Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund
PO Box 85225, Burlington ON, L7R 4K4


General Policy 2014-2019

CRWRF serves as a bridge for our church members and churches to provide resources that address material needs of people suffering the effects of poverty through Christian motivated partners.

1.0 Introduction

This policy states the general guidelines the CRWRF executive will apply for the distribution of Christian charity abroad for the calendar years 2014 - 2019. It was adopted by the CRWRF executive at its meeting held on November 6, 2013 and ratified by a majority of the delegates from the supporting churches at its Annual General Meeting held on November 23, 2013.

2.0 Background

In 1965 The Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund was established "for the purpose of helping to relieve hunger and want in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." CRWRF is a voluntary charitable organization based in the federation of Canadian Reformed Churches.
Our constitution states:

The purpose of CRWRF is to provide Christian charity to any area of the world that is in need of such. This purpose is based on the conviction that “all the gifts which we possess are bestowed by God and entrusted to us on condition that they be distributed for our neighbour’s benefit,” (Calvin’s Institutes III, 7, v); as instructed to us in numerous passages of the Bible, some of which are: Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19; Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Hebrews 13:16; I Thessalonians 3:12; Romans 12:17; 2 Peter 1:7 and James 2:14-17. From these passages and from all Scriptures we learn that we should show generosity, charity, mercy and kindness to the poor to thereby show our thankfulness for the great salvation that we have in Jesus Christ.

3.0 Program Focus

Our Scriptural basis for both immediate and long term response is that Christians are called, as they have opportunity, to do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith (Gal. 6: 9, 10; see also 1 Thess. 3:12, 1 Thess. 5: 15, and 2 Peter 1:7).

CRWRF's program has the following focus areas:

  1. Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation
    • including HIV/AIDS response
  2. Development
    • Child Development
    • Community Development
  3. Global Awareness Education
    • including Faithworks
    1. CRWRF facilitates immediate aid to emergency and disaster situations providing food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care after civil wars or natural disasters.
      Programs that respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis have become a special program focus for CRWRF's rehabilitation work, due to this overwhelming problem. There continue to be more than 33 million people living with AIDS worldwide, and 90% of them live in poor countries without means to receive help.
    2. CRWRF is also involved in longer-term development projects that benefit children, and families in communities who lack the means for a sustainable livelihood. Development programs focus on capacity building. This includes providing training and support to enable local leaders to facilitate changes that address long term problems in their own communities.
    3. Through publications for family devotional use, educational resources for teachers, Annual Reports, our website, and presentations, the churches can discover tangible opportunities to come alongside their faraway neighbour in thoughtful prayer, sharing of resources, and application of skills. Faithworks, a subcommittee of CRWRF since 1996, provides both active service and guided learning opportunities to foster reflection on being a Christian steward in a world of need. Keeping the momentum of service locally is part of the guided learning that is provided to participants of Serving and Learning Together (SALT) trips. Since 2011, annual fall conferences have been held in Southern Ontario in order to engage elders, deacons, and the wider Canadian Reformed church community in a dialogue around this theme. This is important as our communities become more global.
4.0 General Criteria for the Distribution of Our Funds
  • Our available financial and personnel resources are limited by the volunteer nature of the Fund’s operation and, therefore, the distribution of our assistance in foreign countries requires cooperation with other organizations.
  • Our status as a registered Canadian charity also involves specific obligations in compliance with the laws of this land, specifically as relates to the ability to maintain supervision and control over the funds which are distributed in a foreign country.
  • Our fiduciary responsibility is to the general membership of the Canadian Reformed Churches.
  • Our responsibility is to ensure that projects are achieving agreed upon outcomes.
  • Our Constitution and By-Laws state that:
    • All funds are to be distributed through avenues that are trusted as reliable, honest and Christian in character
    • - At all times, CRWRF is to endeavour to give the necessary aid along with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, both in word and deed.
5.0 Partnership Principles

