Get your coffee, hot chocolate, chai, or sparkling water – whatever you want to imbibe.
Settle in now while I show you these next images from the day of the Symposium.
Ready for Part 2?
Here we go!
London – Day 3 –
The C.S. Lewis Symposium
It was a chilly and blustery day as is typical for London this time of year
but we were blessed with some sunshine to counter the cold wind.
No one in the queue to get in to St Margaret’s complained about the cold
and we saw lots of good-natured talking among those waiting for the doors to open.
Much to my delight, one of the first people I recognised in the queue is my beautiful friend,
Sarah is a wonderful writer who lives here in Colorado like me and,
as God would have it, Sarah also happens to be friends with another beloved friend and writer of ours,
I continually marvel at “the staff work of the Omnipotence”,
and at His great kindness in giving us fellowship with kindred kind nearby so we don’t grow too lonely.
Sarah was accompanied by her mom, Sally and her brother, Joel.
It made for a lovely setting to do a quick family portrait, even if it is less than half their family!
Clarkson family in the Symposium queue
Off to the corner of St. Margaret’s there is a beautiful hydrangea shrub,
which during late summer must be quite lovely,
yet even as it prepares to enter its winter nap,
the dried blooms still hold their marvelous architectural form
as a reminder of their summer glory.
Dried Hydrangea – London
Then much to my absolute surprise and delight, who should I see in the blustery queue?
The ever wonderful Dr. Jerry Root!
Jerry is one of the most marvelous men it has ever been my pleasure to meet
and it was a great joy to have him there in the midst of this event with all of us.
There is a strong goodness attendant with Jerry Root and, like all goodness and holiness,
it influences and grounds everyone else around it.
I personally felt the strong, deep kindness of the Lord’s presence and something very much
akin to spiritual security just knowing that Jerry Root was in our company there.
And then, not surprisingly, friend Andrew Lazo pops into view and the queue, now stretching out long,
becomes a merry party of friends greeting each other!
Jerry Root and Andrew Lazo – London
It seemed like just seconds and we were joined by another friend,
Jason Lepojärvi, Researcher at the University of Helsinki
and former president of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society.
Andrew Lazo and Jason Lepojärvi – London
Just then I happened to glance up through the trees and caught this view
of the Union Jack flying in the wind over Sanctuary Road.
How very fitting for the occasion!
Union Jack Flying over Sanctuary Road – London
The doors to St Margaret’s were opened at last and the chilly queue poured orderly but quickly
into the warm and welcoming environment of the church.
The walls of St Margaret’s are blessed to host very beautiful stained glass windows
and the very old and beautiful stone of England which I love so dearly.
The lights were warmly golden and everyone seemed very excited about being there
and seeing others that they knew among the several hundred of us present!
Westminster Abbey has restrictions about photography in both the Abbey itself and St. Margaret’s,
so much to my enduring disappointment,
I cannot offer any images inside St Margaret’s of the Symposium gathering.
I can, however, offer you links to the audio recordings of both the superb presentations by
speaking respectively on Lewis through the framework of Reason and Imagination
and to the Panel discussion that followed later.
If you want to listen to the recordings, click on the bolded titles of their talks.
In truth, I believe listening to these recordings will serve you far better than the images I could have created.
Alister McGrath gave a very fine presentation and toward the end he smiled,
something he does not often do during his lectures.
It was grace-filled and so delightful it really was one of my favourite moments of that afternoon.
I believe, it reflected something of the warm sense of camaraderie that really filled that room.
This presentation was followed with a truly marvelous talk by Malcolm Guite speaking on
the imaginative elements of Lewis’s integration of intellectual and spiritual being.
The recording of this is wonderful and really takes me right back to the experience.
Believe it or not, I can actually hear my husband Peter clapping!
By the time we left these two happy presentations dark had fallen on London
and attendees were invited Evensong services next door in the Abbey.
Front of St Margaret’s in late dusk – London
After Evensong we all returned to St Margaret’s
for the panel discussion chaired by Dr Michael Ward.
I cannot speak for everyone there – I know there are always mixed reviews –
but I loved this panel and thought it was one of most enjoyable panels I’ve ever listened to.
It was a lovely picture of intellectual diversity with various disciplines and backgrounds being represented.
I greatly enjoyed the beautiful range of voices and accents, filling me evermore with the sense of
how much the Lord delights in the uniqueness of His creations,
perhaps especially as demonstrated through language and words.
Here is a link to the splendid recording of the panel discussion.
This recording is truly worth listening to and unlike so many discussions set in this form,
the responses to the audience questions is just fabulous!
After all this, with hearts and minds overflowing with the afternoon’s offering
we left in various clusters and groups to find some dinner and fellowship.
On our own way and while we gathered up our immediate party
we met up with lovely Martha Linder, as elegant and beautiful as I have ever seen her.
Martha Linder – London
As we sauntered off to dinner
I was gratified to be met with a series of street lamps,
something I love but seldom find where I live.
I made a number of images of lamps lit, including this one.
You can watch for e-cards from me using this one in the near future
and you’ll know the story behind the image!
Westminster Abbey Lamp Light
Though by now it was late in the day,
what followed next was one of my personally favourite experiences of the entire trip.
Our group of friends gathered together in clusters at the elegant restaurant
The Blue Boar right across the street from The Sanctuary House Hotel where many of us were staying.
For the next two hours we had the lovely time of lingering together and enjoying each other’s company over a meal.
The Company We Kept at The Blue Boar
One of the quiet wonders of the event for me was watching my son-in-law Jay,
whom I have known since his boyhood,
talking with Diana Glyer and with Will Vaus over dinner.
I watched the pure marvel of God’s goodness
in bringing my family life into harmonious orbit with some of my dearest friends
and with my professional world in that two hour period.
Jay’s face was something no image can really capture but it lives vividly in my own mind’s eye.
I loved listening to him discuss questions with Diana and Will on one side of me,
and turn my head and see Peter discussing issues with Stan Mattson on the other side of me
and then laugh with delight talking with Jean Mattson in front of me.
Something in that time was simply, beautifully, blissfully magic.
Jay Mountjoy at The Blue Boar – London
Jay and Diana discussing Lewis – London
Josh and Will Vaus at The Blue Boar – London
Golden Girls – Diana Glyer and Hannah Thomas
Hannah is a friend of Diana’s and joined as a companion on this journey.
She is one of my favourite gifts of the trip.
I did not know her before but my circle of friendship has been enriched by our meeting.
Hannah by candle light at the Blue Boar – London
With full hearts and full bellies,
we wandered off to our respective shelters for the night
carrying happy hopes for the coming day in Westminster Abbey.
Click here for Part 1 of this series.
Click here for Part 3 of this series.
Click here for Part 4 – Tea at the Kilns.
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is passionate about the disciple making. Reflecting that calling, she is the Founder and Executive Director of Cultivating Good | True | Beautiful, and of The Cultivating Project, a discipling initiative for Christians engaged in the arts, with a special emphasis on writers. Lancia is a board member and patron of the Anselm Society, and Regional Representative of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. She is President and CEO of a thriving environmental consulting and construction firm based in northern Colorado which she runs with her husband Peter. They are parents to seven children, and are grandparents to a beloved flock of grandchildren. Lancia loves strong coffee with cinnamon, writing, website design, David Austin roses, Marvel movies, road trips with Peter, and nearly every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis, J.R. R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald.