Editor's Note: A delegation of United Methodist bishops and mission staff visited China in April to strengthen existing ties with the Protestant church there. This is part of The Church in China, a UMNS series.
On Nov. 8, 2012, Amity Printing Press produced its 100th million copy of the Bible.
Two hundred Chinese and international guests served as witnesses at the printing factory on the outskirts of Nanjing. Of that number, 60 million Bibles are being read in China and 40 million in different languages around the world.
The presses haven't stopped running yet. Here are some facts about the largest producer of Bibles in the world:
The Church in China
- An agreement signed March 22, 1985, by Bishop K.H. Ting, president of the Amity Foundation, and the Rev. Jim Payne of the United Bible Societies, established Amity Printing Press, which produced its first Bible two years later.
- It took 20 years to produce the first 50 million Bibles, but only five years to produce the next 50 million.
- Amity also produces dictionaries and other reference books, works of literature, children's books, brochures and teaching materials in various languages.
- The plant is 85,000 square meters, with 600 workers.
- Bibles now come off the presses at the rate of one every second.
- The entire process, from paper to book, takes one week.
- United Bible Societies donated one metric ton of paper when the press opened and still subsidizes the printing press today.
- Amity helped a local mill develop a high-quality, thin printing paper so the mill could supply it and others with the paper needed.
- A 32-volume set of the Chinese Braille Bible sells for $5 U.S. for lifetime use, but it costs $300 to print one set. Profits from other print jobs help support the Braille editions.
- The Advance, a voluntary giving program of The United Methodist Church, supports production of Bibles in China's ethnic minority languages.
*Bloom, a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York, and Mike DuBose, UMNS photographer, accompanied a United Methodist delegation to China in April. Follow Bloom at http://twitter.com/umcscribe.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or [email protected].