Studying the Belhar Confession

From time to time the Reformed Church in America encourages its congregations and assemblies to study confessional statements written by ecumenical partner churches throughout the world. At its 2001 General Synod the Reformed Church placed in this category the Belhar Confession, which originated with the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa.

Delegates to General Synod 2006 encouraged RCA congregations to study the Belhar Confession, which, while rooted in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, addresses three issues that are vital to all churches:

  • unity among all people
  • reconciliation within church and society
  • God's justice.

In 2010, the RCA ratified adoption of the Belhar Confession as a standard of unity. The Belhar joined the Canons of Dort, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Belgic Confession as a statement of the fundamental beliefs of the Reformed Church.

Unity, Reconciliation, and Justice is a study guide designed to help people reflect on the Belhar Confession as a living confession of faith that speaks directly to ministry and mission in North America.

This 102-page resource is written by and for members of the RCA. It has a nine-session format; each session can be covered in a week but includes enough material to allow two to four weeks of study, depending on how deeply a group wishes to explore the issues presented. The book also includes directions for group leaders and several appendices with readings, songs, worship materials, a "Welcoming Diversity Inventory," and world recipes.

The study guide is available through Faith Alive Christian Resources, (800) 333-8300 or

It is also available for free as a downloadable PDF: