Very Rev Stephen Lowry, Dean of Dromore Cathedral and BSNI Chairperson
Lord Mayor with Lynda Bryans and John Doherty and a 1613 edition of the King James Bible from Dromore Cathedral
2011 has been a special year for the Bible. The opportunity of celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible and the ideas presented through the Biblefresh campaign combined to offer a rich variety of events across the country. It was a great way to get people talking about the Bible.
Lynda Bryans, broadcaster
This cabinet on display in the City Hall is valued at ÂŁ100,000. It was made for the Titanic, but was not ready when the ship sailed. What value is placed on the King James Bible that is resting on top of it? 2
Alongside the many Bible readings and exhibitions, to most of which BSNI contributed resources, a remarkable event took place in the City Hall Belfast on 2nd November. It was jointly organised by the Councilâ€™s Good Relations Unit and BSNI, and the programme included eight readings from the King James text by representatives of the Council (including the Lord Mayor), the Jewish community, the local media, the Chinese church in Belfast and BSNI. Amid the readings, I had the privilege of offering some reflections on the significance of the 1611 King James Bible and how modern practice of Bible translation and distribution contrasted with that era. It was a very special occasion for the audience that was drawn from so many religious denominations and political parties across Belfast. It was also a powerful statement as to how Scripture has the power to draw people together. Some of these events are pictured here so that we might all be encouraged in this New Year to continue to think about how the Bible can become, increasingly, both a talking point and a power for personal healing in our community. John Doherty
Photo: Dean Stephen Lowry (Dromore Cathedral), Lynda Bryans (broadcaster), Councillor Brian Kingston (DUP), Lord Mayor Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile (Sinn Fein), Councillor Maire Hendron (Alliance), John Doherty (BSNI), Katy Radford (Jewish Community) and Pastor Symon Wong (Chinese Christian Church Belfast).
Photographs are supplied with the kind permission of Belfast City Council.
The readings from the King James Bible: Genesis 1 – Story of creation (Lord Mayor Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile) Ruth 1 – Loyalty across cultures (Lynda Bryans) Psalm 23 – God’s faithfulness – in English and repeated in Cantonese (Pastor Symon Wong, Belfast Chinese Christian Church) Matthew 5.1-16 – Sermon on the Mount (Councillor Máire Hendron) Genesis 18.1 – 15: Sarah’s child is foretold (Dr. Katy Radford MBE, Northern Ireland Jewish Community) Luke 4.14 - 32: The Son of God reads the Word of God (Councillor Brian Kingston) Matthew 19.16–30 - The qualities of the Christian life (Councillor Claire Hanna) Galatians 5.14 - 26 – The fruit of the Spirit (Very Rev Stephen Lowry, Dean of Dromore, Chair of BSNI)
Councillor Maire Hendron
Pastor Symon Wong
Councillor Carmel Hanna
Dr Katy Radford MBE
Councillor Brian Kingston 3 3
All people should be reached with God’s Word It is the aim of the Bible Society in Northern Ireland (BSNI) that all people would be reached with God’s Word in a form they can afford and understand, and that all would fully engage with the message of Christ.
It is a privilege to join as a fellowship with other Bible Societies across the world in this united aim to share God’s Word with churches, individuals and families. Hundreds of Bible Society projects are run worldwide, and each year BSNI helps projects in over 30 countries through the prayers and gifts of supporters. Projects include translation, publication and distribution, and aim to reach all audiences from people in churches to hospitals, prisons, orphanages and schools. In 2012 BSNI are supporting a wide range of projects in all continents. The following show just some of these projects... ‘One Million Bibles Project’ – distributing Bibles to Junior High School pupils in Ghana The Gospels in Spanish Braille for adults and children in Costa Rica
‘Faith Comes by Hearing’ – helping people to understand God’s Word in Ethiopia through audio Bibles Scriptures for children of families displaced by war in Georgia Translation of the New Testament into Tagulandang in Indonesia as well as Bible translation projects in 12 other countries. The ‘Bread of Life’ project – providing physical and spiritual food to children in Peru Creating Bible encounters – encouraging people to use the Bible in everyday life in Estonia
Resourcing Women’s Bible Study and Prayer groups in Papua New Guinea For a full list of the projects being supported in 2012, and how you can get involved in them, visit http://www.bsni.co.uk/projects. It is only through the support of individuals and churches in Northern Ireland that BSNI can fund these projects. If you would like more information on how you can prayerfully or financially support any of these projects then please visit our website or email Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are planning to make a Will this year, would you remember the Bible Society in Northern Ireland? Your gift would have lasting consequences by providing people with Scriptures that they are waiting on. If you would like a copy of our Will Pack, please contact Campbell on 9032 6577.
