WCC Bangalore

Obituary: Rev. Dr. P.N.S. Chandra Bose

Dear Co-Workers in Christ!

With profound sorrow, we share the news of the demise of Rev. Dr. P.N.S. Chandra Bose on the morning of December 9, 2021 in a hospital at Hyderabad.

Rev. Dr. Chandra Bose was the President of the Bible Society of India between 2013 to 2019, Vice-President between 2007 to 2013 and he served as the Executive Committee member until the end.   He was 72 years old.  His funeral was held on the 10th December 2021 at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.  Rev. Dr. Bose is survived by his dear wife, the Vice-President of the Bible Society of India, Dr. Mrs.  P. Leela Bose, a son and two daughters.

Rev. Dr. Chandra Bose was deeply involved in the work and ministry of the BSI both at Central Office and also at the Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary.   His love for God and God’s Word were truly commendable. The contributions he had made to the work and ministry of BSI is immeasurable.  He was a deeply committed and dedicated Christian leader.

We give thanks to God for the life and witness of Rev. Dr. Chandra Bose.  His demise has left a deep void in BSI which is difficult to fill. We will dearly miss him and would ever be grateful to Rev. Dr. Bose for the immense contributions he has made in fulfilling the Mission and Vision of BSI.

May the Lord comfort and strengthen Dr. Mrs. Leela Bose and the dear family members in this difficult time.

The thanksgiving service for the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. P.N.S. Chandra Bose was held at Jehovah Shalom Church in Guntur on 17th December, 2021. The services rendered to several areas of ministry by Rev. Dr. Bose were remembered and in particular, his services towards the Bible cause were venerated. The Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, BSI General Secretary, highlighted the contributions of Rev. Dr. Bose to BSI and in particular to Andhra Pradesh (AP) Auxiliary. Rev. K. John Vikram, AP Auxiliary Secretary, read out the condolence messages of Dr. Michael Perreau, UBS Director General, and the Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, Moderator, CNI and President BSI. Bro. Johnson, AP Auxiliary President and Rev. K. John Vikram have presented 20 Bibles to the family of Late Rev. Dr. Bose to distribute to the staff of the Hospital which was his last desire.

Read more

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY

SEPTEMBER 8, 2021, 9.00 AM

The Bible Society of India had the privilege to observe the “International Literacy Day” throughout our offices in India.  

Imagine how different our life would be if we had never learned to read or write or understand any writing.  For millions of people in the developing world, this is the reality.  The lack of education significantly impacts their ability to step out of poverty.  Literacy unlocks human potential and is the cornerstone of development.  It leads to better health, better employment opportunities, safer and more stable societies.

The Bible Society of India observed the International Literacy Day on September 8, 2021. We are committed to pray especially for children that they may gain wisdom, and discernment through education to experience  the fullness of life God intends for each of them.

World wide, an estimated 250 million children, adolescents and youth weren’t in school and more than 100 million youth are not learned (Global Education Monitoring Report 2020). Despite progress over the recent decades, many children in school do not achieve functional literacy and numeracy skills due to overcrowded classes, lack of supplies of books and materials, unskilled teachers, who need more training, or disruption due to disasters and prolonged crisis like the Corona virus pandemic as in the pass two years.

The choice to intentionally engage in literacy activities is integral to the Bible Society’s mission. The ability to read the Bible for oneself, find meaning from it, and digest it as God’s message for one’s life, family, community, and society is a vital resource  the value of which cannot be overstated.

Literacy is a prerequisite to the majority of current Bible translation and engagement programmes, which aim for transformation at the personal, familial, and societal levels.

Although an audio or visual experience may be the initial way a non-literate person experiences the Bible, the ultimate goal of Bible engagement is to be able to navigate through the Bible oneself.

Concerns for intercession were:

  1. Pray for an end to the generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
  2. Pray for parents to support their children’s education.
  3. Pray for children’s safety at school.
  4. Pray for protection of children who aren’t attending school.
  5. Pray for girls growing up in cultures that do not value their education.

 

Read more

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

 

The United Nations General Assembly had declared 21st September as International Day of Peace. It is observed to be a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Currently, we see political turmoil, violence and war in Afghanistan and between Israel and Palestine and conflicts in different parts of the world. The Bible Society of India came together as a community of Bible workers to pray for International Peace and to seek God to restore peace on this earth.

