with the Bible Society of India

The Bible Society of India for the second time hosted four Students of UTC namely Mr. Samuel Sunith R. (BD 4), Mr. S. Ebinesar Christopher Moses (BD 3), Mr. Bruce K. Thangkhal (BD 2),​ and Mr. Vigil Wilson (from the ​Young Men’s ​​Christian ​​Association – YMCA​) for their 25 Days Intensive Field Education from October 10 to November 3, 2022. Together with all the ​staff of ​BSI​ under the leadership of the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, the UTC students had a very educative exposure in terms of Office Administration, Field Exposure with Scripture Engagement, ​Bible Archives, ​Financial Management, Property Management, Bible Translation Process, Media Engagement, Information and Technological scales, Production of Scripture and Engagement with the Printing Press and  Marketing Strategy of the ​ministry of the Bible​Society of India.

The students had the privilege of meeting with all our 17 Auxiliary Secretaries online and face to face​,​ thereby, having ​first-hand information on​ the functioning and ministry of the Bible Society of India across our country.

The students greatly valued the mission mandate of the Bible Society of India to making the Bible Available, Affordable, and ​Accessible in every heart’s language across our country. As the BSI works towards reaching out ​to ​everyone with the Scripture, the students pledged their commitment to ​being the agents of BSI to help achieve the mission mandate in every possible way. 

On their first day of orientation ie., October 10, 2022, when asked about their knowledge of the BSI, their responses were all in a few words – two of them said, “BSI is like a printing press, printing Bibles and selling them to the people​”. One student said “Conducting Programmes in the Churches” and the other one said “Bible Translation Agency”. All of them are right with their own limited knowledge. On the concluding programme on November 3, 2022 when the same question was placed before them again, their responses went on and on, written down on number of pages, and published on YouTube, it was clear that time was not sufficient for them to tell their knowledge of the BSI. They expressed their heartfelt thanks to the UTC Administration and the Bible Society of India for the arrangements made in such an intensive manner, exposure from a high level of office management to the poorest sections of the community with the utterly helpless communities of children and adults in our country. The holistic ministry of the Bible Society of India according to them, “could no longer be put in a few words as the Word of God penetrates each and every corner of human lives and with all creation, the history of the Bible from ancient time to this day – all are too huge for us to ​know them all​ within 25 days. We will visit ​the BSI​ as and when the time permits us, to continue our learning of the ministry of the Bible Society of India. An amazing and blessed institution with 211 years of existence serving God and the people of God”.  

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BSI Kerala Auxiliary news

Kozhencherry Branch : Golden Jubilee Celebration Closing Session

The closing session of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Kozhencherry Branch was held on 26 October ‘22 at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Kozhencherry. The event was blessed by the esteemed presence of Bishops, Clergies, Pastors and other leaders of various churches. The meeting was presided by the Branch President Rev. Thomas Mathew, Vicar, St. Thomas Mar Thoma  Church, Kozhencherry. Rt. Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa, Central Council Member, BSI & Kerala Auxiliary Committee member delivered the inaugural address. In his speech, Bishop exhorted in figurative style that the Word of God is like a rose flower. As the rose flower spreads its fragrance and looks attractive to eyes; God’s Word attracts people and those who read and abide in the Word of God spread their fragrance to whomsoever they meet. Bishop appreciated the mission initiative of the Branch as good amount is donated to BSI Ranchi Auxiliary and visiting villages of the Auxiliary for distributing Bibles and food packets. He added that it is an emulative example for the Branches to follow by including in their Budget in the future. The Auxiliary President Most Rev. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan and Rt. Rev. Thomas Samuel, former President, Kerala Auxilary gave benedictory message and later Bishop released the golden jubilee souvenir by presenting it to the first Branch Secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Philip Varghese.

Rt. Rev. Mathews Mar Silvanios Episcopa, BEC shared greetings and inaugurated the formation of Branch Youth Wing by handing over the lighted lamp to the youth members. The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal felicitated the closing ceremony by quoting Psalms 133:1, that Bible Society is a blessed platform for uniting and witnessing the Bible Cause from different church denominations. BSI Kozhencherry Branch Secretary, Mr. Varghese Jacob presented the Golden Jubilee Report. Rev. Abraham George, STECI, Rev. Dr. Santhosh John (AG Church), Divisional Commander Major O.P. John (Salvation Army) Shri. Anto Antony MP, Mr. Joseph Easow (Treasurer, Kozhencherry Branch), Smt. Elizabeth Philip Varghese, Smt. Saramma Shajan, Smt. Jiji Varghese John (members of the Branch & panchayat local body members) shared their greetings.  The Jubilee choir and the august audience blessed the celebration with meaningful songs and valuable participation.

New Branch at Moolamattom in Idukki Region

The inauguration of BSI Moolamattom Branch formed as the 142nd  Branch in Kerala Auxiliary was held at IPC Church Moolamattom on 31 October 2022 at 3.30p.m.

Rev. K.J. Jose presided over the meeting and the Auxiliary Secretary gave the inaugural address.Clergies and pastors from various churches graced the occasion and greeted the event.Rev. Binu Kuruvilla Jose (CSI), Rev. Eby Oommen (MarThoma Church), Pastor T. Biju (IPC), Pastor T.M. Abraham (New India Church), Pastor P.D. Johnson (Church of God), Br. Shajimon P.D. (Brethren Church).Mr. K.D. Samuel (Secretary), Mr. C.K. Mammen (Treasurer) also spoke in the inaugural meeting. A Bible exhibition with discount sale was also arranged.

