Archive for July, 2015

08
Jul
15

7.8.15 …a garden, a spiritual oasis, a place where friendship that crosses every ethnicity, culture and faith tradition can grow,” but “no smoking – please respect this sacred space …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Labyrinth Walks, Mercer University – Atlanta Campus, Atlanta GA, Interfaith Prayer Garden:

 

So I saw an article about this new labyrinth a while back and I knew I would eventually find it. And there it was in the very far corner of the West Parking lot. I must admit it makes for a nice addition to the campus.

They labyrinth designer probably made a mistake with materials. The boundaries are large smooth river rocks and the paths are broken pieces of slate. This eliminates the option of walking barefoot.

The designers did, however, put a full Chartres style labyrinth in the space, which I greatly appreciate. There are two signs that say “no smoking – please respect this sacred space.” I think it humorous that smoking is their first thought in terms of desecration.

Nice walk on a new found labyrinth.

Here’s the article:

 

The site, which is located on an island in the West Parking Lot on campus, also includes a labyrinth and outdoor classroom and is intended to be “a garden, a spiritual oasis, a place where friendship that crosses every ethnicity, culture and faith tradition can grow,” said Charlotte Connah, co-chair of the Baptist-Muslim Committee of the CBF/GA Interfaith Task Force. The task force is a partner organization of the University’s McAfee School of Theology. “This campus is wondrously rich in diversity, and this committee fully believes that our young people are our future’s best shot at building a better world, one of bridges rather than walls, one of dialogue rather than reaction, one of friendship and not division,” Connah said during Thursday’s ceremony. Connah had the vision for an interfaith prayer garden on Mercer’s campus three years ago and shared her idea with Mercer President William D. Underwood, Senior Vice President for the Atlanta Campus Richard V. Swindle and McAfee Dean R. Alan Culpepper. A fundraising campaign was initiated through CBF/GA and received contributions from approximately 40 donors representing multiple religious faiths and walks of life. The lead gift was made by Aziz Dhanani, CEO of Premier Petroleum Inc., who has significantly contributed to the Atlanta area through his involvement with the local Muslim community and his philanthropic endeavors. The garden was dedicated in memory of his parents, Zehrakhanu and Allauddin Dhanani. “Aziz, you and fellow Muslims have taken a big step by investing in this historically Baptist institution, and we hope you will find this to be only the beginning of a relationship that will cross religious and cultural boundaries and make all of us better and more tolerant people,” Underwood said. Landscaper Andrew Powell designed and planted the garden, and Dr. John Rhodes,  past president of the Labyrinth Society, provided step-by-step guidance for construction of the labyrinth, a path intended to invite walking prayer and spiritual reflection. Students, faculty, staff and community members all participated in the placement of stones and slate chips in the days leading up to the dedication ceremony. Additional participants in the dedication ceremony included Dr. Loyd Allen, Sylvan Hills Baptist Church Professor of Church History and Spiritual Formation at Mercer; Imam Plemon El-Amin, Imam Emeritus of the Atlanta Masjid of Al Islam; Dr. Joe LaGuardia, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Conyers; the Rev. Wayne Martin, chair of the Baptist-Jewish Committee of the CBF/GA Interfaith Task Force; and Rabbi Scott Colbert, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Atlanta.

Source: Mercer Dedicates Interfaith Prayer Garden on Atlanta Campus

The “Mighty Mo” Organ – The Fox Theatre

image

The Organ was valued at $400,000 in 1974 and today its value is priceless. It is the giant Möller theatre organ “Mighty Mo” that is the Fox Theatre’s crown jewel. This irreplaceable relic of movie theatre lore is a masterpiece of organ design, capable of producing sound as delicate as a dainty piccolo to wall-shuddering accompaniment for a battle scene. From Beethoven to Sousa, Mighty Mo has no rival in ability and versatility.

Source: The “Mighty Mo” Organ – The Fox Theatre

Source: The “Mighty Mo” Organ – The Fox Theatre

 

02
Jul
15

7.2.15 … grounded by grace and gladness …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Labyrinth Walks, St. James Cathedral, 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago IL:

St. James Cathedral is a yellow stone with red trim around the windows and red doors at the front. It is covered in scaffolding, and I found the labyrinth on the side of the church which is wonderful because it is easily accessible to all.

I walked around the church before I “walked.” I found the security covers on the parish house windows to be wrought iron forming the St. James scallops. Of course, that gives me a smile. The next thing I noticed was the public art sculpture of the red foot with the boot print underneath. It sits on the ground near one of the steps to the front entrances of the church. I also peeked into the lovely garden before I returned to the labyrinth and walked it.

Although I generally do not like the abbreviated Chartres style labyrinth with seven circuits, this one is so tight that it it slows down your timing, and I found it refreshing. I thought about two quotes, the first is the one that I saw on a 1952 mini BMW in the Garmin store window on Michigan Avenue – “The world revolves around us. We pick the coordinate systems.” – and the second is the one at the church – “A Place of Grace and Gladness.” Quite a contrast.

My walk was delightful. The fog that covered the tall buildings around me lifted but there was a hubbub of activity at 6:45 in the morning. It amazed me to be in a real city. I noticed the small birds in the tree and then they hopped down, and two of them joined me on the labyrinth as I finished my walk. They were chirping loudly. Such a delightful walk.

Thank you St. James Cathedral!

After my labyrinth walk, I walked down Michigan Avenue to Fourth Presbyterian Church. It’s funny because I came here multiple times when I lived in Chicago both as a young adult at 19 and during the four years that I lived in Wilmette, and I always spent time in the lovely garden on the Michigan Avenue side of the church. I first walked in that area this morning.

I walked around the church looking for the chapel thinking it would be in the old part of the church. To my surprise there is a modern addition at the back of the church, and it was in that modern addition that the chapel is located. It is dedicated to the long-term minister who retired in 2012.

The labyrinth was inlaid in a marble floor in this modern chapel. It is a full Chartres. Because the setting is really a monochromatic blank space, i was really focused on walking, meditation and prayer. I was also completely undistracted by birds, by nature, by the hubbub of the city.

So my two walks were vastly different, both spiritual and both absolutely lovely.

Thank you Fourth Pres.!!

I then bolted back and enjoyed breakfast with GoGo while looking at Moses.

And then a special treat … Coffee with an old friend and neighbor from Wilmette, Nora Weir.

And there was irony – as I left Chicago, I noticed the inlaid compass rose at the blue line station …

So what is my coordinate system? I’m hoping I’m grounded by grace and gladness.

7.2.15




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