From Jad Baaklini, Communications Director at Epiphany, Seattle:
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, will be visiting Seattle in November as part of his official responsibilities as Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University. During his stay, Dr. Williams will be meeting with Magdalene alumni in the area. He will also be spending All Saints’ Sunday (November 3) at Epiphany Episcopal Parish in Seattle, at the invitation of parishioner Marshal McReal.
“His acceptance of our invitation to visit Epiphany for a second time is an extraordinary blessing, but something I know he enjoys very much, especially seeing the children,” explains McReal, who will be hosting the customary Magdalene dinner during Dr. Williams’s stay.
Dr. Williams last visited Epiphany, Seattle in 2017 as Epiphany celebrated First Informed Communion. Epiphany, Seattle’s rector, the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr., remembers the force of his presence and personality that day: “We had asked Dr. Williams if he would like to celebrate the 11:00am Eucharist, and he replied, ‘yes,’ so we suggested a quick walk-through in preparation, which seemed like a reasonable suggestion at the time. But Dr. Rowan replied, ‘no need,’ suggesting instead that he would just watch me at the 8:45am service and do it that way.
“He watched and absorbed the pattern of that service and then celebrated the 11:00am in exactly the same way. And his sermons reflected that same capacity to be fully present in the moment. The sermon he gave at 8:45am was entirely different from the one at 11:00am, and both, to my hearing, were perfectly tailored for the congregation’s spiritual mood. This was an incredible learning experience for me.”
This year, Dr. Williams will participate in both All Saints’ services, at 8:45 and 11:00am, and as is customary on this holy day, a number of baptisms are planned. Dr. Williams will also speak on the topic of C.S. Lewis and the world of Narnia during Epiphany, Seattle’s “Everybody Hour” at 10:00am. This Q&A-style forum will be based on Dr. Williams’s book, The Lion’s World, and moderated by Jonathan Roberts, who has convened a C.S. Lewis minyan, or discussion group, at Epiphany, Seattle for the past seven years.
“Like C.S. Lewis, Dr. Williams is able to distill complex theology and make it approachable and relevant to our daily lives. It is a unique opportunity to hear him speak about Lewis’s key themes, and perhaps even critique his theology,” Roberts explains. “Dr. Williams’s visit will give people a chance to hear one of the foremost theologians of our time comment on the religious writings of perhaps the foremost lay theologian of the 20th Century.”
Roberts goes on to add: “The question facing all Christians, and world citizens for that matter, today, is this: What can we individually do to help our culture navigate its way out of our current malaise? As a global society, we’re in crisis. Dr. Williams, and C.S. Lewis before him, argue persuasively that individual and collective faith provides us all with a way forward.
“In this way, this session at Epiphany will be interesting to all people who aren’t happy about the state of the world, and who want insights into what they can do to make the world a better place, and – as an added bonus – live more relational and satisfying lives.”
Similarly, McReal reflects on Dr. Williams’s relevance beyond the church: “Whether Christian or not, hearing Rowan Williams preach is amazing. Stimulating, accessible and often a little humorous, it’s the chance to see the world through the mind of a genius. He is someone people will be writing about in two hundred years of time. Really.”
For more information on Dr. Williams’s visit, please follow the link below: