William Rainey Harper Award

The William Rainey Harper Award was founded in 1971 for outstanding contributions to the study of religion in society, and especially religious education.  In the 1970s it was awarded to the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead and the media critic Marshall McLuhan.  In 1983 it was awarded to Paulo and Elza Freire the Brazilian educators.  It was not awarded again until 1992 when the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada granted it to John Hull at their meeting in Indianapolis.

The award was marked by the presentation of a striking piece of glass sculpture entitled 'Out of Pain; Into Pain'. This was inspired by the title of one of Hull's lectures, and refers to the need to be reconciled with our own inner pain so that we can embrace the pain of others.

         Out of Pain - Into Pain

The sculpture takes the form of a circle which has been twisted under pressure.  At one point it is badly damaged, as if it has been attacked with an axe, and is almost severed, but not quite.  Emerging from this point of pain, the glass gradually becomes smoother until on the opposite side it is perfect.  Then the circle begins again.

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