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'Development of Bible Ministry in China' Exhibition to be held in Hong Kong

Amity Press was an important milestone in the history of spreading the Gospel in China
( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2004 07:47 PM EDT

With the aid of the Hong Kong Bible Society, the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches (TSPM) in China will put on an exhibition during the Hong Kong Annual Book Exhibition running from August 5 to August 10. It will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The historical exhibition will feature a “time tunnel” in nine sections, leading people through a journey of how the Bible ministry in China has developed. Since China is an atheistic country, its history of propogating the Gospel has been filled with bitterness. However, the faith of many Bible ministry workers, despite all the adversity, can be summed up by the theme of this exhibition, “A Lamp to My Feet and a Light for My Path” (Psalms 119: 105).

The "Time Tunnel" will start from the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 followed by the most critical threat - the Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when churches were closed and Bibles were confiscated and destroyed. Later in 1987, the Amity Press was founded by the United Bible Society under the permission of Chinese Government, marking an important milestone in Chinese Bible ministry.

The establishment of the Amity Press in the Nanjing Province allowed for the printing of the Chinese Bible to make available to China's masses. Before Press was established, Chinese churches receive the Chinese versions of the Bible from volunteers who make multiple trips to China, bringing 10kg of Bibles and Christian books each time. Many evangelists see Amity’s Bible production as a vital factor in the health of Christianity in China, where new congregations are added daily.

More than just being prosperous on a national basis, the great Chinese Bible ministry has been taking further steps toward the international level. There has been an expansion of nationwide Bible distribution networks by the CCC/TSPM and a collaboration with overseas Bible publishers, particularly Bible Societies.

Initially, Amity had permission to print 1 million Bibles a year by the modern automated production equipment imported from Germany, England, Sweden and Japan. According to the annual report of 2003 published this month, the annual Bible output had reached 4.17 million, around one third of which were destined for the overseas market.

Exhibits including historic printed Bibles and others handwritten in secret during the Cultural Revolution will be displayed. Stories and testimonies of how believers preserved and shared their Bibles during those difficult times will also be presented in texts and short documentary videos.

Each visitor of the exhibition will receive a special souvenir Bible, and winners of a daily Bible quiz will receive prizes such as the chance to visit Nanjing and Amity Printing Press.

Meanwhile, the exhibition's centerpiece will be a 1.64-meter high, 3.70-meter wide, Chinese-style wood carving that portrays the entire life of Jesus Christ. The piece took three master woodcarvers more than three years to make. Zhang Wan Long from Nanjing is the chief artist. As Zhang helped his father, who was working on a project with the Amity Press to research on Christian arts, he was converted to Christianity and started to make the piece of artwork in 2001. Now, Zhang also has plans to take the carving on an exhibition to Europe.

David Wong, the Voluntary General Secretary of the Hong Kong Bible Society said, "The Society has been entrusted with the task of coordinating the entire event as well as mobilizing the entire Christian community to support the event."

"We have strategically planned the venue to coincide with the World Congress of Baptist Youth in Hong Kong – with their understanding – to increase the exposure to international visitors,” he added.

The 14th World Congress of Baptist Youth is to be held August 4-8 at the same venue. More than 3,000 Baptist youths from all over the world are expected to participate in the event.