Bible Societies around the world at threat of closure over coronavirus

(Photo: Unsplash/MD Duran)

The financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has left dozens of Bible Societies around the world at risk of closure. 

The impact of lockdown across many countries has halted the sale of Bibles through the Societies, while also impeding vital fundraising work in local churches. 

In some countries, like Jordan, Burkina Faso and Egypt, the Societies are one of the few places where people can buy a Bible.

They are also one of the principal drivers of Bible translation and engagement work, and run many additional programmes to support vulnerable minority groups like street children, the blind and the illiterate.

The Bible Society was founded in 1804 by Christian campaigners, including William Wilberforce, and there are 150 Bible Societies in operation around the world today. 

But some 88 of them - serving 245 million people - are threatened with closure

A £5m scheme has now been launched by the Bible Society in England to save the most at-risk Societies, with the first set of funds already earmarked for Gambia, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica.

Oldi Morava, Director of International Mission for the Bible Society, in England, said, "In all of these countries, the Bible has an impact on people's lives, and can change individuals lives and their communities in a radical way.

"If these Bible Societies close, we will face a situation where the Bible will not be distributed in some countries and there will be a great risk of Christian communities not having access to the Bible."

He added, "Bible Societies have been operating for more than 200 years. We've gone through two world wars and the 1918 flu pandemic. We've always been able to continue. It would be dreadful if some Bible Societies around the world had to close now because of the coronavirus pandemic."

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