NEW YORK- The high-profile China Bible Ministry opens Monday in New York. Supported by a large number of churches, it is expected to be another successful one following Los Angeles and Atlanta, before closing the historical tour of the Church in China in the U.S.
Held at the landmark Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the opening ceremony started at 4: 00 p.m. in which over 100 VIPs- local Chinese and American church pastors and ministry leaders- have attended. Some of the most honorable guests include vice-president of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Tung Chee Hua, vice director-general of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) of the People’s Republic of China Wang Zuoan, vice chairperson of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) Rev. Gao Feng, executive director of the Council of Churches of the City of New York John E. Hiemstra, Archdeacon Michael Kendall representing Episcopal Church in New York and others.
At the beginning of the opening ceremony, Rev. Gao Feng expressed gratitude for the unprecedented opportunity for the Bible exhibition to be held out of China and he offered a prayer of blessing for the exhibition in New York.
President of the China Christian Council (CCC) Rev. Cao Shengjie then represented the church in China to warmly welcome all the guests and the hospitality of local churches to make the exhibition possible. Describing the Bible as "God’s abundant gift to China", Cao testified its impact on Chinese Christians’ life. Not only has the Bible enriched the individual’s spiritual life, but it has also helped to build up the Church in China.
"This exhibition helps the brothers and sisters in the United States to know more about the churches in china, to strengthen the fellowship and friendship between churches in the US and China. In this way, we work together to contribute to the world peace," stated Cao, insisting that Chinese Christians enjoy religious freedom.
Followed by the speech by Wang Zuoan, vice director-general of SARA, the rapid development of Christianity in China is unveiled. Wang suggested that it may sound like a fairy tale several years ago if people say that the church in China is continuously publishing bibles and the bibles are sent to all over China, even to the most remote churches.
Wang said, however, the church leaders in China have been thinking over again how they can share with overseas friends that they are printing a large amount of Bible in China and are able to offer the Bible at a much lower cost.
While an exhibition to be held in the U.S. is a very good idea, no one may have ever thought that could happen. Wang therefore celebrated the successful Bible exhibition in the U.S.- from Los Angeles to Atlanta and finally to New York- saying it is a "miracle".
Wang finally expressed sincere thanks to the Chinese and American churches, and he said SARA and himself will fully support the cooperation between churches in the two countries on the basis of equality.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, all the special guests are guided by Cao and looked at the exhibition. Tung Chee Hua said that he was very delighted to attend such an important exhibition in New York, which is more important than the previous one held in Hong Kong in August 2004. The exhibition will help to enhance the Sino-American relationship, commented Tung.
Representing Rev. Billy Graham, director of special ministries and senior team from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rev. Sterling Huston said Graham is very pleased to see the church in China, its bible ministry and its partnership with overseas churches are growing. The Grahams’ are not able to attend the exhibition due to ill-health, but Huston will give them detailed report about the exhibition.
"I don’t know about the expectation of the attendants. But I do expect the people who come will be amazed at the gift of Bible in china and be encouraged by the number of bible that has been printed and the growth and the strength of the church in China," said Huston.