Some WCF History
Founding & Naming
The Williamsburg name comes from the fact that the idea for a Foundation originated in that Virginia city. It is Christadelphian, as the articles of incorporation state the Foundation would exist ” . . . for the benefit of the Christadelphian community”. Finally, it is a Foundation –a corporation chartered in the state of Virginia in 1976, and a legal structure recognized by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt corporation. In addition to giving tax exempt advantages, the Foundation status provides legal benefits such as for handling monies, bequests or trust arrangements.
For reasons of perpetuity and balance in judgment, the affairs of the Foundation are overseen by a Board of Directors who are members of the Christadelphian Brotherhood in North America. It is customary to rotate Director meetings among representative regions and to invite additional local brethren to offer expertise and diversity of viewpoint. This practice has worked well.
Excerpts from an early Newsletter–which uses the story of Nehemiah as a backdrop–provide useful background for the Foundation’s inception and working philosophy.
The Place for a Foundation
The Christadelphian community has seen the merits of minimum organization in matters such as autonomous ecclesias and absence of paid ministers. But historically, we also have come to recognize that much good and invaluable fruit has come from organized efforts that are recognized as being too costly and ambitious for an individual or ecclesia to handle or when ongoing programs need to pass seamlessly from one generation to the next. In these situations, there is a need for a committee type of structure.
Examples include: missionary organizations, rest homes, a Care Network, Bible Schools, youth camps, youth programs (like Operation Onesimus and Truth Corps), Sunday School Associations, periodicals and book publishers. Now add a Foundation to the list.
WCF is a resource for preaching tools, charity, emergency funding and innovative endeavors to benefit the brethren in the North American Christadelphian community, always standing ready to help in a “rise up and build” effort.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer disgrace”. And I told them of the hand of my God which had been upon me for good, and also of the words which the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build”. So they strengthened their hands for the good work.
A faithful remnant had returned to Jerusalem after the captivity in Babylon. However, the sense of urgency for the things of God which motivated the people rebuilding the temple had now waned. The walls and gates of Jerusalem lay in ruins, making the city vulnerable to enemy attack and serving as a reproach to God’s city and His people.
But then Nehemiah came on the scene and inspired the people to renew their faith in God and to set about reconstructing the wall for their safety and God’s honor. The wall building would also serve to focus and symbolize a spiritual reawakening. Fired by Nehemiah’s faith and enthusiasm, the people exhorted each other to the commitment,
“let us rise up and build.”
Their exhortation stands as a challenge to every generation of believers who look to God. Our generation has unparalleled opportunities to fortify the body of Christ. We want to therefore act with the urgency and zeal of our pioneers, and build up our Christadelphian community.
But what exactly can we do? How should we go about the edification? The answer can be found in personal preparation, preaching and good works.
A. Personal Preparation
Nehemiah was a man of prayer and was ready to pray when the king asked him to make a request (cf. Neh. 1:5-11, 2:4). He was also a man of action. He personally inspected the wall, and despite its deplorable state and open opposition to his plan, Nehemiah declared “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build” (Neh. 2:15,19-20).
Our individual relationship to God is of vital importance. Jesus makes that clear in his letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2 & 3). Regardless of our environment or even our ecclesia’s conduct, it is our individual responsibility to “hear what the spirit saith to the churches . . . and to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.” We are each responsible for our choices, our behavior, our stewardship.
Like those who with one hand labored on the work and with the other held his weapon, we want to be personally prepared at all times (cf. Neh. 4:17, Matt. 24:42,44).
B. Personal Preaching
Nehemiah took a risk, opened his mouth, and spoke boldly to the king. “And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me” (Neh. 2:8). And because Nehemiah told the people of the good hand of God upon him, they responded.
Numerous brethren have observed a long term decline of preaching zeal in our community. when compared to the 19th century. This lack of zeal seems to be especially true on an individual level. Many ecclesias have conducted the “Learn to Read the Bible Effectively” seminars. The public turnout and continued response has been most encouraging. But how many members are actively talking to someone? Or how many have made a personal effort in the last few months to awaken an interest in someone concerning the hope of salvation which we hold so dear?
Like Nehemiah’s multi-team wall builders working side by side, let each one us find our place in the effort and heed the Scripture admonitions regarding personal witnessing:
“Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season. Do the work of an evangelist.” (2 Tim. 4:2,5)
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
“And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)
C. Good Works
Nehemiah not only labored in the work (and slept with his clothes on and weapon in hand), he was greatly sympathetic to the plight of the families who had been forced to make slaves of their children. Moreover, neither he nor his brethren ate the food allowance of the governor. Instead, out of his own resources he daily fed 150 men and invited even more to his table. Why? “…because the servitude was heavy upon the people” (Neh. 5:5-7,14-18).
Preaching and good works go hand in hand:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
Furthermore, we are urged to apply ourselves to good deeds:
“And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent needs, and not to be unfruitful.” (Tit. 3:14)
We are saved through faith, but faith without works is dead (Eph. 2:8, Jas. 2:26). We cannot say we love God and ignore the needs of our brethren and our neighbor (1 Jn. 3:17-18). Our individual lives must manifest works that involve the giving of ourselves as the highest expression of love, the using of our talents in His service, and the generous giving of our money (Matt. 25:14-21, 1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 9:6-13).
Our material blessings are not really ours–they have only been entrusted to us (1 Cor. 4:7). We are called to be responsible stewards, employing our Lord’s resources wisely in His service (1 Pet. 4:10-11). Like Nehemiah, we want to fear the Lord and do good.
The purpose of this newsletter has been to bring the work of the Williamsburg Christadelphian Foundation back into the minds of brethren. We have described some representative projects in our sphere of activity. WCF exists as a service organization, and the Directors welcome input of new ideas that would fill a need within the Brotherhood. WCF remains ready to assist brethren in their work of “rising up to build”.
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations round about us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem; for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.” (Neh. 6:15-16)
This website illustrates the continued growth of WCF activities, and investment in people and projects (see monthly IPP Activity under News). If you browse the site, you will easily see the prominence given to the primary objectives of Preaching and Serving. You will also see pages on Resources and Fellow Workers. New web pages include “video on demand” and “serving the community”. These additional areas indicate how WCF is becoming an information resource and leveraging the involvement of a small but effective network of fellow believers from around the world.
Updated April, 2015