The Society’s primary charitable purpose, as recognised and approved by the Charities Commission when it was registered as a charity on 17 December 2007, is ”THE PROMOTION OF MORAL & SPIRITUAL WELFARE”. This purpose comes within the Fourth Head of “Charitable Purposes” – namely “Other Purposes of Public Benefit” - as found in the Preamble to The Charitable Uses Act 1601 (the Statute of Elizabeth). It conforms to the spirit and intendment of the purposes set out in the Act.
The Society’s primary charitable purpose has been pursued since it was registered by means of engaging in various activities, some of which are listed below. ALL of these fulfill its ”objects” as stated in section 2 of its Constitution. ALL have been recognised as “charitable purposes” by the Charities Commission.
The Society’s Activities include:
(1) The Books in Prison Project
Society (SPCS) members donated $4,950 in 2010 towards the printing of multiple copies of John Bunyan’s classic work – The Pilgrim’s Progress, and donated $5,245 in 2011: - a total of $10,195 donated over two years (see advertisement for donations on homepage of website). In addition SPCS has raised thousands of dollars from non-members towards this Books in Prisons Project via an effective advertising campaign through its newsletters. Donations were used just for printing costs.
The Society has arranged and paid for the distribution of hundreds of the books to prisoners in all 20 NZ prisons (housing up to about 8,800 prisoners in total). Within the last two weeks (Feb/March 2012) it dispatched 26 copies to the Otago Corrections Facility (OCT) and 20 copies for distribution to the Christchurch Mens Prision.
One prison chaplain recently reported that once word is out that the books are available within the prison, they “fly off the shelf” - snapped up by prisoners seeking spiritual answers found a book that chronicles in timeless allegory the journey of a man – Pilgrim – from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City of God (Heaven).
Pilgrim’s burden of guilt and shame for his sin is lifted from him at the Cross of Christ where he finds forgiveness, God-given faith and the new joy and hope that is the fruit of a true conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ – and is accompanied by genuine repentance.
Author John Bunyan wrote the book while serving time in prison himself and the work is a truly creative expression of his own spiritual journey. It is deeply and richly ingrained with the biblical insights and wisdon he gained after he became a committed believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
The Society executive is very grateful to its members and others who have contributed so generously towards this Books in Prisons Project. The work is ongoing and we are heartened by and the positive feedback we have received from those working with prisoners who have gained access to the books (Prison Fellowship, Chaplaincy Services etc).
This project (activity) in part serves to fulfill the Society’s primary charitable purpose: the promotion of the spiritual and moral welfare of society. In addition it constitutes a public benefit (i.e. it is beneficial to the community) in a number of self-evident ways (e.g. education and/or rehabilitation of prisoners, relief and/or redemption of prisoners, and aiding the poor etc).
(Note: In order to be considered charitable as “any other matters beneficial to the community“, purposes must be beneficial to the community and must be within the spirit and intendment of the purposes set out in the Preamble to The Charitable Uses Act 1601 -[known as the Statute of Elizabeth])..
The purposes must benefit the community in a way that the law regards as charitable. The Books in Prison Project most definitely qualifies as such and has been positively commended by officials of the Charities Commission when they have met with SPCS executive members on two occasions at the Charities Commission Offices in Wellington
(2) Research, publication and dissemination of material that encourages thoughtful consideration of issues covered in the six charitable objects of the Society’s constitution found in clause 2 (a) to (g) – relating to the moral and spiritual welfare of the individual, family and society. The Society’s focus is highlighting the benefits gained by society when it advances good moral standards and seeks to discourage harmful immoral and injurious activities (e.g. abuse of drugs and alcohol, pornography, fraud, etc). Object 2. (g) defines the Society’s role in raising money to promote objects (a) to (f).
(3) Promotion of Judaeo-Christian moral values via public debate, media interviews, website blog, seminars, lectures, on issues dealt with in objects (a) to (f) such as encouraging “responsible freedom of expression”. The Judaeo-Christian philosohy has undergirded our nation since its founding and its principles form the basis of much of our laws, judicial system etc.
(4) Equipping and informing the public and church and community groups of the benefits of “community standards”, informing them by means of the methods listed above, of how they can participate in the democratic process of constructive debate and get informed on public policy making processes that will benefit society.
(5) Promotion of and networking with research and media groups in New Zealand for the purpose of advancing the Society’s objects (a) to (f) – that will benefit society.
(6) Ancillary role: Engaging in moral issues advocacy relating to issues directly affecting children, young persons, and the moral, spiritual and physical health of individuals, families and society. For example, from time to time the Society will accept invitations from select committees to share the Society’s knowledge, expertise, opinion etc on proposed legislation (e.g. Films, Videos and Publications, Classification Amendment Bill). This does NOT constitute POLITICAL advocacy.
The Society repudiates any suggestion that any of its activities are pursued for reasons other than ”promoting moral and spiritual welfare.” Its primary purpose is NOT ’to foist or try to foist its allegedly narrow moral viewpoint onto society’ as some of its detractors, such as those financially committed to the hardcore pornography industry, allege. The Society rejects such spurious allegations and points tothe public record of its effective work promoting moral and spiritual welfare.
Important: Please note that:
- Section 2(e) of the Society’s Constitution was reviewed by the membership, and amended to reflect the Society’s primary and increasing focus on education and enablement of our constituents and other related community groups.
- “Judeo-Christian (or Judaeo-Christian) is a term used to describe the body of concepts and values which are thought to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, and typically considered (sometimes along with classical Greco-Roman civilization) a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and moral values. In particular, the term refers to the common Old Testament/Tanakh (which is a basis of both moral traditions, including particularly the Ten Commandments); and implies a common set of values present in the modern Western World.” (Extract from Wikipedia).
- The Society’s Web blog (www.spcs.org.nz) aims to stimulate rational reflection on, and reasoned appraisal of, a wide range of issues affecting families and society. Since human opinion is always corrigible and meaningful assertions imply conditions under which they may be falsified, the web blog opinion piece articles are written in the belief that truth is ultimately independent of opinion. The opinions and views expressed in such web log articles do not necessarily wholly reflect the Society’s stance. They are simply deemed to be worth publishing for readers to consider, evaluate, respond to, etc. A careful effort is made to ensure that no article is published that promotes or defends any viewpoint that is contrary to, or might undermine or negate, our Society’s objectives.