Looking back on his first season as director of the Department of Religion, the Rev. Robert Franklin is tired. Tired, but happy and full of plans for the future.
It may be the end of another season for Chautauqua, but for the Institution’s senior administrative staff, it’s just the beginning of nine months spent brainstorming, planning and programming for summer 2015.
“I am wrestling with my inaugural sermon. It is a time of a divided heart, to say thanks to Joan for extending her gifts and graces and publically receive the baton. [The sermon] is a point in time to build on and extend the Campbell legacy,” the Rev. Robert Franklin said.
It was Week Three, and Franklin was sitting on the patio of the Brick Walk Cafe reflecting on his future as the incoming director of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion.
It was Jan. 1, 1863, and Abraham Lincoln was supposed to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Morning and midday passed, and he still hadn’t signed it. The Rev. Robert M. Franklin, Wednesday’s Interfaith Lecturer, said that slaves and abolitionists across the country began to worry that Lincoln had backed out.
Lincoln had a full schedule that day. He made it to his office to sign the document only after attending a number of New Year’s Day receptions, and then he had to wait for the Proclamation to be rewritten because of a typographical error. But then there was another delay: Lincoln needed time to massage his right arm before he could write a proper signature; he claimed his arm was nearly paralyzed from shaking hands since 9 a.m. that morning.