Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
— Deuteronomy 10:16-18
Throughout the Old Testament, God our Father reveals Himself as a God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness. Jesus Christ, during His incarnational ministry among us, reached out to widows, the poor, and sick, perfectly imaging for us the loving character of God. We believe that our Saviour calls us as His Body the Church to be like Him — empowered by His Spirit — to be agents of mercy and helps to those in need. In this way, using His redeemed and adopted children as His instruments, Christ continues to reach out to the needy and the hurting in this fallen world.
At Hope, we believe that an important part of our ministry as a church of Jesus Christ is to provide help and hope to those who through difficult circumstances are in need of support. While all of our members seek to grow in being agents of mercy to our neighbors, our community, and our world, the primary vehicles we use to provide help others are our diaconate, our Mercy Ministry Team, and various mercy organizations.
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty (looking after the widows in the daily distribution of food). — Acts 6:3
Along with the office of elder, our Presbyterian form of government recognizes the biblically ordained office of deacon. This office is one particularly concerned with the mercy, helps, and stewardship of the congregation.
Our PCA Book of Church Order describes the diaconal office as:
… set forth in the Scriptures as ordinary and perpetual in the Church. The office is one of sympathy and service, after the example of the Lord Jesus; it expresses also the communion of saints, especially in their helping one another in time of need.
It is the duty of the deacons to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress. It is their duty also to develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church, to devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people, and to distribute these gifts among the objects to which they are contributed. They shall have the care of the property of the congregation, both real and personal, and shall keep in proper repair the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation. In matters of special importance affecting the property of the church, they cannot take final action without the approval of the Session and consent of the congregation.
— BCO 9-1, 9-2
Hope’s diaconate is composed of men from within our congregation, who have been gifted and called by God to serve in this important office. We look to these brothers to provide leadership for us in decisions which involve providing assistance to those within and without our congregation who really need help, be it spiritual, financial, or physical.
Our Mercy Ministry Team
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
— James 1:27
Hope’s Mercy Ministry Team exists to guide us in providing support to those agencies and programs which the Lord has raised-up to help those in distress. The Mercy Team is always seeking members from our congregation who feel called to assist in this vital ministry of the Church.
One of the Mercy Ministry Team’s key projects each year is promoting and organizing Hope’s participation in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. This is a program that puts gift-wrapped boxes of Christmas gifts and Gospel literature into the hands of desperately needy children in poor countries around the globe.