In recent years, bequests have enabled us to fund several first time translation projects that would otherwise still be waiting. You could leave this kind of lasting legacy to the world.
Light of theOpportunities Amazon Wonderful The Amazon River flows through the rainforests of seven South American countries, including Brazil. Here many small communities are found, living in shelters constructed on stilts under the canopy of the rainforest. Living in poor conditions, they rely heavily on the Amazon River not only for travel, but for washing, drinking, cooking and cleaning. However, with the lack of sewage systems and waste collection, the river is also used to dump waste; so the main resource for these communities, is also their main source of disease. With infection and disease levels high and little or no access to healthcare, the levels of sickness and mortality are extreme. It is with these communities that the Bible Society of Brazil (BSB) has been working since 1962… The ‘Light of the Amazon’ project was set up to reach the people of the Amazon with spiritual, medical and social care. Using a hospital-boat called "Luz na Amazônia III", many volunteers travel along the Amazon River bringing the love of God to the people through his Word and practical service. A family who have received gifts The hospital boat is from the ‘Light of the Amazon’ specially designed with medical consultation rooms, a laboratory, and a pharmacy; bringing assistance in areas that would otherwise be unavailable – medical check-ups and tests, dental assistance, clinical lab services, physical therapy, teaching in health, dental and nutrition, haircuts, recreational activities for children, meals and spiritual teaching.
G N I R SP N G I A P CAM
The two deck hospital boat which travels down the Amazon providing assistance to river communities
The communities are very welcoming of the spiritual teaching and the distribution of Bibles. The majority of people visited have not previously owned a Bible, and to hear the words of Jesus brings them purpose and faith. Volunteers also provide recreational activities for children, such as puppet theatre performances. The hoards of children that flock to the boat are given snacks, toys, toothbrushes and Bibles. A host of volunteers give up their time to serve God and meet the needs of the River communities. From doctors to dentists to hairdressers and cooks, the team comes together to bring these essential services to the people. 32 year old Rosiete of the Furo do Benedito community spoke of her experience, “My first contact with the Bible was ten years ago through the Light in Amazon Programme; before the boat, there were no Bibles in my community. The Word of God is very important in our lives; it helps me to raise my children and improves family relations in general. By reading the Bible my faith grew, because it made me believe even more in God.”
Please pray for the work that the BSB is doing through ‘Light of the Amazon’. Ask that God would protect the missions of the boat, and that people living along the river would come to know him through reading His Word and the assistance given by the volunteers.
a nurse involved in the ‘Light of the Amazon’
If you would like to help support the work of the BSB then please send a gift to BSNI marked ‘Brazil’ or use the enclosed reply slip. 5
â€˜Thank You for the B
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ur ‘Bibles for China’ appeal in the summer, d donated over £85,000. That is enough money to rint approximately 109,000 Bibles in China, hinese Church! ut China who will receive these Bibles –
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News at Home During 2011 numerous special events were organised by churches to highlight the King James Bible anniversary A Flower Festival was organised by St Columba’s Parish Church in Portadown back in May with a theme centred on the importance of the Bible. All of the flowers were arranged for display by families within the parish. The money raised was used for local outreach projects and 50% of it (£4,000) was designated to support Bible translation and distribution for the people of Tigray province in Ethiopia. The Vicar of the church, Rev Elizabeth Cairns is pictured (right) with the group of parishioners who helped to make the event such a success. Left: John Doherty of the Bible Society receives a cheque from First Garvagh’s minister, Rev. Mark Donald (right) and presents a Chinese Bible for the congregation to Wilbert Patterson (left), who acted as curator to the exhibition.
Right: A section of the many visitors to the Bible exhibition held in First Garvagh Presbyterian Church.
The Bible exhibition in First Garvagh Presbyterian Church during September drew hundreds of people and had to be extended from the planned two days to a third day. Visitors generously supported the BSNI campaign to print Bibles in China and contributed enough to print over 6,000 subsidised Bibles.
In the Church of the
Good Shepherd at Monkstown, a special week of Bible-related events was organised at the end of September. Here two Grammar school pupils are busily engaged in copying out part of a Gospel by hand, as a reminder of how Scripture was preserved from the earliest times. The Rector, Rev Arlene Moore, is pictured presenting a gift to the Bible Society which was contributed by participants during the week and which will benefit Bible ministry in Nepal.
