1 | Page 2
H. Funk is very grateful that Canada allowed Mennonites and other
pacifists to do alternative service. He knows that pacifists in
other countries were not as fortunate.
were very privileged to have been allowed to do this service in
lieu of being in the military. In Hitler's Germany we would have
been in the army or before a firing squad. I honour Canada . And
I always felt that ours was a worthwhile, meaningful service to
humanity and to our nation. It was wartime. There was a severe
labour shortage. The regular staff whom we had replaced were mostly
middle-aged men who had joined the Medical Corps and who were
spending the war years looking after World War I patients in Deer
Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg . Some, of course, will have been in
active service. With due respect to them, I honestly feel positive
about our role too.” [ASM, 138-153]
Lepp suggests one way to look at the war experience.
am well aware that many fellow countrymen gave their lives for
the cause of freedom. After the war, I hoped that I too had contributed
in some way to the good of my country and towards true spiritual
must not omit thanking Mennonite and Brethren in Christ leaders
for their efforts to provide Alternative Service for us. Special
thanks to the ministers who came to encourage us and to the Canadian
government for considering us and our faith.” [ASM, 298-299]
many Mennonite COs are justifiably proud of their stance during
the war, Ben Funk reminds them that they should remain humble. Not
only is pacifism not unique to Mennonites, but it means so much
more than not fighting.
seems to me that biblical non-resistance is a way of life, and
does not mean only ‘do not carry arms'. I don't think the Mennonites
discovered it; it was there all the time.” [MHC 1015-33]
COs are thankful for the freedom of conscience they enjoyed during
the war. Peter A. Unger notes that Canada gave its COs the fairest
apology, I acknowledge the privilege granted to COs in Canada
by government authorities. We did not have to pay for the upkeep
of our projects, as was the case with our fellow COs in the USA
. In fact, we were paid $0.50 per day, some even $0.75 per day.
While in the BCFS [British Columbia Forestry Service], we were
issued logging boots and rain gear. I not only respect the authorities
who made this possible but I honour them and our country, Canada.
am convinced that God used this experience for our good (Romans
8:28), where we let ourselves be molded by His Spirit.” [ASP,
8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Wilson Hunsberger enjoyed his time as a CO, he was well treated
and got along well with the others.
objectors acknowledge that their pacifist stand would have been
much harder in another country. For that reason, they thank Canada
for making the alternative service work program possible.
1 | Page 2