People were skeptical when intern Elizabeth Wittrig announced her research topic for the MB archives: women’s voices and the Anabaptist peace witness.
Wittrig was the 2015 summer archive intern. One of three research initiatives funded by the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, the internship is designed to give a college/graduate student practical experience at each of the four Mennonite Brethren archival institutions in North America.
From Wittrig’s longer report:
“As long as the concept of peace, as it relates to discipleship…is concerned only with war, it will remain a gimmick. If it is allowed to permeate the life of all believers in all areas of life it becomes a way of life,” [Katie Funk Wiebe wrote after attending a 1972 peace conference.] Wiebe argued that 20th-century Mennonite Brethren women spoke for peace, but as an everyday ethic rather than a form of historic nonresistance.
Wiebe’s words helped me to realize that Mennonite Brethren women who spoke for peace…would be scattered throughout archival documents….
[I found them in women’s missionary societies, which] always labelled their actions as “mission” and “outreach” rather than peace efforts. Their goals emphasized witnessing Christ’s love and healing presence to those outside of the church, often through supporting overseas missionaries.
My Anabaptist mothers devoted their lives to constructing a daily ethic for peace.
The Historical Commission invites applications to the five-week experience for May and June 2016.