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The Mary Jones story

How It All Began: Founding of the Society

Rev. Thomas Charles of Bala, Wales, was worried. More and more Welsh people were learning to read. Yet how could they learn the Word of God for themselves if they had no Bibles in the Welsh language?

At a public meeting in London in 1802 he eloquently described his people's need for the Scriptures - until another minister called out, "Surely a Society might be formed for the purpose. But if for Wales, why not for Great Britain? Why not for the world?"

And so the modern Bible Society was born. The actual organization took two more years, but the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) is still known worldwide as the "parent society."

Bible Society work has always had a visionary spirit, transcending cultural and geographic boundaries. The first foreign-language translation published by the BFBS was the Gospel of John for Canada's Mohawks in 1804. The translation work was accomplished by Teyoninhokarawen, a Six Nations Chief, known to the British as Major John Norton. Enthusiasm for distributing Bibles swept across Canada. As early as 1807, local Bible Societies and auxiliaries to the British parent began to spring up.

In 1904 some of these Societies banded together to form the Canadian Bible Society, which was chartered as a national organization in 1906. Today the Society is represented through a National Support Office in Toronto, 16 Districts, and dozens of Branches across Canada.

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