TrinitĂŠ Volume 3 NÂ° 2
t h e
m a g a z i n e
t h e
A m e r i c a n
C at h e d r a l
Pa r i s
The new faces of worship An interfaith oasis Martin Marty Cross-cultural marriage
Trinity Weekend 2010
It’s never too early to make plans to join us for the next celebration of the life and mission of the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. We would love to have a chance to share with you our special ministry in this most beautiful and exciting city, Paris. In Paris June 5-7, 2009? Let us know and we’ll do our best to fit you into Trinity Weekend 2009 events. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood Canon Pastor The Reverend Jonathan Huyck Deacon The Reverend Joanne Coyle Dauphin Canon for Music Edward Tipton Assistant Musician Zachary Ullery Trinité Editors Nancy Janin Charles Trueheart
Trinity Society The Cathedral made a difference in your life. Make a difference in the life of the Cathedral. Plan your legacy and join the Trinity Society. For more information: email@example.com or call Nancy Janin at 33 1 45 66 08 87 2
Assistant Editor Kate Le Baut Design/Layout Elizabeth Minn Advertising Katherine Millen Worré Cover Photos Rhoderic Bannatyne Please send comments and requests for free subscriptions to: Trinité The magazine of The American Cathedral in Paris 23, avenue George V 75008 Paris France email firstname.lastname@example.org web www.americancathedral.org
Dean’s message Solitude and Community
n the Gospels, Jesus condemns religious groups who reduce the world to the narrow confines of the traditions which they have inherited. Jesus stands consistently opposed to any system that becomes so concerned with developing and guarding its own rules and codes that those rules and codes serve to exclude outsiders.
Rules, codes, and traditions offer much that is valuable and true. Indeed, as an Episcopal priest much of my work is concerned with passing on the religious tradition that we have inherited. Yet a rigid and narrow adherence to the codes and rules of any tradition can sometimes direct our energies toward keeping people out rather than inviting people in. The ministry of Jesus of Nazareth was about inviting people in. Over and over again, Jesus reminds us that in the full future of God’s vision for humanity and the world, there are no outsiders. The life of Jesus was devoted to opening the possibilities for healing and wholeness to all people, especially the outsiders. Jesus lived this truth and because Jesus was fully of God, this truth Jesus preached and lived is God’s truth. As human beings created in the image of God, this is our truth. We express this truth at the American Cathedral in Paris every Sunday at our invitation to communion: Whoever you are and wherever you are on the journey, you are welcome. This is not the communion of this Cathedral or of the Episcopal Church. This is God’s Table. And all are most assuredly welcome at the Table of God. Jesus invites all of us to the table. Jesus invites you to come to the table, in the words of that great old hymn, “just as I am, without one plea.” Jesus invites you to the table where you will be welcomed and accepted just as you are. At this holy table of communion, the thoughts of your heart will be heard and your hurts embraced, healing arises and love abides. The pews of the American Cathedral are filled Sunday upon Sunday with a yearning, faithful, diverse and ever-growing band of folks alive with the Spirit of God. Guided by this spirit, we continue to pass on the tradition of our forebears in faith. Animated by this spirit, we continue to feed the hungry and welcome the stranger. In the words of our prayer book, we continue “to sooth the suffering, bless the dying and shield the joyous.” Keeping the table open is our sacred obligation. We are welcome at the Table where God forgives us, feeds us, and loves us - empowering us to be active vessels of justice, mercy, and kindness.
The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood
Photos R. Bannatyne Evensong in the nave of the American Cathedral.
Sunday atSix The new faces of w or sh i p
by Zachary Ullery
efore moving to Paris to begin my work as the assistant musician at the American Cathedral, I imagined only experiencing the traditional English anthems and hymns, playing and learning more organ repertoire and participating in the beautiful liturgy that we all love and adore. And so it was. But I also learned on my arrival that I would be the principal musician for a far less familiar tradition: Taizé, a French-born liturgy of chants and silences. The service was at 6 p.m. every Sunday, so I had to learn fast. I had experienced some Taizé-esque worship services in the past and assumed it would be a fairly simple service to prepare musically, as the chants
are all easily playable. The challenge stemmed from my own insecurities about how I really felt about this style of worship. Soon, I found myself actually connecting to the Taizé service. Amidst the busy-ness of the week and the bustle of Sunday morning, it was a peaceful and meditative way to end the day. The congregation responded as well: attendance at the service grew. A few weeks after my first Taizé experience, Canon Pastor Jonathan Huyck asked me to join him and parishioner Kate Thweatt on a pilgrimage to the Taizé monastery near Cluny, France. In a typical service during our three days there, we joined hundreds of people from all over the world in silence in the cavernous nave of the Taizé Trinité magazine Spring 2009
worship space. The striking altar was adorned with a plethora of candles and fiery-colored drapes. As we all knelt or sat on the floor, we were joined by monks clad in white albs. The service, like our own, began with the singing of several characteristic Taizé chants. The chants, which are repeated numerous times, usually consist of a slowly-moving harmonic structure, a simple melody, and an easily memorized text. Some of the more familiar chants include: Bless the Lord My Soul, Ubi Caritas, Eat This Bread, and Sing to the Lord. A short reading from the Gospel (in several languages) occurred after the first group of songs, followed by a ten-minute period of silence. After the silent time of reflection, meditation, or prayer, another group of Taizé chants were sung. During the time that we worshiped at the monastery, my most memorable moments were during the sounds and silences. It was thrilling to sing with so many people from all over the world. The period of silence was equally as memorable. It is a time to just stop and “be.” During the rush and stress of moving, I hadn’t really had time to reflect and “be.” During the trip to Taizé Jon, Kate, and I had a fruitful discussion about the Sundays at Six service. Ironically, it was our immersion in Taizé that led
Rehearsing the American Roots Service.
