Resolution on World Hunger (General Conference Mennonite Church, 1968)

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Resolution on World Hunger (GCMC, 1968)

Hunger weakens the body, dulls the mind, and kills the spirit of those who suffer from it. The death toll is too high when seven persons perish each minute from malnutrition and starvation. One-third of the children alive today will carry through life irreversible effects of food deficiency. Each week a million new babies are born and thus become that many more hungry mouths to feed. Must one-third of these too be doomed to poverty? Hunger is always tragic, but doubly so in the face of deliberately restricted food production and extravagant waste in North America.

Most General Conference people are among the overfed, the comfortably housed, and the generous spenders. Whatever the explanation for finding ourselves among the prosperous rather than the hungry, it places a tremendous burden of Christian stewardship upon us. The poor once silently wasted away. Our hardness to the cries of hungry neighbors may result in the resounding roar of violence and revolution.

The Bible declares God's compassion for the poor (Deuteronomy 15, Isaiah 58, Luke 4). Our concern for the poor must be generated by a desire to be loving and not by a fear of violence. Christian compassion is rooted in a deep belief that following Christ means a special concern for the poor, the hungry, and the hated.

We have responded to emergencies with relief and we have launched agricultural development programs overseas. More must now be done. In the spirit of the inter-Mennonite consultation on hunger and population held in Chicago, May 1968, the following actions seem appropriate:

  1. We urge our constituency to study the causes of hunger as a basis for intelligently responding to the problem. We urge serious study of the new missions education materials in order that an informed compassion may motivate our conference toward establishing a high priority in a crusade against hunger.
  2. We encourage our church agencies, including MCC, to give higher priority to programs which combat hunger. We must do more to increase food production and to teach skills leading to self-help programs. We must share our knowledge about family planning, so that newborn babies may be looked upon as a joyful blessing rather than an unendurable burden or even a curse.
  3. We ask individual members, our congregations, and the various church bodies, individually and collectively, to encourage local, state, national, and international agencies in new efforts to share personnel, technical information, and food materials with the hungry.
  4. We call on our people and especially our young, to become competent in skills needed in the campaign against hunger and to offer their vocational skills to agencies sponsored by the church, by private enterprise, and by our governments, engaged in the battle against hunger and poverty.
  5. We urge individuals, families, congregations, and organizations in our brotherhood to consider making radical adjustments in personal and corporate styles of living and spending. We urge all members to devoutly pray that God will give us guidance in faithful stewardship over our material abundance. May God help us so that we may be faithful in our response to the poor in God's world.