When the United States entered into World War I in April 1917, the Church of the Brethren faced a significant challenge to their peace witness. The traditional Brethren peace position placed them in opposition to American society’s definition of patriotism as doing everything possible to support the war (including fighting in Europe, buying war bonds, supporting the Red Cross, etc). How could they remain true to their peace position during a time of national war hysteria? Could they hold to their nonresistance while still demonstrating their loyalty to the United State? Nowhere was this challenge more prominent than for those Brethren in military camps following the beginning of the draft in June 1917.
Andrew Cordier did many great things in his life, but not many people recognize his name. An article about Cordier that was published in the year 1995 in the Church of the Brethren magazine Messenger said this about Cordier. “He wasn’t one of the eight Brethren ‘saints’ portrayed as call claimers at the recent Charlotte Annual Conference. He has never been romanticized like Dan West, M. R. Zigler, or Anna Mow. Many Brethren today don’t even recognize his name. But Andrew W. Cordier deserves a place in the Brethren pantheon.”1 Cordier did many things for the world; the major one was his role in the founding of the United Nations, an organization that continues to have effects on the world today. Sadly, his name has slipped into obscurity. It is time that the name Andrew Cordier came back into the history books, and the world should thank this great man from Canton, Ohio.