‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?... If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.’ (Isaiah 58:6-10)
These words inspired the foundation of BCT, 22 years ago. They still inspire us now and sum up what we believe God has called us to do. Our purpose, as a movement, is to bring justice, set the oppressed free, and meet the needs of the vulnerable and forgotten. That probably sounds rather familiar. After all, there are countless Christian charities who do similar work to us and who quote similar Bible verses to express their purpose. But BCT is different.
We’ve recently been through a review process, looking at all aspects of BCT’s work and reflecting and praying over our vision and mission. Through this process, God has confirmed our purpose but also highlighted how we are distinctive.
Our vision: ‘The Bethany Children’s Trust’s (BCT’s) vision is to equip the Christian Church to lead the way in building a local and global society where every child is loved, valued, safe, nurtured and free to reach their God-given potential.’
Our mission: ‘The Bethany Children’s Trust mobilises a Christian response to the needs of the most marginalised children. We work wherever God leads us, strengthening the capacity of churches to lead their communities in caring for children and addressing the roots of beliefs, practices and circumstances that harm them. We work with churches directly, through local project partners and by networking and collaborating with other organisations.’
We are different because we actively seek out the most marginalised of children – the ones who slip through the net, who are neglected by their communities and whose suffering goes unnoticed because they are hidden away or overlooked. This is what drove us to begin caring for children affected by HIV and, later, children facing abuse after being accused of witchcraft.
We are different because we focus on churches. We believe the Church is God’s plan to bring the kingdom of God into communities and uniquely placed to gain the attention of local people, to care for their children and to influence change. So, local churches are our focus. We seek to equip churches to reach their own communities, rather than doing it for them, so that they will continue to influence godly transformation even many years into the future.
We are different because, as well as caring for children, we tackle the issues and the beliefs which make them vulnerable, to help make sure other children don’t suffer in the same way. This is why we spend so much time and energy training church and community leaders on care for disabled children, for example. Challenge misguided beliefs about disability and you change how a community treats its disabled children. To use a common analogy, we don’t just pull people out of the river – we go further upstream and ask why they are falling in.
This is BCT’s purpose. This is why we do what we do. If this purpose strikes a chord with you, join us. Pray for us and our partners, give so that our work can continue and grow, represent us in your church and community. And if you want to find out more about what we do and why, we’d be very happy to talk to you. Get in touch.