"Love Letters to Jack, Love Letters to God: An Exploration of the works of Joy Davidman & C.S. Lewis" banner image

Brenau University and Grace Episcopal Church will present a symposium on the works of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis on March 23-24. Join guest scholars and Brenau faculty for discussions and presentations celebrating these two prolific and compelling 20th century authors.

Events | Registration | Presenters | The C.S. Lewis Collection

Thursday, March 23

Q&A about the work of Joy Davidman with author Dr. Don W. King and Drs. Sandi Brim & Winter Elliott

12:30 p.m.
The Quiet Zone of Brenau Trustee Library

The symposium events begin on Thursday, March 23 with a Q&A panel discussion featuring author Dr. Don W. King and Brenau English professors Drs. Sandra Brim and Winter Elliott. The author and panelists will explore aspects of the work of Joy Davidman, poet and wife of C.S. Lewis. This event, free and open to the public and students of Brenau, will be held at 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Quiet Zone of Trustee Library.

Love Letters to Jack: The Work of Joy Davidman

7 p.m.
Hosch Theatre at Brenau’s John S. Burd Center

Presentation by author Don W. King with readings by Brenau Theatre professor Gay Hammond

Scholar and author Dr. Don W. King will present a lecture titled A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman’s Love Sonnets to C.S. Lewis on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Brenau’s Hosch Theatre. King will discuss aspects of Davidman’s writing, noting her letters, essays, fiction and poetry. Of special interest is the recent discovery of 250 poems that have been published for the first time in King’s book, A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman Love Sonnets to C.S. Lewis and Other Poems (Eerdmans, 2015). A careful reading of her poetry suggests that her place in 20th century American literature needs to be reassessed. King will be joined on stage by playwright, actor and Brenau Theatre professor Gay Hammond, who will present readings of selected Davidman sonnets. The presentation, free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception hosted by the Office of the President, where King’s books will be available for purchase.

Friday, March 24

Dinner at Grace Episcopal Church

6 p.m.
Parish Hall at Grace Episcopal Church

Tickets for dinner are $10 and should be purchased in advance using the form below.

Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville will host a dinner preceding the evening presentations on C.S. Lewis. Tickets for dinner are $10 and should be purchased in advance on the form below. If you would rather pay by check or cash, of for more information, please call 770.536.0126.

Love Letters to God: C.S. Lewis Presentations

7 p.m.
The Nave of Grace Episcopal Church

Moderator: Rev. Stuart Higginbotham
Presenters: Dr. David Barnett, Rev. Mike McCann, Carl McColman and Dr. Bruce Morgan

The symposium continues at Grace Episcopal Church with an evening of presentations on the life and work of C.S. Lewis. Dr. David Barnett of Brenau University will discuss stages of faith development and spiritual growth as expressed in Lewis’ work. Rev. Mike McCann of Grace Episcopal and Lakeview Academy will explore theological aspects of Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Author Carl McColman will explore how Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader combines elements of Christian ascetical/mystical theology with the “wondrous voyage” genre of Celtic mythology, as illustrated in The Voyage of St. Brendan. Dr. Bruce Morgan of First Baptist Church in Griffin, Ga., will examine Lewis’ writings on grief and loss after the death of Joy Davidman. The presentations are free and open to the public.

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Kathy Amos Portrait

Kathy Amos is the executive director of the Center for Lifetime Study and the Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute program. Kathy helped to start BULLI more than 20 years ago, and today it is the premier lifelong learning program in Northeast Georgia, offering non-credit academically oriented courses for mature adults. She is also the director of the Wisdom Project, a senior leadership program that grew from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 initiative. She has served on the board of the Northeast Georgia History Center where she is the co-founder of the Center’s annual Ghost Walk. She has also served as president and board member of the city of Gainesville’s Historic Preservation Commission. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in organizational leadership from Brenau.

David Barnett, CFO and Senior Vice President of Administration.

Dr. David Barnett is Brenau University’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. A native of Smyrna, Georgia, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from Mercer University in 1979, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership/organizational development and an education specialist graduate degree from University of Louisville. He came to Brenau in 2005, after working previously at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia, as an associate vice president, dean of instruction for regional campuses and assistant professor of education, and at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, as assistant director for student support services. He is also an active member of the Gainesville Rotary Club and an education committee member for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 Project.

Sandra Brim

Sandra Brim received her M.A. from the University of Wyoming and her Ph.D. from Ohio University, both in English Literature. She was on the faculty of the University of Georgia and then of North Georgia College before coming to Brenau, where she has taught for the last 20 years. She has been on the board of the Georgia Poetry Circuit for 21 years, serving as Coordinator since 2006. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, including The Georgia Review, Hurakan, and Ekphrasis. She and her husband live in Gainesville, Georgia, and they have two grown daughters.

