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Multi-national Bible Day in Dubai: Spirit of Oneness   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Dubai, November 2008: The United Arab Emirates is a multi-language and multi-ethnic community, where more than 120 different nationalities are present. The Christian community, too, is highly diversified, with people from many different countries, languages and denominations worshiping and fellowshipping together in churches and congregations all over the Emirate.

The Bible Day celebration on November 1, 2008, in Jebel Ali, Dubai, was an occasion for the different cultures and language groups to gather together to celebrate God’s Word and to share with one another the challenge of the Bible ministry in the country. The event was organized by the Bible Society in the Gulf on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Bible Society Center in Dubai. The theme for the evening was "Peace Amidst Violence".

The celebration began with a reception, where international food from different countries and cultures was served. The service opened with the Filipino choir of Jesus - Stream of Blessing congregation leading the singing. Then, Randhir Reynolds, staff member of the BSG, offered the opening prayer. Mrs. Ranjini Ganta, the BSG representative in the UAE, welcomed the gathering, and Jameson Samuel, another staff member, did the Scripture reading from Romans 5:1-11 and Corinthians 13:4-8.

Rev. Steve Wright, the Vicar of Christ Church, Chaplaincy of Dubai, prayed for people and countries suffering from natural disasters, violence, war, economic hardships, persecution, injustice, poverty and bitterness. He concluded his prayer saying, "Dear God, help us to look well on your world to see the good work being done and not get depressed by the views of sensationalist media. You are at work in this world. Your church is working in all these countries. Please, help all thosewho work to spread the good news, tonight remembering especially the work of the Bible Society."

Mr. Hrayr Jebejian, the General Secretary of the BSG, stressed the need to have the peace that Christ offers us, our communities and today’s troubled world. Mr. Jebejian focused on the nature of the Bible Society fellowship saying, “It is not a bookshop. The aim of the Bible Society is to help the Christian community interact with the Word of God. Only the Word of God provides hope when everything around us is in despair.” The General Secretary challenged everyone who has tasted the peace of Christ to be a peacemaker as we live in the midst of different cultures and ethnic groups.

Mr. John Mathews, the USA West Coast Director of the American Bible Society brought greetings. Mr. Babu Ganta, the BSG communication officer, made a presentation on the various Scripture programs in progress in the UAE. The presentation showed the impact of the various programs among the different ethnic and language groups and drew attention to the scripture needs in these ethnic groups. The BSG programs among the Nepalese, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Ethiopian, Arabic, Sinhalese and Filipino congregations illustrated the impact of the Bible on each community. Then, dressed in the traditional costumes, choirs from different congregations sang songs in their languages.

Malcolm Montgomery from Faith Comes by Hearing, Paul White from Care network and Ed Small from Perspectives, spoke briefly about their various ministries in the Gulf and shared their joy as they work in partnership with the Bible Society.

Mrs. Sonia Bezuidenhout, from the South African Church in Dubai, sang the Lord’s Prayer in Afrikaans. Pastor John Folmar, senior pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai, preached on "The Peace the Bible speaks of", based on Colossians 1: 19-22. He said enmity and hostility are prevalent among peoples and nations as a result ofsin, and the message which the world needs to hear is the good news that Jesus through his death on the cross reconciled man with God so that we may have peace with God and with one another.

The multi-national Bible Day celebrations demonstrated the living experiences of the great impact the Bible has on peoples’ lives.Undoubtedly, the event echoed the spirit of “oneness” among the different churches, all aiming for more scripture impact.

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