Above: Greg Clarke, the Bible Society’s CEO, speaks at the National Celebration of the Bible’ service at Hillsong Church. Image: Bible Society, Facebook.
The Aussie church displayed a depth of unity on Sunday, when believers of many denominations met for a ‘National Celebration of the Bible’ service at Hillsong Church in Baulkham Hills.
Led by Hillsong’s Pastor Brian Houston, along with Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies and the Bible Society CEO Greg Clarke, the service celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Bible Society in Australia.
Thousands more people connected with the service across Australia via live video streamed in Baptist, Anglican and Uniting churches as well as Hillsong’s dozens of satellite services; while viewers at home watched on TV’s Australian Christian Channel.
- Australia the Most Godless Place? Really? The Bible’s Influence in Australia
- The One Book in Every Creative’s Library
The Bible’s Role in Indigenous Australia
In his talk, the Bible Society’s Greg Clarke honoured the translators, printers and faithful servants who carried the Bible to all corners of Australia over the past 200 years, via horseback and van, plane and even foot.
To address the often contentious issue of ‘white man’s religion’ being brought to Australia’s indigenous, he spoke about how so many Aboriginal Australians had in fact embraced God’s word and adopted Christian faith as their own.
The service featured a moving video featuring indigenous woman Donna Meeham, who was a member of the Stolen Generation.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
She shared her memory of being taken away from her mother at only five years of age—then explained how she found healing for her trauma and grief, through the Bible itself.
Messages were given by both Glenn Davies and Pastor Houston, who spoke about the power of the Bible to change lives.
“The word of God is still powerful today,” Ps Houston said. “I thank God that the Bible is restorative, it’s not destructive…it comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable. This book changes everything.”
Australia’s Oldest Living Organisation
The birth of Bible Society in Australia dates back to the early 1800s, when the British and Foreign Bible Society in London sent scriptures to NSW.
Governor Macquarie, prompted by his wife, Lady Elizabeth, led the formation of the NSW Bible Society
To meet the demand for God’s printed word, Governor Macquarie, prompted by his wife, Lady Elizabeth Macquarie, led the formation of the NSW Auxiliary of the Bible Society on the March 7, 1817. Given Lady Macquarie’s role, it’s a happy coincidence, then, that the Bible Society’s birthday fell the day before International Women’s Day, March 8.
By the 1870s and 80s Bible Society was placing Bibles in every hospital, hotel and prison. Braille Bibles for the blind were distributed for the first time in 1881, and in 1887 a Penny Testament was given to every school child to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
“What a brilliant morning. Sydney Archbishop, Glenn Davies shared the platform with me as we spoke for 15 minutes each ON the Word of God and FROM the Word of God as we celebrated 200 years of the @BibleSocietyAus’s operation in Australia. It is the oldest institution in Australia formed a month before Australia’s first bank. We were honoured to have the Archbishop at @Hillsong Church.” – Ps @BrianCHouston
During World War I and II, more than a million New Testaments were sent into combat with soldiers in the Army and the Airforce.
The Bible Society is the oldest continually operating organisation in Australia’s history—older even than the oldest bank. The only change to the society has been its name; in 2010, the Bible Societies of each state merged into a single organisation, Bible Society Australia.
The society has kept up with changes in technology and today works to connect people with God’s truths using every medium possible.
Free Bibles Available this Week
In line with their goal to give everyone access to the Bible, during its birthday week, the society is giving away free Bibles to every Australian who wants one.
Claim your free Bible at bible.com.au. Children’s Bibles are also available.