Barnabas Fund has been recognised and featured as a best practice representative in the charitable sector in the world-renowned British Parliamentary Review publication.
Co-chaired by Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, The Parliamentary Review describes itself as an "indispensable guide to best practice across a variety of different areas, showcasing various examples from steadfast organisations in the public and private sectors. Its principal aim is to raise standards within said industries by producing a template for future reform, and the spring release of the publication is acknowledged for its importance in the political calendar.
"Success for businesses of any size does not always come easily, and this year's edition of The Parliamentary Review is indispensable for anyone who seeks to make a name for themselves in industry. It highlights significant developments and concerns for business and organisational leaders up and down the country. "
The co-chairman of The Parliamentary Review, Lord Pickles, has praised the upcoming Review as one of the most comprehensive yet. He commented that as Britain undergoes changes, it is “essential that politicians have a firm understanding of the challenges with which British organisations must contend” and that The Review once again provides a perfect platform for this.
In her foreword for The Parliamentary Review, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Elizabeth Truss, states that “commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility” and that she is “determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back”.
A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Barnabas Fund's best practice article:
"The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Barnabas Fund is an attempt to do just that."
FACTS ABOUT Barnabas Fund
- International Director: Patrick Sookhdeo
- International CEO: Hendrik Storm
- Founded in 1993
- International headquarters in Pewsey, Wiltshire
- No. of staff: 70 in 10 countries
- UK turnover, 2018: £14,396,222
- Services: Humanitarian aid for persecuted Christians, empowerment of poor and oppressed Christians – focusing on women, schools, food and disaster relief – leadership development, research and information, advocacy
- Aid sent to more than 100 countries
Christian aid agency Barnabas Fund is based in Pewsey, from where it supports those Christians who face either discrimination or persecution because of their faith.
International CEO Hendrik Storm tells The Parliamentary Review that while Barnabas Fund only directs its aid to Christians, the benefits can reach far further than it may initially seem. The agency’s work, Hendrik explains, is not just limited to individuals either – often the organisation works in partnership with persecuted churches around the world to identify their needs and discuss the injustices they face. Hendrik discusses Barnabas Fund’s work across the world alongside its history.
Three decades ago, the issue of contemporary Christian persecution in Islamic contexts was little known. This changed in 1989, when Dr Sookhdeo called a pivotal meeting between church leaders. It was during this meeting that previously unheard stories of Christian persecution came to light, displaying their plight and the subsequent need for action.
Building on existing contacts, Dr Sookhdeo and his wife, Rosemary, established Barnabas Fund, aimed at the delivery of practical aid to persecuted Christians and developing a global network of indigenous church leaders. Through careful research in the face of scepticism and hostility, they raised awareness and spearheaded a remarkable sea change in opinion, now shared by the British and US governments.
The scope of their work soon broadened to supporting Christians under pressure from all religions or ideologies. Assistance, for example, is now sent each year to hundreds of projects in dozens of countries.
Our global network of trusted church leaders facilitates a rapid response in times of need.
“At the core of our values is the Biblical teaching that Christians should treat all people, of all faiths, with love and compassion, even those who seek to persecute them”
A distinctive approach
At Barnabas Fund, we do not send our own employees to run projects. Instead, we provide funds for work to be initiated, organised and implemented by local Christians within each region. This approach has many benefits, including reduced overheads, greater cultural awareness, increased security and lower exposure to safeguarding risks.
At the core of our values is the Biblical teaching that Christians should treat all people, of all faiths, with love and compassion, even those who seek to persecute them.
We diligently monitor the use of our grants and are fully compliant with modern safeguarding standards and all regulatory authorities, including the Charity Commission.
Thriving even in difficult times
We operate with extremely low overheads of only 12 per cent globally, enabling operating costs, advocacy, information and prayer aspects of our work to be covered. When donations are given for a specific need, however, we forward 100 per cent to the relevant project. Additionally, Barnabas Fund’s lean and robust economic model is helping us grow.
In the last financial year, Barnabas saw three per cent financial growth despite a challenging global economic climate and a downturn of around 4.2 per cent in UK charitable giving during 2018.
Informing and educating remain vital today
In the global north we are also active in advocacy work. The Our Religious Freedom campaign petition closed at the beginning of 2019 with around 90,000 UK signatures. Submitted to the Home Office, the campaign aimed to amend existing legislation to preserve full religious freedom for all. Freedoms enjoyed in the UK for centuries are often taken for granted and are starting to diminish. We believe that protecting religious liberty for all promotes cohesion and diversity across society.
We use our unique knowledge and experience, built over many years, to continue being the voice for those we represent through our publications and media.
“In a world of global instability, Barnabas Fund’s structure and methodology of working through national church leadership provides us with a unique flexibility”
Advancing understanding of religion in public life through global research and training
Barnabas Fund collaborates with the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, a research and training institute based in Oxford. OCRPL offers groundbreaking masters and PhD programmes jointly with Stellenbosch, Pretoria, and other South African universities and also supports a range of worldwide training events. The centre is advancing the understanding of religion in public life, especially the relationship of religion to the proper governance of people. In a time when religiously motivated violence is on the rise, OCRPL graduates, who include some of the most senior leaders of the Church in the global South, will be well educated and equipped to facilitate engagement between different faith groups, religious groups and government bodies.
Overcoming global challenges
Geopolitical upheaval and uncertainty are making the work of many charities and nGOs more difficult and hazardous. Barnabas’ mode of working – through local organisations and focusing only on Christians – has the great advantage of allowing usto operate in a non-intrusive, neutral way that national governments find less threatening. Even so, it is getting harder to transfer financial support to certain countries.
Terrorism, for example is an ongoing risk. Countries in the global north are required to carefully monitor any organisation operating abroad financially to prevent the deliberate or inadvertent funding of terrorist networks. Licences and guidelines provided by the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the USA are a well-proven platform with trusted screening tools to reduce such risks. We would welcome a similar initiative by the UK government.
In a world of global instability, Barnabas Fund’s structure and methodology of working through national church leadership provides us with a unique flexibility. This will enable the organisation to continue responding quickly to changing events and using donations effectively to meet needs as they develop.