us to explore the idea of offering other kinds of services as well, worship forms that could serve the diverse population of the Cathedral. Our discussion led to a very important question: How does an Anglican cathedral, which is also an American church, with an international congregation, situated in France, express itself in worship? Jon mentioned his interest in American music, particularly It was the first the music from the movie, “O time I had sung Brother, Where Art Thou?” and those pieces in an we explored the possibilities of church, using that music in a worship Episcopal service. Many parishioners hail and it kind of felt … from English-speaking countries good. such as England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Also represented are parishioners who may not come from a faithbased background at all, but bring with them the richness and beauty of their own cultures. Including our high-church choral evensong, a monthly Cathedral tradition for more than a decade, was entirely natural. Jonathan and I continued the brainstorming process with Dean Zachary Fleetwood and Canon for Music Ned Tipton when we returned from Taizé, and began to rethink the Sundays at Six format. Our eventual decision was to start offering a rotation of four distinct kinds of services. “We realized that there might be a reason that the churches which have a Taizé service only do it once a month or once a quarter,” explains Jonathan Huyck. “At the same time we realized that we had other strengths here at the Cathedral that we could make use of for our 6 p.m. service, like our incredible choir (i.e., Evensong) and the fact that we’re an American Church with a deep knowledge of the musical tradition of that country (hence the American Roots Mass).”
Sundays at Six
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Shape-note singing session.
On the first (and the occasional fifth) Sunday of the month, the Taizé eucharist is celebrated. The Taizé service continues to grow in size and enthusiasm, with several faithful Taizé groupies and a regular band of volunteer musicians who rehearse and lead worship on those Sundays. We are also joined by members of the congregation who show up early to learn the chants for that particular day. On the second Sunday of the The period of month we celebrate the American silence was equally as memorable. It Roots Mass. In this service, gospel music, shape-note singing is a time to just and shaker hymns hark back stop and ‘be.’ to the roots of many American parishioners – including my own. Although I came to the Cathedral after seven years working at Good Shepherd Episcopal church in Lexington, Kentucky, I was raised in the Southern Baptist church. Jonathan and I had the chance to try out some of our old favorites – songs like “Down to the River to Pray” and “I’ll Fly Away.” I must admit that was the first time I had sung those pieces in an Episcopal church, and it kind of felt … good. 6
A variety of instruments is used during the World Mass.
Choral Evensong, on the third Sunday of the month, features the Cathedral Choir singing traditional English choral music of centuries past, followed by a simple eucharist in French. Choral Evensong has been integral to worship at the American Cathedral since the 19th century -- and my first experience of it in Kentucky a decade ago (or whenever it was) was a turning point in my life, helping me to “see the light” and join the Episcopal Church. I don’t know if it was the transporting Anglican chant, the beauty of the anthems, or just the presence of God in the hymnsinging, but for me, it was love at first sight. Ned shares my love of the Evensong service. As he says, “So many have been drawn to the Church by the dignified beauty of Evensong over the centuries. It’s the most uniquely Anglican service we offer. It’s our duty and our privilege; our ‘honor and delight.’” On the fourth Sunday of the month, we celebrate the World Mass. This celebration of the Eucharist uses contemporary language and music from throughout the Christian Church: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Austria, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland, India… the list Trinité magazine Spring 2009
Fa-So-La-Mi Many college-age students attend, and obviously connect with, the American Roots Mass. A group from Wesleyan University in Connecticut showed up for our inaugural service toting their own Sacred Harp and Southern
The group had recently taken a class on early American music and had joined a shapenote singing group at Wesleyan. The group now meets once a week in the crypt to have a “sing.” Shape-note teaching American Roots mass hymn.
popularized by its use in many of the early American churches as a way to instruct members of the congregation to sing.
goes on. The World Music service is similar to the American Roots Mass in its liturgical structure, but its use of instruments, especially percussion instruments, makes for an adventurous mix. Some of the music may exist as a traditional folk or community song from a certain region of the world, set to a Christian text. This is very much the way the hymns in the 1982 Hymnal were created – tunes that may have been secular in origin were later matched with sacred texts. As with Taizé, as with American Roots, as with Choral Evensong, I find the World Music Mass a way to connect with people from all over the world who, in their own unique way, find ways to sing and praise God. •
methods consists of four “shapes” that match up with the corresponding solfege syllables. In contrast to our usual Do-Re-Mi system, shape note singing uses only the syllables “Fa-SoLa-Mi.” Usually the texts are very earthy and pioneer-ish. A usual shape-note sing consists of reading through the whole piece while singing the shapes/syllables and then singing the actual text of the piece. The guttural vocal production results in a very distinctive, almost primal timbre. Many shape-note singers comment that it’s been a “good sing” if one ends with a sore throat! Alice Maggio, a student from Wesleyan commented, “Sacred Harp singing is a musical, social, and physical experience all at once; and of course it can be a spiritual or religious one as well. I love how you can really express your own individual voice at the same time that you
Zachary Ullery, Assistant Cathedral Musician, is the principal musician for the Sundays at Six services, directs the two choirs for children and youth, and assists Canon Tipton in all aspects of the music program.
work within the beautiful four-part harmony that your co-singers are creating.”
