I recently had the chance to sit down with The University of Glasgow’s Chaplain, Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie on behalf of The Glasgow Guardian to discuss the understated elegance of the Glasgow University Memorial Garden’s embodiment of a greater purpose – one of remembrance and learning, and a contemporary call for peace:
We are faced with the rise of an age which could benefit greatly from outward demonstrations of grace, empathy, and love for our fellow man – a time when it is greatly tempting to defend the hierarchical importance of our contemporary politico-social tribulations, wars, genocide, hate crimes, and political buffoonery. But to indulge our fears, our prejudices, and our biases is to deny the institution and purpose of higher education in favour of the often-easier route. All paths of hate lead to war, all paths of ignorance lead to fear, and our actions on those paths, no matter how socially enforced, are chosen. Remembering what we have lost and what we have learned in loss does more to honour to the lost themselves than woefully mourning the cavity felt in their absence alone. Not “now more than ever”, but just as critically as before, we are faced with the consequence of governmental failing at a scale which crosses political platforms and international borders. We are presented the choice to enact positive, microcosmic change to offset large-scale tragedy.
from “More Than A Memory: Glasgow University’s War Memorial Garden”, Caroline C Evans Abbott
Rev. MacQuarrie offered excellent insight and shared plentiful, realistic, and encouraging sentiments which resound particularly strongly during this time of international politico-social discontent, stressing the Chaplaincy’s inclusive ideology:
“Communities are just made up of individual human beings. And people with good bits and bad bits – I kept saying at the Freshers address: I couldn’t care less whether anyone is Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Secular, Humanist, whatever – I care even less whether anyone is gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – what’s important is who the person is, and who they aspire to be. The University Chaplaincy has got to lead on that.” – Rev. Stuart MacQuarrie
It is particularly critical that in times of large-scale societal disagreement with the power for serious social division that we regard the memory of the fallen, forgetting neither the reason for their absence nor the lessons we have learnt through it.
Working on this piece offered me a great deal of peace during a trying time, and I am thankful for the wisdom the Reverend shared in the context of current and lasting global tribulations.
The full article is available on the Guardian’s website, where you will find a plethora of great work from my peers, and will be available in print upon publication of the November issue.