The following persons were selected and dedicated as Branch Officials: Rev. Binu Kuruvilla, Patron, Rev. K.J. Jose, President, Mr. K.D. Samuel, Secretary,  Mr. C.K. Mammen, Treasurer  and  Mr. U J Mani, Joint Secretary

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Celebration of Reformation Day

Like any other year, the Bible Society of India commemorated Reformation Day on October 31, 2022 in all our offices at the Central and in all 17 Auxiliaries across India. This year, the BSI celebrated this day by adapting a special Order of Worship prepared by the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on the theme “Witnessing to the God of Life”. Reflection was done from the chosen text for the day –  Psalm 104 : 24, 27-30 and Romans 8: 18 – 25. Recalling the beauty of God’s creation of the world as recorded in Psalm 104, where we found God’s intention for each and every creation, of their existence, freedom, and respect for one’s space and their boundaries, through which ecological life should remain balanced. But, when we read Apostle’s Paul letter to the Romans in chapter 8: 18 – 25, we understand that the whole creation ceased to enjoy its primordial status and now groaned in pain for redemption from disruptive and abusive situations. Human beings, the custodian of creation failed to do their duties and became very corrupted, even to the extent of selling indulgences ‘God’s redemption’ by extorting money from the peasants. Humans abused and misused the Bible and continued to cause severe crises to God’s creation. Martin Luther, by way of pinning the ’95 Theses’ of wrong biblical interpretations and corrupted ministerial activities thereby set the right tone to correct the church and it’s theology on October 31, 1517 at the Castle Church, Wittenburg, Germany. Today, as the whole world is celebrating Reformation Day, there is yet another big milestone to celebrate in the history of Bible translation. This day also marked the 500th year of Martin Luther’s significant work of translation of the New Testament into German language which the Lutheran World Federation celebrates with much joy and gratitude to the life and work of Martin Luther. The Bible Society of India too acknowledges Martin Luther’s great contributions to the liberation of the Scripture itself from the clutches of misconstrued ideologies and perceptions.

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Thanking God in our Lives

As the Advent Season of the year is just around the corner, Christians across the globe are started observing Thanksgiving prayers. There are so many reasons to thank God for God’s sustaining mercies and blessings in our lives as individuals, families, churches, communities and nations. The book of Psalms is one of the most beautiful collections of thanksgiving songs we could reflect upon. Let us look into Psalm 103 a little closer to understand in Five Points, the reasons why we should be thankful to God for God’s many blessings, guidance and the protection we receive throughout the year and in the days to come.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
​(Psalm 103:1-5).

1. Thanking God for the forgiveness we have in Christ.

This is the greatest blessing. As Martin Luther said, all Christians are saints and sinners simultaneously. Through Christ we are redeemed from our sin and are counted in the company of saints. On the other hand, in our human frailty we are inclined to do sinful things and no human efforts are strong enough to prevent us from sinning. But the grace of God is powerful enough to forgive our sins if we truly repent and ask forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

2. Thanking God for good health.

The whole world had gone through one of the most challenging health crises due to Covid19 pandemic from the past two years. It shattered us and even as we are learning how to live with it, the painful impact it has on many individuals, families and communities continue to traumatise us. Even as the world seems to be breathing a better atmosphere, good health comes as a strong reminder of God’s blessing and we should never take our health for granted. Though God does not guarantee healing every time we get sick; but when we do get sick and recover, we understand God’s intervention in our lives. God works through medicine and doctors to heal us. God often speaks to us in the thickness of our struggles.

3. Thanking God for redeeming our life from destruction.

There can be many reasons in our lives that we go for self destruction. When we find life is not how we wanted it to be and beyond our control, many fall into depression and self destruction. In order to avoid the reality of life, some tend to find comfort by taking alcohol excessively; some take drugs and other substances and wander away like lost sheep and like the prodigal son. Even when we do not know how to find our way back to normal life and back to our family and society, God cares for each of us and seeks us out till we are found. God answers the prayer of our family, our friends and our church community because we all are precious in the sight of God and God redeems our life from destruction. As the psalmist says “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses” (Psalm 107:13).

4. Thanking God for God’s loving kindness and tender mercies.

God’s love and mercies are real and we are to be thankful to God. As the Psalmist says –
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalms  103:8-14).

5. Thanking God for God’s provision.
Even in our most vulnerable situation, even when we do not know how to pray, we just need to be thankful to God for our very lives. In times when we do not even get enough food to eat, proper clothe to wear, no proper roof above our heads, and on sick bed, we may question in our heart, how is it possible to be thankful to God in the midst of such hopelessness. The testimony of a boy, whom we met during our BSI Scripture Engagement programme in a hospital in Bangalore city is so encouraging to hear and to learn how to be thankful to God. This boy Madu (name changed) was able to thank God, even as he was on a sick bed for several months. He just thanked God for his life, the food and the clothing provided by the hospital, the hospital bed to sleep on, the prayers of the hospital chaplain, the Children’s Pictorial Bible to read over and over again, the care he received from the doctors, nurses and hospital attendants. He never gave up on his life as he found God in all these. Later, the chaplain of the Hospital reported to us the amazing story of this boy. On the day he was discharged from the hospital with a wheel chair to use till the time he no longer needed it, his words were marvelous testimony (a translated version). “I will continue to pray and thank God for everything, and be a faithful follower of Christ. I will pray for the sick and for the needy and that people may find peace in all circumstances”

By Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi,

AD

Church, Public relations and Resource Mobilisation

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