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It is with great pleasure that I join in honoring Dr. Donald J. Bruggink on the occasion of his retirement from Western Theological Seminary. Although I have known him for only two and one-half years as one of his crew on two voyages in search of the best we know in modern church architecture, first in Poland in October 1996 and last summer in Finland, I feel we have been close friends for a much longer time. I am sure this is because all of us on these Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture/American Institute of Architects (JFRAAIAIA) study tours led by Don have shared a timeless devotion to the essence of spiritual space as the wedding of worship to its setting—that is, to the finest harmony of religious inspiration and the art and architecture that expresses.
As a sailor as well as architect and educator, I think of Don as a steadfast captain, seasoned from long piloting through sometimes rocky archipelagoes, or in architectural terms, as an ideal client chairman, joining those rare few, from my own experience in designing churches, who have a superb understanding of how crucial mutual respect and teamwork are in the creation of truly ennobling houses of worship. After almost thirty years of emeritus status myself, I can affirm to Don that the word "retirement" is in fact misleading—for captains never leave the bridge of action.
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