CRWRF, as a Christian charity desires to work with partners that apply the following principles to their projects or programs:

  • address needs which result from the temporal circumstances of the recipients
  • are appropriate and responsibly managed through a transparent and efficient use of financial, material or personnel resources
  • are consistent with biblical principles
  • work to build capacity of recipients, so as to reduce dependency
  • are accompanied by a faithful Christian witness

With respect to relief projects responding to civil or natural disasters, CRWRF will continue to work through Christian organizations that meet the first three criteria, although the circumstances here may not lend themselves to a direct Christian witness to the recipients. We cannot expect this to be the case where a large-scale distribution of food or other basic necessities takes place. In these circumstances, the best one may expect is that the Christian personnel involved may be able to give an explanation afterwards of why they engage in such an endeavor so that people may be drawn to know more about God’s love. Our assistance is given with the goal that it may serve the glory of God (Col. 3: 17; 1 Cor. 10: 31) and that it may enable the recipients to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).

If disaster relief is needed alongside existing mission aid or ecclesiastical assistance channels of our churches, CRWRF will evaluate opportunities that are available to assist by pursuing and supporting local partners for the local church. All relief assistance given by the Fund will develop within the parameters of the criteria set out in Section 6 for Relief Projects as well as according to the Standards of Programs and Projects as set out in Section 7. This principle will serve to support the integrity of the local church and prevent her from being burdened beyond her capacity to respond, allow her to focus on her unique calling which is to preach the gospel and extend God’s church, and protect her reputation in areas of accountability.

In situations where a development program is seeking partnership alongside the existing mission aid or ecclesiastical channels or our churches, and there is no existing Christian Canadian NGO involvement, CRWRF will evaluate opportunities to give meaningful assistance. This principle will serve the opportunity to “do good to all men, but especially to those in the household of faith”.

In situations where a project or program already has a Christian Canadian NGO partnership and is well-known to the membership of the Canadian Reformed churches through direct contact, CRWRF will not pursue a partnership. This principle will serve increased transparency for project supporters in terms of project development inquiries and accountability.

CRWRF will explore opportunities to engage in projects that involve sister churches or churches belonging to the ICRC or NAPARC.

6.0 Additional Criteria for our Intermediary and Local Partners
6.1 Relief and Rehabilitation Projects:

CRWRF responds to disasters through partners who:

  • have a presence in the disaster area and are equipped with adequate personnel, infrastructure and logistical capability to respond
  • respect the laws of the land
  • mediate for the marginalized
  • determine response after gathering the best available information about the situation
  • ensure that assistance methods are compatible with local living conditions
  • assist the victims to become self-reliant as soon as possible after a disaster, moving them from a dependent situation to empowerment over their own futures
  • work through local churches so that the proclamation of the Gospel is strengthened, where possible
  • work with local leaders to develop plans for rehabilitation, to bring longer-term solutions to recurrent problems
  • operate consistent with Galatians 6:9
6.2 Child and Community Development Projects:

CRWRF selects partners who:

  • seek to address the causes of poverty, not just decrease its effects
  • empower and increase people's sense of control and power over decisions and events that affect them
  • increase their capacity through the development of new skills, and abilities to help the poor make future changes
  • promote community-wide benefits with special concern for the most needy and vulnerable groups in society, not just privileged members
  • work towards local sustainability by employing technologies that are appropriate to available economic, human, and environmental resources
  • identify with the local church, embracing biblical principles in their development approach, along with a strong Christian witness through their personnel
  • when possible, support word and deed activities of Christian leaders that are specifically aimed at promoting the reform of cultural practices that are in conflict with biblical truths
6.3 Faithworks Projects:

Faithworks selects partners who:

