Last week saw a wonderful development for Bible work in Azerbaijan – the official registration of the very first Bible Society in Azerbaijan by the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations. This means that work can now proceed in earnest to meet the Scripture needs of the country’s churches.
“This is a great development, which will start a new chapter in Bible ministry for all Christians in Azerbaijan,” comments Terje Hartberg, United Bible Societies (UBS) Head of Global Ministry Exchange.
UBS has been co-operating since the early 1990s with various Christian groups in the country, but over the past year leaders of various churches there have been working towards the establishment of a local Bible Society. Its official registration on September 9, 2016, was the culmination of this work.
“This has been a time of close co-operation with our partners and mentors from UBS, and particularly from the Norwegian and Ukrainian Bible Societies,” wrote Rasim Khalilov, Chairman of the Bible Committee which has been working to get the Bible Society registered, in a letter of thanks to the UBS fellowship. “We have received an answer to prayer after a time of waiting and hoping. Praise and glory to our Lord!”
Robert Mobili, Chairman of the Udin Christian Community in Azerbaijan – a minority ethnic group with roots in Albania – expressed his delight at the news.
“The registration of the Bible Society in Azerbaijan is is a great development for Christianity in our country! It shows our government’s policy of tolerance for multiculturalism and for all denominations and communities.”
The head of the Catholic Church in Azerbaijan, Father Vladimir Fekete, also sent his congratulations.
The next steps for the new Bible Society, which does not yet have any staff members, is to set up a sustainable infrastructure and prepare a ministry program with the support of other members of the UBS fellowship.
“We at UBS are grateful to God for the new ministry opportunity which has opened up in Azerbaijan with this new Bible Society,” says Mr Hartberg. “The Bible Society in Azerbaijan joins the UBS family of 148 Bible Societies working in more than 200 countries and territories to provide Churches with Scriptures and Bible-based programs. Sister Bible Societies have expressed their delight at this newest addition to the global Bible Society movement and stand ready to support the leaders of this emerging ministry in Azerbaijan.”
Please join us in praying for God’s blessings on the work of the new Bible Society in Azerbaijan. Thank you.