The ACBM is a preaching group of brethren dedicated to bringing the eternal saving Gospel to men and women and to provide pastoral care. We are not an international welfare organisation whose aim is to extend and improve this life.

The example of our Lord and the apostles is our aim. James 1:27; 2:14-18. Galatians 5:13; 6:2. We should give temporary help and succour to our brethren and sisters who need it. The welfare fund should exist to support the preaching work but not be the motivator of the work.

The ACBM does not exist to supplement the incomes of the individual brethren and sisters and thereby increase their living standards. It is the responsibility of individual members to live within the context of their own income and within the economic circumstances of the country in which they live.

Assistance to improve living standards is not the primary purpose of welfare. This policy should be used to assist those brethren and sisters and their immediate family who are in need according to the standards of society in which they live, in other words those who through no fault of their own are deprived of the necessities of life as compared with their neighbours. Therefore, the ACBM is unlikely to provide a member with something that his neighbour would not be able to afford. To do otherwise distorts the balance in a village/locality/area and in effect rewards people for being Christadelphians.

Experience has taught us that giving to one in any third world country, means to almost all of his contemporaries that they have some right to expect the same hand-out irrespective of their real needs.

HOW WELFARE WORKS.

There is a need to try to reduce procedural delays, but it is necessary that checks and balances exist in this area of work. One brother alone should not make a decision on welfare. Through our experiences the recipient of aid ought to contribute towards their own needs. At times his Immediate family, brethren and sisters and ecclesia can assist with welfare costs. We have found that complete coverage, readily offered, leads to over servicing with welfare aid. This only reduces the incentive to provide for themselves, lowering their self-esteem and generating envy and a host of would be converts who can see a benefit to them. We rely on local brethren or committees to advise us and to assist in the administration of welfare support to minimise mishandling of the funds.

WHO SHOULD ADMINISTER WELFARE.

All things considered the funds are not “ours” they have been given to the Lord for his work, so we must exercise good stewardship. To separate this work entirely out of mission committees would not be wise.

 WELFARE – TWO PRINCIPLES

  1. Each person is responsible for their own welfare.

“But if any provides not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8

  1. Show divine love by assisting those with genuine need.

  “But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his         bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” 1 John 3:17

In administering welfare, we must try to find the balance between a brother or sister’s personal responsibility and providing assistance to those in need.

WELFARE – WHAT IT INVOLVES

Generally, welfare involves financial assistance. However financial assistance is only one aspect of providing welfare support. Welfare support could also involve: –

  • Assisting with domestic tasks when someone is sick
  • Helping or accompanying someone to see the doctor etc.
  • Alerting others that someone is in need.
  • Visiting those who are incapacitated.

Every brother and sister has a responsibility to look to the welfare of others and can do something to help.

WELFARE- WHEN FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED

When a person needs financial assistance, seek help from: –

  1. FIRST:    Their immediate family
  2. SECOND: Their ecclesial family (represented by the Ecclesia’s management committee / welfare brethren)
  3. THIRD: Their national family (represented by their country welfare committee if this exists)
  4. FOURTH: Their international family (represented by the ACBM)

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE- ECCLESIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

When a brother or a sister seeks assistance, or is in need, the ecclesia (represented by their management committee or appointed welfare brethren) is to: –

  • Get acquainted with the situation- find out what the need is.
  • Be aware of those who may be in need of welfare assistance but are either too shy or ashamed to ask.
  • Make an impartial assessment of the appropriate level of financial assistance to be provided taking into account the individual, the costs, and what they can or can’t afford.
  • If the financial assistance required exceeds the funds available, make a request to the country welfare committee (if one exists) outlining the nature of the need and how much is being requested. If the financial assistance required still exceeds the funds available, contact the appropriate ACBM Area Team for its assistance.
  • Keep copies of receipts and records of all payments made.
  • Ensure that help (other than financial) is being provided to the brother or sister in need.

IT IS RECOMMENDED that all Ecclesia’s have regular or special collections for welfare and that these funds be administrated by Ecclesial representatives to provide welfare assistance to their members as the need arises.

WELFARE – DECISIONS

Decisions about the level of financial assistance required are to be made by the management committee of welfare brethren of the local ecclesia and be concurred with the area team.

A general policy is that welfare assistance will be provided up to 50% of the costs. (This is a guide only) Care must be taken not to use 50% when maybe 10% would be adequate, on the other hand in some circumstances 90% of costs may be required.

Decisions about funds available for welfare are made by the area team unless costs are very high in which case reference should be made to the Regional committee or even in extreme cases to the National committee, via the Regional committee.

WELFARE – PROVIDING FUNDS

Emergency welfare funds are available from the area team in ACBM regional teams

Welfare funds can be provided at any time (within a week) when needed providing requests are made through the designated channels.

For those brothers and sisters on approved long term maintenance medication:

Funds could be sent with monthly Ecclesial allocation.

Receipts and records of all payments should be kept.

The allocation of funds and medication may be subject to review from time to time, noting that the medication is still appropriate and that the medication is being purchased by the most economical means and that it is good quality.

ONLY SPEND WHAT IS NEEDED FROM THE ALLOCATION. RETURN LEFT OVER FUNDS TO THE ECCLESIAL ACCOUNT OR FINANCE BROTHER.

WELFARE—ENSURE QUALITY MEDICAL TREATMENT

For those brothers and sisters who are require medical consultations and or on- going treatment:

  • Name and specialization of the attending physician,
  • The diagnosis or nature of illness,
  • The diagnostics/laboratory tests requested or, if done, copy of results and
  • The plan of treatment and list of medicines prescribed inclusive of duration should all be recorded. This is to evaluate the quality of treatment being provided.

WELFARE – MAJOR WELFARE REQUESTS

These requests should be kept within the context of the expectations of citizens of the same country. Treatments used should be generally available to others in the same country.

We are having requests for major medical surgery and procedures e.g., medical procedures for Cancer, Heart, Kidney and Respiratory problems etc. To help treat these illnesses there could be a need for Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Dialysis, Organ Transplants etc.

Requests can come from a brother or sister living in one of the Mission areas where many countries do not have any form of socialised medicine and everything has to be paid for by the patient. No money means no doctor, no medicine and no medical procedure. In many cases the costs could be extremely high, even by Australian standards.

Consideration needs to be given to the following questions.

Should we place restrictions on the types of procedures that we would cover?

Should age come into our consideration?

Should we expect the patient to cover initial costs and our welfare contribution be added to it?

Should we seek support from charitable organizations in the country where the bro/sis resides?

When should we go to the brotherhood with a specific appeal?

Wherever possible families should contribute to the costs of welfare as this is a family duty which has been ingrained into most peoples in mission areas.

Decisions on the appropriate level of welfare assistance will often involve weighing up a number of factors. In formulating welfare cost limits, we need to be careful to avoid a too rigid system of limits, otherwise a welfare case may come up that may present a challenge to such a system. Some guiding principles will however need to be formulated, so that decisions on welfare assistance can be transparent and accountable.

All welfare assistance should be done in a sensitive manner and the ACBM Privacy Code of Practice should be adhered to. Disposal of information should occur in line with the requirements of the said Code of Practice. Forms in relation to welfare payments should be kept securely and should not be available for general information.

WELFARE ASSISTANCE FILES TO BE KEEP UP TO DATE SIMILAR TO THE ONE PROVIDED.

Please see the welfare assistance form attached which should be filled in and filed in the WELFARE ASSISTANCE FILE

Lasted updated 27 May 2017

 

Page Last Updated: June, 2017