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New Bible Society Centre at Jebel Ali (UAE)   PDF  Print  E-mail 

 

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Dedication of the Bible Society Centre, Jebel Ali, UAE:

Thank you for praying for the Bible Society ministry in the UAE. The new Bible Centre at Jebel Ali, Dubai was opened on Thursday 30 Oct 2003. It was a unique experience to all who attended the function because most congregations from all Christian denominations in the Emirates  were  represented. The special guest for the evening was Rev Miller Milloy, the Regional Secretary for Europe and Middle East besides other guests from the Uinted Bible Societies.

 Addressing the Christian community at the inauguration function, Hrayr Jebejian, the Executive Secretary of the Bible Society in the Gulf welcomed the guests and and encouraged everyone to treat the Jebel Ali Centre as “This is your home. Each and every one of you should think of it that way.”  Besides being a source for Scripture resources for the Christian community, he said, the Multi-media Scripture Interaction section with Plasma TV, computers etc. is there to provide excellent opportunity, free of cost, for people of all age groups to enjoy the interaction with the Scripture in many languages and to receive Scripture helps.  With direct access to the Bible Society website, it provides opportunities to be in touch with the latest Bible Society news.

The prayers of dedication offered  by church leaders from various traditions  reiterated the inter-confessional nature of the Bible Society. One of the highlights of the evening was a  special event that featured 39 people from different countries and languages dressed in their national costumes. As  they proudly but gratefully displayed a copy of the Bible in their mother tongue, the song “Though we are many, we are one body” was sung very emotionally. It was a feast to the eye and to the heart – a foretaste of heaven! A professional videographer  from Canada vlunteered to record the recitation of  John 3:16 by all the participants in their heart language. Subsequently we hope to record this in 100 languages as Christian expatriates working in the UAE come from 142 nations of the world.!

Small but significant:

The cluster of church buildings in Jebel Ali is sadly separated by walls. At the inaugural  event,  the neighboring  Marthoma Church community hall was connected by a video cable to the main Dubai Evangelical Church Center Hall making room for the audience in the main building.

The greetings shared  by the various church leaders and the main address by Rev. Miller Milloy exalted Jesus the Word.

The Jebel Ali Bible Society Centre  is the first of its kind in the UAE.  This was made possible by a partnership forged with Dubai Evangelical Church Centre and the Bible Society in the Gulf.  This Centre fills the long felt vacuum—the desperate need for easily available and affordable Scriptures. “This is an answer to our prayers” says John Joseph Nallor of the Marthoma Church who has lived in the UAE for 25 years.  Now the Evangelical  churches in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain have invited us to open similar outlets in these cities as well so that the Scriptures are brought within the reach of the Christian communities in these places.  Churches and individuals are welcome to participate and support these new ventures by sponsoring the cost of display and storage units.

After the dedication service the atmosphere in the book-shop was charged with excitement as people rushed in to purchase  a Bible or book of their choice.

One of them was Fr.Francis Jamieson of the Catholic Church who had difficulty holding all the books he had selected in both his arms. Later Fr Francis sent us an email  saying  “Let me offer my congratulations for Thursday evening!  Very well done, and full of hope and joy.  Thank you very much.  The shop is excellent, and such nice people! With my prayers and best wishes” 

Thanks to the Anglican Parish of Dubai and the Northern Emirates  we have been provided with warehouse facilities in the basement of Christ Church adjoining DECC. This will enable bulk purchasers to take delivery of their  consignments directly .

The task is big:

There are over 300,000 Christian expatriates in the UAE from about 200 congregations belonging to a wide spectrum of denominations.  The Bible Centre seeks to serve all by providing Scriptures in people’s heart languages. However the hard reality is that more than 60% of the expatriates are from low income groups and are illiterate.  They need Audio Scripture in their heart language.  The Mega Voice Player is being introduced to meet this need.  Sample players are available at the Centre for demos.  As churches come forward to sponsor these MV players, more ethnic groups can be reached in their own languages – Telugu, Hindi, Konkani, Sinhala etc.

The Jebel Ali Bible Centre has enhanced the profile of the ministry of the Bible Society in the Gulf.  Our immediate challenge is to cope with the demand for Scriptures especially during the coming Christmas season!  A greater challenge however would be to provide Scripture in non print media in over 100 languages

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