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Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar

Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar

Learn about the Confession of Belhar

 The 220th General Assembly (2012) voted to begin the process of amending The Book of Confessions to include the Confession of Belhar (English, Spanish, Korean). Moderator Neal Presa appointed the Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar to study the confession and to provide education about the Confession of Belhar throughout the church.  

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Confession of Belhar

New video being presented at General Assembly

Why Belhar, Why Now: Belhar and the U.S. context

 A Letter from the Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is again facing a critical time in its history. We are rent apart by division and schism, we have yet to directly confront and confess the racism that has been a significant force in our own history, and we have shown a failure of resolve to make courageous stands for justice. We believe that the Confession of Belhar, a profound statement on unity, reconciliation, and justice in the church, comes to us as a word from God for this particular time and place for the PC(USA).

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 h russell botman

Read his full statement. (PDF)

"We realized that the challenge to our faith had been elevated globally. It was no longer necessary to refer to Apartheid. The confession describes the ways in which crimes against humanity can in fact be or become sins against God." - H. Russell Botman, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Stellenbosch University, former president of the South African Council of Churches.

 jane dempsey douglass

Read her full statement. (PDF)

"The Belhar Confession calls us to rethink what is fundamental to the Gospel and to give up separation in search of comfort with people like ourselves." - Jane Dempsey Douglass, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Historical Theology, Emerita, at Princeton Theological Seminary.

margaret aymer

Read her full statement. (PDF)

"I resonate with the Belhar Confession. For us, a international immigrant family from the global south, we depended for our survival on the active manifestation of the unity of the people of God."  - The Rev. Margaret Aymer, Associate Professor of New Testament and Area Chair of Biblical Studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center, the home of Johnson C. Smith Seminary.

 syngman rhee

Read his full statement. (PDF)

"The Belhar Confession has been a very important source of inspiration and strength to many of us in our church..." - The Rev. Syngman Rhee, Special Assistant to the President for Global Mission and Development, Moderator, 212thGeneral Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA).

Ways to Engage

Links and Resources

Worship Resources

These worship resources have been compiled by the Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar for use in worship in congregations and the councils of the church.

Faithful Mission:
The Confession of Belhar

A bimonthly column by Linda Valentine

March 2014

Last summer, millions of people across the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech. Yet even as we reflected on the progress in civil rights since 1963, we painfully acknowledged the persistence of racism and its destructive consequences in our church and culture. Read more.

News & Statements

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Because the 220th General Assembly (2012) voted to begin the process of amending The Book of Confessions to include the Confession of Belhar, the Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar is charged to study the confession.  In addition to study, the special committee is charged with providing education about the Confession of Belhar throughout the church.  If the special committee recommends inclusion of the Confession of Belhar in The Book of Confessions – and the 221st General Assembly (2014) approves the proposal – it will be sent to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative vote. A two-thirds majority is required for approval. Background on the special committee is found in assembly business item 18-01.