‘This Evil Thing’ – USA tour 2018

On March 9, I set off with some trepidation and a fair amount of excitement to the USA where I have only ever spent 5 days in all my 60 years – (and those five days were in New York) – travelling there now in order to present the compelling and inspiring stories of Britain’s First World War conscientious objectors – ‘THIS EVIL THING’ – to a number of sympathetic religious institutions, colleges and a few Quaker Meeting Houses too.

This all came about thanks to a chance meeting with an American, who saw the piece when I first presented it in Edinburgh in 2016 – and who said to me, ‘You should bring this to the States.’ To which I replied, ‘I’d love to. But how?’ ‘Let me have a think,’ he said.

Months later he got back in touch and suggested I contact Maria Santelli at the Center on Conscience and War, a non-profit educational organization based in Washington DC. We spoke by phone, agreed that it might be pertinent for me to come over in 2018 and share the British story with some American audiences – and at the same time I would learn about the American experience of conscientious objection. The wheels turned slowly, but eventually 15 or so venues fell into place, all willing to offer donations (as I am doing this for expenses only) – and in March and April I set off on a road trip around the East Coast of America and heading a little way west too.

I wonder what Americans will make of this very British story? I shall report back…

Oh, and I’m not sure whether an invitation has been sent out to the President yet …

The itinerary is below. If you have friends over there who are near any of the tour venues, do send them along!

  • March 13 – Akron, Pennsylvania, Akron, Mennonite Church
  • March 16 – Greensboro, North Carolina (kindr424@gmail.com)
  • March 18 – Old Chatham FMH, New York (poetapoetus@taconic.net)
  • March 19: Overbrook Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
  • March 21: Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, VA
  • March 22 – Harrisonburg, Virginia (info@vpmhc.org)
  • March 24 – New York City, 15th St. Friends Meeting (dianekeefe@gmail.com)
  • March 27 – North Manchester, Indiana (klgraybrown@manchester.edu)
  • March 28 – Goshen, Indiana (johndr@goshen.edu)
  • April 3 – Bluffton, Ohio (mastg@bluffton.edu)
  • April 4 – Archbold, Ohio (matt.lockport@gmail.com)
  • April 6 – South Bend, Indiana (leah.coming@gmail.com)
  • April 8: Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo, NY
  • April 12 – Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, Illinois (elindeen@waubonsee.edu)
  • April 13 – Highland Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Illinois
  • April 15 – Iowa Mennonite School, Kalona (wilmajane17@gmail.com)
  • April 18 – Graceland University, Carol Hall, Lamoni, Iowa (mfrizzell@cofchrist.org)
  • April 21 – Washington, D.C. (sarah@williampennhouse.org)
  • 4 thoughts on “‘This Evil Thing’ – USA tour 2018

    1. That’s amazing Mike. I understand the donations thing – Lily’s been applying for a work visa for the US. They’re very tricky!
      Incidentally my choirs Frankenstein will also be heard on the states this year. In Minnesota!


    2. What a brilliant and exciting adventure! Never too late to explore the States. I think you will be much impressed by the differences as you get further in to the interior. A pretty relentless schedule – I do hope you will catch your breath and take in the surroundings from time to time. Good luck!


    3. Michael….riveting. Inspiring and inspired! 80 straight minutes of intensity that doesn’t fade. What a calling for you: resurrecting Bert Brocklesby to show the world how dangerous a stand it is to proclaim: I will not kill!


    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s