Voices of Conscience Traveling Exhibit

Peace Witness in the Great War

Traveling Exhibit October 24-29, 2017

A collaboration of the three historic peace churches in Kansas City: Church of the Brethren, Penn Valley Friends Meeting, Rainbow Mennonite Church

Voices of Conscience remembers the witness of peace-minded people against the First World War, 1914-1918. This witness included men and women, religious believers and secular humanitarians, political protesters and sectarian separatists.

The “war to end all wars” involved troops from more than 100 nations, resulting in more than 38 million military and civilian deaths.

exhibit excerptMany individuals resisted U.S. involvement in the war, the enactment of military conscription, war bond drives and the denial of freedom of speech under the Espionage and Sedition Acts. For this resistance, they suffered community humiliation, federal imprisonment and mob violence at the hands of a war-crusading American public.

Many of their stories converged in the Midwest. Nearly 600 conscientious objectors were imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth and several died. Mennonite farmers in south central Kansas who refused to buy war bonds were tarred and feathered. A building at a Mennonite college was burned to the ground.

“Conscientious Objectors were the shock troops of anti-war dissent.”

-Scott Bennett and Charles Howlett, American WWI Historians

Voices of Conscience shares these stories and many others. It lifts up the prophetic insights and the personal courage of WWI peace protesters and suggests parallels to the culture of war and violence in our world today. It examines key questions that continue to be relevant, such as:

  • Could the Great War have been avoided?
  • Who speaks for peace in times of war?
  • Are war resisters patriots?
  • What am I willing to die for?
  • Who are the voices of conscience today?

The exhibit is appropriate for all ages. Special activities for young children are provided with support from Peace Pavilion, Independence, MO.


Tuesday, Oct 24 / Wednesday, Oct 25 / Thursday, Oct 26
4:00pm – 8:00pm

Friday, Oct 27
11:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday, Oct 28
10:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday, Oct 29
9:00am – 1:00pm
9:30am Worship Service: James Juhnke, PhD, author and historical consultant

*Groups are welcome. Additional times may be available by appointment. Contact Carrie Parsons at 913.236.8820 or office@rainbowmennonite.org

Voices Of Conscience was developed by the Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, Kansas. It premieres at the Muted Voices symposium Oct. 19-22 at the National WWI Museum. Rainbow Mennonite Church is the first stop on its year-long exhibition tour around the U.S.