Christian Institute of Southern Africa and Christian Institute Fund Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains:

  • Fund minutes
  • Christian Institute and Christian Institute Fund minutes and reports
  • Correspondence
  • Christian Institute newsletters
  • Reports and bulletins
  • Finance documents
  • Legal papers

Administrative / Biographical History

The Christian Institute of Southern Africa was formed in August 1963 to allow Christians of all denominations to meet together to frame responses to racial and other problems in South Africa. Initially composed of 280 members, many of them church leaders, it was, unlike the Christian Council of South Africa, composed of individual Christians rather than churches and missionary bodies. As well as monitoring and commenting on social and political matters and on apartheid the Christian Institute began to interest itself in the theological training of the ministers of the African Independent Churches and in 1968 joined with the South African Council of Churches in working out a plan of training for these ministers.

The Institute was primarily interested in discussing and promoting appropriate and workable Christian responses to issues such as race relations and, as such, attracted criticism from some churches and from the government. Although it was committed to non-violent opposition, the Institute was increasingly critical of the state and many accused it of confusing religion with politics. It organised conferences and published regularly, in addition to a newsletter and the annual Directors Report, there was an independent Christian magazine Pro Veritate and the Institute established the Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society (Spro-Cas) in 1969 which produced a series of reports on a variety of political, economic or ethical topics. In 1973 the South African government began a series of actions against the Institute and its supporters including a trial of Beyer Naudé and his colleagues which attracted world-wide attention.

In the UK the Christian Institute Fund began raising money to support the Institute and publicising its activities. Along with many other organisations the Christian Institute was banned by the South African government shortly after Steve Biko's death in 1977 but the Fund continued to support causes that promoted racial equality and Christianity in Southern Africa.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers. It is essential to arrange an appointment in advance to view the archive in order that someone can be available to help. Please contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 1986 by Reverend R Elliot Kendall, secretary of Christian Concern for Southern Africa.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue is available to researchers at the Centre.

Archivist's Note

Description originally written and researched by Caroline Brown in August 2001. This was added to Archives Hub in August 2012 by Louise Williams.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of materials (for example by digital camera) is free for private research and educational use, although we ask researchers to sign an agreement. Please contact us for enquiries on using the material in a commercial setting, for which there will be a fee. Contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Accruals

No further additions to this collection are expected.

Geographical Names