An interfaith oasis by Anne Swardson
This is my story,” began Amal Duaybis, as the rapt group in the library of the American Cathedral leaned closer to hear her words. But what the soft-spoken educator told the Sunday Forum was not just her story as a Palestinian Christian. It was the story of the Arab Evangelical Episcopal School of Ramallah, a school operating in a difficult time and place, a school that the Cathedral has chosen to assist in partnership. And it was the story of the Palestinians in and around Israel, their story of displacement, frustration and loss. The Mission & Outreach Committee invited Amal, the vice-principal, to spend a week in Paris out of the belief that mission works both ways. We don’t just write checks. We communicate, we reach out – and we in turn are aided and lifted up. Her visit was part of our partnership with a 45-year old educational Development Director Najeh Abu Shamsiyeh, institution that stands out Director Iyad Rafidi, Neil and Nancy Janin with Amal. among Palestinian schools. In the words of Director Iyad Rafidi, “we treat every student as a person, not part of a group.” That’s sorely needed in the West Bank these days. Its 2.4 million Arab residents live under Israeli control of most aspects of their lives. 8
Those without Israeli identity cards can’t enter Jerusalem, six miles away, while those with the cards must leave the West Bank and live and study in Jerusalem to keep those residence permits. Much of the West Bank is studded by evergrowing Israeli settlements, even on territory specifically designated for the Palestinians. In some sectors of the West Bank Palestinians themselves are not allowed to travel freely; few can enter Jerusalem. And in the name of keeping terrorists out, Israel is building a wall hundreds of miles long that is encircling – and encroaching on – Palestinian territory. During the week Amal was in Paris, Israel was attacking the Gaza Strip, another stretch of Palestinian territory to the south. The 22-day war killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis and cost billions of dollars in damage. After Amal returned to Ramallah, Israelis voted in national elections that brought Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu to power again, on a platform of only discussing peace with the Palestinians after he has pursued what he calls “economic peace” and all violence has ended. That means not dealing with such issues as the return of refugees and the encroachment of Israeli settlements into the West Bank. Nor are the Palestinians united. Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist group, rules Gaza, while the West Bank is governed by Mahmoud Abbas’s more peaceful Fatah. Trinité magazine Spring 2009
Things, in short, are a big mess. And this was all the more reason the Cathedral reached out to the school. The contact came from parishioner Neil Janin, who is a member of the board of the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. As they searched for worthwhile projects for Cathedral partnerships while travelling in the area, he and his wife Nancy arranged for a visit of the school during classroom hours. “It was the normality of the school in a world that is so abnormal. That is really what jumped out at me,” Neil recalled. “It looked like a good school, a school you could send your kids to.” They met Amal, as well as director Rafidi. They saw students studying French, as well as English, math and the standard Palestinian curriculum. They visited classrooms, met with teachers, took photos. Amal explained to them the importance the Palestinians place on education in part because they have been dispossessed so often and to so many places that they have learned that the true value lies in what you know -what you can do, what’s in your head. The institution was founded, Rafidi says, in 1954, after the 1948 establishment of Israel had pushed many Arabs out of their homes and into the West Bank. It was a girls’ orphanage at first. Sponsorship by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in the 1960s enabled it to become a school. The student body is about 42 percent Muslim and 58 percent Christian. About 60 percent of the students are boys, mostly because a Christian girls’ school in Ramallah absorbs female students who would otherwise attend this one. The students come from the city and surrounding villages. The troubles in the West Bank have hit the students’ families hard. Many have lost their jobs because they lost the right to work in Israel or because increased Israeli border and other bureaucratic controls reduced funds flowing into the West Bank, thus drying up their income. Annual tuition is between $1,200 and $1,500, a fortune for many in a place where the economy has shrunk by more than half since 1999. And the
budget is in dollars; so when the dollar rises against the shekel, tuition costs become more expensive. Still, the determination of the staff and the support from overseas have kept the school an oasis of calm. The classrooms are colorfully decorated and there is a music room and a computer lab. There are 744 students in classes from nursery school through high school. Most students go on to nearby Birzeit University to complete their higher education. Not only do Palestinians value higher learning, but, as Rafidi points out, with unemployment so high there is little else to do but study.
‘We don’t just write checks. We communicate, we reach out – and we in turn are aided and lifted up.’ While the curriculum follows the standard Palestinian course, the atmosphere is different, Rafidi said, and this is what makes the place stand out. “The relation between teachers and students is more open than at other schools,” he says. “We are firm when it comes to discipline, but we are open when it comes to understanding and working with students.” Morning chapel, for instance, gives teachers, as well as students of all faiths, a chance to speak openly to one another. And, when the student council proposed adding tea to the items sold by the snack shop, the administration readily agreed to give it a try. Iyad Rafidi himself arrived at the school in 1986 as a math teacher and moved to administration in 2004. He lives in nearby al-Bira – where his family is the only Christian one remaining. One difficulty in keeping the desired proportion of Christians at the school, he said, is that Christian families leave the West Bank whenever they get the chance. Not that travel is easy: those with only Palestinian identity documents are not allowed to fly from Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport and must
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Photos Neil Janin
An interfaith oasis
The Cathedral supports scholarships for girls.
Traditional Palestinian music is taught at the school.
instead cross into Jordan to exit the region. Amal was only able to come to Paris because she was born in Nazareth and has an Israeli passport. Rafidi, for his part, has not been to Jerusalem, a few miles away, for 18 years. After his visit, Neil Janin returned to Paris and talked to the Mission & Outreach Committee, of which he is a member, about what the Cathedral could do for the school. The needs were many. As proposed by the committee and ratified by the vestry, the Cathedral made an initial grant of €10,000 to the school and plans to grant up to €15,000 more this year. The money goes for scholarships for 12 girls who could not otherwise afford to enroll. A group from the Cathedral will visit the school during a pilgrimage in May that will also include the principal holy sights of Jerusalem. And Neil has many ideas for future projects, such as a trip by the youth group which might even involve some classes on Palestinian culture. There may be a way to bring some of the students to Paris for a visit or help the school with its website. During her visit, which was financed by the Mission & Outreach Committee, Amal spoke to 10
the entire Cathedral and thanked us for the aid. Her hosts, especially the Janins, Mary Lou Bradley and Sondra Sefton, made sure she was kept busy while here. Not only did she address the Sunday Forum and a St. Anne’s Guild luncheon, she spoke at three area schools: the International School of Paris, the American School of Paris and Marymount. Some of those who heard her speak are now looking at their own projects for helping the school. As Amal summarized her trip in a note afterward to Sondra: “I was touched by the support I felt for us as Palestinians, especially since I came while the Gaza war was going on. It was only after I felt the support of the people at the American Cathedral that I began to recover from that. I was touched by their hospitality and generosity.” • Anne Swardson is chair of the Mission & Outreach Committee and an editor-at-large with Bloomberg News. To join in work supporting this companionship, please contact Neil Janin at email@example.com or Joanne Blakemore at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trinité magazine Spring 2009
by Lillian Davies de Gournay
MARRIAGE: Across cultural boundaries
hen my husband and I were married last year in Austin, Texas, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, our fathers each made a toast. My beau-père opened with the gracious admission that “Texas is bigger than France.” And my dad, taking a circuitous route through a collection of anecdotes from my days as a swimmer, concluded with the advice: “Keep trying.” In these two short phrases, much was said about our French-American marriage – and about marriage in general. By acknowledging a certain territorial competition between our pays natals, my father-in-law recognized that Guillaume and I are from two different places, two unique cultures that each hold an immense pride in their history, landscape, and traditions. He was implying, of course, that we should not put these differences into competition, but rather that we should learn about and accept one another’s distinct backgrounds – and perhaps even start unravelling them from our identities as individuals. My father’s advice, for its part, recognized that marriage is a lifelong project, one to which we must commit love, energy and humility. Although increasingly common, bi-cultural Volume 3
marriages are typically either romanticized or demonized in popular culture. For every romantic comedy that gives a French-American couple a Hollywood happy ending, there are just as many, if not more, that picture it going wrong. Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell fell in love in New York City with more than a little cross-cultural hesitation in “Green Card.” In “French Kiss,” American Kevin Kline, with his disastrous accent, played a Frenchman luring Meg Ryan toward a Gallic romance. More recently (and since 9/11), transAtlantic partnerships have appeared less hopeful on the big screen, particularly when Naomi Watts battled a messy separation with her French husband in “Le Divorce.” Likewise, in “2 Days in Paris,” Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg provide a humorous, if not fiercely stereotypical, take on a doomed FrenchAmerican relationship. The proliferation of books concerning FrenchAmerican social relations also suggests a myriad of challenges. Sarah Turnbull’s charming novel “Almost French” finds a happy ending for her AustralianFrench couple, but not before the Anglophone narrator realizes “how different France is from [her] romantic imaginings.” The late Polly Platt, a dynamic American Cathedral parishioner, published “Love à la Française” in 2008. Under the subtitle, “What happens when Hervé meets Sally,” Platt compiled her journalistic observations of French-American couples in Paris in an assessment of why some of these partnerships end while others last. In her chapter “Marriages that failed,” Platt writes, “No one knows why some marriages hold and some don’t … All you can say is that adding an extra culture to the already uncertain mix is daring, and possibly dangerous overload.” Many French-American couples at the Cathedral
Across cultural boundaries » continued from page 11 were kind enough to share their experiences with me, outlining their perspectives on marriage, culture shock and the belle-famille. Lou Murrin, for example, wisely recalls embarking on a journey “that would take me far from all known cultural, social and linguistic references, and force me to question myself in ways that would be both incredibly exciting and terribly destabilizing.” Allison Lafontaine emphasizes the significance of leaving the familiar, explaining that “marrying outside of one’s culture requires a certain openness, curiosity or sometimes rebellion.” At the same time, “two cultures enrich life and allow you to see new perspectives,” says Amy Plantin, “and if you raise your kids in both languages you have one less subject to fret over when they’re teenagers!” The challenges of French-American marriage that arose most often in my conversations relate to cultural differences. One fellow-parishioner describes this as “not having shared cultural references, so that when I get touched by a song or a phrase, my husband might not ‘get’ it and vice versa.” Helpfully, one French-American couple lent me a charmingly worn copy (a gift from their children two decades ago) of Raymonde Carroll’s “Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience.” Carroll’s anthropological approach to French-American relations, and what she calls “heterocultural ‘No one knows why some couples,” recognizes that marriages hold and some members of each don’t … All you can say is community typically share that adding an extra culture unique habits or attitudes, to the already uncertain often questioned only by mix is daring, and possibly those outside of the group. dangerous overload.’ Helping us to realize that -- Polly Platt our individual viewpoints are defined, in some way, by our cultural group, Carroll employs cultural analysis “as a means of perceiving as ‘normal’ things which initially seem ‘bizarre’ or ‘strange’ among people of a culture different from one’s own.” For example, Carroll identifies differences in 12
the traditional French and American presentation of the home. While Carroll observes Americans decorating and presenting their houses as an open and knowable “terrain,” she sees the French keeping their abode more private – spaces for entertaining more often separated from the kitchen, the office and bedrooms. Through a series of examples, Carroll is at pains to reveal that French and Americans should not consider the other bizarre, strange, or even rude, but rather as acting on a separate set of equally valid customs. Peter Fellowes echoes the same idea in his accompanying essay on marriages of all kinds. Through Carroll’s lens we might also recognize different forms of communication. A FrenchAmerican couple I spoke with noted that Americans often speak in implicit terms – “Have you seen my car keys?” can often mean “Please help me find them.” Whereas, they said, the French tend to speak in explicit terms – asking where the keys are isn’t necessarily an accusation or a request to immediately drop what you are doing to join in the search. Just as important as it is to learn one another’s language, in a French-American marriage it is essential to understand each culture’s communication “style.” Stemming from differences in the French and American education systems, affirmative language also varies. Graduates of what my husband refers to as “Napoleon’s elitist system” can recall harsh grading systems and critical, more often than encouraging, feedback on exams and projects. In the United States, many people can remember receiving more than 100 per cent on a grade school test and, at university level, where students are often treated more as clients, grade inflation is a constant issue. As a result, “pas mal” and “fantastic” might actually be expressing the same sentiment. Guillaume and I first confronted significant cultural differences when we were planning our wedding. Each of our families, representative of our respective cultures, follows different customs concerning the wording of invitations, attire (including hats), style of music and presentation of food. But, more importantly, both of our families Trinité magazine Spring 2009
agreed that our wedding would be celebrated in the Episcopal Church – and this kept our tuxes versus tails debates in perspective. Likewise, when we start our family, I imagine there will be varying opinions on raising children. However, in spite of our cultural differences, it is important to see ourselves and our partners as individuals, separate from surrounding culture and country. Guillaume and I prepared for marriage with Dean Zachary Fleetwood, who introduced us to two useful concepts in this area: “familyof-origin” and “self-differentiation.” Commonly used in marriage and family counselling, “familyof-origin” is a term used to describe our cultural and family beliefs concerning marriage, intimacy, financial habits, and the like. First developed by Tennessee-born psychiatrist Murray Bowen, and presented in his book, “Family Therapy in Clinical Practice,” “self-differentiation” refers to the process by which we go about separating our inner self from these learned behaviors and attitudes. Although we certainly will not resolve these two issues overnight, through thoughtful reflection and discussion, we can evaluate our unique histories, as well as our future together – equipped with the ability to distinguish conflicts between our “families-of-origin” from more serious divisions in our life as a couple. One of the most profound aspects of building a life with an individual from another culture, thoughtfully expressed by an American parishioner married to her French husband for more than 30 years, was that one develops a deep sense of respect for others, other cultures and other beliefs. Although it can sometimes be disorienting to realize that there is more than one right way to do things – whether that’s setting the table or hanging drapes – through the “addition of cultures, the addition of languages, you can make together yet another.” I have heard advice to “respect the differences, learn about the differences,” and to enjoy the fact that my belle-famille is so unlike my own family: “It’s wonderful they’re not the same as your family. How terribly boring that would be!” I also began to appreciate, from my
conversations with French-American couples at the Cathedral, how important this community can be. One Frenchman explained that, although he was raised in the Catholic Church, he feels an “ecclesial communion with the American Cathedral community.” He stressed the importance of worshipping together with his American wife and he recalled the significance of the Saturday evening exclusively Francophone service, formerly celebrated at the Cathedral, becoming ‘It’s that tension between incorporated – through familiarity and mystery French prayer books and that makes for something selected announcements strong.’ and readings in French -- Barack Obama – into Sunday morning’s 11 a.m. service. Dean Fleetwood oversaw this transition – marrying, in a certain sense, the Francophone and Anglophone communities of our Cathedral. And while I believe that politics and marriage tend to mix to dangerous effect – see California’s adoption of Proposition 8, for example – the new American President’s insightful, and truly loving, words seem to resonate with our fathers’ wedding day advice. Barack Obama, the child of a cross-cultural marriage, told Mariana Cook of “The New Yorker”: “Here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.” In the great valley between your home and mine, we can discover each other, and to that end, we will keep trying. •
Lillian Davies is an independent curator and freelance critic of contemporary art. She regularly contributes to ARTFORUM and has recently published the book “Collecting Contemporary Art” with JRP Ringier.
