Peace oratory winners
Schroeder wins peace oratorical contest
Bluffton University senior Brent Schroeder, from Continental, Ohio, won the university’s annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on April 10.
In addition to earning a $175 cash prize, Schroeder qualified for a binational contest with top finishers from other North American Mennonite colleges.
In his speech, “Being Seated at the Table of Christ: Ritual and Disability,” Schroeder argued that Protestant Christians need to incorporate more ritual practices into their church services in order to include people with cognitive disabilities. Protestant worship tends to center on the spoken and read word, which often excludes those who struggle to understand texts and sermons. He urged the audience to embrace such ritual practices as the Eucharist, in which Christians share food and drink together as an expression of their bonds of Christ-formed friendship. Such use of ritual to include those otherwise excluded is an act of peacemaking, he said.
Taking second place and $125 was Kathryn Wineland, a senior from Gibsonburg, Ohio, who addressed “Queering Bluffton: Embracing the Other, Embracing our Own.” Third place, and $100, went to Nathan Barber, a senior from Springfield, Ohio, whose topic was “Saving Afghanistan.” Wineland won the contest last year and went on to place second in the binational competition.
Students in the Bluffton contest give a speech of no more than 10 minutes that applies the Christian peace position to an issue of contemporary concern.