The United Bible Society delegation recently visited China.
A five-member delegation from the United Bible Societies (UBS) visited China from March 19 to March 26 at CCC&TSPM's invitation, according to the Shanghai CC&TSPM.
Rev. Dirk Gevers, the new general secretary of UBS, said this was a very important trip since he took office in November 2022, according to CCC&TSPM. The delegation also included Mr. Bernard Low and Mr. Daniel Loh, directors of UBS China Partnership, as well as Kua Wee Seng, a consultant with the organization.
At the station of CCC&TSPM, the two sides conducted exchanges on Bible translation and publishing ministry on March 20.
As a global Bible translation and distribution ministry, UBS consists of Bible societies from more than 150 countries and regions, covering more than 240 countries and regions.
Rev. Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the China Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), shared the Bible ministry of CCC&TSPM in recent years, as well as the impact and challenges to the publishing ministry due to COVID-19. They developed new products to meet challenges with the support and help of Nanjing Amity Printing Co., Ltd. Rev. Wu Wei, president of the Chinese Christian Council (CCC), introduced the history of the development of modern Christianity in China after its introduction to the country, the development of TSPM and its significance to the Chinese church, as well as the sinicization of Christianity carried out in recent years. Rev. Shan Weixiang, vice president and general secretary of the CCC, shared the changes, such as the rising cost of paper in Bible ministry and difficulties in the publishing of the scriptures after the epidemic.
Gevers said that the Bible belonged to all mankind rather than to a specific language or culture. The joint sharing and cooperation between the two parties could promote a deeper understanding of the Bible around the world, just as Bishop K. H. Ting said, "The Bible unites us." At the same time, UBS also paid close attention to new technologies, such as the application of artificial intelligence in Bible translation ministry.
After the meeting, the delegation visited the Holy Trinity Church in Shanghai and a local study room.
That afternoon, when they came to Shanghai CC&TSPM, Rev. Dirk Gevers affirmed the efforts of Shanghai churches and even Chinese churches in promoting the Sinicization of Christianity. Rev. Xu Yulan, chairman of Shanghai TSPM, reviewed the friendly exchanges between Shanghai CC&TSPM and UBS in the past. Rev. Geng Weizhong, chairman of the Shanghai Christian Council, mentioned that the Chinese church attaches great importance to the ministry of Bible studies, translation, and personnel training in related fields, starting with leaders of the older generation. UBS has reaped a lot of fruits through its cooperation with Chinese churches, contributing to the promotion of Christianity in the Chinese context. Rev. Dirk Gevers wished for more collaboration with Chinese churches in the future in the fields of Bible study, personnel training, and theological education.
On March 21, they visited Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, the flagship theological seminary of Protestant Christianity in China.
This was the first batch of foreign visitors received by the school after three years of COVID-19, according to the seminary. Rev. Chen Yilu, executive vice president of the school, thanked UBS for their concern and support for the theological education of the seminary over the years. Then he introduced the current situation of the college and shared the recent progress of school education and the recent development plan under the three-year pandemic.
Members of the delegation affirmed the school's achievements and raised questions about its full-time education, correspondence education, and curriculum. After answering these questions, Pastor Chen and representatives of teachers and students hoped to further the cooperation with UBS in terms of Bible study resources in the library and the development of biblical faculty members.
On March 23, Chen Ruifeng, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, met with Gevers, who said that the UBS would continue to be committed to promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between Chinese churches and churches around the world.
- Translated by Abigail Wu