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on Central America, 1983
As we gather at Bethlehem the
first week of August 1983, we are keenly aware of the violence,
suffering, injustice, war, and threat of war in Central America.
We recognize the violence is a product of over four centuries
of oppression of the poor in the region.
A Call to Prayer
We pray for all who suffer-the victims of torture, the families
of those who have disappeared or been murdered in the crossfire
of armed camps, the refugees, those in prison, and those whose
struggle for dignity and economic survival is made more precarious
by the violence.
We pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Central America,
that their faith will be strong in adversity and that the church
will have courage and strength in witnessing to the reconciling
gospel of Christ.
We pray for our mission and service representatives in Central
America that their work will ease the burden of the suffering
and their presence in sharing the risks of the people will impede
the oppression of the powers and principalities.
We pray for rulers, for those of the region and those of the
superpowers, who pursue their own interests in Central America,
that they may recognize the only legitimate use of their power
is to promote peace and justice for all.
A Call to Action
1. We commit ourselves to hearing the cries of those suffering
in Central America and to respond generously with relief, aid
to refugees, development, evangelism, and with our individual
and congregational witness to the authorities.
2. We commit ourselves to find ways to help meet the spiritual
and material needs of Central American refugees in our congregations
in North America.
3. We affirm and endorse the actions of those among us who have
answered God's call to "give shelter to the stranger among
you" by providing public sanctuary and other aid to persons
fleeing violence and oppression in Central America.
4. We call upon the United States government and other governments
outside Central America to halt military aid to any government
or countergovernment group and declare and observe a policy of
5. We call upon the governments of the United States and Canada
to encourage actively a negotiated settlement of the conflicts
in Central America.
6. We commend the Canadian government for granting refugee status
to those who have had to flee from Central America, but we ask
for an increase in the 2,000 per year limit on such refugees.
7. We call on the United States government to stop deporting
El Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees as illegal aliens, and
to grant these refugees "extended voluntary departure status."
8. We call on the government of the United States and other countries
to concern themselves with alleviating the economic and social
inequalities and injustices that exist in Latin America.
Adopted by the Seventh Mennonite Church General Assembly, August
6,1983, Lehigh University, Bethleham, Pennsylvania, Proceedings,
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