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CENTRAL COUNCIL MEETINGS

Every three years the Executive Committee of the BSI along with the delegates from the BSI Auxiliaries across the country gather together to assess the Bible work and work on strategic direction for the next triennium . The Central Council consists of the Executive Committee, the office bearers of the Auxiliaries, and delegates representing the Auxiliaries across the country.

This year about 115 delegates gathered for the 27 th  Triennial Central Council meeting in Bangalore.   As many as 16 youth representatives (under 30) attended the council for the first time.

The theme of the Central Council was Philadelphia Promise:  Resourcing the vision and mission of the BSI. The key characteristics of the Philadelphia Promise are:

  • Focus on Audiences and their representation in our programs
  • Strengthen Church Relations and build new relationships with Churches not involved in our work
  • Share resources such as expertise, talent and scholarship with neighbouring Bible Societies
  • Mobilise resources to Support Bible work in needy areas
  • Integrate digital into our Mission to reach new audiences generating greater engagement
  • Promote succession planning and talent management
  • Increase Sustainability, minimise waste and maximise impact
  • Develop Wholistic Programs to meet total needs persons or of communities

It was a privilege to have Rev.Dr.Robert Cunville, President, UBS, Mr. Michael Perreau, (Director General of UBS) along with Rev.Dr.Roy Pererson (the President and CEO of ABS) at the Central Council meetings.

A good number of leaders from various Bible Societies and denominational Churches brought Greetings and Goodwill messages:

a) The Most Revd. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church
b) The Most Revd. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos.Metropolitan, Malankara Orthodox Church
c) The Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Vasai, Mumbai
d) The Revd. Dr. Mar Atsongchanger, Executive Secretary,Ao Baptist Church Association Mission Centre
e) Mr. Alwan Masih, General Secretary of the Church of North India Synod
f) The Revd. Liton Mrong, General Secretary, Bangladesh Bible Society
g) The Revd. Mathew K. Punnoose, General Secretary, Malaysian Bible Society
h) Dr. Julian Sundersingh, Ministry Resource Facilitator& Global Literacy Coordinator, Global Mission Team: Global Ministry Exchange
i) The Revd. Daniel Cheng, General Secretary, Bible Society of Taiwan

The General Secretary and the Directors presented their reports of the respective departments.  They also presented their strategic plans for the next 3 years.

The work of the BSI Auxiliaries were appreciated and awards were presented for “Excellence in contribution and distribution”.

1. Aizawl Auxiliary received the award of excellence for raising contributions.
2. Tamil Nadu received the award of Excellence for Bible Distribution
3. Kerala Auxiliary received the Award of Excellence for Overall Performance

Awards of Appreciation was also distributed to the Auxiliaries in recognition of their Bible work.

The Central Council also elected the Most Revd. Dr. P.C. Singh as its President, Dr. Mrs. Leela Bose – as Vice President and Revd. Premkumar Soans the Treasurer.

The Outgoing Office Bearers, namely, President, Vice President and Treasurer were honoured for their faithful service.

To God be the glory for all the great things that God did in and through the Bible Society of India Team during the Triennium, as well as what God is going to do during the next Triennium.

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I Love Reading the Bible

“Do you have Genesis, Exodus and other Old Testament books in Kannada Braille?”, enquired Thimae Gowda on the phone. Thimae Gowda is one of the many visually challenged people who receive Braille Bibles from the Bible Society of India. “ Yes, we do have Genesis and a few other Old Testament books in Kannada Braille”, we replied. Thimae Gowda was immediately overwhelmed with joy. We could easily feel his excitement in his voice over the availability of the books of the Bible he has been wanting to read. “I will come and get it from the BSI office when I come to Bangalore”, he said. Thimae Gowda came to our office yesterday from his native place Tumkur and received the 5 books he wanted in Kannada Braille.

Many visually challenged people are benefitted by the distribution of Braille Bibles in many Indian languages. The Braille Bibles are also posted to those who are unable to come to the office. Santhalingam, a resident of Chennai recently received I & II Samuel and I & II Kings in Tamil Braille from the BSI office by post. “ I am thankful to BSI for helping me with the Braille Bible”, said Santhalingam when he called us after receiving the Braille Bibles. Some even make requests for Braille Bibles on behalf of someone whom they know and we send them the Braille Bible in the language of their choice” says Immanuel. Loganathan, who completed his study from the Blind School in Poonamallee contacted the Bible Society through his friend in Bangalore. Loganathan was able to receive Braille Bible books that he wanted to read.

The Braille Bible is quite voluminous. In fact, it is 43 volumes in all. And so, visually challenged people receive the Bible as books. We are really happy to serve the visually challenged. Most of them who contact us are eager to read God’s Word. We are touched by their love for the Bible”, says Immanuel, a staff of the Media and Special audience Department. The Braille Bible is quite expensive too and not many can afford to buy the Braille Bible. The Bible Society of India makes available free Braille Bibles for the visually challenged in many Indian languages.

Lemu, a visually challenged student at the United Theological College, Bangalore requested the Bible Society for the Braille Bible. He finds the Braille Bible very helpful for his studies. He now regularly contacts the Bible Society for the various books of the Bible in Braille. We are very extremely happy at Lemu’s eagerness to make the Bible available in Braille in many of North Eastern languages spoken in Churachandpur

The BSI is committed to serving the visually challenged. We see this as an opportunity and privilege. If you know of any visually challenged person who is in need of Braille Bibles please contact the Media and Special Audience Department at bsisa@biblesociety.in

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Diamond Jubilee

Valedictory Ceremony, Kottayam

The Kerala Auxiliary was inaugurated with the motto, Bible for every Christian home in Kerala and has faithfully served the Bible cause for the last 60 years. The year 2016 – 17 marks the Diamond Jubilee of the Kerala Auxiliary. The Kerala Auxiliary has served the church in Kerala, particularly in meeting her Scripture needs, supporting gospel outreach, and providing a platform for common witness.

The Kerala Auxiliary celebrated its Diamond Jubilee Valedictory Ceremony on the 9th December, 2017 at the Jerusalem Marthoma Church, Kottayam. The Diamond jubilee Celebrations were concluded at the 61st annual meeting of the Bible Society of India, Kerala Auxiliary. The function was graced by the presence of Rt.Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa (President), H.E. Kuriakose Mar Sevarios, H.G. Mathews Mar Aprem ( Vice President) and several other dignitaries. The Annual meeting was attended by the officers of the BSI branches all across Kerala.The newly produced Malayalam Audio Bible was released during the meeting.

Our prayers are with the Kerala Auxiliary as they renew their commitment for the Bible cause and continue on in the faithful journey for the last 60 years. We congratulate Rev. Mathew Skariah, Secretary, Kerala Auxiliary and his dedicated team for organising this grand event.

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Odiya Audio Bible Release Function

Odiya Audio

Today, there is a growing preference for ’listening’ rather than ‘reading’ and the numbers are rising exponentially. The trend is not just with people who can’t read but also with the ‘neo-literates’ and ‘non-readers’. The audio Bible comes handy for people who would rather listen than read. Besides, the Audio Bible is a welcome tool for the people ‘on-the-go’ and the the elderly who find it extremely difficult to read small print.

The Bible Society of India has been producing audio Bibles in many languages. The Odia Audio Bible was recorded by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers led by Rev.Dr. Ashish Patro, Secretary, Odisha Auxiliary. The Odia Audio Bible was released on 18th December 18t at the CNI Baptist Church, Cuttack. The release function was well attended by Christian leaders and believers drawn from all denominations. The BSI Standing Choir, Shillong ministered to the congregation through music and song.

The Media and Special Audience Department congratulates the Odisha Auxiliary for the successful completion of the Audio Bible project and releasing the Audio to benefit those who are in need of the Audio Bibles. We hope and pray that the Odia Audio Bible will be a great blessing to the Church in Orissa.

For further details about the Odia Audio Bible please mail to: bsiori@biblesociety.in

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JOYCE Pallat Retirement Programme

It’s been 40 years since Mr. Joyce Pallat joined the Bible Society of India. Mr. Joyce Pallat retired on 28 November 2017 after his distinguished service as Asst. Director, Internal Audit Department of the Bible Society of India.

What made you join the BSI?, I asked him just a few days back before his retirement. “It was my passion to serve Christ. My father was a pastor and therefore, I wanted to serve God. I refused a bank posting and joined the BSI in 1978”, he replied. “ But… I have been blessed in every way. I have no regrets”, he continued after a little pause.

He then told me how he enjoyed working with the BSI, first with the finance department and then later with the Internal Audit department. “When I joined BSI we were not this big. Today we have established ourselves. We have moved from strength to strength. Of course, we had gone through difficult days and trying times. But, God has been faithful to the BSI. No one can stop the work of the BSI”.

You could feel the joy ebb in his heart as he reflected on the last four decades in under four minutes. Mr. Joyce Pallat recognises the role played by the Bible Society of India in his life and ministry. “If you see most of the BSI staff retire after 25 years, 30 years and that tells a lot about BSI as an organisation”, he said. Every time he mentioned BSI you could see him gleam with pride.