Our three North Eastern Auxiliaries namely, Aizawl, Dimapur and Shillong prepared the order of service for the day. We sought God for his forgiveness for all humankind as we have not always acted for peace. We ignore God’s calling to be peacemakers to our neighbours, communities, states and nations. We as a community might have caused divisions among ourselves and to people around us.  We sought God to make us a channel of peace to others.

Intercessory prayer was offered for the peace in Israel and Palestine, where violence and war continue to injure, kill innocent people and destroy properties. We asked God to take control of the situation and speak to the leaders of Israel, Hamas and Palestinian so that they come to negotiation table to resolve differences and restore peace in their land.

We also offered prayer for peace in Afghanistan as the Afghans are living under threat; especially the women are curtailed from their freedom of movement and education under the new Taliban rule. We pray that the Lord would grant the political leaders to rule their country with justice and equality, and peace may be restored in their land.

Read more

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION DAY

SEPTEMBER-30-2021

Language is a means of communication. The International Translation Day is a special day in the history of translation of the Bibles. It is a day to pay our tribute to the translation work done by our language professionals, and the translators. The task of translation plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security. On 24th May 2017, the resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations was to commemorate the role of language professionals and the translators. Thus, the United Nations declared 30th September as the International Translation Day.

Generally, on 30th September the United Nations celebrates the feast of St. Jerome, one of the pioneers of the Bible translators, who is considered the patron saint of translators. St. Jerome was a priest from North-eastern Italy, who is known mostly for his endeavor of translating most of the Bible into Latin from the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. He also translated parts of the Hebrew Gospel into Greek. Jerome died near Bethlehem on 30th September AD 420. Thus, to remember this great saint Jerome and his contributions towards the translations, we, the members of the Bible Society of India are gathered together to celebrate this special day dedicating our present language professionals and the team of translator into God’s hand for the extension of God’s reign.

The Bible Society of India in all its offices observed the International Translation Day during our morning prayer.  A special order of service prepared by the BSI Translations Department was followed.

We had video presentations on the following topics:

  • Bible for everyone
  • Bible translation in Braille Script
  • Jesus and the deaf man from Mark 7:31-37 (Sign language)
  • Greetings from the United Nations officials

Please continue to pray for:

  • Sustenance and wisdom for all Bible Translators
  • Protection over their family members
  • More Bible Translators to be trained and raised up
Read more

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL SIGN LANGUAGES

 

The Bible Society of India joins the deaf community around the world in celebrating the International Sign Language Day representing more than 70 million people on October 4th, 2021.

The theme for this year is “We Sign for Human Rights.”  It is a celebration and voicing with collective efforts of the deaf communities.  Civil society agencies and organizations, Churches and governments to recognize the sign languages as the heart language of the deaf and to promote the sign languages.

The deaf children from Deaf Biblical Ministry, Dimapur, Nagaland brought greetings, offered a special song and read the Bible portion from St. Mark 7:31-37 in sign language.

Rev. Dr. Along Jamir, Associate Director, BSI Translations gave reflection on this special day.  

What is Sign Language?

Sign language is not just a tool for communication.  It is a natural language and it has its own components such as shapes, facial expression, location, movement and orientation.  Language always comes from the heart, to express feelings, imagination and ideas.

They hear with their eyes!

They speak with their hands!

Sign languages exhibit the same linguistic universals and written/spoken languages.  The phonemes, morphemes, and syntax can be analysed in sign languages, as genre, function, sequence, narration and meta narration too.

It is their identity, consciously assumed it is life!   Each deaf community in every country of the world speak a different sign language.

Deaf Culture and Sign Language

Their identity as deaf, deafness, deafhood is what defines their culture, their culture is a way of feeling and seeing the World from a minority culture and language that is oppressed by the dominant language and culture of the hearing.  They are people lost in the midst of a world of hearing, such identities that deserve to be taken into account by the hearing community, not through pity but giving due respect and upholding their values, cultures and language.

Just deaf (Never deaf and Dumb)

Sign Language is not universal

They have proper grammar

Intercessory prayer was offered for the deaf community as this is the largest unreached people group to acquire the Bible in their language.  Please join us in praying for the deaf community in our country and continue to journey with us, as Bible Societies across the continents take new initiatives to bring God’s Word in sign languages.

Read more

BIBLE SOCIETY OF INDIA – ANNUAL PLANNING WORKSHOP 2021

 

The Publishing and Marketing Department of the Bible Society of India conducted the Annual Planning Workshop 2021 for all the Auxiliaries and Central office for planning and reviewing the Scripture publishing, printing and distribution. The Annual Planning workshop was conducted from 20-24 September 2021 and UBS Publishers Institute was held on 28 & 29 September 2021 virtually under the theme ‘MEET THE MOMENT AND BUILD THE FUTURE’

The Auxiliary Secretaries and Marketing staff of 17 Auxiliaries participated in these events. The key note address was delivered by The General Secretary Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko.

The following is the brief summary of the address.

Planning for the future, while living in the present, is a challenge. How do you simultaneously plan ahead and be in the moment? If you don’t have a deliberate plan, you are not likely to move in the right direction, or to create the life you want to live.

You need to live in the present, because that is what brings you peace, gratitude, and happiness. If you’re constantly depressed about the past, or anxious about the future, you’ll miss your life happening right in front of you.

How do you plan for the future while living in the present?

While different approaches will work for different people, there are some best practices to follow that can help you be present in the moment and working towards a bigger, brighter future.

  1. AWARENESS OF SELF

Being self-aware is a key to creating any change in your life, and it can help immensely when you are trying to balance the future with the present.

Psychologists point out that there are two selves in human. They talk about a “future-self” and a “present-self,” almost as if they were two different people, and about how important it was to give both of those “selves” a voice.

  • SETTING SMART GOALS

One of the best actions you can take is to set SMART goals. Goal-setting is very much a plan-for-the-future activity, but making sure your goals are SMART allows you to balance that future plan with your present life.

A SMART goal is a goal that is designed to maximize your chances of success. SMART goals are:

Specific: clearly defines the goal and your desired outcomes

Measurable: allows you to track your progress and know when you’ve succeeded

Achievable: realistic; something you can actually do

Relevant: falls in-line with your overall vision for your life

Time-based: includes a deadline to help you stay on track

Why does following the SMART framework allow you to live in the present while planning for the future?

 When you have a SMART specific goal, that you know you can reach, and that applies to your life, you have realistic expectations that help you be confident in your plans.

Basically, taking the time to frame your goals as SMART goals will not only get you where you want to go, but it will also allow you to live your life as you get there.

  • CREATE ACTION PLANS

Along these same lines, deliberately-designed, action plans can help merge your future and present selves. What action could you take today that will keep you in-the-moment while also satisfying your need to “create happiness” in your future?

If you know where you want to go, you can get there—no matter where you are currently. You will not simply be living for the moment: you will be proactively moving in the right direction. This is the balance we are all looking for.

  • TRACK YOUR LEARNING

Vernon Howard states “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will. Life presents us with lessons every day. Some of these lessons are so profound that they bowl us over. Others are so nuanced that we can barely recognize them.”

When you look out for learning opportunities, you are balancing present awareness with future benefit. Recognizing and applying these lessons to the future helps you in simultaneously live in the present while planning for the future.

  • CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS

Your thoughts shape your reality. Every thought you have manifests itself in some way. Thoughts can inspire goodness and positive change, or can end up leading us down unproductive or even harmful paths.

Thoughts are undoubtedly powerful, but there is something even more powerful, that is YOU. You have control over your thoughts. You will have to learn to think thoughts that lead you to actions that serve both your present and your future selves. Your past and your future are not mutually exclusive when it comes to focus.  Claim them both, live them both.

The General Secretary concluded his Key Note address saying “We need to ‘Meet the Present and Build the Future’. These reflections apply to an organization like Bible Society of India as we plan for the future. The present Moment has to be met and along with Meeting the Moment, we need to Build the Future.”

There were sessions from the Publishing & Marketing department, CRRM department and Media & Special Audience Department highlighting the performances, plans and strategies.

17 Auxiliaries presented their 2020-21 performance and their future plans of distribution.

The UBS Publishers Institute was conducted by Dr. Barine Kirimi and Rev Arun Sok Knop. The participants were benefited by the inputs shared by these experts on various aspects of Bible Publishing and Distribution.

Read more

Respecting Boundary: a Gesture for Climate Justice

A reflection on Creation Psalm :104

Introduction:  Climate Justice is a subject matter that is discussed and studied from various perspectives and angles with basic understanding that connects Human Rights, the rights of the Subaltern people and Eco-justice. To reflect on our title “Respecting Boundary: a Gesture for Climate Justice” from a biblical text, I have selected Psalm 104 which is a beautiful hymn of Creation and Restoration. Here the psalmist brilliantly sang how God assigns boundaries for all creations with the liberty to exercise their own rhythm of life within their own space and time. 

This hymn of Psalm brings out significant issues for our understanding of what could be considered as the foundation of Climate Justice, which can be highlighted in few points as follows:-

1.      The creative providence of space for all creations: The psalm beautifully brought out how the mountains, the seas, the clouds, the rain, the thunder and lightning, the beasts, the monsters, the birds, the trees, the grass, and every living and non-living creatures along with human beings co-exist without clashing.  

2.      All Creations enjoying their freedom within their rhythm of life: All creations have their freedom to enjoy their shades of life with whatever temperament and spirituality they are adorned with.  

3.      Maintaining their own time and space without encroaching other’s sovereignty: The creations maintained their own time and space as Creator God assigned for each of them. The wild beasts maintain their time for hunting so that human beings will have their space to exercise their sovereignty without encroaching other’s domain.     

4.      Respecting other’s entity and identity for the dignity of all creations: Each and every creation respects others while recognizing others with having their distinct entity and identity. 

From the above points we may derive that it is necessary to have a crystal clear ambiance, the transparent atmosphere with the serene and nonviolent environment to have Climate Justice, as celebrated in this hymn of creation and restoration. There are times when chaos appeared but justice is restored with creations maintaining the intrinsic value of their time and space, the rhythm of life, and respecting others’ entity and identity as they respect each other’s boundaries. 

But when the rhythm of Life is curtailed and where the spirituality of the creation is brushed aside then the whole ecological balance is at stake …  reflecting it from the real-life story of the Dongria Kondh Tribe of Odisha State in India

The Dongria Kondh Tribal people of the Kalahandi district in Orissa are vehemently resisting the London-based Vedanta Alumina Limited’s attempt to mine Bauxite on top of their Holy Hills of Niyamgiri in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi district in Orissa. For more than a decade, the 8,000-plus Dongria Kondh lived under the threat of mining by Vedanta Resources, which hoped to extract the estimated $2 billion-worth of bauxite that lies beneath the surface of the hills.The community strongly protest to protect their land, their living mountain, their forest, birds, and animals from destruction, which is considered to be their “Living Goddess” because this mountain supplies food, air, and water for their living. Here in the Niyamgiri, the Vedanta Company is downplaying the ecological conscience of the Kondhs tribe. While the people in this mountain is crying for the protection of their plants, animals, trees, rivers, and their gods and goddesses, the Vedanta people continue to show their high handedness by brushing aside the ethos, sentiment, and spirituality of the Khond people. The Vedanta Company is buying a few people with material gains and promising them jobs opportunity while making them blind to see the vast injustice on Climate that would affect the whole community of human beings and eco-systems. Though the Government is giving a stay order to Vedanta as of today, and the major shareholders in this company including the Anglican Church, England had pulled out their shares, television advertisements were pulled out, yet the issue is not resolved. The eco-balanced had been lost, the life-threatening danger for health hazard, damaged to the agricultural fertile land cannot be restored, and the demoralization and traumatization of the people continue to loom large till date. 

Anyone who had ever watched a movie called “Avatar”, a 2009 American epic science fiction film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron will understand that the situation in this Niyamgiri Hills is a real live Avatar, not just science fiction for the Dongria Kondh community to this day.  I had visited this place in 2010 and seen the whole exploitation of the Dongria Khond tribe in this area and the way the Vedanta Alumina Company are showing their muscle powers.

When violence is meted out against God’s beautiful creations and people, nature cried out, the whole cosmos has trembled with fear and anger. At this juncture where do we look for Justice? What kind of Justice are we seeking? If only we human beings respect our boundaries as well as others’ that God had created for each and everyone irrespective of who and what we are and where we belong, can then only justice be found for the whole cosmos and the people.

