6. Urban-Racial Concerns
1. That the Mennonite Church confess in word and action to
the sins committed against black people and that we understand why some
black people have felt it neccessary to bring to the Christians of
America the document known as the Black Manifesto. The Mennonite
Church, since it is a religious minority, should be able to identify
with other minorities and work toward implementation of needed reforms
in our society.
2. That the Mennonite Church commit itself to a war
against prejustice and descrimination by each member demonstrating by
personal action in special activities and in their daily affairs that
they are not biased against minority peoples.
3. That the Mennonite Church make necessary efforts
to establish and maintain a positive Christian image and rapport in the
4. That each Mennonite employer review his hiring
practices with a view of removing unnecessary barriers to the
employment of minorities.
5. That Mennonite employers and skilled tradesmen
become involved in job training in the inner city.
6. That congregations develop and implement programs
to provide new housing in suburban areas which will allow black
citizens the freedon of choice and mobility to travel to, move to, and
live near jobs.
7. That congregations become involved in the
development of exhibits and demonstrations which stimulate pride by
blacks in their communities through an understanding of the rich
heritage of black Americans.
8. That congregations become personally involved as
well as financially in assisting in minority self-help projects,
letting black people take leadership responsibility in such
9. That congregations aid individuals in finding better
alternatives to the present welfare systems and practices.
10. That individuals should become involved in minority
relations through the VS program.
11. That the Mennonite Church provide monies for
scholarships to minority youth to allow them to attend Mennonite
colleges and high schools.
12. That deliberate efforts be made to elect and employ
persons from minority groups in all echelons in the church-related
agencies such as the Mennonite General Conference, missions boards,
colleges, Publishing House, and other related agancies.
13. That congregations become educated in the rich heritage
of black Americans.
14. That Mennonie landlords apply the principle of "equal
opportunity owner" in the sale and rental of any property they may own.
15. That congregations develop methods of initiating and
maintaining racially balanced neighborhoods.
16. That congregations employ an "equal opportunity
employer" attitude when filling pulpits.
17. That the Mennonite Church, through congregations,
conferences, and General Conference, immediately respond with one-half
million dollars ($500,000) to be channeled through the Mennonite Board
of Missions and Charities, Elkhart, Indiana, for the purpose of
developing and expanding ways of serving the urban poor and other
minorities in new and more meaningful ways. Allocation of
these funds to projects and programs will be handled by the Urban
Racial Council and the Executive Committee of the Mission Board.
It is further proposed that this same amount be raised for the next
five years. This recommendation is based on the principle that we
are committed to equality. This would amount to approximately
$.50 per member per month over the next five years. This amount
of money would only begin to open the door to a new world of freedom
and brotherhood. There are many programs which can be initiated
with this amount, e.g., co-ops, urban training centers, secondary
education, housing projects, recreation, and leadership training.
This should also involve recial sensitivity education in white
recognition of the heightening crisis and tension in urban areas, and
among minority groups, we affirm anew the 1955 statement on "The Way of
Christian Love in Race Relations" and further resolve that:
1. We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, confess our
general indifference, lack of concern, and inadequate efforts in
troubled urban areas.
2. We recognize the presentation by the executive
secretary of the Urban Racial Council as embodying areas of valid and
significant involvement and ministry for the church in relation to all
3. We summon our brotherhood to an aroused support in
prayer and finance for the projected plan of MBMC "to a greatly
increased ministry among minority groups in urban areas," with the
expectation that we respond with a minimum of six dollars per member
per year for this emergency above the $33 per member per year needed
for current ministries.
4. We call upon each congregation and conference to
intensify their efforts to express their Christian compassion in
practical ways and to develop relationships of understanding with all
5. We charge the Committee on Peace and Social
Concerns to take immediate steps to help the brotherhood to implement
the recommendations from the Urban Racial Council.
Approved Tuesday, August 19, 1969:
Resolution on Urban Racial Concerns
Paul G. Landis presented Resolution Six on "Urban
Racial Concerns." Report XIX, p. 116.
Action 31- Moved the adoption of
Resolution Six. Carried.
Action 32- Moved that as a pledge of
our good faith in the action we have taken, collection of funds for the
urban and minorty group crisis projects be begun on these Conference
grounds among those who have shared in this decision. Carried.
(Nondelegates were also asked to voet.)
Provision made for immediate response to the
action. Over $5,000 was received.
Saturday, August 16, 1969
43. Report of the Mission Board and Urban-Racial Concerns.
Action 6- Moved to receive the report of the
Mission Board. Carried.
John H. Mosemann presented the report as president of the Mission Board
Report XII, p. 66. He introduced members of the executive
committee of the Mission Board, and also staff members. Copies of
the resolutions adopted at the 1969 Mission Board meeting at Kalona,
Iowa, were distributed to the Conference body.
He called on John E. Lapp, chairman of
the Committee on Peace and Social Concerns, to give background
information on urban-racial concerns as reflected in the Black
Manifesto. John Powell, newly appointed executive secretary of
the Urban Racial Council of the Mission Board, was introduced. He
presented a list of 17 recommendations for consideration. Copies
were distributed to the Conference body.
The moderator opened the meeting for
discussion. Question was raised concerning the source of the
paper presented. It was stated that the document was developed
without CPSC action. It was presented to the General Council and
approved for presentation to the Conference body.
Action 7- Moved to suspend
discussion of this question until Monday. Seconded and carried.
Monday, August 18, 1969
94. Paul G. Landis presented a
joint statement of resolution from the Committee on Peace and Social
Concerns and the Resolutions Committee concerning the Urban-Racial
Concerns. Copies of the statement were distributed to the
delegate body and other interested persons.
The moderator asked Ernest Bennett to
give the background for consideration of the statement. Further
discussion followed with suggestions for revision. The statement
was referred to the committee for further editing.
Adopted at the Thirty-Eighth Mennonite
General Conference, Turner, Oregon, August 15-19, 1969.
to Resolutions Index