Resolution on South Africa, 1987

The General Assembly, gathered at West Lafayette, Ind., July 7-12, 1987, expresses its concern and prayers for justice and peace in southern Africa. We affirm the August 29, 1986, statement of the Mennonite agencies working in southern Africa.

We believe apartheid is sin and incompatible with the Christian gospel and express our solidarity with the Christians in South Africa who attempt to live out that biblical conviction. In our own communities and society, we are still struggling to eliminate prejudice and discrimination. Yet we believe the Bible calls us to be liberated from oppression and from oppressing others.

We have been heartened by and learned from the faithful witness of many Christians in southern Africa. We are saddened that some members of the body of Christ in South Africa still give moral support to the apartheid policies of the present government. We challenge these Christians to greater faithfulness to the Gospel imperative for the establishment of just and loving relationships among all people in South Africa.

We pray that the government of South Africa will stop the worsening repression and violation of human rights by measures sbch as dismantling the system of apartheid, lifting the state of emergency, involving all authentic leaders in South Africa in preparation of a new constitution to facilitate a truly participatory democracy, releasing all political prisoners, restoring freedom of press, assembly, and speech for all citizens, and discontinuing its policy of destabilization of neighboring states.

We affirm the steps taken by Canada to promote social justice in southern Africa. We urge the United States to end its complicity with the militarization and violence of southern Africa. We call upon our congregations in North America to act in faithfulness to Jesus Christ:

  1. Pray for our sisters and brothers in southern Africa.
  2. Examine our consciences regarding our financial involvements in companies doing business in South Africa.
  3. Repent of our personal and church attitudes and actions which still reflect a spirit of racism and separation.
  4. Bring public witness as we have opportunity to the overt racism in our own society and take action in the Spirit of Jesus which will bring the reconciling love of Christ to heal the divisions in our own society and those divisions elsewhere in the world to which our actions contribute.
  5. Support our church efforts in the countries of southern Africa to strengthen church initiatives there in alleviating suffering and promoting justice, healing, and peace; and to support the Mennonite Central Committee Servanthood Sabbatical Program which provides us opportunity to learn from South Africans who come to our communities for brief visits.

Adopted by the Ninth Mennonite Church General Assembly, July 11,1987, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, Proceedings, p.25.