Five students participated in the 2014 contest on March 28, thus letting their voices for peace be heard. Each speaker applied the Christian peace position to a contemporary concern in 1,500 or less words (8-10 min).

Student orators in the 2014 Peace Oratorical Contest
L-R: Jordan Luther, Chris Parks, Chris Yoder, Sara Kaitlin Neubert, Seth Stauffer

SethSeth Stauffer, senior Peacebuilding & Development major from Lebanon PA took first place with his speech, The Danger of MCC’s own Single Story. He will receive a cash prize and entry in the bi-national competition with winners from other Mennonite-related colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, in which he was awarded second-place. He will also receive scholarship money to attend a peace-related conference or seminar of his choice. The intent is to deepen the recipient’s understanding of peace issues in an area of particular interest.

JordanJordan Luther, senior Biblical Studies major from Martinsville VA was one of two runners-up with his speech, Are Y’all Listening?: An Apology.

Chris YChris Yoder, senior Writing Studies major from Manheim PA was the other runner-up with his speech, The Scaffolding of our Existence

Other 2014 contestants

Chris PChris Parks, Junior Theater and Biblical Studies majors from Philadelphia PA,
Dreaming a New America


SaraSara Caitlin Neubert, First-year Computer Science major from Fredericksburg VA,
We’re not ugly, we just stink!


CONGRATULATIONS to all five contestants for compelling speeches! Listen to the five 2014 speeches!
Read news coverage of the 2014 contest!

Speech Archives: 2013 2012

About the contest

The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, established in 1974 by the directors of the C. Henry Smith Trust, offers students an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues on campus. The intercollegiate competition is administered by the Peace and Justice Ministries of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Undergraduate students from every Mennonite and Brethren in Christ college in North America are eligible to participate.

C. Henry Smith was an American Mennonite historian and professor at Mennonite colleges and the University of Chicago. Overall, he taught history for nearly 50 years at the collegiate level. 1 He is well-known for his numerous books on Mennonite history and his particular attention to the peace commitments of the Mennonite tradition.

The first-place winner in the competition at EMU receives a $250 cash prize and entry in the intercollegiate competition. Participants may earn one hour of peacebuilding and development (PXD) course credit. Orations apply the Christian peace position to a contemporary concern without exceeding 1,500 words (eight to 10 minutes spoken word). Read contest guidelines for more info or submit your name as a contestant in the next contest – 2015.

EMU has participated in the event since 2003, with EMU students winning the grand prize at the bi-national level in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The contest is sponsored by EMU Bible & Religion, Language & Literature, and Peacebuilding & Development programs.


Online resources for orators

Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 22
And No One Shall Make Them Afraid – Mennonite Church USA Statement
Fellowship of Reconciliation web site
Peace & Justice Support Network web site

Recent EMU winners

2014 Seth Stauffer, The Danger of MCC’s Own Single Story.Also bi-national 2nd.
2013 Emily Harnish, Lessons from the Hymnal in an Election Season. Also bi-national 3rd.
2012 Rose Byler, Living in the Tension: Social Services and Systemic Change. Also bi-national 3rd.
2011 Jessica Sarriot, Hold on, Together. Also the bi-national winner.
2010 Jessica Sarriot, Peace Churches and War Profits: A Moment for Courage. Also bi-national 2nd.
2009 Laura Cattell, Structural Violence in the U.S. Educational System. Also the bi-national winner.
2008 Anna Engle, Called to True Pacifism
2007 Nicholas Stoddard, Connect the Dots. Also the bi-national winner.
2005 Sharon Kniss, Engaging the Terrorists: A Discourse on Living with the Other
2004 Jeremy Yoder, Flooding Isengard: Why a Peace Church should be a Green Church. Also the bi-national winner.
2003 Zachury Kurtz, A Taxing Dilemma. Also the bi-national winner.
*EMU did not participate in the competition in 2006.


1. Smith, C. Henry Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.