Committee of General Welfare and Public Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church)
The Committee of General Welfare and Public Relations operated under the direction of the Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America and also reported to and cooperated with the four district Mennonite Brethren conferences, meeting annually in 1954.
Until 1920 the relief work of the conference was directed by the members of the Board of Foreign Missions; then three committees were organized as follows: the Relief Committee; the Committee for Peace and Nonresistance; and the Committee for Colonization. At the adoption of the new constitution at the Reedley (California) sessions of the conference in 1936, these three committees were discontinued and their duties assigned to the Committee of General Welfare and Public Relations.
The constitution provided for five members who served for a period of three years between the triennial sessions of the General Conference, but because of the extension of the field and the widespread location of the congregations, three associate members were appointed to represent certain areas and special purposes at the 1949 conference session.
The purpose and work of the committee was outlined in Article XVI, Section 2, of the Constitution of the Conference under three headings as follows:
(a) The committee served as Relief Committee in the ministry of general welfare by receiving money which it used to alleviate physical suffering in countries visited by tribulation, aiding first, them that were of the household of faith, and then sufferers in larger circles.
(b) Through its representative on the Committee of Colonization it took part in undertaking to find new homes for those who because of persecution on account of their faith were forced to leave their former homeland.
(c) In public relations the committee ssought to render mediating service, when conflicts arose in questions of civil rights and faith. The committee did preparatory work in this respect by recommending and distributing literature that presented the Christian's relationship to the government on Biblical grounds in order to keep alive the consciousness that it was the duty of the children of God to preserve peace.
The annual budget ranged from $188,000 in 1946 to $125,000 in 1949.
Some of the outstanding persons in the committee during the time since its organization were the following: J. W. Wiens, D. C. Eitzen, J. F. Harms, C. F. Klassen, B. B. Janz, P. C. Hiebert, and M. A. Kroeker.
Among the publications of the committee were: Mitteilungen von der Reise nach Südamerika (1937); Our Attitude Towards War; Handbook on Peace (1939); and Is War a Crime?
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 650. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hiebert, P. C. "Committee of General Welfare and Public Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church) ." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/committee_of_general_welfare_and_public_relations.
APA style: Hiebert, P. C. (1953). Committee of General Welfare and Public Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church) . Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/committee_of_general_welfare_and_public_relations.