Sandy Sneddon writes:
Alan Miller, the only member of the World Mission Council who speaks Mandarin, and I arrived in Nanjing, China last Wednesday. We were there to attend celebrations marking the printing of 100 million Bibles at the Amity Printing Company and to participate in various meetings. Amity started printing Bibles in 1987 and now produces 10 million a year.
We were among over 180 guests from various Bible Societies (including the Scottish Bible Society), Chinese Christian organisations and other partner organisations at the welcome dinner.
The following morning we joined in the Thanksgiving Service at Amity Printing Company’s state of the art facility followed by a celebration featuring speeches by church leaders, Chinese government officials, diplomats from the US and Germany, Amity Foundation staff and APC workers. All of us present were presented with a beautiful commemorative Bible. To quote from the insert in the Bible:
“Plain, elegant, upright and dutiful, bamboo incorporates steadiness, flexibility and vitality. In China bamboo has always been recognised as a symbol of moral integrity. It is so versatile that it has been used for written texts, irrigation, grain storage and cooking. Chinese people are so fond of bamboo that it can be found in every courtyard. The memorial Bible features a bamboo cover and a bamboo enclosure indicating the living water of Christianity and the Bread of Life. It also expresses the wish that Amity’s Bible printing ministry will enjoy continuing improvement and endless grace.”
It was pointed out that in previous years the Chinese government did not allow organisations to have celebrations when the Party Congress was in session. That we were gathered to celebrate the printing of 100 million Bibles while the 18th Communist Party Congress was underway in Beijing shows that China is changing and that Amity Foundation is held in high regard by the authorities.
Back to that number. One Hundred Million Bibles. The Amity Printing Company is currently the largest printer of Bibles in the world. Sixty million have been for China, the rest have gone to over 70 countries around the world. One Hundred Million Bibles printed in Communist China. A speaker from the USA worked out it would take 2.2 million kilometres of paper to print that many Bibles, enough to go round the world 55 times. One Hundred Million Bibles. That really is something to celebrate.