MARRIAGE: by Peter Fellowes
nyone searching the Gospels for an appropriate text for a wedding ceremony will find that Jesus doesn’t have much to say on the subject of marriage per se. On a general plane, however, the Gospels contain essential insights into the meaning of what can prove at times to be a turbulent and, therefore, confusing dimension of life. What could be more portentous than the prospect of entering into an exclusive, lifelong sexual relationship with another human being – with no understanding of the parties’ specific obligations to one another, with no provision for dispute resolution and with a revocation option that can be invoked by either party at will? This is a risky undertaking fraught with powerful emotional crosscurrents; and in such a venture, insight is a precious thing. The Gospels invite us into a Kingdom – a place that defines God’s intention for humanity, for human relationships. It is the path back to the paradise we have lost. We want to follow Jesus down this path, but the troubling thing is that this kingdom inverts every value that the world – and nature itself – has taught us to respect. The Kingdom makes irrational claims upon us. The world beckons us in a direction we can
© The American Cathedral in Paris
The self and the other
confidently call “good” – comfortable domestic arrangements, career progression, financial security, social acceptance, good health. When you think about it, the project of capturing the benefit of these values – the project of the self – really takes a whole lifetime of prudent planning and diligent application. If you’re going to do a proper job, there really isn’t much time for anything else. Falling in love and making a promise of love to another human being confronts us at every turn with awkward moral choices. Jesus turns all these values we cherish on their heads: if we would save our life, we must lose it. This comes as bad news and it stands between us and the Kingdom. Like other dimensions of human experience, falling in love and making a promise of love to another human being confronts us at every turn with awkward moral choices. Within such relationships, however, these moral choices may not be apparent to us as we find ourselves subject to powerful emotional forces and, over time, as Trinité magazine Spring 2009
we become morally obtuse under the influence of habitual patterns that overtake most relationships often without either party being aware. Like most parts of life, the story of erotic love recapitulates the larger story of salvation, with a generous allowance for all of the silly and sadly human details of our lives. This story is emphatically not a straight-line narrative, but more of a winding journey that continually recalls the beginning and anticipates the end of the journey. When we fall in love, we are passionately attracted to another individual – and that is a very agreeable experience (assuming it is mutual), but we move from this great happiness to a real paradise as we find that in craving proximity to another person and getting it, we are giving exactly that which we take. In taking, we give; in possessing, we are possessed. The sexual act is a precise metaphor of this spiritual state. We tumble into a paradise where selfishness is neighbor to selflessness, desire to altruism. That is the powerful spiritual elixir of love – such identity of desire that there is hardly any margin on which selfishness can make itself felt. And this identity of desire leads inevitably and rapidly to an equally intoxicating identity of values, of tastes, of experience, of history. Everything matches or mates. We are in a paradise where the undeniable discrepancies between oneself and another are completely overwhelmed by identity of purpose, identity of desire, identity of being. We become saints of love as memorably chronicled by the many descendents of the courtly love tradition, who wrote of the sacramental power of romantic love. In such a paradise, commitment is a gratuitous formality. We are innocent and we blissfully fail to appreciate that we are naked. Whatever then has the power to take us out of this paradise? Disobedience? Let’s just say that in the end the prerogatives of the individual are inevitably asserted against the one we love. Lines are drawn. Now differences begin to arise – the irremediable differences between the sexes (our comic Volume 3
conformity to a genre that we cannot transcend, but must enact like a habit we can’t shake) and then painful differences in politics, in family histories and traditions, in habits, in taste. When different nationalities are also part of the equation, an initial infatuation with another culture may lead in the opposite direction. Whatever the presenting issue, we inevitably find ourselves expelled from our facile paradise – we are alone again, but now clumsily attached to another who is emphatically not like us. Certain borderlands in the relationship become a kind of no man’s land. These are uninhabited former battlegrounds where there is no hope, seemingly, in further conflict or negotiation, only resignation, an unquiet armistice.
