Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kermit Eby

Kermit Eby was born in 1903 near Wakarusa, Indiana where he completed high school. He then spent four years at Manchester College and three years at the University of Chicago. He taught for ten years in public schools, two in elementary and eight in high school. From 1937 to 1942 he was the executive secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union and then moved to Washington D.C. where he was first assistant director of education and later director for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). In 1948 he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago where he served until his death in 1962. He was elected to the ministry in 1927 and was married in the same year.

A prolific writer, Eby was the author of four books including The God in You (1954), and For Brethren Only (1958). He served for a number of years on the Board of Directors for the Church of the Brethren magazine, Brethren Life & Thought, to which he contributed numerous articles.

He often described his Brethren-Mennonite heritage and constantly related its values to current issues. He was subpoenaed in 1953 to appear before a Senate investigating committee. Denied an open hearing, he issued a public statement giving his position on communism and other issues.

V.F. Schwalm, in the Introduction to For Brethren Only, suggested that Brethren, during this (250th) anniversary year (1958), "can by reading these chapters catch some intimate glimpses of a Dunker home, a Dunker church, and a Dunker community of fifty years ago. Certainly his plea for integrity, for social awareness and social concern, for family solidarity, and for loyalty to the faith of our fathers should find a ready response to all who are aware of the crucial times in which we live."

The same could be said fifty years later in 2008.

Sources: The Brethren Encyclopedia
For Brethren Only,
Kermit Eby