Learning Community Speaker Series

All are welcome and encouraged to attend

Sunday, September 24:

"Studying Scripture with a Pen"

Margaret Shepherd, FCB member, calligrapher, and author

12:30pm in the Narthex; reception to commence immediately after the service

Margaret Shepherd's calligraphy exhibition showcases some fifty verses from Song of Songs, Which is Solomon’s. This much-debated book of the Bible is unlike anything else in the canon, for both Jews and Christians. Song of Songs was first skirted by theologians as unsuitable for anyone under 30; it was soon made more palatable by redefining it as a metaphor for God’s love for his people rather than two teenagers’ passion for each other; recently it has been scrutinized for its implications about gender. On top of all this, Song of Songs poses more problems for translators than any other scripture, challenging us to keep digging out new meanings. In this gallery talk, Margaret will talk first about how she decided which English translations to choose from, and how she shaped the design of each page to reinforce the meaning of each text. She will show how a well thought out calligraphy design can help the reader look and read at the same time. Attendees will get an insider’s view about the tools and techniques of this ancient art, while developing a more informed eye for all kind of lettering and type. Come prepared to contribute ideas and experience, on poetry, religion, manuscripts, and young love.


Sunday, November 19:

"Taking on Prejudices: Learning from Hopeful Examples of Interracial Collaboration in History and the Present"

Paul Kendrick

12:30pm in the Auditorium; lunch at 12:15pm (suggested donation $5)

Paul Kendrick served in President Obama's White House as Climate and Domestic Director and Advisor in the Office of Presidential Personnel. With his father Rev. Kendrick, he has co-authored two books, Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader and a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery and Save the Union; and Sarah’s Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America. They are currently working on their third book, about an interracial trio on the 1960 Kennedy campaign who worked on saving Martin Luther King's life during a Georgia imprisonment, and winning the election. He began his career with four years at the Harlem Children’s Zone, where as director of the College Success Program, he helped hundreds of students get into college and graduate. He served on President Obama’s 2012 campaign as Wisconsin Youth Vote Director, as an Associate Director on the Presidential Inauguration Committee, and then a Special Assistant in the Department of Education. He has also worked organizing a bipartisan, cross-sector campaign to increase opportunity for young people called Opportunity Nation. He has a B.A. and M.P.A. from The George Washington University, where he was a Presidential Administrative Fellow.


Sunday, January 21

"Mapping the Heavens"

Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor, Departments of Astronomy & Physic, Yale University

12:30pm in the Auditorium; lunch at 12:15pm (suggested donation $5)

Our cosmic view has been rapidly evolving. Until 1914, we believed that we were alone in the universe and unique. In addition to demonstrating the existing of other galaxies, the astronomer Edwin Hubble in the 1920s also discovered that our cosmos was in motion. Starting with this disorienting finding that our universe, unmoored and no longer stagnant, we have been rapidly uncovering many other features of our cosmos - the existence of dark matter, black holes, dark energy, extra-solar planets - that have fundamentally transformed our current understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. Professor Natarajan will focus on two of these radical ideas - dark matter and black holes - and examine how despite being deeply contested, they were eventually accepted. The arc of their acceptance reveals not only our shifting conceptions of the cosmos, but also demonstrates the power of the confluence of ideas and instruments. Mapping the seen and the unseen elements in the universe continues to help us refine our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it.