Now we find ourselves cornered by the problematical politics of marriage. The problem is that in a couple, a majority can never be found. When disagreements arise and the couple comes to a fork in the road, all the crucial votes end in stalemate. Even if arm-twisting or horse-trading or sheer domination resolves the impasse, one feels the aftershocks of disagreement. One is aligned with someone who perceives the world in a painfully different way. As the long-suffering husband, Luigi Pirandello, titled one of his plays – it is so if you think it is. One comes to accept that it is profitless to argue the other into seeing it our way. And as a result, one finds, poignantly and comically, that certain borderlands in the relationship become a kind of no man’s land. These are uninhabited former battlegrounds where there is no hope, seemingly, in further conflict or negotiation, only resignation, an unquiet armistice. And then we may find that hidden fears and secret desires of which we may not even have
The self and the other » continued from page 15
conscious knowledge begin to make themselves felt. We find the one we love disappointing us in ways that resonate disturbingly with emotional themes of our childhood or maybe even our DNA; we find the one we love triggering alarms in our hearts. This is a deeply disturbing experience and it is one that TS Eliot compares quite precisely to hell in his comedy “The Cocktail Party”. In the grip of these fears and desires we find ourselves locked in the prison of ourselves, the one with whom we share our life being no more than an image of something we desire or fear. We may even come to appreciate that in certain respects we do not even know the one we love and that we cannot even show that person the loving regard they deserve because we cannot actually bring them to mind as independent authentic human beings. We are listening to a script written in our own hearts, an unconscious emotional memory, that is all that we could ever desire or fear. We become possessive, hyper-sensitive, demanding, ungenerous – we are alone, haunted by our own ghosts. In this way and others we attempt to control the one we love and to reduce the margin of freedom and autonomy we might easily afford to a less important object in our life. Have we not all been amazed by how easily relationships go with friends at work, for example, whereas our relationships at home are encumbered by all sorts of issues, being routed again and again into problematical culs-desac? We have external validation of what loveable people we are: why can’t one’s spouse see what our friends see! And then it may be our special grace to discover by degrees that we are in fact selfish, that it is we (not the other) who is the problem. This comes as bad news and one may hide from it for a long time, even a lifetime. But in the presence of this disappointing insight, we stand on the threshold of the Kingdom. We are invited to die a little to ourselves; we are invited not to press our advantage, not to speak first, not to have the last word, not to assert our prerogative, not to advance the project 16
of the self, but in fact to smile at it, even to give it up. It was not as important as we thought. We are invited, as a wise fellow-parishioner put it, to shock ourselves a little by our own generosity. We are invited to pay attention to the one we love, to listen really, to be available really, to be present really, in spite of ourselves. We are invited to take our part in another story – to recognize ourselves as children of God encumbered by sin, i.e., our predisposition to be wilfully and incorrigibly ourselves. We are invited to dispense with unattractive aspects of ourselves and to take our part in the story of redemption that Jesus proclaims and embodies for us. On the threshold of the Kingdom, we are invited to die a little to ourselves. We are invited not to press our advantage, not to speak first, not to have the last word, not to assert our prerogative, not to advance the project of the self, but in fact to smile at it, even to give it up. This is an act of will, not of feeling, though feelings may assist. It is a conscious and intentional turning; it is both a single, life-changing moment and a recurring moment because we must be bidden again and again to the Kingdom. We are like the wedding guests in the parable – we don’t always make the effort to find the appropriate garments and maybe we show up late. The Kingdom was not our first choice after all. So the decision to love is always and ultimately an act of the will, at which our feelings may or may not assist. In his “Preface to Paradise Lost”, C. S. Lewis quotes the British writer Friedrich Von Hugel as saying: “Feelings must be led by intention.” I think it should be a consoling thought to anyone middle-aged that nature can sometimes hasten our approach to the Kingdom. As we age, Trinité magazine Spring 2009
our appetites grow less insistent; often we take our proud ambitions less seriously than we did in our twenties. Maybe we have attained our dreams and realized they weren’t as fulfilling as we expected or maybe we didn’t realize our dreams and have come to smile at our own grandiosity. The years press down on us, discounting the magnitude of our desires and our fears – they are an old story, a subject about which we already know too much. In taking our parts in the greater story of salvation, in becoming children of God, we find that we have outlived a certain fascination with ourselves. We have realized that our wonderfully unique story is the common story, the only story, and that to love and to be loved is the end for which we were born and the only meaning of lasting value our lives can acquire. As the “project of the self ” loses its urgency, we become this truer version of ourselves – in little moments of grace. If we go down such a path as this, we may find that we are actually loving the one we would love – loving them in a way as genuine as a friend’s love. We see the one we love as they are and our spirit goes out to them in appreciation and, of course, in compassion for who they are, the fragile human being entrusted to our love and not the vivid caricature of what we may have wished or feared they were. In that moment we may find that we are actually giving, actually receiving the wholesome, fortifying bread of life, in a relationship of mutuality. We have found the Kingdom – inaccessible to those controlled by their own feelings or those seeking control over the feelings of others. Now one knows, as if for the first time, the experience of freedom, which is always freedom from the self. Now we are not the young rich man who went away sorrowing because of the cost of citizenship in the Kingdom. We find to our relief that the cost is bearable, that the ego, after all, is the real tyrant in our lives. Now we are free to love the very person we had promised to love. •
Peter Fellowes is the Cathedral’s Senior Warden.
Roussillon Master: A tale of two martyrs by Claire Downey
Photos courtesy of the Cathedral Archives ÂŠ The American Cathedral in Paris
The splendor of the Roussillon Master Triptych can be enjoyed by all thanks to the minutious restoration process undertaken several years ago.