Sarah Henderson, crossword competition winner We are very grateful to Mrs Louise Thompson of Pettigo who compiled an excellent crossword competition based on the King James Bible text. Hundreds of people had a go at it but only four people succeeded in getting it 100% correct. They have all now received a prize for their efforts and special congratulations go to the winner Sarah Henderson of Loughgall. Sarah (pictured) received a leather bound facsimile copy of the 1611 King James Bible. Well done to her and to Louise for raising so much money for BSNI! The proceeds will support a Bible quiz project for schoolchildren in Albania.
International News The People’s Bible In front of a congregation that included the Queen and members of the Royal family, the General Secretary of the Scottish Bible Society, Elaine Duncan presented a bound copy of the Book of Genesis, handwritten by the people of Scotland, England and Wales, at the altar of London’s Westminster Abbey.The occasion was a service on November 16 to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Among the worshippers at the service were many members of the staff of the Bible Society movement, including Michael Perreau, the General Secretary of UBS, and James Catford, the Chief Executive of the British and Foreign Bible Society.The presentation by Ms Duncan marked the culmination and completion of The People’s Bible. Since June this project, run by the Scottish Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society, travelled the length and breadth of Great Britain offering ordinary people the opportunity to write out two verses of the Bible on paper with a digital pen.The pen connected to www.thepeoplesbible.org website and within minutes the actual handwritten verses could be seen on the internet.The first two verses of Genesis were written by the Prince of Wales, and the British Prime Minster, David Cameron, wrote out Philippians 4: 8-9. BSNI completed its Handwritten Bible project in 2007 to mark the Society’s Bi Centenary.
Braille for Armenian Pupils
Pupils eagerly reading their new Braille books, supplied by the Bible Society in Armenia
Last summer we ran an appeal in the magazine to support teachers with Scripture resources for schools in Armenia. Work continues to reach school pupils, including those who are visually impaired. The Bible Society in Armenia is the only supplier of Braille Scripture. Most recently, it was able to bring new materials to the only specialist school in Armenia for teaching children with visual disabilities. November 13 was International Day of the Blind. It was fitting, then, that this was the date on which the Society visited the school. Just an hour before the staff left to travel to the school, a delivery arrived carrying the first copies of a new Braille textbook of the history of the Armenian Church. Having already supplied the school with the copies of Gospel of Luke, the Psalms in three volumes and a Children's New Testament in Braille, the Society was now able – witnessed by the media – to fulfil the school's wish for materials to help the children learn for themselves about this important subject. Footage of the presentation was shown on TV that evening. "Without these books, our children would have no way of learning about the Bible," said Deputy Director Mrs Gevorgyan. "They are so glad that they can read books from the library, just like everybody else. Please continue to visit us: the
children really need you!"
An Unusual Apology In a letter to Dr Fred Odutola, the General Secretary of the Bible Society in Nigeria, a man, calling himself ‘Judas’, wrote, “I write to apologise to your company for the ill deed I did.There was a time when, out of covetousness, I imported and sold your products secretly, without your consent. But having heard the Gospel and received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I have stopped doing such ill business and my conscience will not be totally free without apologising for my past evil deeds. So please kindly find it in your heart to forgive me even as Christ has forgiven me. I promise never to indulge in such an act again. May Almighty God replenish you for the loss that the company might have incurred as a result of my actions. God bless you and your company immensely.Thanks very much for forgiving me.” Unfortunately, ‘Judas’ is not the only person pirating Bibles in Nigeria. But all the Bible Society’s strenuous efforts – not to mention their prayers – have failed to solve the problem. The Society is concerned not to stop the spread of the Gospel, but to put an end to profiteering. 9
Papua New Guinea
Bible-A-Month Prayer Information
MARCH: PAPUA NEW GUINEA ‘Listen to Read’ Bible Study Literacy Project Papua New Guinea
A young girl waits for customers at the Hula village market
Interesting Facts: There are 860 indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea – that’s over one-tenth of the world’s total languages.
Project Focus: A resident praying at the ‘Casa Hamburg’ - a home for teenagers who ae handicapped in Oradea, Romania
“When a believing person prays, great things happen.” James 5:16 (NCV) Prayer is a gift God gives to us all – it’s so simple to do and yet its affects are far beyond what we can see or imagine – great things happen! The projects listed in the Bible-a-Month calendar rely on both our prayers and our giving. Even if you can’t commit to giving financially to the projects, or don’t receive the calendar, you can still use the gift of prayer.
