How should deacons' funds be administered?

Two principles are important in administering a deacons' fund: accountability and agility. Accountability means that a fund dedicated to the needs of members and/or the community should be the responsibility of more than one person. Agility means that such a fund should be administered in a way that the emergency needs of real people can be addressed quickly and efficiently, with a concern for confidentiality.

Many consistories, pastors, or boards of deacons have designated two or three people to be responsible for a deacons' fund. That means a request for assistance can be handled fairly and quickly by a small group of people. It also implies that the accounts of the deacons' fund, the disbursements and receipts, are available to all—without the names of those who have received aid.

Already in the early years of the Reformed Church, more than 350 years ago, local congregations received offerings to be placed in a deacons' fund to assist the poor. This rich tradition, inspired by the words of Scripture, commands us to care for widows and orphans and calls the church to be attentive to those who live on the margins of our congregations and communities.