Voices of Conscience

Peace Witness in the Great War

A century ago, the United States had just entered “The Great War.” While many wholeheartedly endorsed this effort, there were persons who could not in good conscience be involved in the killing of other humans.  Often at great cost, even including death in a few cases, they spoke through their words and actions of a different path.

As Americans commemorate this anniversary, will they remember those whose peace witness challenged the call to war? “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War” is a traveling exhibit developed by Kauffman Museum, North Newton, Kansas, which remembers the stories of people of faith who opposed the war. The exhibit examines key questions such as: Who speaks for peace in times of war? What am I willing to fight for? Is paying for war participating in war? and Who are the voices of conscience today?

The exhibit will be held in the Crossings Meeting Room at Landis Homes,1001 East Oregon Rd, Lititz, PA. Entrance is via the main entrance of the new Calvin G. and Janet C. High Learning and Wellness Center at Landis Homes from August 19 to September 26. It is open from 2 pm to 7 pm daily, with other hours by appointment. There will be an opening reception at 2 pm on August 19.

A series of educational meetings will be held alongside the exhibit, focusing on conscientious objection to war.

“Voices of Conscience: The Witness of Conscientious Objectors in WWI” will be at 7 pm on Monday, August 27, at the Martindale Mennonite Fellowship Center, 352 Martindale Road, Ephrata, Pa.

The evening will feature a dramatic reading of the court martial trial of Elbert Hostetler. Dr. Steve Nolt, senior scholar at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, will speak on peace churches and WWI, and the Conservative Anabaptist Service Program will make a presentation.

Take a broader look at the conscientious objector experience at 7 pm on Thursday, August 30, at Lancaster Brethren in Christ Church, 1865 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster, Pa. Anne Yoder, peace collection archivist at Swarthmore College, will share from her work collecting the accounts of conscientious objectors. She expands the narrative to include  nonreligious views in our understanding of conscience in WWI. Beth Hostetler Mark, librarian emeritus at Messiah College, will present the E. J. Swalm story. Swalm was drafted by the Canadian military but refused to enlist and was imprisoned. He was later paroled through the intervention of Samuel F. Coffman and other Mennonite leaders. He became a minister and bishop with the Brethren in Christ Church and was well known for his active support of the peace position.


Help support the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society tell the story of conscientious objectors  during World War I and cover the costs of bringing “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness during the Great War” to Lancaster.

This Exhibit created and toured by the Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, North Newton Kansas. VoicesofConscienceExhibit.org

Opening Reception

August 19, 2 pm

Aug. 19 to Sept. 26

2 to 7 pm daily

Landis Homes

Crossings Meeting Room,

Calvin G. and Janet C. High Learning and Wellness Center

Educational Events

Monday, August 27, 7 p.m.

Martindale Mennonite Fellowship Center

Thursday, August 30

Lancaster Brethren in Christ Church