C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture

Peace lecture to focus on animals

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Dr. Trevor Bechtel, an associate professor of religion at Bluffton University, will focus on the animal kingdom when he presents Bluffton’s annual C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Yoder Recital Hall.

Referencing an actress’s animal interest, Bechtel’s title is “The Already Peaceable Kingdom: Kristen Bell’s sloth fascination as a story of peace-building.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Working from specific stories of domestic and wild animals, Bechtel will argue that peace is found wherever right relationships are discovered. This relates, he says, “to understanding the ecology of relationships and seeking the full flourishing of all life.” Surprising answers to questions of domestication, vegetarianism, hunting and pet owning will be considered, he adds.

The C. Henry Smith Peace Lectureship honors the late professor who taught at Bluffton for 35 years, from 1913-48, after spending 10 years at Goshen College. Smith was known for his books on Mennonite history and the peace tradition of the Mennonite churches. After his death in 1948, his estate established a trust in his name that funds projects—including the lectureship—that promote the Mennonite peace message.

The lectureship is awarded each year to a faculty member from one of the Mennonite colleges, with priority given to Goshen and Bluffton faculty. The chosen faculty member must prepare a lecture that promotes the Mennonite peace stance, then present it at Bluffton and Goshen, and at other schools and on other occasions as invited.