The newly-formed ChristianTrade Association India is inviting suppliers to join the December 3-9, 2012, Christian Expo in Thiruvalla, Kerala. Download information about the event here.
“About 65 booksellers and publishers from across India - but mostly from the more Christian south - joined us 14 September at the Bible Society of India's offices in Bangalore,” says Jim Powell, president of ChristianTrade Association International. “No small reason for the good response was the substantial assistance from the Bible Society.”
The meeting was called by ChristianTrade to promote the formation of a new organization to unify and represent Christian retailers, distributors, and suppliers in this vast nation.
Though India has more than a billion people, only 2.3% are considered Christian, per official census figures. Operation World states that “India has more (and larger) people groups with no Christians, churches or workers than any other part of the world.” The industry has unique challenges in reaching readers and equipping the Church for its vital mission.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of this meeting and have a solid start toward an association,” adds Powell. “A committee of ten was formed to carry the idea of an association forward. It is to meet again on 15 January. After they have developed plans, they will call for a larger meeting in the spring.”
The committee members elected at the meeting include: include: W.R. Paul Raj, Bible Society of India, who will serve as chair; George Korah, Primalogue, secretary; Immanuel Prabu R., Word of Christ, treasurer; Johny K.J., OM Books International; Christopher Roberts, Evangelical Literature Service; Philip Solomon, Inpress; Sister Marisa Maru, Pauline Book and Media Centre, Bangalore; Sunny Abraham of Suvartha Bhavan; and J. Obeth Jebakumar, Christian Books and Music World. One of its first tasks will be to seek additional representation from other sectors of the industry.
This is the third body to have been established for Christian suppliers and retailers in the country. Evangelical Literature Fellowship International, founded in 1954, ceased operations in the late 1980s. CBA India was formed in 2000, but has been inactive since 2005. Due to his past experience with both organizations, Babu Verghese was asked to serve as a consultant to the new committee.
“I fully endorse this initiative,” says Paul Raj, chair of committee. “I fully support this unity among believers in a minority Christian country.” The Bible Society of India gave substantial support for this event. Dr. B.K. Pramanik, General Secretary for the Bible Society of India, gave a short opening address.
“A new association,” says George Korah, secretary for the committee, “can help the industry establish fair trade practices, serve as catalyst to nurture distribution networks that are missing in India, and provide a place to iron out our differences.”
“We believe this is a promising new start for the industry in India,” says Kim Pettit, chief operations officer for ChristianTrade Association International. “We are excited about the level of interest and excitement for this initiative, and hope it will result in greater effectiveness and cooperation in the distribution of Christian resources to those who need them most.”
“United we stand, divided we fall,” says Sunny Abraham of Suvartha Bhavan in Kerala. “Let us come together. If an association is formed, we can do things beyond our dreams.”