17 October 2023, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands – On the final day of the United Bible Societies (UBS) World Assembly 2023, the UBS Fellowship voted overwhelmingly to affirm the Assembly Statement.
Approximately 390 attendees, including representatives from 147 Bible Societies around the world, met for the six-day event in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, between 13-17 October 2023. The theme for the Assembly was ‘God’s Word: Reconciliation for the World’.
The Assembly Statement, which was developed in response to Bible Society feedback received during and prior to the event, includes seven priorities: Bible translation, printed Bible distribution, Bible engagement, serving diaspora communities, creation care, mission resilience and digital transformation.
Reaffirming the commitment and dedication to all churches, the UBS Fellowship agreed that its collective commitment to Bible ministry includes the integral functions of translation, publishing, distribution and helping people to engage significantly with the Bible.
The UBS Fellowship reaffirmed, within the statement, that member Bible Societies are motivated and mandated by the words of Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20), to provide an opportunity for people everywhere to encounter God through the Bible.
Member Bible Societies renewed their commitment to the UBS mission of ‘The Bible for Everyone’.
The 2023 World Assembly is the tenth edition of the World Assembly, and the first UBS World Assembly since 2016 in Philadelphia, USA, seven years ago.
Elaine Duncan, Chair of the Fellowship Council, said: “I have been greatly encouraged by the spirit of collaboration and unity which has permeated all aspects of World Assembly 2023. Yet, each Member Bible Society is now tasked with taking this statement into their own context, with their own unique combination of challenges and opportunities, and pursuing the opportunity of how to uphold the priorities within this statement in their own way. One of the beautiful parts of this Fellowship is our shared vision for the future – we each play our role within the mission to see ‘The Bible for everyone’ achieved.”
Rev. Dirk Gevers, UBS Secretary General, said: “It has been a pleasure to join all our brothers and sisters from across the Fellowship at World Assembly 2023. It was a constructive and productive time of discussion, connection, and prayerful consideration of God’s future for our Fellowship. The Assembly Statement – which was affirmed by Fellowship – seeks to provide a guide for our pursuit of providing everyone with the opportunity to access God’s Word. This statement was only possible because of the constructive dialogue across cultures and Christian faith expressions which took place throughout World Assembly 2023.”
The World Assembly is held every 5-8 years and brings together Bible Society leaders, representatives from churches, and key partner organisations to give thanks to God for progress in the Bible mission and plan for the future.
PH: +44 7389 882143
IMAGES AND VIDEO
Photos: Willem Jan de Bruin.
A collection of images, from the event, have been included in this pack. Please see the included folder for images. Other images and videos can be sourced, upon request.
UBS FELLOWSHIP STATISTICS
Thanks to the efforts of Bible Societies and other Bible translation agencies, the full Bible was made available in 733 languages spoken by 5.9 billion people in 2022. Over 70% of these were translated by the United Bible Societies Fellowship.
Since the last World Assembly, Bible Societies around the world have distributed approximately 1.95 billion scriptures, including 250.2 million full Bibles.
Between 2016 and 2022, Bible Societies were involved in completing translations in 373 languages used by 3.2 billion people.
There is still work to be done. A total of 3,776 languages – more than half the world’s languages – used by 201 million people, still have no Scripture at all. 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible.