Conference of Historic Peace Churches

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An association of Canadian peace churches, the Conference of Historic Peace Churches (CHPC) was organized 22 July 1940 in Waterloo, Ontario. The meeting was called by the Peace Problems Committees of the Mennonite Church (MC), Brethren in Christ (Tunker), and Mennonite Brethren in Christ churches in view of the imminent introduction of compulsory military service. Churches represented were the Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren in Christ, Old Order Mennonite, Amish Mennonite, Society of Friends, Brethren, Old Order Dunkard, and the Ontario sections of the Mennonite Brethren and General Conference Mennonites. Close contact was maintained with the General Conference and Mennonite Brethren churches of Western Canada.

During the war years, the Conference was largely responsible for the interpretation of nonresistant faith to the government, especially as the convictions of peace church adherents related to problems of army service. With the establishment of Alternative Service for Canadians of peace church persuasions, CHPC provided spiritual oversight for men in service. After the war, the Conference attempted to keep before its membership the historic Scriptural principles of nonresistance. At the same time, the Conference remained alert to developments and changes in government policy which had bearing on the peace stance. In 1960, the Conference prepared a brief on the identity of the historic peace churches and their stance of non-violence, consulted with representatives from other Mennonite groups, and arranged for a delegation to present the brief to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

The Conference of Historic Peace Churches worked in close co-operation with Mennonite Central Committee, and the relationship between the two organizations developed more systematically over time. On 1 April 1946, plans were adopted to affiliate the Non-Resistant Relief Organization (NRRO) with the Conference of Historic Peace Churches. With this affiliation, completed on 10 September 1946, four member officers of NRRO and the Military Problems Committee were added to the executive committee of the Conference of Historic Peace Churches. In December 1963, CHPC was one of the nine inter-Mennonite service organizations that united to form Mennonite Central Committee Canada.


Epp, Esther Ruth. "The Origins of Mennonite Central Committee (Canada)." M.A. thesis, University of Manitoba, 1980.

Regehr, T. D. Mennonites in Canada 1939-1970: a People Transformed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.

Additional Information

Executive Officers of the Conference of Historic Peace Churches

Chairperson Secretary
E. J. Swalm (1940-1964) J. Harold Sherk (1940-1944)
  C. J. Rempel (1944-1964)

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Conference of Historic Peace Churches." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 26 Jul 2021.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1955). Conference of Historic Peace Churches. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 July 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 670-671. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.