From Birmingham with love: Church raises money to send Bibles to Calais

A vicar in Birmingham has collaborated with a charity that collects aid for Islamic countries to send more than 100 Bibles to migrants in Calais.

Both Arabic and English Bibles will be sent over by the Islamic charity, Human Relief Foundation, thanks to the money raised by Father Oliver Coss.Reuters

Father Oliver Coss set up his JustGiving page in response to pleas from the Human Relief Foundation (HRF) who have been sending Korans to Muslim mirgants but requested Bibles so that Christian migrants would have their spiritual needs met as well. 

"It's not very often a Muslim friend Facebooks you and says 'Can you get me 100 copies of the Bible?', Coss said. "But that's exactly what happened.

"As well as aid to provide for basic needs like nourishment and hygiene, HRF have been sending copies of the Koran to Muslim refugees, so that their spiritual needs won't go untended, and have asked for Bibles, so that Christians won't feel left out."

Coss sought to raise £600 from Birmingham's Christians to send Bibles in English and 50 in Arabic. At the time of writing Coss had exceeded his target and raised over £700.

The Anglican vicar from east Birmingham saw his church's gift as part of offering holistic care to the migrants.

"It's a gift some people might consider not really necessary but which might actually attend to spiritual as well as material needs that people have when they're living in a refugee camp," he said in the Guardian.

"We need to consider whether we are able to make a contribution to their emotional and spiritual welfare so that we can begin tackling holistically the issues and the threats to the person that being a refugee consist of."

The bishop of Birmingham backed the campaign, adding there was lots people could do to practically help the migrants.

"Seeing the considerable needs of refugees in the media can leave us feeling helpless," the Rt Rev David Urquhart said. "But there are lots of practical things we can do.

"Through the purchase of these Bibles, we have the opportunity to provide essential spiritual nourishment to Christians at a time of great fear and uncertainty."