Sam Chen biopicBy Sam Chen, posted May 19, 2016 by D Kovacs


Editor’s Note: Something new and different this week–a moving slide show composed by Sam Chen. Be sure you click on the link below.

Kathleen Norris authored ’A Cloister Walk’ (verdict: highly recommended; a NY Times Bestseller) in the mid- 1990s.

Close to a couple decades earlier, I’d had my own wondrous walk at the Ephrata Cloister, a religious community founded in 1732 by German Johann Beissel in what is now Lancaster County, PA.

The settlers, who numbered almost 300 (80 celibate, 200 married) at the community’s zenith in the mid-18th century, sought spirituality rather than earthly reward.  Beissel’s theology, a mixture of mysticism and piety, promulgated celibacy, Sabbath worship, and an ascetic lifestyle, but also allowed family, limited industry and creative expression.

The community was noted for a cappella music, German calligraphy, and publishing (including paper mill, printing center and book bindery).

Today, this National Historic Landmark is run by the PA Historical and Museum Commission.

I was deeply moved by my visit.

The words and music of Ralph Carmichael’s ‘A Quiet Place’ came to mind as I composed the slideshow.