Clerestory Magazine - A space for writers and artists to examine personal experience, social issues, and culture through contemplative modes of storytelling and inquiry.



Clerestory Magazine provides space for writers, artists, activists, and seekers to explore personal experience, social issues, and culture through contemplative modes of storytelling and inquiry.

A clerestory (pronounced clear-story) window allows light and air into the body of a church. Likewise, Clerestory essays, articles, and interviews breathe life into discussions complex subjects, institutions, and issues. Each story, each storyteller, is like a window through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The millennial and Gen Z generations are tasked with solving unwieldy problems like climate change, humanitarian crises, racial injustice, and economic inequality. The solutions we need are not only material, they are existential and spiritual as well. 

By listening to the lived experiences and perspectives of others, we learn to hold difference, wisdom, beauty, becoming, vulnerability, and suffering, more tenderly. This witnessing not only helps us grow; it also helps the world evolve into a more humane place.

May these “clerestories” let light and air into your ways of knowing yourself, understanding the world, and being, in relationship and in community.

Special thanks to  Mountain School Garden Hill Fund. The Garden Hill funds granted to Clerestory will help cover writers’ payments for the 2021 summer issue. 

Clerestory is shaped on Erie and Mississauga land.

Design by Studio Connie

Editorial Team 




Sarah James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Clerestory Magazine and host of the Clerestory Podcast. A graduate of Middlebury College and Yale University, Sarah is a biracial, South Indian-American woman of color and a writer. Her work appears regularly in The PorchEarth & Altar, and Darling Magazine, among others. She studies contemplative spirituality at the Living School for Action and Contemplation, under the direction of Richard Rohr. 




A student editor, storyteller, and marketer, Rachel Johnson is the Editorial Intern at Clerestory Magazine. She is a rising senior at Hope College where she studies Communication and English Literature & Writing. Interested in the many ways language is used to honor personal experience, she is thrilled to be learning and creating with Clerestory this summer. 



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