Acclaimed author and Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Frederick Buechner, will be honored April 5 at Washington National Cathedral.
Buechner will also participate in a panel discussion about the impact of his writings on American religious life.
Best known for his novel "Godric," which received an American Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1981 for its semi-fictionalized depiction of the life of a medieval Catholic saint Godric of Finchale, Buechner has also received the National Book Award (1952); the O. Henry Award (1955); and the Critic's Choice Books Award (1990). Additionally, he has received honorary doctorates from Virginia Theological Seminary (1982); Lehigh University (1987); Cornell College (1989); Yale University (1990); and Wake Forest University (2000).
Joining Buechner on the panel will be the Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University; the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest who teaches religion at Piedmont College in northeast Georgia; and Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. The panel will share their insights into Buechner's sermons, including his new collection featured in his latest book, "Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons."
Former CNN and ABC news producer Jody Hassett, now president of Pointy Shoe Productions, which focuses on issues of faith and culture, will serve as moderator.
The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of the cathedral, called the gathering "momentous" and that "Buechner's passionate sermons and gifted storytelling provide guidance and clarity to so many people. We are honored to have him as our guest."
This event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by the Cathedral College and HarperSanFrancisco. Doors open at 6:15 pm. A book signing will follow the discussion.
For more information, call 202.537.2221, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/register/buechner2006sp.shtml
Note: The following title is available from the Episcopal Book and Resource Center, 800.903.5544; http://www.episcopalbookstore.org/
TO READ: SECRETS IN THE DARK: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner (HarperCollins Publishers, 2006, 303 pages, $24.95.)
Buechner's words, both written and spoken, have the power to revolutionize and revitalize belief and faith. He reveals the presence of God in the midst of daily life. He faces and embraces difficult questions and doubt as essential components of our lives, rather than as enemies that destroy us. "Listen to your life!" is his clarion call. Reflecting Buechner's exquisite gift for storytelling and his compassionate pastor's heart, Secrets in the Dark will inspire laughter, hope, and bring great solace.
Presbyterian minister Buechner (Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith) has authored and compiled this collection of 37 sermons, many of them previously unpublished. Each sermon, which spans eight to ten pages, calls for readers to examine their behavior and reminds them that there is more to this life than just this world or even this known universe. Buechner writes, "For a human being to say that the cosmos is all there is strikes me like a worm in an apple saying that the apple is all there is." Using similar analogies, he leads readers on an introspective journey wherein he discusses faith, love, hope, the church, and forgiveness, among other topics. Yet the text is not rife with deep theology or hermeneutics; it does not ask that the reader understand doctrine or accept dogmas. It is instead written for the lay reader, who can find enlightenment and goodness and possibly hope for the future in these sermons.
A foreword by theologian and storyteller Brian D. McLaren (A New Kind of Christianity) introduces this poignant, practical, deeply philosophical, and powerful work.