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Home > Students Explore the World of C.S. Lewis

Students Explore the World of C.S. Lewis

August 20th, 2008

By Michaela Martens

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

Students in Trafalgar Square

The ink barely dry on their last finals and papers this summer of 2008, a small group of Patrick Henry College students and alumni, led by Assistant Professor of Literature Dr. Bonnie Libby, ventured to England to explore “the world of C.S. Lewis.” The trip was carefully tailored to explore England, Scotland, and Wales while studying Lewis’s book Mere Christianity.

 “I learned that the world is a lot bigger than I think and that there are so many possibilities,” senior and Literature major Laura Marshall said. “Talking to a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, touring Lewis's, and seeing where great men like Churchill grew up (Blenheim Palace) all taught me to dream bigger and remember how many great thinkers and leaders have come before us.”

St. Paul's Cathedral


 The trip was full of highlights from climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, seeing C.S. Lewis's home (the Kilns), and climbing to the very top of St. Paul's Cathedral, to enjoying the English countryside and watching the sunset over Salisbury Cathedral.

“God reemphasized to me the peacefulness of just watching and soaking your surroundings in. It's amazing how the rolling hills and fields displayed His glory,” junior Lillie Schmidt remembered.

Lessons about life and God abounded throughout the trip.


Marshall jokes about learning that “patience is a virtue, packing light is a necessity, and laughter is indispensable.”

Junior Lillie Schmidt in a British telephone booth

And apparently, the train doors don’t stop when your hand is in the way…but that’s another story.

Perhaps the greatest spiritual lesson lay in the worshiping God in the Cathedrals of Europe.

“Seriously, I learned not to think of God in such small terms of Patrick Henry, Virginia, and the United States.  Worshipping in Westminster Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral helped me understand the church in more global and universal terms,” Marshall said.

“It gave me a much greater appreciation for the diversity of the Christian church and the freedom God has given us to each worship him in a way best suited to our personality and culture,” senior Patrick McKay noted.

Participants in this “World of C.S. Lewis” trip are enthusiastic about continuing trips abroad in the years ahead. Some of them have suggested trips to the Mediterranean, Israel, or China.

Whatever lies ahead, McKay had one word of advice, “if you have the opportunity and the money to go on a trip like this during your college career, do it! It will be the adventure of a lifetime.”

Perhaps the inscription on the British two pound coin says it best. By stretching beyond the small campus of Patrick Henry College, students can find themselves "standing on the shoulders of giants."