Organ and Tissue Donation

1993 Church of the Brethren Resolution

WHEREAS: We accept and believe that our Lord Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly; and

WHEREAS: Consideration for the health and welfare of others is at the heart of the Christian ethic; and

WHEREAS: Thousands of people who could benefit from organ and tissue donation continue to suffer and die due to lack of consent to donation; and

WHEREAS: Organ and tissue donation is a life-giving act, since transplantation of organs and tissues is medically proven to extend the lives of persons and improve their quality of life; and

WHEREAS: Organ donation may be a positive outcome of a seemingly senseless death and can be comforting to the family of the deceased and is conducted with respect and with the highest consideration for maintaining the dignity of the deceased and his/her family; and

WHEREAS: We have the opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs and tissues,

THEREFORE, be it resolved, that the Church of the Brethren General Board meeting in Elgin, Ill., October 19-20, 1992, commits itself and urges the Church of the Brethren congregations, institutions, and members to:

  1. Inform and educate themselves by taking advantage of resources with their region as to organ and tissue donation;
  2. Support and encourage individuals to be in discussion with clergy and family as to their wishes regarding the use of their organs and/or tissue for transplantation upon death;
  3. Encourage and support individuals to include within their Advanced Medical Directives instructions as to their wishes for organ and tissue donation. This may include the signing and carrying of a Universal Organ Donor Card;
  4. Support those living donors who, with prayerful consideration, make an organ or tissue gift, provided that such a gift does not deprive the donor of life itself nor the functional integrity of his/her body;
  5. Encourage our clergy to prepare themselves to respond to the special needs of family and friends at the time of organ and tissue procurement.

Pamela K. Brubaker, Ph.D.
John Katonah, M.Div.
Kathleen Long, M.D.
Rick Shumaker, C.T.B.S., C.P.T.C.
Joel Thompson, M.Div.
Tana Durnbaugh, Ed. D., R.N. (Ex Officio)
Jay Gibble, M.Div. (Ex Officio)
Michael V. Clay (Chair)

Approved by Church of the Brethren General Board, October 12, 1992.

Action of the 1993 Annual Conference: The report of the General Board on the Resolution on Organ and Tissue Donation was presented by David Wine, chair, and Donald Miller, General Secretary, with the members of the General Board appointed study committee present. The report was adopted with three (3) amendments by the delegate body, all of which have been incorporated in the wording of the preceding text.


Murray, Thomas. “Gifts of the Body and the Needs of Strangers.” Hastings Center Report, April 1987, pp. 30-38.

Faso, Charles N., and Thomas A Shannon. “Family Prayer Service to Assist in the Withdrawal of Life Support System.” Sheed & Ward, 1987

Yoder, Scot. “Transplants, justice, and Health Care Reform: What Can Health Insurers Contribute?” Second Opinion, April 1992, pp. 49-67.

__________. “Organ and Tissue Donation: A Reference Guide for Clergy.” UNOS/ SEOPF. Richmond, Va. (PHONE 1-800-24-DONOR). This excellent resource includes topics on religious beliefs, clergy role, educational materials, ministerial suggestions, procurement procedures, and resources numbers.

Koop, Everett. “Promoting Organs for transplantation.” Editorial, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 251, No. 12 (1984), pp. 1591-1592.

Lyone Jeff. “Organ transplants: Conundrum without End.” Second Opinion, Vol.1 (1986), pp. 40-64.

May, William. “Religious Justifications for Donating Body Parts.” Hastings Center report, Vol. 15, No.1 (1985), pp. 38-42.

Sincox, Carroll. “The Case of the Missing Liver.” Christian Century, Vol. 103, No.7 (1986), pp. 200-201.

United States. “National Organ Transplant Act: Public Law 98-507.” Statutes at Large, 1984 Oct. 19, Vol. 98, pp. 2339-2348.

Younger, Stuart J., et al. “Psychosocial and Ethical Implications of Organ Retrieval.” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 313, No.5 (1985), pp. 321-324.