here are plenty of good reasons to get to church early or linger after mass. One of the best is to have a chance to explore the nave, its chapels, and many fine works of art. One treasure you might have overlooked is the medieval triptych in the Chapel of the Martyrs, to the left of the main altar. The beautiful three-panel, wood altarpiece is attributed to the Master of Roussillon, a Catalan artist, perhaps Jaubert Gaucelon, who lived in Perpignan from 1398 to 1434. Another of his works, dedicated to Saint Andrew, can be found in the Cloisters Museum & Gardens. in New York. Like most Gothic art, the Roussillon triptych was designed to tell a story. Within each church, every sculpture, every image captured in stained glass, and every icon was a tribute TrinitĂŠ magazine Spring 2009
to God, but also a means of communicating biblical lessons to a largely illiterate population. Our own triptych tells the tale of two martyrs, children in fact, who were brutally killed for their faith. Justus and Pastor were brothers. They would have been around 8 and 13 years old when, in 304 AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered a new wave of Christian persecutions. When Diocletian’s emissaries arrived in the old Roman city of Complutum (Alcalá de Henares today,) not far from Madrid, they set about rounding up Christians for judgment; in others words, giving them the chance to deny their faith or be killed. Justus and Pastor are said to have left school and run to the scene. Their youth made them brash. Even after being beaten they continued to declare their belief in Christ for this they were beheaded. But their bravery turned them into martyrs and helped sustain their fellow villagers. They were later made saints. Interestingly, when you look at the Roussillon triptych, which shows the brothers’ deaths in the right hand panel, the boys are depicted as adults. This was typical in order to spare viewers the image of children being killed. The story of Justus and Pastor spread throughout Spain and what is today southern France. Churches were dedicated Volume 3
to their memory and their Saint’s day is celebrated on August 6th. If we can appreciate the Roussillon triptych today, it is thanks to several devoted parishioners who realized the rare beauty of the piece and worked to raise the funds needed for its restoration. Mrs. Tudor Wilkinson gave the triptych to the Cathedral in 1969, following the death of her husband. It would have various homes within the building – including near a radiator – until Dean Ernest Hunt’s wife, Elsie Hunt, along with other Cathedral members, undertook the project of having it evaluated by art experts and eventually restored in 2001. Worm holes had to be filled, buckling repaired, the egg tempera paint cleaned, and new gold leaf added to the frame. Fortunately, restorers found that under the grime that builds up over time, the paint itself was in relatively good shape. The restoration was helped along by a generous donation from former Dean and Mrs. Sturgis Riddle ten years ago. And, in 2001, its jewel-like colors and minute details newly revealed, the Roussillon triptych was given a well-deserved place of honor above the chapel altar. •
Claire Downey, a parishioner since 1991, is director of This City Communication in Paris.
Above: detail of triptych before restoration. Below: detail after restoration in 2001.
See www.americancathedral.org for more information on Cathedral treasures and building tours.
Iraq in Paris by Bishop Pierre W. Whalon
Iraqui refugees at French President’s Elysée Palace.
he media is full of reports that life is improving at last in Iraq, and that even a tourist trade is timidly resuming. But unreported by most media is the ongoing persecution of Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities. Canon Andrew White, “the Vicar of Baghdad,” serving at St. George’s Church in that city, recently reported that 83 members of his congregation were murdered last year, and five so far this year. In one church… My own concern for religious minorities in Iraq pre-dates the start of the war. In February 2003, at the Patriarch of Babylon’s invitation, I travelled to Iraq to express solidarity with minority religious leaders and to raise awareness of their situation. Even then, it was clear that the impending war in
Iraq would prove to be very difficult for religious minorities there. But none of us imagined then the extent of the violence that is the reality of Iraq today. At this writing, Yazidi Muslims, Mandaeans (also called Sabeans, they consider themselves disciples of John the Baptist), as well as Christians of all the churches in Iraq, are being brutally threatened. Families have been ordered at gunpoint to convert, or furnish a daughter to marry one of the thugs, or otherwise, told to emigrate and leave all their belongings behind. If they fail to comply, the family is often killed. Parents are often spared, so that they can witness the execution of their children. In August 2007, a family I had met in Baghdad contacted me. For years the family had been adamant about staying in Iraq despite the death of the mother in a church bombing in 2004. Now, however, they had been similarly threatened with death. Despite moving across the entire city, they continued to be dogged by these threats. They asked me to help get them out. My contacts in the U.S. diplomatic community advised me with some embarrassment that, at that time, the U.S. was not accepting any visa applications from inside Iraq. Being a dual national (American-French), I turned to my other country and the French Foreign Ministry to encourage the development of a program to receive such people in France. The religious affairs counsellor to the French Foreign Minister, Stéphane Chmelewsky, immediately began a process to have France accept refugees from Iraq. This fine man and professional diplomat reasoned that since former President Jacques Chirac had made specific promises in 2006 to some Iraqis stuck in Turkey for acceptance by France, this family would make a good test case. In the process, I contacted friends from my circle of Chaldeans. It occurred to us that we could not make requests for asylum for Christians only, and so we formed a French non-profit corporation called l’Association d’Entraide aux Minorités d’Orient. Its purpose is to serve the needs of persecuted Iraqis, especially those who are living in Iraq and have been threatened directly and personally with death for reasons of their religious faith. AEMO is a secular Trinité magazine Spring 2009
first, assisting to process can(laïque) corporation and makes didates, as described above; no favorites among religious second, helping to organize an faiths. They elected me president. appropriate and discreet welcome Through Chmelewsky’s efforts, for the arriving people, relying President Sarkozy announced the With Pope Benedict XVI at the Elysée. on the several faith commuprogram’s creation in December nities and organizations in 2007, following the visit of ForFrance devoted to helping eign Minister Bernard Kouchner refugees; and third, working to Iraq. The President suddenly to find ways to help people authorized the Foreign Ministry return to Iraq once the situation is in March 2008 to admit five stable, so that they may help hundred such Iraqis before 1 rebuild that nation and their July. This caught us a bit by sur- His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of faith communities as well. prise, and required a lot of fast Babylon, with Bishop Whalon in the Cathedral Parish Hall. I don’t think it is a coincidence work. In close collaboration that this policy preceded the with a working group from the Immigration and Foreign Ministries, we have vetted development in October 2008 of a coherent, over 1000 persons to date, members of about 300 comprehensive European policy toward all families, including Mandaeans and Muslims, as refugees under the French presidency of the well as members of all the Christian churches. European Union. President Sarkozy asked all The family whose plight launched the effort member states of the European Union to accept 10,000 Iraqi refugees, which now number arrived last August. Our small group of Parisian Iraqis contacts each two million outside Iraq, with another two million candidate personally. Thanks to our network of estimated to be displaced inside the country. Members of the Cathedral and people and religious leaders inside Iraq, we confirm that they are in fact members of their particular confession, parishes of the Convocation have participated