Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Office for Religious Life, the Sarum Seminar, and Stanford Continuing Studies. It explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world.
The Medieval and Modern Cathedral: A Conversation with the Deans of Salisbury and Grace Cathedrals
When you walk into a cathedral, on Nob Hill or in Europe, whether to attend a service, or to hear a concert, or just to look around, you may be struck by questions about the cathedral itself. What’s it like to work in this beautiful place every day? Isn’t it expensive to maintain, especially if it’s 500 or 1,000 years old? How does this institution keep going and stay relevant for centuries, even as society, religion, and politics are ever changing?
The deans of two Anglican cathedrals, Jane Shaw of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and June Osborne of Salisbury Cathedral, England, will share their experiences and the wisdom they have gained as leaders of these great institutions. They will appear in conversation with KQED’s Michael Krasny.
Salisbury Cathedral dates from the year 1220, and one of its founders helped negotiate the Magna Carta. The cathedral weathered the Reformation and all the religious and political upheavals of the centuries that followed. By contrast, Grace Cathedral has its roots in the California Gold Rush. The building was begun in 1928 and completed in 1964, and immediately became one of the three great Episcopal cathedrals in the United States.
The deans will talk about how the role of the cathedral in society has evolved from medieval times to the present, and about the role of faith in an increasingly secular world. We will also ask them to reflect on their own personal experiences as pioneering women in their profession, leading important religious institutions that traditionally have been led by men.
Dean of Salisbury Cathedral
The Very Reverend June Osborne was one of the first women to be ordained in the Church of England, and the first woman to serve as dean of one of its medieval cathedrals. She is a passionate campaigner for equality in society and diversity in the church, and is also deeply involved in the issue of global poverty, with particular focus on the Sudan.
Dean of Grace Cathedral
The Very Reverend Jane Shaw is a distinguished theologian and historian. She received an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in history from UC Berkeley. Prior to her appointment in San Francisco, she was dean of divinity and fellow of New College, Oxford, and taught history and theology at the university for sixteen years. Her recent books include Miracles in Enlightenment England and Octavia, Daughter of God.
Michael Krasny, Moderator
Professor of English, San Francisco State University
As popular host of KQED radio’s award-winning news and culture program, “Forum,” Michael Krasny has one of the most recognizable—and respected—voices in the Bay Area. He is also a widely published scholar, critic, and fiction writer, and is the author most recently of Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest.
Free and open to public.