  • have a long term presence in the community and run programs that reflect the development criteria set out in Section 6.2
  • have the capacity to host a SALT team
  • have the capacity to provide medical and emergency care / evacuation
  • provide the opportunity to participate in worship and praise with the local assembly of believers
  • understand and appreciate Faithworks’ desire for team members to become aware of God’s global church gathering work, gain a greater respect for people who live in different situations and learn practical and appropriate ways to love their neighbours, both near and far
7.0 Standards for CRWRF Programs or Projects


Program Staff:

CRWRF does not have its own personnel managing relief and development projects. However when evaluating partnership with other organizations we will look for:

  • foreign personnel working on projects are oriented in required language skills, cultural understanding and job expertise
  • field positions are filled by qualified national staff whenever possible
  • national staff are fairly compensated with sensitivity to local scales
  • training and preparation is given to national staff in order to fill expatriate staff positions in future

CRWRF works with partners that:

  • cooperate and seek to complement rather than duplicate assistance by other agencies
  • where possible, engage the local Church members in sharing human, material, and spiritual resources in achieving program goals
Host Government:

CRWRF works with partners who:

  • recognize their responsibilities as "guests" of the host government and will respect and comply with national and local laws that apply to them
  • where they believe the systems are unjust, they will challenge them while continuing to work within due process
  • develop programs that are compatible with national, region, and local development plans
Program Review and Evaluation:

CRWRF will dedicate resources to participate in review and evaluation activities both on the field and with project personnel visiting within Canada to ensure that:

  • projects are achieving targets and working towards agreed ends
  • all partners continue in agreement about principles and approaches to development problems
  • understanding of lessons learned, future directions, and proposed solutions to issues of concern are openly discussed and agreed to by all partners.
8.0 Terms of Partnership

In all cases our co-operation with other organizations will continue to be on a project-byproject basis. Our support for such projects and the partners involved should be subject to mutual periodic review, and a mutual agreement to extend our co-operation, at least every 5 years

In co-operating with other organizations, CRWRF is vulnerable to changes concerning any partner organization over which we can have no control. Therefore, CRWRF will limit long-term commitments through any one organization to not more than 50% of our annual expenditures.

With respect to working through a foreign intermediary or directly through a local partner abroad, we must require compliance with the guidelines established by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency for a Canadian charity to follow in co-operating with a foreign organization.

From our partners we will require their statement of faith or confessional basis, and the stated mission, vision, principles and policies adopted in the course of their work. We will inform an intermediary and local Christian agency of the confessional basis of our organization, namely the Three Forms of Unity, as a faithful summary of the teachings of the Bible. They should be prepared to accept that we would proceed from that basis.

9.0 CRWRF Allocation of Funds

CRWRF will continue to endeavour to provide Christian charity to any area of the world that is in need of such through projects for:

Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation 30 – 40%

  • including HIV/AIDS response

Development 50 – 60%

  • Child Development
  • Community Development

Global Awareness Education 10 – 15%

  • including Faithworks

The percentages allocated among the program categories serve as a guideline only

10.0 Conclusion

In our support for Christian relief and development work, we seek to be an avenue for our constituency to address the temporal needs of our neighbour. It is our hope that this general policy may assist us in doing so in line with what the Reformer, John Calvin, once wrote about our neighbour:

Now since Christ has shown in the parable of the Samaritan that the term neighbour includes even the most remote person (Luke 10:36), we are not expected to limit the precept of love to those in close relationships. I do not deny that the more closely a man is linked to us, the more intimate obligation we have to assist him. It is the common habit of mankind that the more closely men are bound to together by the ties of kinship, of acquaintanceship, or of neighbourhood, the more responsibilities for one another they share. This does not offend God; for his providence as it were leads us to it. But I say we ought to embrace the whole human race as it were in a single feeling of love; here there is no distinction between barbarian and Greek, worthy and unworthy, friend and enemy since all should be contemplated in God, not in themselves. When we turn aside from such contemplation, it is no wonder we become entangled in many errors. Therefore if we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love that we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle: whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God.

(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.8.55)
If you spend yourselves in 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.