Do the brethren meet the public benefit criteria?

Do the Plymouth Brethren meet the public benefit criteria?

Plymouth Brethren handing out free food

Many Brethren will have received the news that the UK Charity Commission recently denied a group of Plymouth Brethren, the Preston Down Trust, recognition as a charitable organisation. The Commission determined that the Church failed to qualify on the grounds that it did not meet public benefit criteria.

The Brethren do not believe this to be a fair and accurate assessment of the Church, which has been undertaking a wide range of activities for the public good for many years –a recent example in the UK where the Brethren set up a canteen to feed volunteers searching for a missing girl.

Charitable giving and caring for those in need are core to the teachings of the Church, and are frequently demonstrated through Church activities such as distributing food, drink, Bibles and gospel tracts.

It is the considered view of Brethren member Rod Buckley that the Church is finding it necessary to make the public aware of its public benefit activities.

Buckley also acknowledged that some Church practices, such as limiting Holy Communion to Brethren members, do invoke criticism, but he also pointed out that the Plymouth Brethren preach the gospel in public and that many Christian Groups, including the Catholic Church, limit access of non members to Holy Communion.

Said Buckley, “We’d certainly look at making information available online and making service times clearer …. it’s not something we’re opposed to.”

66 thoughts on “Do the brethren meet the public benefit criteria?”

  1. DavidM says:

    An Illustration of public benefit by :- A young Christian called Jimmy Maw who was in fellowship with the Plymouth Brethren, was one of the crew of HMS Glorious on her last fateful voyage in 1940. Jimmy had asked permission to preach the Gospel on board and this was granted. The day before the “Glorious” was sunk, he began to appeal publicly to those sailing with him to come to the Saviour. One of the seven survivors related that 200 men had expressed their trust in Christ that very day. The following day the vessel was heavily bombarded at close quarters and It was soon realized by all on board that there was no hope of escape. At this juncture, he again stood up among the men and, in the very jaws of death, fervently presented the word of God to them with the result that many more turned to the Lord . Jimmy went down with the vessel and with eleven hundred of his comrades but what a harvest for God.

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