Rev. Ted Lyddon Hatten addressed the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference a final time on Monday, June 6, 2016 and said that he was preaching on the edge as this was the last time he would be with them in this way. Rev. Lyddon Hatten has retired after 22 years.
"Words spoken at the end of a narrative have more weight than those from the middle," he said.
Rev. Lyddon Hatten expressed is gratitude to those who have helped and worked with him along the way making a special note to thank his assistant and photographer, Shari Miller.
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"I want to thank you for making room for my work, making room for my agenda," he explained.
He has kept every note given to him through the years—both positive and negative—and said they have shaped him as a thinker, an artist, and a disciple.
The artist gallery, filled with pieces from the "visual conversations" from previous Iowa Annual Conference installations, is titled "Remnants of a Dialogue."
The toughest challenge artistically has been one of scale because to be seen in a room the size of the plenary hall the installation has to be "large, massive and colossal."
This year's large project is named, Centering Point, and is a work that you are invited to step inside.
"When you step in, you see a world that is broken in two, down the center," he explained. "You can see both halves at once. You can see gold in the center. And lights. 490 lights. 70 times 7. Opportunities to bear witness to our brokeness."
"You see a chalice that seems to beg a question out of us," he said. "How much grace do you need? How much grace does the church need? How much grace does the world need? What is the scale of your grace?"
Rev. Lyddon Hatten continued saying, "If your eyes are open, you will see the crossing of fragment and fracture, at the crux, the Holy Spirit, with her fondness for brokeness, she hovers over the cleft earth."
"We are a broken people, living in a broken time, traveling on a broken planet. We revolve around an axis of brokeness. Fractured to the core, we give light deep access."
The contrasting piece created for the Annual Conference is titled "Therefore Go" and each measures a tiny 21 x 24 mm.
"There are risks to working on such a small scale," he explained, "six very small glass vials, each held a scrap of paper with a micro painting and sealed with wax. They were created to float in the baptismal font.
The message in the bottle is the least efficient way to reach one another, he continued, there is no guarantee that it will be seen, is in the same language, it is understood or had an impact.
"Inefficient, impractical. Foolish even—so a lot like the Gospel in other words," Rev. Lyddon Hatton noted.
He concluded by saying that the words at the end weigh more than words from the middle, and his final words were almost too heavy for him to lift and yet they float like feathers in the font.
Below are Rev. Lyddon Hatton's final words.
You are loved.
You were heard
You are forgiven,
You were taught,
The chalice is very small, and it is whispering its question, how much grace do you need? How much grace does the church need?
The chalice is small. The wounded world is so large.
How much grace do you need to see again?
To hear again that you are loved.
You are loved.