Inaugurated in the year 1812, the Ceylon Bible Society (CBS) is one of the oldest established societies in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). The CBS is an interdenominational Christian organization involved in the translation, publication and distribution of Scripture related Material Island wide. Since joining the United Bible Societies in 1966 the CBS has become part of the international network of Bible Societies who work towards the goal of making the Bible accessible and affordable to all people.
The Ceylon Bible Society (CBS), one of the oldest existing societies in Sri Lanka according to the records available at the Department of Archives, was inaugurated on 1st August 1812. It has functioned as a resource centre for Bible distribution from the year 1812. The CBS produces Scripture based material on behalf of Catholic Churches, member Churches of the National Christian Council and many new Churches, for the purpose of evangelism and mission work. The Bible Society serves these Churches and their partner organizations as a resource, but does not usurp the mission of these Churches. Traditionally the work of the Bible Societies has concentrated on making the Bible accessible and affordable to all people at highly subsidized prices.
The Ceylon Bible Society is the member of the World Fellowship of National Bible Societies joined together as the United Bible Societies for consultation: mutual support and action in her common task of achieving the widest possible, effective & meaningful distribution of the Holy Scriptures & of helping people interact with the word of God. The Bible Society of Sri Lanka carries out its task in partnership and cooperation with all Christian Churches and Organizations.
The Word of God to reach people Island wide.
The translation, publication, distribution of & interaction with the Holy Scripture.
To equip every Christian home with a Bible to arm every Christian with a New Testament. To provide Scripture selections to all people to meet every need and situation.
The Governance structure of the Bible Society is laid down in the Act of Parliament. This structure was one that was in place from the inception of the Society in 1812 and was merely given a legal identity by the Act.
PATRONS AND PRESIDENTS
The Presidents of the Society from its inception were the Governors of the island. From 1846 the Governs acted as Patrons of the Society. Both the Patron and the President were distinguished and eminent Christian leaders of the country. Other than the President, Vice Presidents were also appointed. The first Sri Lankan to hold any of these offices was Sir S.C.Obeysekera who was appointed a Vice President in 1912, the 100th year of the Bible Society. In 1912 the Donald Obeysekera Esq was appointed as the first Sri Lankan President.
From the departure of the last British Governor-General, Lord Soulbury in 1954, the position of Patron has devolved on the incumbent Bishop of Colombo. The first Bishop to be thus appointed was the Rt. Revd.A.R. Graham Campbell.
The present Patron is the Rt.Revd.Dushantha Lakshman Rodrigo, the Bishop of Colombo, and the President is Mr. Eraj Wijesinghe, Director at Bartleet Sri Lanka.
THE POSITION OF SECRETARY AND TREASURER OF THE SOCIETY
The post of Secretary, the chief executive position, is one with wide powers and immense responsibility. Till the late 20th century it was held by British Missionaries. The first Asian to hold this position was Paul. A. Krishnasamy, a South Indian. In 1936 the first Sri Lankan, the Revd. James Wirasinha was appointed as Secretary.
The transfer of leadership to Sri Lankans was a remarkable decision at a time when Christian Denominational Churches had not taken a similar decision. Since then there has been eight Secretaries appointed spanning 67 years.
List of Office Bearers
WOMEN’S COMMITTEE – PAST PRESIDENTS
WOMEN’S COMMITTEE – PAST SECRETARIES
General Council of The Ceylon Bible Society re-structured the Women’s Committee in 2019. At the General Council Meeting held on 6th November 2019, it was proposed that the Committee should be re-established and should be a part of the Council and nominated Dr. Ms. Shanthi Wilson as the Committee’s Chairperson. The current Women’s Committee functions under Dr. Ms. Shanthi Wilson’s leadership.