Original Research

Taking responsibility for reconciliation: a Christian response to the legacy and challenges of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

S. Barry
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 43, No 2 | a228 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v43i2.228 | © 1970 S. Barry | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2009 | Published:

About the author(s)

S. Barry, School of Ecclesiastical Science, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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At the conclusion of the TRC, Desmond Tutu stated that the Commission’s task was to promote, not to achieve, reconci- liation. Reconciliation, he maintained, is the responsibility of all South Africans, and expressed the hope that the Christian churches would be in the forefront of this healing process.


This article explores how the Christian church can be in the forefront of binding up the wounds, facilitating the healing pro- cess, and living as a people and a sign of hope. The answers it seeks to offer fall under three interrelated themes, namely the church’s:


• spirituality of reconciliation;
• ministry and mission of reconciliation; and
• resources for its ministry and mission of reconciliation.


Cultivating a spirituality of reconciliation would mean making reconciliation a lifestyle, rather than a series of strategies, pro- grammes or initiatives, yet remaining concrete, practical, mea- surable and accountable.


The church’s mission is primarily to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom that is already here, but not yet fully here and therefore still to come. This proclamation is the message of reconciliation between God, others and the self, and anticipates the unity of all creation in Jesus Christ.


The resources given to the church to fulfil this apostolic ministry include prophecy, evangelism, pastoral care and teaching, as well as its liturgical and sacramental life, its ministry of pre- sence, its people and its commitment to social justice.


Making Africa Home; Ministry Of Presence; Ministry Of Reconciliation; Resources For Reconciliation; Spirituality Of Reconciliation


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