Poems and a Play

Date: October 18, 2022

I think Sunday night was my favorite performance of the play. Many of those participating in our Reparations Programs were present both for the dinner at the Deanery and for the play. Amazingly (providentially dare I say) the weather held: it was dry for the entire performance. The acting was strong (probably the best of all the evenings); the sound system was sorted; the projection on the chapel walls was moving. We heard the argument over the national anthem set in 1923; we listened to the voices who had been silenced; we marveled at the “firsts” who had to walk the tightrope to be those firsts. It was a play that spoke to the heart.

Last week, Malcolm Guite stood in Lettie Pate Evans and shared the five sonnets that had been written for the Bicentennial. Again the theme was facing up to the past. As he took the audience through the poems, one could see “pennies dropping”, heads nodding, and hearts changed. We look at the world differently when we listened to a poem.

In 2007, when I arrived, to the best of my knowledge, there was not one painting that the Seminary had commissioned or purchased (with a view of placing it in a significant location) by an African American artist. So, sitting and listening to Terry Lynn as he talked about his remarkable painting “baptism” was a moment of historic significance. Again the painting talks to the heart. The image embeds in the soul. The Historic Bicentenary is heart work.

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

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