For many TEAR Australia supporters the name Tearfund will be very familiar, in fact many of you have never stopped referring to us as this. For others it will be completely or at least partially new. We are certainly aware that this change may appear as something of a sudden change in direction, however that really couldn’t be further from the truth, rather it is about naming who we have always been.
TEAR Australia was originally formed as Tearfund Australia as part of the Australian Evangelical Alliance (AEA) after its then President, Dr. Leon Morris, was inspired to establish a dedicated emergency relief fund.
At an AEA Board meeting in July 1971, Dr Morris laid $10 from his own pocket on the Boardroom table, and so The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund was born. Its original purpose was: “To meet two human needs: one for spiritual direction and assurance, the other for physical help—food, medicine, shelter and clothing… Practical aid in the context of God's love shown in the Lord Jesus.”
Under the AEA, Tearfund Australia grew steadily, the first staff members were appointed in1977, and by 1979, an independent Board was formed. In 1998, and with the blessing of the Evangelical Alliance, TEAR Australia was incorporated as a legally independent agency and at the same time reshaped the acronym to the byline “Transform, Empower, Advocate, Restore”.
For decades, we have championed for more and better aid, calling on our government to act fairly toward our global neighbours.
Together we’ve driven conversations about faith and consumerism.
We’ve cried out for action on climate change.
Journeying alongside the local church, praying and seeking God’s Kingdom come.
Yet we understand more than ever, that there is a distance still to be traveled.
On October 1 2020, we changed our name to Tearfund, bringing us closer together with the other Tearfund agencies in the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland.
For those who have supported TEAR Australia for many years, you might have already been calling us Tearfund since that was our original name. For others, it’s brand new. Either way, our vision for a just and compassionate world is as clear and strong as ever.
Today we are a movement of more than 50,000 Christians in Australia and with our shared hearts and commitment to serve Jesus in many of the world’s hardest places, we will continue to explore how together we can be bearers of practical, tangible ‘good news’ in our world today.