Panel discusses significance of Saint John’s Abbey and University Church

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September 21, 2011

Two experts on the Saint John's Abbey and University Church will speak about its architectural and theological significance as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the church's dedication. Tom Fisher, professor of architecture and dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, and Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin, Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in room 264, Quadrangle Building, Saint John's University.

The event, co-sponsored by Saint John's Abbey and the Benedictine Institute of Saint John's, is free and open to the public.

Fisher was educated at Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history. He previously served as the regional preservation officer at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, the historical architect of the Connecticut State Historical Commission and the editorial director of Progressive Architecture magazine. He has lectured or juried at over 40 schools and 60 professional societies, and has published 35 book chapters or introductions and over 250 articles. He has also written six books.

Franklin is a native of Mississippi, who received his doctorate in history from Harvard University and served on the faculty of Saint John's University from 1974 to 1992. He subsequently served as teacher and dean at two Episcopal seminaries, the General Theological Seminary in New York and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was ordained in 2005 and became bishop of the Diocese of Western New York in April 2011. He co-edited Readings in Christian Humanism while at Saint John's and later contributed "Saint John's and the Liturgical Movement: A Personal View," to the sesquicentennial book, Saint John's at 150.

The Saint John's Abbey and University Church was designed by the Hungarian architect and former member of the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer. Construction of the church lasted from May 19, 1958, to Aug. 24, 1961.