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: “The church must pursue reconciliation with Indigenous peoples around the world. It must confront and address the spiritual violence it has committed in the name of Christ’s love, and in the pursuit of a unity that denies the God-given diverse identities of Indigenous peoples, including their spiritual identities. The church in its many global contexts needs to establish processes to hear the truth of the harm it has done, to repent of its sins, to atone, and change its behaviour. This extends to a deep examination of its understanding of what it means to witness Christ’s love. Indigenous peoples have much to teach the church in this regard. It also involves supporting Indigenous peoples in dealing with historical and ongoing trauma, and racism within the church, that still leads to suffering (e.g. suicide, substance abuse, and violence) and the loss of Indigenous lives. Finally, the church must commit to supporting Indigenous self- determination within ecclesial institutions in keeping with article 12.1 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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. Praying for those who are not able to read and write, those who do not have the opportunities of learning and are denied access to knowledge. We have meditated on the selected biblical text Joshua 1: 7 – 9, as a reminder of the importance of learning and following God’s command. The mission of God is to get involved in teaching and Scripture Engagement with those who are ignorant and who do not know how to read and write.
Indeed it was a great time to observe “International Literacy Day” in our Odisha Auxiliary meaningfully by following the order of service prepared by the Media Department.
It was wonderful to have Mrs Sushanna Pramanik, Translation Advisor, BSI Bangalore and the Kuvi consultation team as we observed International Literacy Day even as the Kuvi Bible consultation is an ongoing project under their leadership. The sharing from the word of God by Rev. Prabhudas Sirka, one of our Translators of the Kuvi Bible, was very encourageous. We gave thanks to God for those who can read the Bible and also have prayed for all those who are yet to be literate.
I confess that reading The Parable of The Good Samaritan from a human dignity perspective has really widened my horizons of thinking. I wish to concentrate exclusively on the parable rather than the dialogue before that.
Firstly, the Priest and the Levite. Here we have to consider social dignity, which converts a person to a distinguished dignitary (DD) in society. Several layers cover up our human dignity to make us a DD. We change from a human being to a social being. We are more social- status conscious than being self-/human conscious. I think this is what hindered the Priest and Levite from reaching out to the victim.
Secondly, The Samaritan (made to be “Good”). The Samaritan’s act of restoration of dignity to the victim is also an act of restoration of the Samaritan’s own identity. It is an attempt to counter the people who are obsessed with their dignitary status and never reach to the restoration of humans who are totally ripped off of their dignity.
Restoration of human dignity is a process; it just does not stop with recognizing and helping the victim. The Samaritan cleaned him, took him to the inn, stayed with him, paid for him and promised to repay the extras. Many times, we stop by recognizing or reaching but never dare to enter the process of Restoration because it demands a lot from us. This process sometimes even hinders us from reaching out to the victims.
Thirdly, the donkey- the silent actor, for me, is the most dignified of all the characters in the parable. It carried the Samaritan and it also carried the victim, the Samaritan reached the victim on it and the victim reached the inn on it. Did the donkey complain anywhere in any form? I feel that Jesus consciously made it a part of the restoration process of human dignity. He himself chooses a donkey for his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
In the busy world, we struggle to define our dignity with our dignitary status just as we struggle for our own identity as a person. In this strife to reach our own targets and positions /dignitaries, we miss seeing the people who are ripped off of their basic human dignity. Sometimes we may not be a good Samaritans but we can be a carrier of the Samaritan and also the victim. We can be a silent contributor to complete the human dignity restoration process knowingly or unknowingly but still being part of it. As we celebrate the Yeshu Bakthi Divas this month lets us retrospect on our role as Christians in this country. God called us to lead the human restoration process as silent contributors.
I remember this slogan of an airlines, which says- “Official Carrier of Common sense”. Here I see the donkey as an official carrier of God’s sense- love, a carrier, which does its job without complaints irrespective of religion, gender, caste, creed and colour. Sometimes, we need to be a dignified donkey because our dignity has been redefined when the saviour made us His choice and rode on us to reach the unreached. In order to restore someone’s dignity sometimes we need to lose our ‘dignitaries’ status’ and become a dignified donkey. Are we willing to be a dignified donkey?
Rev. John Basy Paul,
On June 2, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. the Bible Society of India Central Office, The Book Room and the Karnataka Auxiliary had a Thanksgiving and Farewell function for one of our staff Mrs. Roselyn Joyce on her retirement day after serving the Bible Society of India for 30 long years. Mr. Tinku George and Mr. G. R. Samal from the Finance Department had given remarkable farewell speeches. Two of them talked about their fond acquaintances with Mrs. Roselyn Joyce as a woman of caring, quiet nature, yet open for conversation.
She served the BSI with thankful heart, diligence and sincerity. Her concerns for other colleagues’ welfare and family well-being are something worth to learn from her. In her response to the farewell speeches, she expressed her sincere thanks to the General Secretary, all the directors of BSI for their guidance and support throughout her service and thanks all her colleagues in BSI. The progamme was beautifully anchored by Mr. Dot Rajan. The BSI Choir rendered special pre-recorded song for Mrs. Roselyn Joyce and she was presented cheques, shawls, memento and citation as a mark of gratitude from the Bible Society of India.
Programme of the Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation with the BSI Shillong Auxiliary on May 24-26, 2022
We had a very fruitful and meaningful Three-Day Programme with Shillong Auxiliary on May 24-26, 2022. We began the meeting with Business Session for the Auxiliary Committee Members and Branch Officers of the Shillong Auxiliary hosted by the Jaiaw Presbyterian Church with great hospitality. The meeting was well attended, out of active 64 Branches, only a few could not make it due to floods and landslide in some part of Assam. The meeting was presided over by Rev. Lyndan Shyiem, the President, Shillong Auxiliary. We had the Bible Release function in the afternoon. The Khasi Bible Re-edited (OV) with Red-letter was released by the President of the Shillong Auxiliary, BSI in the presence of Church Leaders, BSI staff and officials, and Shillong Auxiliary Branch Officers. The BSI Shillong Auxiliary Standing Choir presented two beautiful songs.
On the second day, a whole day programme was organized on Women Leadership and Empowerment Through Scripture Engagement led by Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, BSI- CPRRM. 180 women had participated from various BSI Shillong Auxiliary branches and the meeting was hosted by the Nonglum Presbyterian Church. 150 Project Bibles for “Women” were given to volunteers and mission field workers to hand over to the needy, who could not be part of the meeting organised on that day.
The third day fore-noon was spent for a special meeting on Cohort Fundraising special project with donors at the Shillong Auxiliary office. The need for the special audience such as Audio Bibles, Braille Bible and Sign Language were discussed and the participants were convinced for the cause to launch this special project. The afternoon meeting was on Youth Leadership, hosted by the Mawprem Presbyterian Church, which was very insightful and encouraging. The Youth expressed their availability for the BSI ministry and committed themselves to give their best for the Bible cause.
The BSI, Ranchi Auxiliary had organized a Three-Day Programme at SDC Hall, Purulia Road, Ranchi starting with the Annual General Meeting and Thanksgiving Service on 17th May 2022. The Associate Director, Department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi represented the BSI Central Office as the Chief Guest. The presence of many dignitaries of the BSI Ranchi Auxiliary Officials blessed the Three-Day Progamme. We praise God for the successful Annual Meeting and Thanksgiving Service. The second day was spent on Volunteer Training through Bible Study, reflecting on various BSI Projects with concerns for the poor in the society and for the need of Audio Bibles, Braille Bibles and Bible in Sign Language for special audience.
The third day was celebrated as Mary Jones Festival and Anand-Mela. Awareness is given to the gathering about the ministry of the Bible Society – to make the Bible available, affordable and accessible in People’s heart languages. People were encouraged and many promised to give their time and treassure to support the Bible cause. At the Anand-Mela, with great joy, people purchased different kinds of Bibles and other homemade eatables for their family members, relatives and friends. Apart from the Bible study sessions, women from different denominations took part with great excitement in different competitions and cultural programme. Skit on Mary Jones enacted by the women was the highlight of the cultural programme. This three-day programme indeed was a blessing to the people of the Ranchi Auxiliary.
Technology is a boon today no doubt to humankind by making communication fast. About three decades ago things were different and today we see smartphones influencing and impacting every sphere of our lives including our habits, our relationships, etc. We may seem to be connected to several folks but in reality we find ourselves to be alone. For those addicted to smartphones, they find it to be a need than an addiction. People’s knowledge of smartphones is way better than the knowledge of the Word of God and no wonder that people want to possess the best possible phone. DScout goes on to say that there is a special software in the android phones to find out consumer’ responses to products. DScout gathered a group of people and tracked each user’s interaction over a period of 5 days. They noticed that the highest smart phone users use the phone nearly 5427 times be it a click, tap and swipe. The rest are on an average of about 2617 times.
In such a given context the question before us is as to how many types, clicks, swipes take place between us and the Bible? There are several questions that technology will not be able to answer as to who am I? What am I here for? What am I and what I am called to do? This answer can be answered only by the Word of God.
The Bible is not just like any other book. It’s the most printed book in history. It’s an amazing piece of writing containing clear teachings on the value and worth of every individual. It’s printed in many languages including Braille each year. According to the Guinness World records it is the best seller year after year. There are many museums only for the Bible and events contained in it. It is available in every nook and corner of the globe. Though it was written thousands of years ago yet it is relevant to our life situation today and hence it is never been outdated and it requires no modification and its accuracy cannot be doubted. Many tried to destroy it but failed, many suffered torture for printing and translating it. Amidst all of it we see it growing. History and archeology couldn’t prove its content wrong. It gives dignity and rights to every human. When you keep turning the pages of this book of life by reading it you will be struck with awe at what you discover about both God and yourself.
Now let’s take a moment to ponder upon Hebrew’s 4:12. Think about what a marvelous thing the Bible is! As Christians, we affirm that it is the very Word of God; and that God stands behind everything He has spoken in it! According to the testimony of the Son of God Himself, not one single word of it will fail. The Word of God is living and is constantly alive as in Greek words Zōn gar lógos tou Theou kai energēs, God’s Word is like a grain of corn planted in a field. In the original text the word “living” stands at the beginning of the sentence and receives all the emphasis. God’s spoken and written Word is alive. The apostle Peter wrote, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24-25).
The word of God is active. From the Greek word energēs we get our word energy. It is powerful, dynamic and full of energy. It does things in a manner that no human being can possibly do. It is the power of God that is energizing. The Word of God is also two edged sword. It penetrates Lives. Each and every impact made on our hearts by the proclaimed Word is but an effect of the power of Christ. The power of Christ cannot be stopped as it has a purpose in that Word which He will accomplish to fulfill His purpose.
Indeed it is a living Word having the power to transform lives. A couple of months back we had an opportunity to visit a tribal community living in the forests. I grew up seeing this community right from my childhood. Their lifestyle was different. When we visited the place we were shocked and also surprised on hearing their stories of how they had turned to the Lord. They shared their transformation experience that had taken place in their life on getting to know the Word of God. They shared of how they had given up their earlier practice of not bathing for days by not being mindful of any civic sense. After they got to hear and learn the Word of God there has been a visible change in their lifestyle. The pastor of their church testified that he was a drunkard earlier and after he got to experience the Lord his life has been transformed. He was unable to read and write but now he is able to read the Bible and preach. The Word of God has brought change not just in his own life but today he is able to lead many people closer to God.
The news, articles or TV may keep us informed. Poems may fascinate us. A novel may stimulate us. But it is only the Living and Active Word of God that can change us. The indispensable character of the Word of God is its endless strength and dynamic effect. It’s the true riches that we must seek, cling to it, enter into it, believe it and let it change us. May the good Lord guide us all in becoming God’s agents through which we will be able to take God’s Word to many.
Rev. Mrs. Shashikala Alva B.S.
BSI Karnataka Auxiliary
The Department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation organized a Five-Day Workshop between May 31 – June 4, 2022 hosted by BSI, Shillong Auxiliary, Meghalaya. There were 30 participants consisting of 10 participants each from Aizawl, Dimapur and Shillong Auxiliary. The participants expressed their thankfulness to the BSI for arranging this workshop as they experienced God’s intervention in their lives and are now equipped to further organize Healing Sessions for those who need healing from their wounded hearts in their respective Auxiliaries individually.
The family of the Bible Society of India observed World Environment Day on June 3, 2022 with prayer through the Zoom platform virtually across the country. The Guest Speaker for the day was Mrs. Sujata Chawdhry, Treasurer, North West India Auxiliary, Principal, St. Crispin’s SR. SEC. School (Diocese of Delhi, Church of North India), Gurugram, Haryana. Mrs. Sujata had taken us through the biblical teachings on creation and human responsibilities by bringing up basics and important issues, such as, the way to respond to the climate change and global warming, wherein, human beings are responsible to a very large extent. The highlights of her speech are as follows:-
1. It is time we implement in small ways to challenge ourselves, like conserving water, saving power at home, cleaning our surroundings.
2. What can we do as family of BSI? a) We nust take the Word of God to people and show them that God is our Creator (Ps 104: 24-25. b) We are the stewards of all creation, not to abuse, exploit and use them wantonly, but take care of them by having ownership that we greatly value and enjoy.
3. Save Earth: let us save our only earth
4. By knowing and following God’s words of reproof, correction and instructions, we can rebuild the world and protect the environment
To mark this significant day, some of our Auxiliaries had planted saplings, decorated the office with plants and the Bible Society of India, Calcutta Auxiliary has launched a new song on the environment too.
The Word of God is Alive and Active …
Technology is a boon today no doubt to humankind by making communication fast. About three decades ago things were different and today we see smartphones influencing and impacting every sphere of our lives including our habits, our relationships, etc. We may seem to be connected to several folks but in reality we find ourselves to be alone. For those addicted to smartphones, they find it to be a need than an addiction……..
By Rev. Mrs. Shashikala Alva B.S.
Auxiliary Secretary, BSI Karnataka Auxiliary
Programme with the Ranchi Auxiliary on May 17-19, 2022
The BSI, Ranchi Auxiliary had organized a Three-Day Programme at SDC Hall, Purulia Road, Ranchi starting with the Annual General Meeting and Thanksgiving Service on 17th May 2022. The Associate Director, Department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi represented the BSI Central Office as the Chief Guest.
Programme of the Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation with the BSI Shillong Auxiliary on May 24-26, 2022.
We had a very fruitful and meaningful Three-Day Programme with Shillong Auxiliary on May 24-26, 2022. We began the meeting with Business Session for the Auxiliary Committee Members and Branch Officers of the Shillong Auxiliary hosted by the Jaiaw Presbyterian Church with great hospitality. The meeting was well attended, out of active 64 Branches, only a few could not make it due to floods and landslide in some part of Assam……
Thanksgiving and Farewell to Mrs. Roselyn Joyce,
Accounts Officer, BSI Finance Department Staff
On June 2, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. the Bible Society of India Central Office, The Book Room and the Karnataka Auxiliary had a Thanksgiving and Farewell function for one of our staff Mrs. Roselyn Joyce on her retirement day after serving the Bible Society of India for 30 long years……
Celebration of the World Environment Day
The family of the Bible Society of India observed World Environment Day on June 3, 2022 with prayer through the Zoom platform virtually across the country. The Guest Speaker for the day was Mrs. Sujata Chawdhry, Treasurer, North West India Auxiliary, Principal, St. Crispin’s SR. SEC. School (Diocese of Delhi, Church of North India), Gurugram, Haryana.
Workshop on Trauma Healing Through Scripture
The Department of Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation organized a Five-Day Workshop between May 31 – June 4, 2022 hosted by BSI, Shillong Auxiliary, Meghalaya. There were 30 participants consisting of 10 participants each from Aizawl, Dimapur and Shillong Auxiliary……