In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) our Lord teaches us how we are to treat our fellows, and how we are to regard the gifts he has entrusted to us. The sessions of our churches include deacons, in keeping with the pattern found in Acts 6.
Article 24 of our Church Order spells out that their task is to collect charitable contributions and to distribute them to those in need, to comfort the distressed, and to encourage the congregation to show christian mercy to those in need at home and overseas. So this work of mercy involves the whole of the congregation.
Besides the day to day work of mercy carried out by our members for those in need locally, our churches are also involved in a number of overseas projects.
Religion that God our Father accepts
as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Diaconal At Home
The work of mercy is the responsibility of the local church. Inspired by the example of the believers in Acts 4, we believe that our possessions are not our own but are to be shared. Deacons in each church collect the tithes and offerings for the work of the church and for the support of those in need.
Although in New Zealand, the state welfare system has to a large extent supplanted the charitable work of the church, opportunities still exist for believers to help needy brothers and sisters and to support the work of mission with tangible gifts of love.
Overseas aid on behalf of the churches within the denomination is coordinated by the National Diaconate Committee, based in Auckland. The committee has the difficult task of assessing competing needs, each of which is deserving of assistance. Unfortunately, the resources of a small denomination must of necessity be relatively small and NDC has chosen to support a smaller number of projects where a difference can be made.
Recent and current projects include:
- a Christian boarding school for deaf children in Zimbabwe
- relief for people affected by cyclone damage in Myanmar
- partial support for a full time diaconal worker in Uganda
- medical and IT training assistance for a Christian hospital in Pakistan
- provision of medical and other supplies in support of the missionary outreach in PNG
- provision of medical and other supplies to the Solomon Islands
- funding for a Christ-centered diaconal mission to prostitutes and HIV victims in Chennai
All projects are under constant evaluation and the Committee is always ready and willing to receive suggestions for new projects.