Pulpit latest gift from Great Britain to college

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

FULTON, Mo. -- Westminster College on Sunday will dedicate a 17th century church pulpit donated to the school in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The pulpit, given by the diocese of London, is the latest installment in a relationship between the college and Great Britain that began with Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech at the mid-Missouri school's gymnasium on March 5, 1946.

In the mid-1960s, the school arranged to have the ruins of a blitzed church -- St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury -- moved to the campus stone by stone and rebuilt.

The church, which now houses the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, was redesigned by celebrated architect Christopher Wren in 1677 after the Great Fire of London.

The pulpit, taken from another Wren church in London, is in the style of sculptor and wood carver Grinling Gibbons and may have been designed by Wren. It was removed from the Church of All Hallows the Great in Upper Thames Street, which was demolished in the 19th century.

The pulpit then was moved to the church of St. Paul's Hammersmith, London, where it stood before making its journey to Missouri's Callaway County.

At the dedication, Robin Havers, the Fulbright-Robertson visiting chair of British history at Westminster, will discuss the pulpit and other gifts to the college from British benefactors, said John Hensley, curator-archivist of the Churchill memorial.

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