Winter Elliott

Winter Elliot is the director of the Honors Program and an English professor in Brenau University’s College of Fine Arts & Humanities. Elliot graduated in 2004 from the University of Georgia with a Ph.D. in English. With a background in medieval literature, Elliot is familiar with C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, both scholars of medieval literature as well as writers of their own fantasy literature. She is currently teaching a class on both Lewis and Tolkien, and her students are excited to attend the upcoming discussions of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis.

Gay Hammond

Gay Hammond is resident dramatist for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, director of WonderQuest and associate professor of theater at Brenau. In the theater for almost 40 years, Gay continues to be a working actor, director and playwright with almost 40 scripts, nearly all fully produced and found at newclassicsplays.com. She calls acting her first love and says it remains a joyous indulgence. She was one of the first participants of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, the joint theater program between Brenau and University of North Georgia, and she has a bachelor’s degree in theater from Brenau College, a master’s in theater and speech from University of Louisville and a master’s of fine arts in playwriting from Spalding University. She remains proudest of her greatest productions, her children, professional actors Amelia and Connor and the continuing delight of her furry family member, wire-fox terrier, Thistle.

Rev. Stuart Higgenbotham

Fr. Stuart Higginbotham is the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia. He studied in the pre-med program at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, and did his theological studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia and the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Fr. Stuart will receive his Doctor of Ministry degree from Sewanee in May. He is an oblate with the Camaldolese Benedictine community at New Camaldoli in Big Sur, California, and he is beginning further work in the Christian contemplative tradition with Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr, Tilden Edwards, Laurence Freeman and other scholars and practitioners from around the world with “The New Contemplative Exchange” at St. Joseph’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.

Don King

On the faculty of Montreat College since 1974, Don W. King is Professor of English, and from 1999 to 2015 he served as Editor of the Christian Scholar’s Review. His essays and reviews have appeared in Books & Culture, Christianity and Literature, SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review, Literature and Religion, The Journal of Inklings Studies, and Studies in the Literary Imagination, and he contributed articles on C.S. Lewis’ poetry to The C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia and to C. S. Lewis—Life, Works, and Legacy. He is author of C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse (Kent State University Press, 2001), Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter (Kent State University Press, 2008), Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman (William B. Eerdmans, 2009), Taking Every Thought Captive: Forty Years of the Christian Scholar’s Review (Abilene Christian University Press, 2011), Plain to the Inward Eye: Selected Essays on C. S. Lewis (Abilene Christian University Press, 2013), The Letters of Ruth Pitter: Silent Music (University of Delaware Press, 2014), The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition (Kent State University Press, 2015), A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman’s Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis and Other Poems (William B. Eerdmans, 2015), and Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman (William B. Eerdmans, 2015). His working manuscripts include The Collected Poems of Ruth Pitter and Soldier, Writer, Inkling: A Life of Warren Hamilton Lewis.

Rev. Mike McCann

The Rev. Michael McCann is priest associate at Grace Episcopal Church. Born in Missouri and raised in New Jersey, McCann received his bachelor’s in history from Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He went on to earn his master’s of divinity in church history and theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1971 where he did his thesis on C.S. Lewis as a theological writer in non-fiction and fiction. He was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Massachusetts the same year and ordained a priest in 1972.

In 1980 McCann came to Grace as assistant rector, leaving seven years later to teach full time at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville. He is now chair of the social studies department and sponsor of the Honor Council at Lakeview. As Priest Associate at Grace, McCann assists with preaching, worship and teaching part time.

He is married to Candy McCann and they have four children.

Carl McColman

Carl McColman is a contemplative Christian writer and blogger based in Stone Mountain, GA. He is the author of numerous books, including Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality and Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages. His areas of interest include the history of Christian spirituality and monasticism, Celtic mythology, and interreligious dialogue. His book The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader examines the Narnia book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in light of Christian mysticism and Celtic wisdom.

Bruce Morgan

Dr. Bruce Morgan obtained his undergraduate degree at Carson­-Newman College, and holds his Master and Doctorate degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as Senior Pastor and as Interim Pastor in several congregations, and served First Baptist Church of Griffin, Georgia, as Senior Pastor for 33 years, where he now holds the honorific of Pastor Emeritus. He has also been active in several civic organizations such as the Rotary Club and the American Heart Association, as well as lending his teaching abilities to several colleges and universities.

The C.S. Lewis Collection at Brenau University

Trustee Library at Brenau University has recently acquired a premier collection of the works of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. Presented in honor of Brenau alumna Dr. Bobbie Jean Collins Jones (WC ’64), the collection was made possible by the generous gifts of her husband, Dr. Warren Jones. The Brenau C.S. Lewis collection consists of nearly 100 titles including the author’s work in science fiction and fantasy, children’s literature, philosophy, theology and Christian apologetics, essays and literary criticism, as well as titles about Lewis and media performances of his work. Details of the collection are available at http://libguides.brenau.edu/cslewis.

Photo of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis used by permission of The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.

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