and known to have been personally threatened. in supporting the effort, as well as the Then their names are turned over to the working Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine group, and the French government very rapidly Jefferts Schori. The next phase is the most tenuous, and the most crucial: Iraq must brings them to France. Until recently, our work took place in the become truly safe again for its religious minorities greatest discretion, for obvious reasons. It to return and help rebuild the country. Outside came to light when President Nicolas Sarkozy Israel-Palestine, all the biblical stories take welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Paris. place in what is now Iraq. It is unthinkable AEMO was asked to bring a few refugees to that the land of Abraham would no longer meet both the Pope and the President at the have any of his Christian descendants Élysée Palace on September 12, 2008. We brought (or Jewish, for that matter) living there. Very few of the refugees we have helped want to Majid Raaho, brother of Archbishop Paulus Faraj Raaho, the bishop of Mosul murdered in stay in France—they want to return. It has been a February 2008, as well as a family whose youngest great blessing to have helped save lives. But as the son suffered from a brain tumor. The President entire Middle East is emptying of its Christians— saluted Raaho in his speech welcoming the Pon- churches founded six centuries before the birth of tiff. With obvious pleasure, Pope Benedict hugged Islam—we cannot stop there. • Raaho and the lad, also praying for the boy’s The Rt. Rev. Pierre W. Whalon has served since 2001 as the first recovery (he has since been successfully treated.) elected Bishop in charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches The work of AEMO focuses on three areas: in Europe, of which the Cathedral is the mother church. Volume 3
Mozart String Quartet n°17 in B-flat major. AI knew what the grade meant, but I had no idea why there was a note at the bottom of my paper mentioning a Mozart quartet. I asked a classmate if he understood the cryptic message and he told me that Marty always noted what music he was listening to when he graded a student’s paper. Mystery solved...kind of. Martin E. Marty was one of a kind at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. When I arrived at the school as a 23-year old student in the fall of 1992, Professor Marty had already been teaching there for three decades. Aside from his longevity on the faculty, he was also unequaled among his fellow professors for his prolific publications (he is the author of more than fifty books), his honorary doctorates (75, as of the writing of this piece; it may be more by the time you’re reading it), his uncanny memory (how does he remember the names of all his students when I can’t even remember the combination to my gym locker!?!), his amazing breadth of knowledge and, most of all, his interest in his students. Each year, Marty would invite the first year ministry students out to his home in Riverside for dinner and he would give us a walking tour of his neighborhood, pointing out the many Frank Lloyd Wright houses. And, while there were twenty of us budding ministers, he also invited all of his PhD students whose dissertations he was advising. He didn’t appear to need much sleep, which was a good thing because he probably didn’t have time for much. In addition to his responsibilities at the Divinity School and his own research and writing projects, Marty has served on the board of the magazine, “The Christian Century,” and has written a weekly column for that publication for decades. He’s also received numerous medals, including the National Humanities Medal. His friend Bill Moyers calls him “a phenomenon.” But do not make the mistake of thinking that Marty is an earnest over-achiever. While in seminary as a young man he created a fictitious German theologian in order to finish a paper on time. That theologian – Franz Bibfeldt – became the subject of an annual roast at the Divinity School and his collected essays are some of the best theological parodies around. Having not seen my old professor and advisor since the last millennium, I’m thrilled that he could join us here at the American Cathedral in Paris for two weeks this spring. I am sure that the parishioners of the Cathedral found him to be the fascinating speaker and warm human being that we, his students, enjoyed knowing all those years ago.
- Jonathan Huyck
Trinité magazine Spring 2009
The mimetic principle by Dr. Martin Marty
“The mimetic principle,” most developed by
René Girard, today captures the attention of psychologists, literary critics, war-and-peace makers, and experts in many disciplines. It builds on the desires and behavior of humans who see something they and their rivals both want. As they follow up, the price exacted by both keeps going up. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is matched by build-ups of negative emotions, strategies and arms. We see this in much of the conflict, including that related to religion, in the world today. This is most visible among those who react to terrorists who are rooted in and related to Islamic groups. “They” take innocent lives, so “we” should do the same.” We have seen that practice in Palestinian/Israeli acts of escalation and vengeance. The question for some is: Should we make a principle out of the “mimetic principle” when dealing with civilians, innocents, mothers and children who are in the path of conflict? One of the more explicit counsels for “us” to be indiscriminate in killing those who occupy the soil or live within the states in which Islamist terrorists are active, appeared in Five Towns Jewish Times (December 11). Reproduction of and reports on it quickly spread, and within a day the Times had taken it off their web-site and blocked it on others. Google “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror” and you will quickly find traces of it in its brief prime. We can be glad they took it down, but also can learn from what its author, Lawrence Kulak, wrote in this 20,000-circulation paper issuing from five towns in Nassau County, but aimed at all New York and reaching beyond it. What is “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror?” Kulak uses the definite article as he offers “the solution to international terror”. (The underlining is mine; the stress is his.) “The only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they Volume 3
deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye...They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which...would finally put an end to all Islamic terror: if somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” Kulak criticizes the U. S. presidential response to 9/11 which “labeled Islam a peaceful religion that had been hijacked by radical elements.” The president thus “all but rejected the possibility of taking drastic action...” Kulak is unsentimental in his “kill them all” approach: “Any and all collateral damage in the form of casualties to friends, relatives, or anyone connected to the lives of these terrorists should be swiftly ignored. Public opinion and what is written in the newspapers should also be ignored by nations seeking to avenge the death of its innocent civilians.” The problem of making a principle of this principle is that the rivals, enemies, counterparts, or counterbelligerents who read this kind of editorial--and read them they do--find occasion to raise the price, engage in more indiscriminate violence, and that, in turn inspires and impels us to raise it still higher and engage in ever more violence, “women and children” be damned--or at least thoughtlessly and painlessly annihilated. We all know that in all wars, including those we call “just” or “good,” there are “collateral damages” and deaths of innocents. However, making a principle out of doing so, and especially doing so on religious grounds, only invites more violence. Then there are no eyes to trade for eyes, teeth to exact for teeth, while hatred and violence triumph. • Professor Emeritus of Modern Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Dr. Martin Marty, an ordained Lutheran minister, is a distinguished scholar and widely published commentator on religion in American life. He spent two weeks in residence at the Cathedral in Spring 2009.
Start your Christmas shopping early: inspirational music for the holiday season. Order your copy today. For more information : www.americancathedral.org/en/musicart/choirs.html
Published on Jun 30, 2015