On March 20, 2023, CCC&TSPM received a delegation of four from the United Bible Societies (UBS). The delegates were Rev. Dirk Gevers, Secretary General of the UBS, Mr. Bernard Low, Mr. Daniel Loh (who serve as the co-directors of UBS China Partnership), and Mr. Kua Wee Seng, Advisor to UBS China Partnership. They were warmly received by Rev. Xu Xiaohong, Chairperson of National TSPM, Rev. Wu Wei, President of CCC, Rev. Shan Weixiang, Vice President and General Secretary of CCC, and Rev. Shen Xuebin, Residential Vice President of CCC. Rev. Shen Xuebin presided over the meeting, during which both sides discussed cooperation and friendship, and exchanged their ideas on Bible translation, distribution ministry, etc.
Rev. Xu Xiaohong reviewed the years long cooperation between the two sides. He mentioned that the cooperation built on mutual respect provided a model for CCC&TSPM’s external exchange and cooperation. Rev. Xu then shared the Bible ministry of CCC&TSPM in recent years. Despite the challenges and impacts brought by the pandemic in terms of the publication and distribution of Bibles, Chinese churches have been thinking actively and innovatively to conquer them and develop new products thanks to the support and assistance from Nanjing Amity Printing Press.
Rev. Wu Wei welcomed the visitation of the delegation. To allow them better understand the Church in China, he made a brief introduction to the development history of Christianity since it had been introduced to China, the development of the Three-self Patriotic Movement and its significance for the Church in China, as well as the Chinanization of Christianity being carried out in recent years. Rev. Wu stressed that the Three-self Principles did not affect the external exchange of Chinese churches, and on the premise of mutual respect, Chinese churches are willing to work with foreign churches and organizations and bear witness to the Lord together.
Rev. Shan Weixiang said that the long-standing cooperation between UBS and CCC&TSPM has been fruitful. He shared a few changes that posed challenges to the Bible ministry in the post-pandemic age, such as the rising cost of paper, the difficulty in Bible distribution, etc. Given the solid cooperation between the two sides, Rev. Shan believed that there would be a better and comprehensive cooperation in the future to honor God together in Bible ministry.
Rev. Dirk Gevers expressed gratitude towards the invitation and reception from CCC&TSPM. He reckoned that this visit has been rather important ever since he took office in November 2022. He and the new director Dr. Bernard Low will maintain the friendship between UBS and CCC&TSPM. He said that the Bible belongs to the whole humankind rather than to any specific language or culture. Working and sharing with the Church in China can help them better understand the Bible and it is also helpful to promote an even deeper global understanding of the Book. Like Bishop K.H. Ting said, “we are united in the Bible.” We firmly believe in this. He also said that in recent years, UBS has not only been committed to the publication and distribution of the Bible, but also encouraging people to open and read the Bible to know the gospel. Meanwhile, UBS also pays attention to new technologies, such as the use of artificial intelligence in Bible translation.
As a response, Rev. Xu Xiaohong expressed a strong agreement with Rev. Dirk Gevers on promoting the Bible reading. On this point, the two sides shared a common goal. Rev. Xu also mentioned the Bible Day events held by CCC&TSPM in the past few years, which encouraged believers to diversify their ways of using the Bible.
After the meeting, the delegation visited the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Grace Telling Bookshop. Ms. Gu Jingqin, interim chief of the Overseas Relations Department of CCC&TSPM, Ms. Chen Hongli, team leader of the Publication and Distribution Group of the Media Department, and other staff participated in this reception.
Translated and edited by Bei Feng, Tian Tian.