Storey, Peter John, 1938-

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South African Methodist Church leader and anti-apartheid activist.

From the description of Peter Storey papers, 1950-2006. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 138669397

Peter Storey (b. 1938) was schooled in Cape Town, South Africa, spent some time in the South African Navy, and then trained for the Methodist ministry at Rhodes University. Storey pastored churches in Cape Town, and later served as a chaplain to Robben Island prison, where he ministered to Nelson Mandela. After two years in Australia, Storey returned to District Six, a coloured community in Cape Town whose people faced forced removal under apartheid law. Storey was prominent in the fight against these removals, at the same time launching a number of ministries, including The Carpenter's House, Cape Town's first non-racial community center, and founded Dimension, the national newspaper of the Methodist Church, which took an uncompromising anti-apartheid stance under his nine-year editorship.

He was appointed to Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church in 1976, the year of the Soweto uprising, and immediately questioned the all-white nature of the congregation. The following years saw the loss of some 200 white members, but also the creation of the first fully integrated Methodist church in the land. The Central Methodist Mission--as it became known--was a center of protest action against apartheid, often being surrounded and sometimes invaded by government Security Forces.

During this period Storey became Vice President of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and was elected President of this body in 1981. In this position, he and Bishop Desmond Tutu, who was then General Secretary, steered the SACC through its most controversial and embattled era of anti-apartheid action. This included facing the notorious Eloff Commission of Inquiry into the SACC. His testimony to the Commission has been published under the title Here We Stand .

In 1984 Storey was elected President of the Methodist Church and co-lead an ecumenical delegation to the United Nations and Europe to urge international pressure against the South African Government's forced removal policy. He then became Bishop of the Central District, including Johannesburg and Soweto. He also headed up the Journey to the New Land transformation process, which has redesigned the Methodist Church for its mission in the new South Africa.

Committed to peacemaking, he co-chaired the Wits-Vaal Peace Secretariat, responsible for keeping the peace in the Johannesburg region in the run-up to the first democratic elections and became Patron of the Methodist Order of Peacemakers, which focused on non-violence. He was first chairperson of the Gunfree South Africa movement, and he was a member of President Mandela's Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Storey has received honorary Doctor of Divinity and Doctor of Law degrees. His international ministry has included frequent preaching and lecturing journeys to the United States, Europe, and Australia, and he has addressed many conferences related to the situation in South Africa, the truth and reconciliation process, and world peace.

[Biographical Note adapted from: February 11, 1999 - Rev. Dr. Peter Storey at STH. Boston University School of Theology, March 24, 2003.]

From the guide to the Peter Storey papers, 1950-2006, (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Storey, Peter John, 1938-. Peter Storey papers, 1950-2006. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Peter Storey papers, 1950-2006 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Duke University. Archive for Human Rights. corporateBody
associatedWith Gun Free South Africa (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Mandela, Nelson, 1918- person
associatedWith Mandela, Winnie. person
associatedWith Methodist Church of Southern Africa. corporateBody
associatedWith South African Council of Churches. corporateBody
associatedWith South Africa. Truth and Reconciliation Commission. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
South Africa
Human rights
Methodist Church
Human rights--Religious aspects


Birth 1938-12-04



Ark ID: w6wq1gf4

SNAC ID: 11918374