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Archbishop Gives Guest Sermon

Discusses Modern Meaning of Worship

By Gregory S. Krauss

In the book of Genesis, Jacob proclaims: "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it."

Worshippers at Memorial Church yesterday not only knew about, but were honored by, the presence of a different sort of Lord--the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lord Runcie of Cuddesdon--who is second only to Queen Elizabeth II in the Church of England--delivered a sermon entitled "How Awful Is This Place!" before a packed church.

The Archbishop canvassed a broad range of themes, focusing on the changing meaning of worship in modern society.

The unity of language that characterized simpler times has been broken by the increasing complexity and specialization of the worlds of business, science, academia and the arts, he said.

Referring to the war that Memorial Church commemorates, the Archbishop cautioned the audience to avoid worship of tyrants such as Hitler.

In our own times, he said, people have blindly pursued gods such as money, fame and power rather than faith.

The Archbishop illustrated his point by talking about a former female student who "worshipped a Puerto Rican wrestler named Bruno." The audience erupted in laughter.

The sermon was held on the Church's annual visitation day--when the University host members of the Overseers' Committee to Visit the Memorial Church. The Archbishop, who also lectured at Harvard's tercentenary celebration in 1986, is a member of the visitation committee.

Also present was Nathan M. Pusey '28, University president from 1953 to 1971, who celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday with 24 family members. Pusey read the morning's lesson from the Old Testament, Genesis 28:10-17.

"It is a good and wonderful thing to see the Pusey family in their rightful place in their rightful pew," said Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Minister in the Memorial Church Peter J. Gomes.

The Archbishop's full title--the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Runcie of Cuddesdon, 102nd Archbishop of Cantebury, High Steward of the University of Cambridge--beat out even Gomes' for the distinction of the longest moniker. On a sign outside the church, the theme of his sermon had to be squeezed to make room for the Archbishop's titles.

Students said they were impressed by the Archbishop's presence.

"I'm excited because the Canterbury Tales were about pilgrimages to see him and now he's coming to see us," said Jennifer J. Hoffpauir '00.

Matthew C. Warburton '00 said he was impressed by some of the Archbishop's connections.

"He knows the Queen. They're tight. Think about that," he said.

Despite his sermon's title, the Archbishop also discussed some of Harvard's advantages, citing the University as a vital, if traditional, center for the worship of ideas. Discoveries at Harvard have led to the splitting of the atom, the development of new wonder drugs and the overturning of old ideas.

One church-goer had another interpretation of the sermon's title.

"I think when he says 'awful' he means 'full of awe,'" said Susan Wexler, who said she is a regular attendant of services at Memorial Church.

After the service, Pusey stood in the church's Nathan Pusey room, surrounded by portraits of himself, and greeted well-wishers and family members. On Saturday, Pusey and his family visited Loeb House, the former residence of Harvard's presidents, where Pusey raised his three children.

Two of Pusey's grandchildren, Drake S. Pusey '97 and Jennifer L. Pusey '00, are current undergraduates.

Pusey is expected to attend Commencement this year to see his grandson, Drake, graduate.

These days, Pusey said, his primary activities are "reading and staying alive." Despite his joking, others at the celebration thought Pusey looked chipper for a man born before both World Wars and whose political adversary was Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican who assailed many Harvard professors during the Cold War.

Asked about Pusey's health, Gomes replied, "Looking well? My God, my face is more lined than his!"

"60 Minutes" Interview

Yesterday evening, Gomes also was featured on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," in which he was interviewed by CBS correspondent Morley Safer.

Discussing his identities as a gay, black and Republican reverend, Gomes--who has served as Memorial Church's minister since 1974--told Safer, "I am something of a contrarian. I don't know any other way of being a contrarian than embodying it in one's persona.

"It is a good and wonderful thing to see the Pusey family in their rightful place in their rightful pew," said Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Minister in the Memorial Church Peter J. Gomes.

The Archbishop's full title--the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Runcie of Cuddesdon, 102nd Archbishop of Cantebury, High Steward of the University of Cambridge--beat out even Gomes' for the distinction of the longest moniker. On a sign outside the church, the theme of his sermon had to be squeezed to make room for the Archbishop's titles.

Students said they were impressed by the Archbishop's presence.

"I'm excited because the Canterbury Tales were about pilgrimages to see him and now he's coming to see us," said Jennifer J. Hoffpauir '00.

Matthew C. Warburton '00 said he was impressed by some of the Archbishop's connections.

"He knows the Queen. They're tight. Think about that," he said.

Despite his sermon's title, the Archbishop also discussed some of Harvard's advantages, citing the University as a vital, if traditional, center for the worship of ideas. Discoveries at Harvard have led to the splitting of the atom, the development of new wonder drugs and the overturning of old ideas.

One church-goer had another interpretation of the sermon's title.

"I think when he says 'awful' he means 'full of awe,'" said Susan Wexler, who said she is a regular attendant of services at Memorial Church.

After the service, Pusey stood in the church's Nathan Pusey room, surrounded by portraits of himself, and greeted well-wishers and family members. On Saturday, Pusey and his family visited Loeb House, the former residence of Harvard's presidents, where Pusey raised his three children.

Two of Pusey's grandchildren, Drake S. Pusey '97 and Jennifer L. Pusey '00, are current undergraduates.

Pusey is expected to attend Commencement this year to see his grandson, Drake, graduate.

These days, Pusey said, his primary activities are "reading and staying alive." Despite his joking, others at the celebration thought Pusey looked chipper for a man born before both World Wars and whose political adversary was Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican who assailed many Harvard professors during the Cold War.

Asked about Pusey's health, Gomes replied, "Looking well? My God, my face is more lined than his!"

"60 Minutes" Interview

Yesterday evening, Gomes also was featured on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," in which he was interviewed by CBS correspondent Morley Safer.

Discussing his identities as a gay, black and Republican reverend, Gomes--who has served as Memorial Church's minister since 1974--told Safer, "I am something of a contrarian. I don't know any other way of being a contrarian than embodying it in one's persona.

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