Karl O’Dare, the pastor of the South Wales Gypsy Church, asked Bible Society for some Bibles late last year.
‘The congregation was growing and growing,’ he said. ‘I had given away all of my Bibles to people who had joined the church. I couldn’t afford to buy any more.
‘I was absolutely amazed when Bible Society gave us 100 Bibles. I was overwhelmed when they arrived.
‘The majority of this congregation can read, so the Bible is paramount for their development in the church.’
The church was founded two years ago and now boasts a congregation of 70 Gypsies. Many live by the roadside in Newport, but others travel from as far as Swansea, Bilth Wells and London to attend the weekly meetings.
Fifty-nine-year-old Con was one of the first to receive a Bible. ‘I take it with me everywhere in my van,’ he said. ‘Then I can read it when I want to and I can follow what Karl is preaching about on a Sunday.’
Twenty-eight-year-old Vicky was the first person to request a Bible when they arrived four weeks ago. ‘I had a different Bible before,’ she said, ‘but I didn’t understand it. This Bible speaks my language. It helps me.
‘There’s even a bit that explains what things mean. It’s just like Google.’
Karl O’Dare added, ‘There’s a revival going on among Gypsy people both in the UK and across Europe. It’s like Acts 2.
‘Gypsy people are being renewed and for people to grow in their faith, they need the word of God.’
During Sunday services everyone from small children to the elderly reads their Bible on and off throughout. Mr O’Dare said, ‘It is precious to them.’
This article was republished with the kind permission of author Hazel Southam and the Bible Society. Photograph of South Wales Gypsy Church Pastor Karl O’Dare by Clare Kendall.
The facebook page for the South Wales Gypsy Church can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/gypsychurch.southwales/?ref=ts&fref=ts
And the website to the Bible Society can be found here: http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/