The Christian Church and the Alleviation of Poverty: New Challenges in Informal Areas

By Pieter Verster.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In informal settlements in Africa poverty is rampant and often despair reigns. A terrible lack of food, sanitation, infra-structure and jobs is present. Can the church in any way be instrumental in changing the situation of the people and if so how? In research in informal settlements near Bloemfontein South Africa it was established that the church can play a definite role in inspiring people to be proud of themselves and engage in activities to better their situations. New ways of how the church can inspire people and what kind of activities can and should be developed were researched. Suggestions are made on how the church should enhance positive family life, give people hope and help the poor to start with their own activities to obtain a better livelihood. When absolute poverty reigns the church can be the first to enter into the lives of the people and supply them with basic needs. This is however only a part time solution as the church must inspire people to get out of the circle of poverty by getting involved in their own future.

Keywords: Christian Church, Poverty, Informal Settlements, Hope

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.91-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.226MB).

Prof. Pieter Verster

Head Department of Missiology, Department of Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I am Professor in Missiology at the University of the Free State. I teach the grounding of missiology, the world religions, and theology of missions. I hold a doctorate in Missiology and Science of Religion from the University of Pretoria as well as in Systematic Theology and Ethics from the same university. My most recent publication is a “A Theology of Christian mission: what should the church seek to accomplish,” published by Edwin Mellen. At present my research is on the church and the role she can play to alleviate poverty, especially in informal settlements.

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