The Pew Next To You

Joan Brand-Landkamer is shown here in her studio. Her gold and highly-colored icons are an important part of Cathedral liturgies. Who sits in the pew next to you? Maybe you will never know all your fellow parishioners, but to help you get acquainted, here are a few glimpses of some of our St. James "regulars."

Brand-Landkamer's icon
A recent example of Brand-Landkamer's iconographic artistry.
Those beautiful gold and highly-colored icons that are carried in processions on Sunday masses are the work of parishioner and iconographer, Joan Brand-Landkamer. Although Landkamer now lives in San Diego, California, her presence continues in our midst as the icons that commemorate holy days and saints are a part of our liturgies. Also, her icon-styled cross is the center of the Taizé prayer every Friday night in the Cathedral.

The custom-built wooden stand that the icons are placed on in the Cathedral is a reproduction of a medieval music stand. Dr. James Savage, music and liturgy director, showed a woodcut image to parishioner and craftsman, Frank Robl, and from that picture he was able to design and create our medieval reproduction. Robl, a civil engineer, also made the cross outside the chapel entrance to the Cathedral, and the Lenten cross and stand that is in the reconciliation room. The blackened corpus on the cross was recovered from the arson fire in the Cathedral sacristy. Frank is interested and knowledgeable in architectural design, Cathedral history and church liturgy. He is one of a group of parishioners who conduct weekly Cathedral tours.

Parish faces you may have noticed in the media recently include Janet Collins and Robert Clark. Janet, a former New York City ballerina, was on a recent cover of Dance Magazine. Collins was the first black person to perform on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. She was recognized as one of 75 African-American women, many of retirement age, whose portraits were in a remark able exhibition and book, I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America by Northwest photographer Brian Lanker.

"I used every gift God gave me," said Collins, who once won an important dancing part with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo but refused when told that she would have to paint herself white. "The gift of love is the greatest," she continued. "It's a difficult thing because there are people I know that I can't stand. But love doesn't mean affection. It means treating them justly even when they are terrible people. That takes a bit of doing, an awful lot of grace."

Cover of Clark's novel Author Robert Clark, who was confirmed this year at the Cathedral during the Easter Vigil, was the subject of a recent cover article in The Seattle Times Pacific Magazine. Clark has written two works of nonfiction, James Beard: A Biography and River of the West: Stories of the Columbia. He recently switched to fiction and wrote his first novel titled In the Deep Midwinter. Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley said of Clark, "At a time when 'serious' American fiction is wan and self-referential, Robert Clark reminds us that the novel can still be pertinent, can still exist in the real world."

Joan McDonell, a Seattle Times' editor, is a parishioner of St. James, a volunteer and member of the Cathedral Development Committee.

Back To Aug 97 Issue