Last year, former Hendrix Chaplain the Rev. Jon Guthrie passed away. On Tuesday afternoon, Hendrix faculty, staff, friends and students gathered in an informal ceremony to remember Guthrie through stories and the art he brought back from Africa, which is now on permanent display at the college.
Guthrie served as Hendrix Chaplain from 1969 until 1996. Following his retirement, he served as special advisor to the president from 2002 until his death in November 2012.
Guthrie collected artwork from French-speaking Africa during his service as a United Methodist missionary. His missionary work began in 1959 when Zaire, then known as Belgian Congo, declared its independence.
Friends and coworkers remembered Guthrie as a fun-loving, helpful man who knew how to fix anything.
"In our household, it was kind of a joke," said Jay McDaniel, professor of religion and director of the Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy. "Have a flat tire? No problem! Wherever you have it Jon will just happen to drive by."
McDaniel also said Guthrie was a confidant, a trusted friend and a valuable asset to the college. The African art exhibit is on display in Mills Library in the Mills Social Sciences Center. The exhibit is open to the public when Mills Library is not reserved.
The exhibit includes drums carved in the likenesses of tribal chiefs, ebony water jars, thumb pianos, and wooden relief sculptures recounting an African version of the Last Supper. Many pieces in the collection were made by local artists Guthrie knew personally.
(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)