On 23 October the Latvian Bible Society visited one of large hospitals in Riga and donated 328 Bibles in Latvian and Russian. This was possible because of generous gifts of 400 supporters who participated in this project with their donations. It is a deep conviction of the leader of the hospital chaplaincy Inese Lūse that every patient of the hospital should be provided with the Bible. Now this dream came true.
The hospital is a place where Scriptures are very much needed and the Bible Society always has paid a special attention to serving hospitals. From 2005 to 2015 it distributed free of charge to the Children Hospital, hospital “Gaiļezers” and to the Association of Medical Care Chaplains 11 155 books.
Chaplains of the Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital (from the left): Kristīne Vanaga, Rita Otomere, Inese Lūse, Juris Meijers.
Leader of the hospital chaplaincy Inese Lūse: “Bible in the hospital is another way how to bring God’s Word to human soul.”
General Secretary of the Latvian Bible Society Valdis Tēraudkalns: “Not only the New Testament but also the Old Testament is very important for reading because it contains deep emotions of humans like us.”
Regīna Barone, senior nurse: “Work of chaplains is important not only for patients but also for medical personal, because we all have to deal with syndrome of burning out.”
The Latvian Bible Society recently provided the Latvian Association of Christian Teachers with 320 copies of Scriptures for young people. This NGO unites about 200 teachers all over Latvia. This gift was possible because of 1284 supporters who donated to the project “My Advent Gift” in 2014.
On 19 October we visited the secondary school in the town of Jaunjelgava. Staff of the Latvian BS addressed pupils of the grade no. 7. This September from 17 children who started their first school year eleven chose instruction in Christian faith as elective (choice is between ethics and instruction in Christian faith). Both - director of the school Lauma Mīlīgā and teacher Margarita Savicka are very enthusiastic about popularizing this course.
Below are some of answers of children to the question “What the Bible mean to you?”
“By reading the Bible I am becoming more positive and joyful.” (Richard)
“From the Bible we can learn the most important things – how God saved us, how he loves us and how he always is with us.” (Nadja)
“The Bible reminds me that God helps me and other people.” (Meinard)
“When I hear about the Bible I think about the church, book and God.” (Arthur)
“The Bible is the holy book and not only me but also others should read it." (A pupil of the grade no. 7 of Jaunjelgava secondary school)
LBS generalsecretary Valdis Teraudkalns: “Nowadays none of us has to go 45 km to get the Bible as did Mary Jones. It's at the distance of one click on our computer.”
Teacher Margarita Savicka.
Nadja: “I enjoyed the story about God parting the Red Sea.”
From 18th to 20th of May in Riga took place the conference of Baltic and some other Eastern European Bible Societies. The Latvian Bible Society received colleagues from Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Norway. The Baltic Bible Societies have a tradition to meet once a year in order to share information, current plans and future vision. This year for the first time colleagues from Ukraine and Slovakia joined us in the first part of the seminar. Colleagues from Norway shared with us their long-term experience in the Bible work. Among topics we discussed were questions how to make our work visible in wider society, how to communicate with churches and secular society, which type of books to publish.
The staff of Baltic Baltic Bible Societies.
“Did you think in current situation of bilingual New Testament edition in Russian and Latvian?”, asks Bernt from Norway. Maybe it could help to reconcile divided parts of the society.
Church attendance in Ukraine is increasing in spite of the war. About 20 000 Children Bibles have been distributed among Ukrainian refugee children and this project has been supported also by people in Latvia. General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society Oleksandr Babiychuk (to the right) and his colleague Rostislav Stasyuk.
Three leaders of the Baltic Bible Societies: Jaan Barenson (Estonia), Vilhemine Kalinauskiene (Lithuania) and Valdis Tēraudkalns (Latvia).
On 20 March in Svitene, not far from picturesque Rundāle palace, former residence of dukes of Courland, took place the lecture of the new Bible translation. It was given by the General Secretary of the Latvian BS Valdis Tēraudkalns. This event was organized thanks to enthusiasm of Sandra Kerēvica , the Head of the Department of Culture of local self-government. During the event children, winners of the contest of drawings on biblical themes, were awarded. The local library organized exhibition of Bibles and Bible-related books.
We are thankful to 1284 supporters who during our annual fundraising campaign “My Advent Gift” supported our appeal to raise funds for the Ukrainian Bible Society. Money will be used to produce and to distribute the Children Bible among children of refugees from Eastern Ukraine. Every year 10% from income raised during this annual campaign are used to support with money one particular cause.
