Young Historians Spotlight
Hear from two early-career historians on their current research. Organized in partnership with the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College, Mennonite Church USA Archives, and the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.
Ashley King will present “Peace and Prisons: Quaker Efforts in Addressing Penal Affairs in Northern Ireland 1971-1989.” She will examine the activities of Quaker organizations in Northern Ireland in their efforts to address issues of penal affairs during the Northern Irish Troubles (1971-1989). The paper analyzes how the Quakers understood their actions related to penal affairs by looking at how they justified their actions from a Quaker theological understanding of “God in All,” pacifism, and reconciliation.
Alec Loganbill will present “A New Responsibility: The Awakening of the Mennonite Social Conscience During the Civil Rights Era, 1950-1965.” In 1950, Mennonites gathered at a historic conference in Winona Lake, Indiana, to attempt to square contemporary Christian social ethics with their own two-kingdom theology in a post-war America. Church leaders thoughtfully discussed nonresistance, political participation, and their responsibility to witness to the state and to participate in active peacemaking. These new theological commitments were possible, in part, to the introduction of the Lordship of Christ paradigm. These commitments were promptly tested when the Civil Rights Movement thrust racial injustice to the forefront of the American consciousness. Amidst this turmoil, Mennonites were forced to face the largely-ignored reality of racism within the church, and find their place in American society as advocates of Christian ethics and peacemaking. Mennonite leaders and laity alike encouraged each other to fulfill their newfound responsibilities to the state and to society.