In 1 Timothy there is a passage that talks about widows receiving a pension from the church:

1 Timothy 5:9-16

A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, 12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. 13 At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. 14 Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; 15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. 16 If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed

Is there a historical record of this practice in the church and do any modern churches still have a similar practice?

  • 1
    Could you clarify a bit what you're looking for? Right now it looks like a list of all the churches with widows ministries which would be a large enough set to make an open list imprudent
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 20:32
  • 1
    I'm asking IF this pension for widows is still practiced today in church, then what is the name of that Church. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 20:37
  • 2
    I tried to make the intent clearer and make this answerable in a way that isn't a huge list.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 20:50
  • 1
    @Flimzy a church that takes care of a widow over 60 with food, money, doctor, medicine, shelter. I will do your search and start calling. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 21:09
  • 1
    Many churches offer services to widows of all ages, as well as any other type of person in need. I would be surprised to find some church ministry that only offers services to widows over 60 years old. That would be a pretty heartless ministry, wouldn't you say?
    – Flimzy
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Let's start by remembering that we are living in very different times from those of the New Testament. 1 Timothy is a letter written by one pastor to another, and not all of it is intended as commandments to the entire church in all places down the millenia. Some of it is Paul giving Timothy good advice for the present circumstances (Sometimes we can deduce universal principles from that, but that's a different matter). So asking whether any church is ministering to widows in the way specified should be a trivial and unimportant matter, and doesn't in any way make a statement about the church. You should also consider that nothing in 1 Timothy says that widows under the age of sixty shouldn't receive help in other ways if they need it. Let's also remember that providing financial assistance to the elderly is now the responsibility of the state, at least in the Western world.

Having said that, many churches provide financial assistance specifically aimed at Widows. Here are a couple of examples:

The Widows Program of the Rafiki Foundation gives African widows and impoverished women of the church a means of employment and artistic expression

The orphan and the widow are often forgotten, marginalized and in need. God longs to meet their needs through us, His Church. Africa Revolution is being used by God, not only to help meet these needs, but also to equip and empower local churches and community members to better serve this population with best practice solutions.

Widow Connection - Helping Widows in time of need.

The mission of the Women Of Grace Widows’ Fund is to enact and make real an ongoing structure to alleviate the extreme poverty faced by widows in Malawi by providing funding to meet basic food, shelter, and safety needs, while creating opportunities and resources that enable and empower widows to establish their own self-sufficiency and independence, regardless of religious affiliation.

That's just from the first two pages of Google.


It appears that the answer to the question you actually asked is, "No, there are no churches today that maintain a Widow's List in accordance with I Timothy 5." Yes, there are all sorts of other programs but nothing like that described in I Timothy 5.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .