The Chatauqua institution in Jamestown, New York, around the turn of the century (20th century,) was an American Institution of religion and learning. Chatauqua meant culture, it meant oratory, it meant great preachin' and story-tellin'.
When it began in 1879, Chatauqua was a Methodist campsite out in the woods where folks went to meet God, listen to inspired words, and sing good choral music. Then after the sermon and the concert you sat on a porch and talked about what was wrong and right about our country. Many great orators of the 19th and 20th century at one time held the podium at Chatauqua. Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his "I Hate War" speech from the Amphitheater platform in 1936.
The place fell into disrepair during the 1950s but was revitalized in the last thirty years and has become once again a center of arts, letters, and reflection.
So 1999, when I got invited to Chatauqua to talk about Buddhists in America, I jumped at the chance. My parents attended, which was a thrill, since their parents' generation grew up knowing about Chatauqua, and it was great fun for me to identify my religious path with my spiritual roots in Methodist Christianity and do some story-telling about Three Steps, One Bow, to people who appreciate a good story.
I recently discovered that my talk is available to download as an mp3 on line. I haven't done it myself, but I believe I will one of these days.