I asked him about his future. “ We plan to settle down to a much quieter life in Mangalore”, he replied. Mr. Joyce Pallet, like many before him, have faithfully served the Bible cause through the Bible Society of India.

He will surely be missed. We wish him all God’s blessings and thank and celebrate God for his service with the Bible Society of India.

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UMMEED- Celebrating Christmas

THE BIBLE SOCIETY OF INDIA
NORTH WEST INDIA AUXILIARY
NEW DELHI

The Bible Society of India, North West India Auxiliary organized UMMEED Christmas with the vulnerable at the Community Centre, Gole Dak Khana, New Delhi on the 4th December 2017. Around 250 children from as many as 15 organizations participated and presented Christmas program through singing, dance and skit. They included Children with disability; children rescued from human trafficking; children infected with HIV & AIDS; visually abled and children from the weaker socio-economic strata.

The Chief Guest for the event, Dr. Mrs. S. M. Rao, Treasurer, NWIA and the Guest of Honour Monsignor Fr. Susai Sebastian, Auxiliary Member encouraged children with a meaningful Christmas message. They were welcomed with a potted plant by Rev. Shirley Lall, Auxiliary Secretary, NWIA.

All the participants were gifted with ‘The Children’s Bible’ sponsored by the United Bible Societies, through The Media Department, The Bible Society of India. Chocolates sponsored by Nestle, and other gifts sponsored by the well wishers of NWIA. Braille Bibles were distributed to the visually abled children.

The children and the guests enjoyed a good lunch too. The event was an amalgam of the joy, love, and hope that the birth of Jesus Christ brings. It was indeed a heart warming and blessed event.

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The Khasi Braille Bible

“I have longed to read the Bible. Not just hear the Bible being read to me. I have been praying hard for a long time. I am happy that the Khasi Braille Bible is being released. Now I can read the Bible for myself”, said Sister Bertha G. Dkhar to the packed audience at the Dinam Hall, Shillong. It was indeed a joyous occasion for us and many like her, as the first Khasi Braille Bible (Psalms and the Gospel of Matthew) was released on 5th April 2018 at an event hosted by the BSI Shillong Auxiliary at the Dinam Hall, Shillong.

The request for the Khasi Braille Bible came to the Bible Society of India from the Khasi Jaintia (KJP) Presbyterian Synod. We are thankful to Rev. Phidolis Dkhar, Secretary, BSI Shillong Auxiliary, and the staff of BSI Shillong Auxiliary for taking up this project and completing it within a very short period. It was truly yet another opportunity for the Bible Society of India to serve the Church and be a servant in God’s Mission.

The release function was attended by many church leaders, Branch leaders and supporters of the BSI. The guests of honour who graced the occasion were Rev. H.L Marsing (Moderator of Ri Bhoi Presbyterian Synod), Rev. Imiong (Executive Secretary Church of God,Meghalaya&Assam), Most Rev D Jala, Arch Bishop of Shillong Diocese(Roman Catholic), Ms Bertha G Dkhar, Sr Coordinator (MDUE), Rev. S.S. Majaw (Moderator of KJP Assembly), Most Rev. Dr. Purely Lyngdoh (Former Moderator of the Church of North India), Rev. Dr. S.D Kharmawpllang ( President, BSI Shillong Auxiliary), Elder.K. Lyngkhoi (Vice-President, BSI Shillong Auxiliary) and Rev.Z.M.Sawkmie (Translations Advisor, Translations Centre, Shillong).

The first copies of the Khasi Braille Bible (Psalms and Mathew’s Gospel) were released by Mr. Samuel Thambusamy, Director for Media & Special Audience, Bible Society of India. The new Khasi Bible will help PVD’s to access the Bible. Besides, it will also help them to actively participate in Church services and thereby genuinely be ‘included’ in worship. We are particularly thankful to the Bethany Society, Sister Bertha G. Dkhar and Compass Braille International for their work and ardent support in completing the book of Psalms and Matthew’s Gospel in Braille.

Mr. Samuel Thambusamy reiterated BSI’s commitment to serve special audiences and promised that the other books of the Bible will be made available in Khasi very soon. Sister Bertha thanked the BSI for releasing the Khasi Braille Bible as it will reach to the many who are waiting to read God’s Word. Sister Bertha’s love for the Bible and the passion to make the Church an inclusive community left a deep impression among the participants. Music and Songs rendered by Ms. Lodina Rani & and the other visually challenged students from the Bethany Society warmed everyone’s heart.

