Rector's Forum

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The Rector's Forum resumes on Sept. 11. All classes meet in the parish hall (called “Trezevant”).

Classes begin at 9:30 am, and they are preceded by great coffee and a home-cooked breakfast.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten our minds and strengthen our wills! –The Reverend Richard Lawson 

To view videos past Rector's Forum classes, follow this link

BLUES, FOLK MUSIC, & THE DIVINE EXPERIENCE

From the lead singer of the North Mississippi Allstars, Luther Dickinson, to the co-founder of the Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson (who was buried last summer at Grace-St. Luke's), there have been several popular musicians who have found a spiritual home in our parish. I have loved being their priest in part because I have loved their music, believing that these artists are divinely inspired.

During Lent, we will honor this connection between the parish and popular music. The Rector's Forum will include three concerts with three musicians, two of whom attend the parish. Lent is a season for reflection and refocusing, so we will host two folk musicians and a blues guitarist. Of all musical genres, folk music is one of the most reflective. And the Blues can be reflective, too, although it usually links relfection with emotional experience. At its best, Lent also links reflection with deep emotions.

I encourage you to bring a friend or neighbor to one or all of these concerts. This series is a wonderful opportunity to realize the connections between liturgical seasons and ordinary life, even the popular music that so often comforts and inspires us. Above all, may we learn this Lent how to experience God the Holy Trinity in all of life, even those parts of life that—on the surface—do not at first appear to be religious. –Richard Lawson

March 5: Experiencing the Divine in the Blues & Folk Music with the Reverend Richard Lawson

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Richard will introduce the musicians, playing some selections of their songs and talking about how and why the blues and folk music are ways we experience the divine.

March 19: Timo Arthur & the Memphis blues

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Timo often attends the Eucharist at Grace-St. Luke's.
Based in Memphis, TN, guitarist/singer/songwriter Timo Arthur boasts an impressive musical resume that spans over thirty years of experience. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, he has worked professionally in multiple genres of music, traveled and lived abroad as a professional musician, and continues to add to his list of accomplishments. From winning the Atlanta Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category with bassist Tamara Nicolai in 2013, as well as winning the Massachusetts Blues Challenge with singer Diane Blue in the band category in 2011, to multi-month performance residencies in China, to placing in the top 1% of songwriters in songwriting competitions, Timo Arthur always makes a positive statement. Timo is the guitarist for blues harmonica ace Brandon Santini in Memphis, TN, where Timo now currently resides.

For a sample of Timo's music, download from iTunes "Sing Me Into Heaven (for Eva Cassidy)," which was written by Timo. He sings and plays piano on this song, accompanied by a violinist. This song is also Memphis made, produced by Uriah Mitchell at Royal Studios.

March 26: Julien Baker & Memphis folk music

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Julien lives in Memphis and occasionally attends the Eucharist at Grace-St. Luke's.
John Williams writes in "Julien Baker: Sad Songs That Whisper and Howl" in The New York Times, "Her debut solo album, "Sprained Ankle," initially self-released, was picked up by the independent label 6131 Records. Critics took notice, including Jon Caramanica of The New York Times, who named it one of the best albums of 2015."

Baker's music is, in part, concerned with the existence and presence of God. Rachel Syme article "Julien Baker Believes in God" in The New Yorker observes, "That Baker always sings like she is trying to bounce her voice off the walls of a cathedral is intentional: she believes in God, says she has 'encountered the tangible manifestation of God,' and says that she tries to leave space for God to enter the room whenever she opens up her throat."

The best way to encounter Baker's music is to get her debut album, "Sprained Ankle," and/or read one of the articles I cited.

April 2: Meg Hutchinson & American folk music

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A student at Boston University's School of Theology, Meg Hutchinson is a nationally touring songwriter, poet, and recording artist on Red House Records. She has released eight albums and won numerous songwriting awards, including recognition from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Billboard Song Contest, and prestigious competitions at Merlefest, NewSong, Kerrville, Telluride, and Rocky Mountain.

She has been described as delivering "music as powerful as it is gentle." Performer Magazine notes, "With a poet's eye, Hutchinson captures so beautifully that human journey toward peace, toward forgiveness, toward acceptance."

In recent years, as a result of the messages in her songwriting and her dedication to mental health literacy, Meg has increasingly been asked to be a keynote speaker at universities, conferences, and teaching hospitals around the country.

The best place to start with Meg's music may be her recent live album, "How Many Miles."

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