New Morning

Yesterday at the main service at St Helen’s Church in Abingdon-on-Thames, the following announcement was made:

‘We are delighted to announce that our interview process last Monday went well and, subject to legalities, we can announce that the Revd Dr A. K. M. Adam, known as ‘AKMA’ by one and all… will be joining us within the next few months (licensing date to be agreed soon).
AKMA trained for ministry in the US, at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and earned a doctorate from Duke University, pouring his energy into theological education for the life of the church. He and his wife Dr Margaret Adam, a theological ethicist, look forward eagerly to beginning his ministry in Abingdon.
AKMA writes …
‘I began my ministry focussed entirely on serving in parish life, but during my training, my advisors steered me to an academic vocation. After thirty-plus years ministering to students and colleagues while teaching biblical studies in seminaries and universities in the US, Scotland, and England, I have finally learned enough to come home to parish life.
I eagerly look forward now to supporting the Parish of Abingdon-on-Thames, helping Fr Charles and Fr Paul, the wardens and PCC of the Abingdon churches to cultivate the deeply rooted, joyous faith that draws congregations ever closer to the God whom we revere and praise, to Jesus who has taught us a way of faithful life and worship, and the Spirit who holds us together as sisters and brothers adopted into God’s expansive family.’

I’ll be the Associate Priest, with particular responsibility at St Helen’s, but (I reckon) helping out Fr Paul at St Michael’s and St Nicolas’s as needed. The specific contours of my role haven’t been agreed at this point, nor when I will begin, but Margaret and I are deeply relieved that the interval of our heightened precarity has ended.

Plus, I ran my 1.7 this morning, said my prayers, fruit and crumpet breakfast, and will shortly turn to working on a couple of articles that I’d like to pin down before I’m full-on at work in Abingdon.

Harvest Morn

Ran my 1.7, said my prayers, showered, went to Mass, came to oversee the canines while we waited for the dog groomer…

Listened to Songs for Drella. ‘…You can never tell anybody anything. I’ve learned that…’
— ‘A Dream,’ from Andy Warhol’s diaries. Lou Reed, John Cale.

Saturday of Noughth

The usual for a Saturday: my 1.7, prayers, hot breakfast, and now modulating into the day. My James essay came back, with some final adjustments to make; that’ll be my working task for the day. May do some minor shopping.

When An Allusion Isn’t, Except It Is

I had a peculiar dream the other night. Not, I mean, ‘peculiar’ in a narrative or ethical sense, but ‘peculiar’ in a rhetorical sort of way. As part of the dream, I was assigned to read one part of a four-part ‘Call to Worship’ (what one might classically call an Introit). Here’s what’s peculiar: In my dream, the call to worship was borrowed from something by Langston Hughes, and I recognised it as Hughes’s alluding to a biblical passage from the prophets — I was thinking maybe Ezekiel or Zechariah or another of the Twelve. Moreover, I was chuffed because I was pretty sure that others hadn’t recognised the allusion.

When I woke up I was eager to pin down the reference, so I searched first in my Bible search/analysis software; nope, nothing turned up. Try several different translations? No joy. OK, Google search? Nowt. This was getting weird, because even awake I was sure this was a biblical allusion.

So I searched first for the words along with “Langston Hughes”. Google responded, ‘It looks like there aren’t many great matches for your search’, and offered three results (none of which was anywhere near what I wanted). I already knew that Google didn’t think I had a biblical quotation. Where had my memory, or my imagination, come up with ‘A voice from the north; a voice from the south; a voice from the east; a voice from the west…’?

Then Google found it. Or something, anyway — definitely not anything I consciously remembered ever having heard, but it was exactly what the dream had included:

‘Will you despair now so many champions are coming to your help, and the trump of jubilee is sounding long and loud; when is heard a voice from the East, a voice from the West, a voice from the North, a voice from the South, crying, Liberty and Equality now, Liberty and Equality forever! Will you despair, seeing Truth, and Justice, and Mercy, and God, and Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are on your side? Oh, no—never, never despair of the complete attainment of your rights!”’

That’s American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, from An address, delivered before the free people of color, in Philadelphia, New York, and other cities, during the month of June, 1881, about the founding of a college in New Haven adjacent to Yale University, for people of colour. Not anything I have ever memorised, I don’t think, but exactly what my memory had recalled.

But wait! There’s more! Friends who have their 1st-century literature at the tip of their tongue will perhaps have recalled sooner than I did that Josephus reports (in the Judean War VII.12) a prophet named Jesus son of Ananus, whose only prophecy was

A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice to Jerusalem, and a voice to the temple, a voice to the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice to the whole nation.

Not exactly what my dream had produced, but I’m sure that this was the source for what I dreamed, and then found that Garrison had independently composed in his Address.

Sneaking Up on Term-Time

Well, not really ‘sneaking’, as I’m marching directly up to it. Ran my 1.7 in the morning, stopped by my (former) former employer to pick up some books wrongly posted to me there, then worked and breakfasted in East Oxford cafés. Home again, then into Oxford to revise gobbets with a student, then meeting first-years, then home for the evening. I’m hoping tomorrow will close out my leftover work debts from last year, before I risk incurring more next week.

Building a Type Library

Dr Nadine Chahine undertakes to build a type library for less than $250/£210 — this is a helpful exercise, but I dissent from all her suggestions. Now, partly she’s chosen the week of a 50% discount on designs from the website she writes for, which luxury you and I won’t necessarily have…

She chooses two sets of sans faces. we’ve already commented on my weariness and dissatisfaction with sans type, so I’ll just note that I like Museo Sans well enough (not exclusively the Display variety), but I eschew geometric sans-es entirely. So bravo for Museo Sans, or TheSans for that matter, and let’s set aside Nexa. If I were choosing for a church or very small company, I’d lean toward Alegreya Sans, which you can use for free under the Google fonts library.

She chooses two script-y faces, one ‘handwritten’ and one closer to classic script designs. I’m not sure how urgently a basic library needs a script face, but I’d be more inclined to adopt an architectural-style hand-lettered look, with perhaps just one formal script (is I must). I greatly admire P22 Eaglefeather for a hand-lettered face, but there are dozens; for a formal script, I would look for a gently calligraphic appearance, like a restrained version of Zapfino. If you’re taking pains to stay accessible, it’s worth remembering that script faces can be more challenging for readers who struggle with unfamiliar faces.

I would then also add a very plain type family, something that doesn’t make a strong impression (such as Electra or one of its clones, or a Garalde such as Sabon), and a more distinctive serif (such as Alegreya or a version of Clarendon or Cheltenham).

One sturdy but not outlandish display face, something that will make a statement about your church or business — the identity face for titling or display signage. Chacun à son goût, but one might take Windsor Bold or Cooper Black, as an example.

If I had more time I’d price that repertoire out, but one ought to be able to find versions for an endurable price. As The Provost of Glasgow always reminds me, though, one wants to beware of pricing based on the number of authorised users; what’s affordable for one or two users rapidly becomes a backbreaker for five to ten users.

Such A Day

I gave myself this morning off from running; I didn’t sleep well, and will probably need to nap later in the day. I spent yesterday at a job interview, and in the aftermath am utterly wiped put from the energy output. I can’t write about the location or result yet, but I’ll have mor3 to say about the process eventually.

Resting day today.

Much The Same

I neglected to mention that yesterday I worked on a homily for tomorrow morning’s job interview, so there’s that. Then this morning I ran, said Morning Prayer, scuttled off to Mass, returned, ate breakfast, and hammered away at some home tasks. Now I’m marking, catching up on some leftover marking from Trinity (oops), and in a short while I will take a wee break to let my brain settle.