May 2, 2013

If, in some future life, you happen to spend twenty years in a religious order, two years in a theological college, and twenty plus years married, having trained in architecture (not quite all at the same time!), you might begin to understand just how much I have enjoyed my month here at VTS. It has been like coming home again. Thank you.

And now, it's time to move on and go to my home; back to where I really belong, with my wife and family.

The hard work of my research around “Spirituality and the Built Environment” -- i.e. what is it about some buildings that enables them to be places for people of faith (any faith, Abrahamic and beyond) -- has been attempted and in some cases achieved. But there's lots more to do. What helps us pray is certainly worth considering, but asking questions about prayer (like reading books about prayer) isn't praying; it's asking questions about prayer. And I've only got as far as discovering that, within the generosity of the Scriptures, and the Fathers and Mothers, and the texts we have come to know and love, the only prayer that is real is that which comes from the heart -- however soiled or sad, delighted or daft that may appear. Where we do that best I have yet to discover. If I find out, I'll write a book about it!

The Rev. Keith Claringbull
Birmingham, England
Merrow Fellow

Editor’s Note: The Rev. Keith Claringbull was in residence at VTS from March 19-April 11, 2013 as this year’s Merrow Fellow. The Andrew T.P. Merrow Fellowship was established in 2005 by St. Mary’s Church in Arlington, Virginia to honor Rev. Merrow on his 20th anniversary as Rector. Merrow Fellows come from outside the United States and participate in the life of VTS and St. Mary’s, helping to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the broader Anglican Communion.