A Practical Guide to International Philanthropy
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Philosophic and Religious Sources

The Bible

[King James Version]

"When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgotten a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord by God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thy olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”

Deuteronomy 24:19-21.


“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete withal shall it be measured to you again.”

Luke 6:38


“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness”

St. Paul, Epistle to the Colossians 3:14.


“And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

 II Peter 1: 5-7.


The Episcopal Church

“Especially for people who strive to love their neighbors as themselves, mission focused on advocacy educates, motivates, organizes and empowers Episcopalians to action for justice, peace and care for all of God's creation, through networks, partnerships and resources.”

“Advocacy involves efforts to educate, motivate, organize and empower Episcopalians to action for justice, peace and care for all of God’s creation. We are charged and empowered by General Convention and Executive Council through resolutions that direct the mission work of the church. These resolutions dictate the policies through which we seek and serve Christ, and advocate justice for all creation.”

“There are many opportunities for you to be involved in the advocacy work of the church. From contacting your government representatives about important issues to getting down and dirty as part of a disaster response team, the advocacy networks have a place and need for everyone to get involved.”

The Episcopal Church: Advocacy Program



United Methodist Church

"From Wesley's time to the present, Methodism has sought to be both a nurturing community and a servant community. Members of Methodist Societies and class meetings met for personal nurture through giving to the poor, visiting the imprisoned, and working for justice and peace in the community. They sought not only to receive the fullness of God's grace for themselves; but...they saw themselves as existing 'to reform the nation...and to spread scriptural holiness over the land'"

Excerpt from Who Are We? : Doctrine, Ministry, and the Mission of The United Methodist Church, Revised: Leader's Guide by Kenneth L. Carder, (Cokesbury), p. 55.

“United Methodists have believed, from the beginning, that each of us is called to participate in the outreaching ministry of Jesus Christ. John Wesley described this work in simple, practical  terms: ‘Do all the good you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can.’

Putting our faith into action is at the very heart of our Christian calling. By volunteering to serve through programs such as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission or the Mission Volunteers program of The General Board of Global Ministries, every person in the church has the opportunity to serve and to live their calling more faithfully.”

United Methodist Church Website, Putting Faith into Action. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.2609991/k.BB88/Serve.htm


Christian Science Church

From the Church Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts, by Mary Baker Eddy:

"Article VIII, Guidance for Members, A Rule for Motives and Acts, Section 1: …In [Divine] Science, Divine Love alone governs man, and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness and forgiveness."

From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy:

"The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good." 518:15-19.


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“To participate in God’s mission, this church shall:

…Serve in response to God’s love to meet human needs, caring for the sick and the aged, advocating dignity and justice for all people working for peace and reconciliation among the nations, and standing with the poor and powerless and committing itself to their needs….

“To fulfill these purposes, the church shall:

… Lift its voice in concord and work in concert with forces for good, to serve humanity, cooperating with church and other groups participating in activities that promote justice, relieve misery, and reconcile the estranged….

“…Study social issues and trends, work to discover the causes of oppression and injustice, and develop programs of ministry and advocacy to further human dignity, freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

ELCA Constitution, Chapter 4: Statement of Purpose. http://www.elca.org/~/media/Files/CWA11/CBCR%20September%202011.pdf


Presbyterian Church (USA)


God sends the church in the power of the Holy Spirit to exercise compassion in the world,

a. feeding the hungry,

b. comforting the grieving,

c. caring for the sick,

d. visiting the prisoners,

e. freeing the captives,

f. sheltering the homeless,

g. befriending the lonely.

God’s call to compassion is proclaimed in worship. Those called are equipped and strengthened for the ministry of compassion by the proclamation of the Word and by the celebration of the Sacraments. The call is accepted as the faithful respond in prayers of confession and intercession, in acts of self-offering, and in offering material goods to be shared in ministries of compassion. (W-2.1002; W-2.5000; W-3.3505−.3507) Those called are commissioned and sent by the church to do acts of compassion on Christ’s behalf. (W-2.6000; W-3.3701; W-4.3000)

Such acts of compassion, done corporately and individually, are the work of the church as the body of Christ. The church is called to minister to the immediate needs and hurts of people. The church is also called to engage those structures and systems which create or foster brokenness and distortion. Christians respond to these calls through acts of advocacy and compassion, through service in common ministries of the church, and through cooperation with agencies and organizations committed to these ends. (F-1.03)

Reconciliation: Justice and Peace

God sends the church in the power of the Holy Spirit to share with Christ in establishing God’s just, peaceable, and loving rule in the world. (F-1.02) God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ is the ground of justice and peace. (Conf. 1967 9.45) The church in worship proclaims, receives, and enacts reconciliation in Jesus Christ and commits itself to strive for justice and peace in its own life and in the world.

Justice is the order God sets in human life for fair and honest dealing and for giving rights to those who have no power to claim rights for themselves. The biblical vision of doing justice calls for

a. dealing honestly in personal and public business,

b. exercising power for the common good,

c. supporting people who seek the dignity, freedom, and respect that they have been denied,

d. working for fair laws and just administration of the law,

e. welcoming the stranger in the land,

f. seeking to overcome the disparity between rich and poor,

g. bearing witness against political oppression and exploitation,

h. redressing wrongs against individuals, groups, and peoples in the church, in this nation, and in the whole world.

There is no peace without justice. Wherever there is brokenness, violence, and injustice the people of God are called to peacemaking

a. in the Church universal fragmented and separated by histories and cultures, in denominations internally polarized by mutual distrust, and in congregations plagued by dissension and conflict;

b. in the world where nations place national security above all else, where the zealotry of religion, race, or ideology explodes in violence, and where the lust for getting and keeping economic or political power erupts in rioting or war;

c. in communities racked by crime and fear, in schools and workplaces marked by vicious competition and rebellion against order, and in households and families divided against themselves, scarred by violence and paralyzed by fear.

The ministries of reconciliation, justice, and peace are initiated and nurtured in the church’s worship of God. In the proclamation of God’s Word people are given assurance of freedom from the guilt and fear which keep them from fulfilling these ministries. In Baptism and the Lord’s Supper believers are united in Christ, are made one in the church through the Holy Spirit, and recognize one another across all boundaries and divisions as sisters and brothers in the faith. (W-2.3000−.4000) In prayer the faithful lift intercessions for all who experience brokenness, violence, and injustice; give thanks to God for reconciliation, peace, and justice in Jesus Christ; and commit themselves to be reconcilers seeking justice and pursuing peace. (W-2.1000; W-2.6000; W-3.3506; W-3.3700)

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), The Book of Order, Chapter VII, Worship and the Ministry of the Church in the World, Sections 3 and 4.


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