Wednesday, October 10, 2018

For all the technical problems, Brian Clarke's lecture was fascinating. He is probably the most admired stain glass maker in the world. He talked movingly about the way he likes to confuse the sacred and the secular; he was after all the artist who took the stained glass out of churches into office buildings and shopping malls. He spoke about his frustration with churches that have the temerity to place mediocre windows alongside the great medieval windows and how that meant for 35 years he did not accept commissions from congregations. He explained how he returned to church buildings because he appreciated the sheer range of human emotions that can be expressed - corporate America just wants windows of happiness, while churches welcome despair and judgment. And in a fabulous moment right at the end, he explained that his inspiration comes from both the best of him and the worse of him: art is born of struggle and comes from the soul. It is forced out of one, compelled by the moment to speak.

It was so impressive. There are things he said, which will be with me for the rest of my life. And as he moved from slide to slide, a few words explained an achievement in a way that made you change the way you see.

It was lovely to see our second speaker Kiki McGrath sitting next to Brian at dinner last night. Kiki will speak this morning at 11am. Art is a vitally important tool for the communication of theology. I sensed that was true before this convocation; now I know it is true as we go through this convocation. My worldview is changing. This is exciting.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President
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