“Tragic events in Ukraine helped many Ukrainians to understand how fragile is the world where we live in and how important is hope for something much greater then our own principles and values.”
Oleksandr Babichuk, General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society
Žeņa, a boy from the Donbas region. His family has find shelter in Zaporozhje.
On 31st of January at the premises of the Methodist Church in Liepāja took place the Bible drama seminar. It was lead by Dr. Theol. Astra Dannenfelte who has studied this method in Germany. This is already the third seminar on this interactive method of studying the Bible. It is a way how to experience and to interpret the Scriptures. It is an interdisciplinary approach that involves also visualization, music, body movements, role-plays, fine arts.
Here are some of responses from participants:
“Bible drama could be useful in parishes because people like something artistic. It can trigger growth in faith.”
“Bible drama allows going deep in the Bible and in yourself.”
“It is a way how to discover yourself. Through drama we can experience the Bible text anew.”
On 30 January The Right Rev. Lauma Zušēvica, newly elected Archbishop of the Latvian Lutheran Church outside Latvia, visited the Bible Society office. The General Secretary V. Tēraudkalns informed her about recent publishing activities of the LBS as well as talked with her about planned activities and vision of the LBS for 2015.
On 11 January at the premises of the Luther’s parish in Riga (the largest Latvian Lutheran parish) took place an official opening of the Study Bible. It was printed in China at the end of last year. The project had a long history – it was started in 2000, that’s why it is typesetted together with the Revised Latvian version, not the new translation. We said thanks to all people who have been involved in the preparatory work – scientific editors Dace Balode and Oļegs Jermolājevs, translator Rasma Vīlipa, typesetter Mārtiņš Bērziņš. Thanks also to now deceased Board member, former Dean of the Faculty of Theology at University of Latvia Vilis Vārbergs who reviewed the German edition on behalf of the board. Thanks to the German Bible Society who allowed to use the text and supported its publication in all possible ways.
Linards Rozentāls, pastor of Luther’s parish, member of the Latvian BS Board: "It is important that contemporary person not only has access to the Bible but also can understand it, that he himself can allow the Scriptures to make a comment on his life and age he or she lives in.
Lutheran Bishop of Liepāja diocese and the Latvian BS Board member Pāvils Brūvers: "I have met people who stopped reading the Bible because they did not understand it. This new edition is like a powerful cross-country vehicle that can take back to the road ones who are in difficulties.
Valdis Tēraudkalns, General Secretary of the Latvian BS: "Key phrases characterizing this edition are: the first in Latvian language, inter-confessional, easy to read but with enough substance, only a reference point, not a dogma or last word.
Pastors are already reading…
Pastors of the Luther’s parish Linards Rozentāls and Kaspars Simanovičs.
On November 8 at the premises of local Catholic school in Rēzekne (in Eastern part of Latvia) took place seminar on bibliodrama lead by Astra Dannenfelte. This is has been the second seminar on this method of interacting with Scriptures organized by the Latvian Bible Society. In total 21 person took part in it. Here are after-thoughts of couple of participants: “It is possible through dramatized Bible stories to raise interest of children in Bible reading. For adults this method offers a possibility to better understand themselves and their relationships with God.”; “Bibliodrama reveals how to share biblical truths with children in a way that is nontraditional but in fact is more acceptable to them.”
On 1st of November at the premises of Riga St. Gertrude Lutheran Church took place the second Bible Championship. It was organized by the local Scripture Union and financially supported by the Latvian Bible Society. There were 6 teams coming from various places in Latvia - from Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils and Ķekava. Main goal of the contest was not demonstrating how smart its participants (even if they were knowledgeable and enthusiastic) are but to promote the Bible reading. All participants received as gifts a copy of the Bible or the New Testament. Many thanks to 155 individual supporters and parishes who supported this project!
At the opening of the Bible Championship participants were addressed by Valdis Tēraudkalns, General Secretary of the Latvian BS. “Bible is God’s story to us, humans. We all are included in it.”
Looking for the right answer
Winner of the 1st prize - united team of various Lutheran parishes of Riga. From the left: Ilva Mārdega, Daina Siliņa and Agrita Otomere. They all said that it is easy to explain their good results – regular Bible reading.
Participants at the end of Championship.