On Dedication for Our Times (Mennonite Church, 1961)

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On Dedication for Our Times (Mennonite Church, 1961)

Statement Context Bibliography

On Dedication for Our Times

Since a new sense of urgency has gripped our hearts as we have been together under God in this Conference,

Be it resolved That we dedicate ourselves afresh to Christ so that:

  1. as the possibility of nuclear war and the destruction of empires hover over mankind, we may yield our lives to work with God in the building of the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ,
  2. as white dominance declines in our world, we may call men into the fellowship of Christ in which the walls of partition are broken down,
  3. as the western world begins to reap its possible harvest of judgment and the vengeance of the centuries rolls back upon the unrepentant nations of the west, we may confess the selfish living and unclean lips of the people among whom we dwell and pour out our lives even unto death in loving Christian service to the underprivileged peoples of the earth,
  4. as rising nationalisms release new torrents of tension and misunderstanding upon our world, we may call men into the fellowship of divine love which embraces men of faith from every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation,

Be it further resolved

That in these perilous times the mood of our brotherhood should not be defensive reaffirmation or retrenchment, but rather an aggressive dedication to the world mission of the church; that each of us in his day-to-day living seek to witness fervently in word and deed to everyone in his personal world; and that by sacrificial giving we may undergird our mission boards as they enter new fields and expand new frontiers, not for selfish purposes, but that Christ may be all and in all.

Context of the Statement

At the time of the 1961 Mennonite General Conference delegate session there were disturbing trends in the Cold War -- especially in the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, sponsored by the United States, had failed four months earlier and only weeks earlier the East Germans had begun construction of the Berlin Wall. Fear of nuclear war was high during this time.

Thus the Resolutions Committee, composed of Paul M. Lederach, Donald E. King and Paul M. Miller, brought forward the above resolution, which was duly approved by the delegates.

Statements by the Mennonite Church General Conference stated the understanding of the Mennonite Church at the time of the action. Statements had informal authority and influence in the denomination; they had formal authority as confirmed or endorsed by Mennonite Church area conferences and/or congregations.

Context written December 2005 by SJS


Thirty-second Mennonite General Conference [Proceedings]: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, August 22-25, 1961. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1961:18.