1984 Church of the Brethren Statement

Information: The 1981 Standing Committee recommended to the General Board of the Church of the Brethren that it study the 1972 Statement on Abortion (with a report from the Atlantic Northeast District study committee of abortion) and that it prepare a revised paper on abortion to be presented to the 1982 Standing Committee.

The General Board accepted the recommendation and arranged for the study. It presented a revised paper on abortion to the 1982 Standing Committee.

Action of the 1982 Standing Committee: The 1982 Standing Committee approved the paper, RECOMMENDED STATEMENT ON ABORTION FOR THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, as prepared by the General Board and as amended by Standing Committee, and voted to send it as an item of new business to the 1982 Annual Conference.

Earle W. Fike, Jr., Moderator
Paul W. Hoffman, Moderator-Elect
Phyllis Kingery Ruff, Secretary

Action of 1982 Annual Conference: At the request of the officers of Annual Conference, Donald E. Miller, who had served as chair of the General Board study committee of abortion, presented the paper from Standing Committee. Dorothy Crist, Standing Committee delegate from Western Plains, presented the recommendation from Standing Committee that the paper be adopted.

Following the discussion of the paper and in the debate, some amendments were approved. A motion “to refer the paper to the General Board for further study” was adopted.

(Secretary’s note: The paper from Standing Committee with the list of amendments as adopted with majority votes by the delegate body of the 1982 Annual Conference, was forwarded to the General Board for the study.)

Action of the General Board, October 1982: VOTED that the members of the 1981-82 committee who prepared the revised Statement on Abortion for the Church of the Brethren, which was sent to the 1982 Standing Committee, continue to study the Abortion Statement referred to the General Board by the 1982 Annual Conference; and that Kenneth Brown, North Manchester, IN, be added to this committee. The members of the 1981-82 committee are Sharon P. Graybill, Pottstown, PA, Elaine M. Sollenberger, Everett, PA, Donald E. Miller, Lombard, IL, Lauree Hersch Meyer, Lombard, IL, and Fred W. Wampler, Mountain City, TN.

The action carried with it a recommendation that the General Board study committee guide the Abortion Statement through its presentation to the conference body and that the committee report to the 1984 Annual Conference.

Action at the 1983 Annual Conference: From the moderator, the delegates received a report of the status of the item of unfinished business, RECOMMENDED STATEMENT ON ABORTION FOR THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, which had been referred by the 1982 Annual Conference to the General Board for further study and for which a report will be given in 1984.

Action of the General Board, March 1984: VOTED to approve the Statement on Abortion presented by the study committee (Donald E. Miller and Lauree Hersch Meyer, co-chairs, Kenneth Brown, Sharon Graybill, Elaine M. Sollenberger, and Fred W. Wampler) after amending the document; and recommended its approval by the 1984 Annual Conference.

Curtis W. Dubble, Chairman
Robert W. Neff, General Secretary

Statement on Abortion


Human life is a gracious gift from God who loves us.

The Church of the Brethren opposes abortion because the rejection of unborn children violates the love by which God creates and nurtures human life.

We recognize that our society contributes to unwanted pregnancies in many ways and gives too little care to those who must bear the consequences.

We recognize also our responsibility to work for a caring society that undergirds women who choose to carry pregnancies to full term, a caring society that treasures and nurtures all children, even the unborn, the unwanted, the unloved, a caring society that protects integrity of conscience in decision-making in relation to pregnancy and child bearing while also acting to protect the unborn.

We hold ourselves accountable to develop constructive, creative alternatives to abortion in the communities of which we are a part.

We grieve with all who struggle with difficult circumstances which lead some to consider abortion.

We encourage women and men caught in such struggles to seek the counsel and support of family members, trusted friends, spiritual leaders, and appropriate professionals in the Body of Christ, and to consider prayerfully the church’s opposition to abortion.

We hold in love and will support those who choose to give birth to children, and the children themselves, as well as those who believe conscientiously they must terminate pregnancy.

We acknowledge our lack of compassion, our judgementalism, and other sinful attitudes that separate us from the love by which God calls and redeems us.

We affirm our commitment, as in the 1972 statement on abortion and our historic peace position, to counsel with and to uphold one another, to maintain fellowship with those who differ, and to extend to others the compassion we receive from Christ.

Action of 1984 Annual Conference: The 1984 report, STATEMENT ON ABORTION, from the General Board was presented by Curtis W. Dubble, chairman of the General Board, with Frances Clemens Nyce, a member of the General Board, and the members of the General Board study committee present. The statement was adopted with two amendments which are incorporated in the preceding wording of the paper.