In commemorating their 75th anniversary of the Bible Society of Sierra Leone (BSSL) and the 60th Independence anniversary of Sierra Leone, the Bible Society of Sierra Leone launched their Anniversary Bible.
The launching which took place on Wednesday 21st April at the Radisson Blu Hotel attracted among other stakeholders, the Body of Christ in Sierra Leone and government officials.
Bible Society of Sierra Leone General Secretary, Mrs. Christiana Jones explained that work in the Bible Society started in 1815 when the first Bullom translation now called the Sherbro translation of the Bible started but that 75 years ago in 1946 the work of the Society was officially recognised by the UBS.
She went on to say their mandate, mission and vision is geared towards making the Bible Scripture available in the language of the people of Sierra Leone in order to help them interact with God’s Word for a positive living.
Mrs Jones disclosed that as a society, they have translated the Bible in Mende, Limba, Kono, Krio, Kuranko and Themne and that at the same time providing other English Bibles and Christian Literatures.
“It is in this great hope and expectation that we could not think of anything special than to mark our year of work with such a Bible,” she noted.
Giving an analysis of the Anniversary Bible, Chairman of Bible Society of Sierra Leone Board, Ransford Wright said they have answered to the challenges they are facing.
He said that there is hope for Sierra Leone as a nation with the galaxy of anointed men and women of God in their midst.
He said the Anniversary Bible is all they have to offer, adding that the Bible has a feature of how all the various denominations started in Sierra Leone, heroes of Sierra Leone history and dates to remember in Sierra Leone (Significant occurrences).
Key features in the Bible including the alphabetical order of both the Old and the New testaments, how to use the Bible, where the Bible begins, index and a detailed conversation of the Bible.
“We connect our 60 years’ heritage as a country with the Bible that is what we are about to do. So that as you read the Bible you can have the time to reflect on our history which can make you become a change maker in our nation,” he affirmed.
In her statement, Sierra Leone Minister of Social Welfare, Baindu Dassama Kamara described the Anniversary Bible as a good work.
There will be no more excuse of not reading the Bible; what the Bible is doing in our lives is great, she said.
She appealed to the audience to use the Bible to convey government messages.
“You have the largest congregation. Imaging you talking to a child muster and a thief quoting from the Bible. The Bible is great,” she said.
She disclosed that she has tried to push very hard by engaging government to ensure that religious leaders convey government messages to their people.
The Catholic Mission, Rev. Tamba Charles described the day as prophetic act, noting that at 60 years it should be wisdom, transformation and not retirement.
Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Leone (PFSL) President, Bishop Akintayo Sam-Jolly said when anniversaries are celebrated, they are mostly advised to count their blessings, and if possible ‘name them one by one.’
“As Johnson Oatman Jr puts it in the hymn. Interestingly, he was born on this very day 21st April in 1856. In light of counting our blessings, Sierra Leoneans (including the Church and PFSL) should enumerate the benefits that Bible Society has brought to this nation,” he referenced.
He said that with the Bible Society around, a lot of work has taken place with regards the translation of the Holy Bible into their local languages and its dissemination.
The PFSL President described the venture as a laudable activity that has taken some burden off their shoulders as church leaders as it has greatly helped in making the Holy Scriptures available and accessible to many Sierra Leoneans.
The Anniversary Bible was dedicated by the Social Welfare Minister and a battery of Church leaders with prayers before it was unveiled.