Zigler, Michael Robert (1891-1985)

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Michael Robert Zigler: (b. 9 November 1891, d. 25 October 1985), peace activist, church executive, ecumenical leader. After undergraduate and graduate study, M. R. Zigler was a YMCA secretary during World War I (1917-1918). He was then called to the Church of the Brethren headquarters at Elgin, IL, where he served in various leadership capacities until 1948.

Chief among these was his direction of the Brethren Service Committee (BSC) during World War II. He led in the development of the Civilian Public Service program for conscientious objectors as the chairman of the National Service Board for Religious Objectors, which coordinated the activities of the historic peace churches. Zigler was one of the initiators of Church World Service, an ecumenical relief agency. In 1948 he went to Geneva as director of BSC work in Europe and as Brethren representative to the World Council of Churches, until his retirement in 1958. After returning to the United States he initiated the On Earth Peace program (1974) and sought closer relationships among several Brethren bodies, including a role as catalyst for The Brethren Encyclopedia. Zigler worked closely with Mennonites, especially Harold S. Bender and Orie O. Miller, a warm personal friend.


Bowman, Rufus D. Church of the Brethren and War, 1708-1941. Elgin, 1944.

Durnbaugh, D. F. in The Brethren Encyclopedia. 3 vols. Philadelphia and Oak Brook, IL: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1983: 1398-99.

Durnbaugh, D. F., ed. To Serve the Present Age. Elgin, IL, 1975.

Eisan, Leslie. Pathways of Peace. Elgin, IL, 1948.

Erb, Paul. Orie O. Miller. Scottdale, 1969: 11, 222, 223.

Gingerich, Melvin. Service for Peace. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee, 1949: 50, 54ff., 62ff., 439.

Long, Inez G. One Man's Peace. New Windsor, MD: On Earth Peace Assembly, 1983. A biography.

Messenger [Christian Brethren] (December, 1985): 12-13.

Mennonite Weekly Review (7 November 1985): 6.

Sappington, Roger E. Brethren Social Policy. Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1961.

Wenger, John C. et al. Harold S. Bender. Scottdale, PA: 1964: 119-120.

Author(s) Donald F Durnbaugh
Date Published 1989

Cite This Article

MLA style

Durnbaugh, Donald F. "Zigler, Michael Robert (1891-1985)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 2 Jul 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zigler,_Michael_Robert_(1891-1985)&oldid=122608.

APA style

Durnbaugh, Donald F. (1989). Zigler, Michael Robert (1891-1985). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 July 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zigler,_Michael_Robert_(1891-1985)&oldid=122608.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 958. All rights reserved.

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