Bible Societies in countries with greater financial stability have through a new Global Solidarity Fund embarked on assisting fellow branches facing financial collapse in countries hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Eternity News, more than $4.1 million has so far been raised, and distributed to continue translation work, pay staff salaries, and continue work on essential outreach projects among branches in crisis.
Reports show that the Solidarity Fund was established late last year in response to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and aims to raise a total of US$6.5m.
Close to two-thirds of Bible Societies around the world face significant survival challenges, brought on by the economic fallout of the pandemic. About 20 percent are at risk of immediate closure due to significant falls in fundraising and sales income, according to Eternity News.
According to Evangelical Focus, the pandemic has stopped the face-to-face sale of Bibles through the Societies, which in some countries like Jordan, Burkina Faso and Egypt, are the only or one of the few points of sale.
It has also hindered their vital fundraising work in local churches, as well as their Bible translations and engagement work, and the additional programmes to support vulnerable minority groups like street children, the blind and the illiterate that they run.
Director-General of the Cameroon Bible Society Luc Gnowa told the media outlet COVID-19’s impact had been devastating for the organization which already had been dealing with attacks from Boko Haram, as well as experiencing a social crisis bordering on civil war.
Because of all this, around 88 Bible Societies worldwide, which serves 245 million people, are threatened with closure, Christian Today reports.
“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”, Oldi Morava, Director of International Mission for the Bible Society, in England, said.
Since inception, Bible Society has through 150 branches operating around the world today, served over 4 billion people with Bible translations.