The collection comprises the papers of Inter-Church Aid and its predecessor organisation Christian Reconstruction in Europe. The collection includes: constitutional papers; minutes of the organisation's committees and sub-committees; correspondence files, including those of the organisation's senior officers; and subject/regional files relating to the organisation's work on appeals and campaigns, and relating to Europe; Palestine and Africa.
Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service Archive
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 102 ICA
- Dates of Creation1940-1962
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description9 boxes
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service was a faith based body active in international humanitarian relief. Founded in 1949, it was constitutionally a subsidiary department of the British Council of Churches (BCC) which itself was an umbrella organisation for a number of major British and Irish churches. In 1964, the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service was renamed as Christian Aid.
In 1943, major British and Irish churches involved in the British Council of Churches helped establish an ad-hoc organisation Christian Reconstruction in Europe (CRE), which aimed to raise funds for the resettlement of some of the millions of people in Europe left homeless by the Second World War. An appeal by CRE raised £1,227,450 from church and other donations to assist refugees across Europe. Concurrently, the British Council of Churches' Ecumenical Refugee Committee was established, which formed a close link with the work of the World Council of Churches in Geneva and was responsible for producing a series of Occasional Papers on the refugee situation in Europe.
In 1949, Christian Reconstruction in Europe merged with the BCC Ecumenical Refugee Committee to become a department of the British Council of Churches. The new body was renamed as the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service, with a stated objective to 'provide succour to churches, church institutions, and individuals overseas or from overseas, who are in want'. Inter-Church Aid was conceived as a permanent body and its new Board of Directors was given wide-ranging operational and financial autonomy by the BCC. Inter-Church Aid continued many of the projects and appeals initated by CRE, focussing its work in particular on assisting refugees in Germany, Austria, Italy and Greece and Palestine.
In 1952, Janet Lacey, who had previously worked for the Youth Department of the British Council of Churches, was appointed as the department's Director. During the 1950s, the organisation expanded its focus to include worldwide disaster relief and development work. In 1957 Inter-Church Aid organised a 'Christian Aid Week' to encourage public awareness about its work. This first event mobilised residents in 200 towns and villages across Britain, collecting £26,000 for overseas development work, subsequently Christian Aid Week was to become an annual event. Between 1960 and 1964, Inter-Church Aid was involved in promoting the Freedom from Hunger Campaign which aimed to focus aid on increasing food production in the poorest regions of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
In 1964, Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service changed its name to Christian Aid to reflect the success of its annual fund-raising week.
Arranged into eight series reflecting the original order of the papers: constitutional papers; minutes and associated papers; correspondence files; and subject/regional files relating to appeals and campaigns; migrants and refugees; Europe; Palestine; and Africa.
Transferred to SOAS by the Church of England Record Centre in 2008.
Previously held as part of the archives of the British Council of Churches [Ref: BCC] at the Church of England Record Centre.