Many PVDs are poor and have very little access to God’s Word. As BSI, we are very happy to be of service to the faithful who are in need of Braille Bibles. One full Braille Bible is made up of at least 40 large books and is very expensive. The Bible Society of India through the Special Audience department reaches out to PVDs by providing them Braille Bibles for free, thus making the Bible available and accessible to them

For further details about Braille Bible please mail to: bsimedia@biblesociety.in

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Bible House Building Project

The Bible House, Hyderabad has served the Bible cause for the last 80 years. The Bible house has helped strengthen the spiritual journey of individuals, families, and congregations by providing Bibles, Gospel portions, Gospel Tracts, and Braille Bibles. The BSI Telangana Auxiliary was formed on the 3rd February 2016. The Auxiliary extends its work in 18 districts through 47 branches.

A new Bible house has been proposed to house the newly formed Telangana Auxiliary to meet the demands of the growing Bible distribution in the State of Telangana. The Bible House building project primarily commemorates 200 years of publishing the Telugu New Testament [William Carey (1818) and Visakhapatnam (1818)].

The ground breaking ceremony for the new Bible House was held on 12th April 2018. The Foundation stone was unveiled by Rev.Dr.P.N.S.Chandra Bose, (President), The Most Rev. Dr.P.C.Singh (Vice-President), Rev. Premkumar Soans (Treasurer) and Rev.Dr.M.Mani Chacko (General Secretary). We were blessed with the presence of Rt. Rev. Dr. V. Prasada Rao, Bishop, CSI Dornakal Diocese, Bishop M.A.Daniel, Bishop Hyderabad and M.P.Regional conference, NCI, Rt.Rev.Dr.Prof.K.Reuben Mark (Bishop CSI Karimnagar Diocese), Rt.Rev.Dr.AC.Solomon Raj (Bishop Medak Diocese), Rev.Dr.P.B.Arnold, President, The conference of Mennonite Brethren Church of India, Rev. Dr.Malla Thomas, President, Telugu Baptist Fellowship Secunderabad, Rev.Dr.G. Samuel, First Baptist Church, Narayanaguda. The members of the Telangana Auxiliary Committee, Branch leaders and many supporters of Bible Society also attended the ceremony.

This was followed by a service at the Centenary Methodist Church, Secunderabad. Rev. Dr. P.N.S. Chandra Bose informed the gathering that the Bible House would be a spacious building and that it will accommodate the office. Besides, it will also help in the sustenance of the BSI ministry. Bishop P. C. Singh said that the proposed building will shine as a witness to the community at large. Rev. Dr. Praveen Prabhu Sudheer, Secretary, Telangana Auxiliary presented the building project and the projected costs to the gathering. He said:

The Bible house

  • will be a landmark in a strategic place
  • will bear witness to the Bible in the public square
  • will provide space for all God’s people to come and work together for the Bible cause
  • will be a place where Bible distribution work will be co-ordinated
  • will help us realise the Vision and Mission the BSI.

The Bible House building project was affirmed by the leaders of the denominational Churches in the State of Telangana. Bishop A.C Solomon Raj affirmed the project and said “The construction of the Bible House is nothing but God’s instrument in bringing the light into this part of the world.

Bishop M.A.Daniel said, “it is only Bible that can bring transformation in the lives of the people. The Bible house has done a great service to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and that the Methodist would do their best to support it”.

Bishop Reuben Mark encouraged the people “to join hands together, not in words, but in deeds, to make this dream into a reality. He congratulated the BSI for taking up this Spirit-led venture”.

Rev. Dr. M.Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI, reminisced the small beginnings of the Bible Society Movement and God’s faithfulness in leading the BSI for last 206 years. He wished all God’s blessings on the Auxiliary committee as they take steps to raise financial support for the building project. He also thanked all the Bishops for pledging their overwhelming support to the Bible House Building Project.

The Bible House holds a special place in the ministry of the Bible Society of India. It is space for all God’s people to come together and work for the Bible Cause. We ask you to pray for the building project.

For further details about Bible House Building Project please mail to: bsitel@biblesociety.in

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CRRMD ZONAL TRAINING

Zonal training Workshops for BSI Volunteers and Staff

The strength of the Bible Society of India lies in our wide network of volunteers. BSI volunteers work tirelessly, alongside our Auxiliaries, to advance the Bible Cause.

The Church Relations and Resource Mobilization Department (CRRMD) conducted five Zonal workshops to build the capacities of BSI Volunteers and Staff in advancing the Bible Cause. “We decided to hold these Zonal Workshops for training our Volunteers and Staff once in 4 years. And so, we conducted the workshops in 2010 and 2014. These workshops have helped strengthen BIS-Church relationships and move further towards financial viability”, says Dr. Miss Leelavathi Manasseh, Sr. Director, CRRMD.

