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Interest in Bible growing in Eastern Europe, says report from Poland

A constantly growing distribution of the Scriptures in Poland was reported here recently by the executive secretary of the Polish Bible Society. Barbara Enholc-Narzynska told the annual meeting of the American Bible Society earlier this month that her agency was not only printing large numbers of Bible in new translations for use in Poland, but was also exporting Bibles for the use of Poles abroad.

"The highest supply goes to your country, where the Polish population is still great," she said.

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Though Mrs. Enholc-Narzynska made no reference to the Western agencies that solicit funds to smuggle Bibles into Eastern Europe, much of her address implied a rejection of their approach.

The overall situation in Eastern Europe, she said, shows:

* A growing number of new translations of the Bible.

* Increased opportunities for printing Bibles.

* Enhanced interest in the Bible as a result of greater distribution.

In support of this view, Mrs. Enholc-Narzynska cited developments in the Soviet union, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and hungary, in addition to her country.

She also noted that the Bible had become "the foundation of practical ecumenical cooperation between the churches in Poland, as well as in other socialist countries."

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The annual report of the American Bible society (ABS) showed that it distributed 259 million Scriptures (Bibles, New Testaments, and smaller portions) in 1979. This was somewhat below the 1978 figure, but put the ABS over the 3 billion mark for its 164-year history.

A total of nearly 500 million Scriptures were distributed last year by the 64 societies forming the United Bible Societies.

One or more books of the Bible now have been published in 1,685 languages and dialects, an increase of 27 over the 1978 figure, the ABS reported. Some of the 27 were published before 1979 but had not previously been recorded in ABS statistics.

ABS receipts for 1979 totaled $3.9 million, of which $7.5 million was passed along to help fund the $17.6 million budget of the United BiBle Societies.

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