The Mount Lebanon Peace Weekend will consist of readings, a brunch and facilitated discussion about Shaker pacifist history, a panel of speakers currently active in the peace movement, and a special walking tour.
In 1815, the Shakers published their Declaration expressing “their reasons for refusing to aid or abet the cause of war and bloodshed.” This document would go on to be cited by some of the earliest peace organizations, including the Massachusetts Peace Society, founded that same year. On Saturday, August 29 at 1:30 pm the Museum will host a short introduction and reading of the full Declaration at the North Family historic site to mark the 200th anniversary of its publication.
“Although Shakers were believers in Christ’s peace from the beginning, the War of 1812 changed them from being objectors to peace activists – peacemakers,” said Jerry Grant, Director of Collections and Research. “The effort they made in writing and publishing the 1815 Declaration made the difference. Shakers could have merely refused to report and serve – accepting the consequences of fines and prison – but they chose to be much more public and share their reasons for doing so, thus becoming part of the American conversation about war and peace. By engaging in this action they became peacemakers.”
The over two centuries of Shaker involvement in the peace movement is also being celebrated with two programs designed to connect that legacy to the present day.
On Sunday, August 30, from 10 am to noon, the Museum is hosting a brunch and facilitated discussion in the Meetinghouse at Mount Lebanon using readings about Shaker pacifism. The discussion will be led by the Museum’s Director of Collections and Research Jerry Grant alongside Quaker, peace activist and retired American Friends Service Committee program secretary Marta Daniels. Readings will be sent to participants a week ahead of the event, and prior reservations are required. The cost of the program is $50 per person.
Later on Sunday, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the historic Church of Our Savior in Lebanon Springs, New York, the Museum will hold a panel discussion with speakers currently active in the peace movement. Planned speakers include Dr. Joseph Gerson, Director of the Peace & Economic Security Program at the American Friends Service Committee, Jun Yasuda of the Grafton Peace Pagoda, and Dr. Patricia Salomon of Massachusetts Peace Action. This event will be free for all to attend.
On August 31, 1905, the Shakers at Mount Lebanon organized a national Peace Convention in their Meetinghouse which included not only the Shakers themselves but many non-Shaker attendees and delegates. The resolutions adopted there were later delivered to United States President Theodore Roosevelt the following November. A special walking tour from the North Family to the Meetinghouse will be held on Monday, August 31 at noon to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Convention, explaining its historical context and importance. The tour, the final event of the Peace Weekend, is $10 per person, and free for Museum members.
“The Museum is proud to host a special weekend of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the Shaker’s 1815 Declaration of pacifism and non-violence, and the 110th anniversary of the 1905 Convention,” said Jeff Daly, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “Marking these anniversaries brings the Shaker legacy back to the present day and is a reminder of the historic importance of the New Lebanon area.”
The Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, located in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, is dedicated to engaging and inspiring local, national, and global audiences by telling the story of the American Shakers. The museum’s collections span over 60,000 objects and it stewards the North Family historic site at Mount Lebanon, a National Historic Landmark.
The museum is open seasonally at the site from June to October, and offers programs year-round. Visit www.shakerml.org for more information.