Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Volunteering abroad in a Christian community

Volunteering in a place where you share the religious beliefs of the locals can make your volunteer experience that much more fulfilling and easier, for both to you and the locals. Here you will rarely find yourself in a situation where you may act in a way that is offensive to the religious beliefs of the locals. However, once in a while you may find yourself in a country whose beliefs do not go hand in hand with your own, this makes your day to day volunteer work a bit complicated, as you may not want to disrespect the locals religious beliefs. The worst outcome of a volunteers work is having whatever they put their time and energy into, not be appreciated by those it is supposed to help.

Christianity is believed to have started out as a breakaway sect of Judaism. Christians believe that Jesus, was bothered by some of the practices within his native Jewish faith and began preaching a different message of God and religion. During his travels he was joined by twelve disciples who followed him and learned from him. He performed many miracles during this time and related many of his teachings in the form of parables. Jesus revealed that he was the Son of God, sent to Earth to save humanity from our sins.

Christians believe in the original sin and that Jesus died in our place to save us from that sin. They also believe in the Holy Trinity, i.e. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All Christians believe in heaven and that those who sincerely repent their sins before God will be saved and join Him in heaven. They also believe in hell and Satan.

There are a multitude of forms of Christianity which have developed mainly because of disagreements on dogma and adaptation to different cultures. For this reason there can be a great difference between the various forms of Christianity.

The Roman Catholic is one of the branches of Christianity; it is considered the most traditional form of Christianity. Catholics subscribe to the pope for guidance on spiritual issues. Here females are not allowed to hold priest positions; they may however help out in religious matters in the church, and carry out administrative duties.
Catholics believe in taking the holy communion during mass, and adhere to certain practices when it comes to food. Devout Catholics observe several fast days during the year. Feast days include Christmas, Easter, the Annunciation (March 25th), Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), the Ascension (40 days after Easter), and Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter.) Fasting may be practiced during Lent, on the Fridays of Advent, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday

We also have the Orthodox Church, which differ from Catholicism in their interpretation of the Biblical theology, including the use of leavened and unleavened wafers in communion. Here Meat and all animal products are prohibited on fast days; fish is avoided, but shellfish is permitted. Fast days include every Wednesday and Friday (except for three fast-free weeks each year), the Eve of Theophany, the Beheading of John the Baptist, and Elevation of the Holy Cross. Fast periods include Advent, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles, and Fast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos.

Finally we have Protestantism, who as the name suggests protest the teachings of the traditional Roman Catholic Church. Marriage is also permitted within the priest ranks. For Protestants the only feast days common are Christmas and Easter, few practice fasting. The only denominations with dietary laws fundamental to their faith are Mormons, and Seventh-Day Adventists. Mormons avoid strong drink (alcoholic beverages) and hot drinks (coffee and tea). Many Mormons also avoid caffeine-containing drinks. Most seven day Adventists avoid pork, Tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

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