In villages and churches throughout rural Papua New Guinea, 50% of the women there cannot read or write. The large number of Prayer Groups set up within these villages are lacking in resources, especially those to help the women who are illiterate. The Bible Society in Papua New Guinea is working to supply these groups with ‘Listen to Read’ Bible Study Literacy material, including Bibles, audio devices, prayer materials and information on health, domestic violence, agriculture and marketing and business training.
Read over the next couple of pages to find out a bit about the projects being supported in Papua New Guinea, Romania and Ghana, over the months of March, April and May. Use the points listed as a guide to pray for the effective distribution of God’s Word.
Through the prayers of our Bible a Month Supporters and our readers of Word at Work great things could happen!
Pray for the staff of the Bible Society that are involved with the technology and recordings of the Bible; ask that God would direct them in their tasks and bless the work they do.
If you would like more information on how you can become a member of our Bible a Month Prayer Partnership then visit http://www.bsni.co.uk/pages/11bible-a-month-prayer-partnership or contact us on (028) 9032 6577. You could then use your free table-top calendar to pray for a different project each month of the year.
Pray for those women who are taking part in the literacy programmes; that their hearts will be open to the words they read in the Bible. Pray that as important skills and lessons are learned the women would recognize their worth and abilities.
Thank God that literacy work with prisoners is progressing, resulting in several former prisoners starting Bible-based literacy programmes within their home towns. Other prisoners have begun translating Bible stories into their indigenous languages for use in churches and primary schools. ‘Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.’ (Matthew 28:5-6)
Providing Scriptures in large-print to the elderly
‘One Million Bibles Project’ - encouraging young people to engage with God’s Word
Maria Stancu received a large print Bible from the Interconfessional Bible Society in Romania in 2009
Children at a school in Accra, Ghana, receiving copies of the booklet ‘Jesus, who is he?’ from the Bible Society of Ghana
It is estimated that around two million Romanians have left Romania to live and work abroad since 1989.
The older generation in Romania who lived under the communist regime have waited years to be able to read the Bible freely. Now that they are free to do so, they are finding it difficult to read because of the size of print. The Bible Society in Romania has been developing a project to distribute large print Bibles to the elderly over the last ten years. Visiting homes, hospitals, and social care centres, the Bible Society hopes to bring comfort to the lonely as they share the Word of God.
Prayer Focus Pray that there will be an effective distribution of Bibles; that homes and centres would be open to the Word of God. The Bible Society in Romania works to reach people of all ages, and a project has been set up to distribute Bibles to children and young people within schools. Pray that as the Word of God enters these schools teachers would be equipped to teach the children from it, encouraging them to act according to Christian values. Pray for all staff members and volunteers who are involved with the different distribution projects. Ask God to protect them as they travel and to feel welcome as they visit different locations. ‘Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12)
English is the official language in Ghana, and is used for teaching in schools. The Bible Society of Ghana (BSG) receives hundreds of letters each month from high school children asking for Bibles. These overwhelming requests come from children who are too poor to afford a Bible of their own, but who truly desire to read God’s Word for themselves. The ‘One Million Bibles Project’, which has been running for several years, sees the distribution of Bibles and Scripture materials to Junior High School pupils across Ghana.
Prayer Focus Praise God that the BSG has been able to distribute over 800,000 Bibles to High School pupils so far. Ask that the funds will be received to enable them to give more than their target of one million by the end of this year. Thank God for the many children who have already received a Bible; that their lives would have been impacted by the stories they read. Pray too for the children who are yet to receive a Bible; that their desire to own God’s Word would soon be realized. Pray for the new General Secretary of the BSG, the Rev Erasmus Odonkor, asking God to give him wisdom and guidance as he directs the staff and projects of the Bible Society. ‘…“Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Saviour of the world.”’ (John 4:42)
27 Howard Street, Belfast, BT1 6NB Telephone: 028 9032 6577 e-mail: GSec@bsni.co.uk website: www.bsni.co.uk N.I.Reg. Charity No. XN46187
Published in January, May and September. Design: Tracey Allen Circulation: 14,000
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Papua New Guinea
Your donation will cover the cost of placing a Bible with someone who is still waiting. 12
The Magazine of the Bible Society in Northern Ireland