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Helping others is a big part of being a Christian. One of the commandments is “Love thy neighbour”; so many Christians do what they can to help.
Charities are a popular way of helping the poor. Both Christian and non-Christian charities provide a wide range of help for the poor and needy.
Christian Aid was set up in Britain and Ireland at the end of the Second World War. Its main aims were to improve the quality of people’s lives, particularly those of refugees who were struggling to cope with the aftermath of World War Two. It also funded Churches to help repair damage caused by the war. Eventually Christian Aids work started to involve other countries. It now has an income of approximately ï¿½40 million a year, and there are forty churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland who are part of Christian Aid. Most of the money, which they make through door-to-door collections and donations from members of the public and various churches, is put towards development work to help people in the long term.
There are many other Christian charities that help in different ways. The Church of England Children’s society helps children in need. The Hospice Movement helps terminally ill people live out there life in a relaxed, caring environment making the experience less stressful for the patient and the patient’s family.
Another famous Christian organisation is the Samaritans which was set up by Chad Varah, a priest. Chad Varah set up this organisation because horrified to find out that 3 suicides took place every day in London. He believed that the best way to help someone who was contemplating committing suicide was to talk to them. He set up a phone in his church and advertised locally for advice for people who were feeling suicidal. Now The Samaritans deal with 2 250 000 calls a year
Sir John Templeton is a famous charitable Christian. He grew up in a poor family on a farm in Tennessee. He was educated at both Yale and Oxford University and he became a financial consultant in New York. Throughout his life he gave 10% of his earnings (a process called ‘tithing’) to help the poor. Eventually he became very wealthy running a multimillion dollar investment company, where he successfully managed funds for over two million people world wide. In 1972 he started the Templeton prize to be awarded for progress in religion. The Templeton prize is now worth more than the Noble Peace Prize. Fifteen years later he was knighted for ‘services in philanthropy’. In 1992, he sold his investment company for $400 million. He still gives money to support projects around the world.
George Macleod is another famous charitable Christian. In 1938 he set up a Christian community on Iona, an island off of Scotland. He found volunteers to learn building, stone masonry and carpentry skills and together they rebuilt Iona’s ruined abbey. After that he opened a centre to provide shelter for young people from across the world to live in a community. The people of this community cook, clean, garden and work away. When they are not working they pray. The people who live there feel it is better for everyone to share and live in a close community than be rich and not.
Oscar Romero was born in 1917. He became Archbishop of El Salvador in 1977. When he took his post his meekness encouraged the corrupt authorities to take advantage and step up there reign of terror against the church; priests were murdered and tortured. When he witnessed the murder of a particular priest Romero began to think differently. He began to speak out against the government in his sermons. In March 1980 he was shot while speaking out against the government in a hospital chapel. He is seen as a great martyr, who took the greatest sacrifice for what he believed in.