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Very Rev. Bruce Gardner to Present Poetry Reading for First Fridays Event

RELEASED: Feb. 17, 2006

Very Rev. Bruce GardnerEAU CLAIRE — A poetry reading by the Very Rev. Bruce Gardner will be the March 3 First Fridays colloquium for senior citizens.

A free continental breakfast will precede the formal program at Christ Church Cathedral, located on the corner of Lake and Farwell Streets in downtown Eau Claire. Doors will open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at 9 a.m. in the Memorial Lounge.

Gardner is currently interim dean and rector at Christ Church Cathedral. Prior to this assignment in the Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire, he last served as rector of the Church of the Ascension, Hayward. He "retired" from parochial ministry to devote his time to development and interim work. When not on assignment, he resides with his cat, the Lady Hildegard, in New York City and Key Biscayne, Florida. His ministry has taken him to Michigan, Missouri, and back to Wisconsin since 1989.

Gardner received his academic training at Yale, Minnesota, Oxford and Nashotah House. He has taught at the university level in both English literature and religious studies. His two dissertation topics were, respectively, in English literature and historical theology: "The Prose Works of George Herbert and the Advices to his Clergy of Jeremy Taylor," and "The Nineteenth Century Establishment of Men's Religious Orders in the Episcopal Church."

In addition to continuing interests in literature, theology, and history, Gardner serves on several major funding boards for work in HIV/AIDS research, feeding, and hospice care. He has a strong commitment to the plight of feral cats in Manhattan, Miami, and Tel Aviv. He is co-founder and co-president of The Bruce and Mikey Group, which philanthropically aids these endeavors.

The First Fridays poetry reading will be an eclectic, randomly historical assortment of the humorous, the enlightening, the silly, the memorable, the classic and the bawdy.

For the safety of the program's senior citizen audience, the event will be cancelled if the Eau Claire Area School District has cancelled or delayed classes in the case of hazardous weather.

First Fridays is funded by support from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts, contributions from Mr. Elliott Roberts, and a grant from the Cultural Arts Grant Fund of the Chippewa Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. The program is coordinated by Beverly Soll and Jennifer Brockpahler of the UW-Eau Claire Activities and Programs office and by Scott and Heather Kirby of Christ Church Cathedral.

First Fridays events are presented on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community. "All Aboard the Eau Claire Express" is the theme of the 2005-06 season.

For more information about First Fridays, or to be placed on a mailing list, call (715) 836-2787 [ARTS].

-30-

JS/NW

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