The five zonal workshops were held in

  • Kolkata (Eastern Zone) on April 4-7
  • Dalhousie (Northern Zone) on April 16-19
  • Shillong (North Eastern Zone) on April 23-26
  • Chennai (Southern Zone) on May 4-7;
  • Ahmedabad (Central Zone) on May 15-18

The theme for 2018 Training Workshops was: “Reformation: Islands of Excellence in the midst of creative challenges”. Besides Dr. E. Leelavathi Manasseh, Rev. Sudhakara Raju, Mrs. Mridula Kumar, Auxiliary Secretaries and other local church leaders were the Resource Persons who facilitated the Training Workshop.

About two hundred participants from across India attended these workshops. The workshops helped the participants to look at various commonalities, uniqueness, capacity building, networking and partnership opportunities to understand the creative challenges and work towards furthering the Bible Cause. The other topics at these workshops included Understanding People, Resource Mobilization, Empowerment of Children, Young People and Adults through Bible/Scripture Engagement Projects. The workshops were Bible-based, Christ-center, Church-People oriented and spiritually uplifting.

The BSI has a large network of supporters and volunteers spread across the country through 16 Auxiliaries. The workshops also encouraged the various Auxiliaries to work together for advancing the Bible cause. Many participants expressed the feeling that the coming together of so many volunteers at the Zonal level was in itself a great inspiration to effectively work together for advancing the Bible Cause. Many volunteers who work alongside the BSI Auxiliaries admitted, “Ministry among People of all Age Groups will definitely bring Money for the Bible work/ministry, as this is doing God’s work in God’s amazing ways for God’s glory alone”

The Auxiliaries and their volunteers were motivated to make a district-wise mapping to identify Churches and People for Ministry. Innovation, Flexibility, Experiential and Participatory learning added value to the teaching-learning process and made the workshop very effective and fruitful. All the participants were blessed by the sessions and participated enthusiastically in the small group discussions.

Dr. Miss Leela Manasseh expressed her thanks and gratitude to Rev Dr M Mani Chacko, General Secretary, Bible Society of India, the Auxiliary Secretaries and the host organizing teams for the success of the workshops. “Men and Women will do together what we cannot do separately, drawing children, young people and adults closer to God and to People through the Word of God, using relevant approaches during 2018 May-2022 April!”, says Dr. Miss Leela Manasseh, with a smile of confidence.

We hope and pray that God continues to bless the efforts of CRRMD and that each BSI Auxiliary would be able to advance the Bible cause in the midst of challenges.

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BSI is my life

“The Auxiliary accorded a grand farewell to Mr. P.O. Kurian (Asst. Manager, Accounts) on his retirement from a distinguished service of 41 years. Mr. Kurian worked under seven General Secretaries from Rev. Dr. A.E.Inbanathan to Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko and seven Auxiliary Secretaries Rev. Victor Mangalwadi in Allahabad Auxiliary to Rev. Mathew Skariah in Kerala Auxiliary.

Mr. Kurian began his service at the BSI Allahabad Auxiliary. In 1983 he was transferred to BSI Kerala Auxiliary, as there was a need for an Accountant in Kerala.

Mr.Kurian was fully involved in all the areas of the work of the Auxiliary office. He also maintained a personal relationship with the office bearers of each of the 141 branches and encouraged them in their work. Rev. Mathew Skariah, the BSI staff and Auxiliary office bearers thanked Mr. Kurian for his excellent and faithful service for the Bible cause. Rev. Skariah said, ” It will be difficult to replicate the commitment and hard work of Mr. Kurian for BSI. Serving the BSI was his greatest passion.”

“Mr. Kurian was willing to sacrifice all his personal needs and time for the sake of BSI”, said Rev. Varkey, former Auxiliary Secretary. The Kerala Auxiliary staff said, “He was a perfectionist in his work and he expected the same from all us. At the same time he was loving and willing to assist if we needed some helpWe will really miss him”. Rev. Dr.Mani Chacko, General Secretary presented a gift on behalf of the BSI to Mr. Kurian.

Mr. Kurian thanked the BSI for all the love and support he enjoyed for the last 41 years. Amidst tears of joy he said, ” Really, I enjoyed my work with the BSI. BSI was not just my workplace. BSI is my life”

We, at the BSI along with the Kerala Auxiliary, extend all our sincere prayers and wishes to Mr. P. O. Kurian for a meaningful retired life yet active in God’s work.

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