Many of the Dongria Kondh people believe in Jesus Christ. Our challenge for the Bible lovers today is, this community does not have Bible in their own heart language till today! May God heal and restore this land and the people, so that they may be able to join the Psalmist singing, “Bless the Lord oh My Soul”. Amen.

The Dongria Kondh girl with her beautiful attire and the Holy Hills of Niyamgiri

Read more

75TH INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION

The 75th Independence Day of our Nation was celebrated in all our offices across the Nation and we are thankful to Colleagues for their cooperation.  At the central office it was held at the William Carey Centre, Bangalore on the 15th August 2021 at 07.30 AM.  There was an encouraging response to it from the Staff who travelled from near, far and wide.  Mr. Pradeep Kumar Suna, Assistant Director, Publishing and Marketing (Product & Logistics) anchored the programmed.  Mr. Cyril D’Souza, Assistant Director, Marketing & Publishing read the Scripture portion.  Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary, BSI hoisted the Indian National Flag. Rev. Dr. N. Subramani, Assistant Director, Translations shared the Word.  Rev. Shashikala Alva B S, Auxiliary Secretary, BSI Karnataka Auxiliary interceded for the nation.

Read more

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY

The theme of International Youth Day 2021 is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health,” with the aim of highlighting that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

International Youth Day was observed in all our offices by following the special Order of Service prepared by BSI Jabalpur Auxiliary.  Staff of respective Auxiliaries and the Central Office took active part in the Morning Prayer. 

Prayer of thanksgiving was offered for the love and care for each other.  A time to introspect was offered to confess our ignorance and be insensitive to the people around us. Scripture portion for reflection was chosen from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  Staff in each of the offices shared their views and reflections from the above-mentioned Bible portion.  

Intercessory Prayer was offered for the young people of our land and thanked God for the trees of the earth and all that they provide – wood for the houses we build, food that we eat, and air that we breathe. 

It was a meaningful and a blessed special day.

 

Read more

OBSERVANCE OF NATIONAL PROTEST DAY

We are aware that on the 10th of August every year, we remember our demand to include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste list. This year, we have designated it as the National Protest Day to protest against this injustice meted out to a section of Indian citizens. You are also aware that in 2013, National Council of Churches in India has filed an impleading application in the Supreme Court of India in the Civil Writ petition (180/2004) which is pending before the Hon’ble Court. In January 2020, the Supreme Court of India agreed to examine the plea to make reservations “religion neutral” so that Dalit Christians and Muslims too can benefit. The plea is pending before the court.

On 10th of August we remember, the infamous Presidential (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 which was signed 71 years ago by the then President of India, which says “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. On account of this, Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin continue to be kept out of the Scheduled Caste list thereby denying them privileges in education, getting scholarships, employment opportunities, right to contest in the reserved constituencies, availing legal remedy/protection under SC and ST (Prevention) of Atrocities Act 1989 as amended in 2018, and such other affirmative actions. This is clear discrimination against Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims based on religion, and a violation of the freedom of religion and belief which is guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

We realize that our 71 years of struggle for justice should be supported by all people who believe in equality and democracy. The Supreme Court has a monumental opportunity now to render justice to millions of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims who continue to suffer from social stigma and the horrors of un-touchability.

SPECIAL PRAYER

Dear Outcast Lord,

Open our eyes, that we who seek to follow You may recognize Your face in the faces of those who are been denied privileges in education, getting scholarships, employment opportunities, right to contest in the reserved constituencies, availing legal remedy / protection under SC and ST (Prevention) of Atrocities Act and such other affirmative actions.

Open our ears, that we who seek to hear Your Word, may recognize Your love in the stories which are often drowned out.

Open our hearts, that we who seek Your way of life may be bold in witnessing to Your longing for justice and Equality.

Lord, we often hear it said that ‘The Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims suffer from social stigma and the horrors of untouchability.’ ‘It’s what they’re used to… they’re not like us.’ ‘I don’t want to think about it – it makes me depressed.’ ‘It’s the world – you can’t change it.’

Response: Give us the courage then to say ‘Your Kingdom Come.’ Amen.

Read more