Press Release

Across the arc of time and space

September 01, 2016

HOUSTON – Sept. 1, 2016 – Internationally celebrated author and speaker Brené Brown is kicking off the newest series at the Rothko Chapel in a big way.   

Her appearance at the Chapel on Thursday, Sept. 29 has already sold out – proving that the series entitled “Concept of the Divine” is off to a great start.

“We are expecting a full house,” public programs and community engagement Ashley Clemmer said. “We don’t even have room on the wait list. We can’t wait to host Brené Brown at the Chapel.”

Given Brown’s immense popularity, the response to the upcoming event probably was no surprise. A native Texan, the storyteller and academic researcher is renowned by millions.

Brown was a perfect fit for the Chapel’s new series, which provides a unique venue for speakers to share how their personal concept of God has changed over time and shaped their lives, their service to the community and their understanding of their own identity.

“An important part of our mission here at the Chapel is the notion of spirituality and interfaith relations and dialogue,” executive director David Leslie said. “For many people, their sense of spirituality changes over a lifetime. It’s not static.”

He explained the lecture series allows the Chapel to shine a light on individual’s spiritual journeys.

“We thought it would be very interesting to get some people to share some of their own experiences in how their understanding of the divine has changed over their own lifetimes, and then how that impacts their life, their sense of vocation, their commitments and where they see themselves in the cosmos,” Leslie said.

He pointed each of the eight speakers will offer a unique insight.

“If you look at our line-up, all of our presenters show growth and change in their writing and their work,” Leslie said. “They are always open to what the next iteration of the divine is for them.”

He added that the series works at the intersection of the identity of the Chapel and a response to conversations happening in the larger community.  

“This came about out of our own history with these kinds of conversations,” he said. “But at the same time it seemed like there is a lot of new thinking going on. We are hoping to spark dialogue, but this is also reflective of a discourse that is already going on.”

The series will include laypeople and professional clergy, as well as speakers from diverse faith backgrounds.  

“My hope is that this is another great presentation of our diverse interfaith and intercultural reality here in Houston,” Leslie said. “Hopefully, through these sorts of programs and dialogues, we take something that might be unfamiliar and make it familiar and personalized. We want to strengthen the fabric of relationships across borders and boundaries that are both real and conceptual that keep us from being the best community that we can be.”

The series continues at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15 with Rabbi Samuel Karff, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza and Rev. William Lawson. The three professional clergy have worked together on social justice issues around Houston for decades. Melanie Lawson will serve as moderator. Registration is now open. There is a suggested donation of $10 to attend.

The series continues into 2017 with a poetry reading and conversation with Willis Barnstone, Aliki Barnstone and Tony Barnstone on Tuesday, Feb. 21 followed by a conversation with acclaimed writer and speaker Asma Uddin on Thursday, May 25. 

For registration, and for more information about the “Concept of the Divine” series, the Rothko Chapel and the full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit or call 713-524-9839.


About the Rothko Chapel

The Rothko Chapel is open to the public every day of the year at no charge and successfully interconnects art, spirituality and compassionate action through a broad array of free public programs. Founded by Houston philanthropists Dominique and John de Menil, the Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary. Today it stands as a monument to art, spirituality and human rights. As an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Chapel depends on contributions from foundations and individuals to support its mission of creating a space for contemplation and dialogue on important issues.

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