HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
VAN DER MERWE, Johan. The local church as a non-governmental organisation in the fight against poverty: A historical overview of Bethulie 1933-1935. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2014, vol.70, n.1, pp. 01-07. ISSN 2072-8050. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/HTS.V70I1.2617.
Poverty is one of the greatest threats to society. In South Africa it is also one of the biggest challenges. This article starts with the challenges put to society by Mr Trevor Manuel at the Carnegie 3 conference. It then explores the possibility of if and how the church can act as a non-governmental organisation in the fight against poverty. A historical overview of the actions of Rev. E.P. Groenewald, during the drought of 1933-1934 in the Dutch Reformed Church Bethulie, serves as a case study of how the church can make a difference. It, however, also illustrates the many pitfalls on this challenging road. The article comes to the conclusion that the main challenge of the church in the fight against poverty is to act as a non-governmental organisation, which transforms values and assists society with good organisation and administration.