Joan Wyatt: The Cruciform Woman Image Then and Now

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Professor Joan Wyatt is the Director of Contextual Education at Emmanuel College

In the spring of 1979 while living in Port Hope, Ontario, I read in the Globe and Mail that Almuth Lutkenhaus’s sculpture Crucified Woman had been installed at Bloor Street United Church. She was in the narthex during Holy Week and in the sanctuary on Good Friday. The outrage of some was expressed when someone at Toronto South Presbytery charged Cliff Elliot, the incumbent minister at the time, with heresy. The support of others helped Presbytery to dismiss the charges.

Last year, marking 30 years since this remarkable occasion, many gathered at Emmanuel College to hear Sophie Jungreis, a Jewish artist, Nevin Reda, a Muslim academic, and Margaret Burgess and Janet Ritch, literary scholars, reflect on what the image of Crucified Woman evokes today. Toronto lawyer and scholar Nella Cotrupi read a stunning poem.

The evening concluded with many walking by candlelight to Bloor Street United Church, where the Easter Vigil service celebrated images of women cruciform and rising. Johan Aitken, professor emerita from OISE and an original member of the committee who brought the installation in 1979, related her experiences of that time. Visual images of women suffering and rising around the globe enhanced the service.

I graduated in 1986, when Lutkenhaus’s gift of Crucified Woman was finally, after a protracted debate, accepted by Victoria University. Doris Dyke, a professor at Emmanuel College, along with a group of students who called ourselves the “Uppity Women,” planned an event to mark her installation in the garden behind Emmanuel College. The Friday evening showcased women’s stories, gifts, and accomplishments. The next day a well-attended outdoor worship service featured the hymns of the late Sylvia Dunston, liturgical dance under the direction of Alexandra Caverly Lowery, and preachers Doris Dyke and Cliff Elliot. I was the worship leader and was thrilled to complete my years at Emmanuel College, where the debate of what would it mean to have Crucified Woman at a theological School had shaped my understanding of the challenges of feminist thought. The service was a satisfying occasion, indicating that the academy and the Church recognized both the rights and the suffering of women.

May 14–15, 2010, women and men once again will gather to reflect on what the symbol of a cruciform Woman evokes in our culture today. Ojibway elder Marjory Noganosh will lead the opening ceremony and present, along with social activist Pat Capponi, and photojournalist Rita Leistner. Come listen, reflect, and join this ongoing conversation, a conversation that also invites submissions to be considered for publication.

Biographies of the speakers and workshop presenters, as well as of the dancers and musicians who will be performing at the event, after the jump.

Crucified Woman Reborn Keynote Speakers

Pat Capponi: “Women Rising!”

Pat Capponi has carved out a career as an author, journalist, speaker, and social activist. She has written extensively on mental health, addictions, and poverty issues, and has worked in a variety of settings, which have helped her to develop her skills as a community worker, an educator, a facilitator, an advocate, a writer, and a public speaker. Her many publications include Upstairs in the Crazy House: The Life of a Psychiatric Survivor, Dispatches from the Poverty Line, and Beyond the Crazy House, all published by Penguin Canada.

Doris Dyke: “Crucified Woman”

Doris Jean Dyke is Professor Emerita at Emmanuel College. When she was appointed as professor in 1977, she was the first woman in a theological college of The United Church of Canada. She taught in the areas of educational ministry, faith, and the arts and feminist theology. She was active in multiple faith dialogue, was an executive member of the Toronto chapter of the World Conference for Religion and Peace, and attended an international meeting at Nairobi. At Emmanuel College she was responsible for a section of the introductory required class in Church and Ministry where students visited synagogues, mosques, and temples and heard about various religious traditions from a spokesperson from each tradition.

Doris was a member of Bloor Street Church, a member of the Worship Committee, and chair of the Arts Committee that brought the Crucified woman to Bloor Street in 1979. She was also a member of the Victoria University Art Committee that recommended acceptance of the sculpture that the artist, Almuth Lutkenhaus offered to Emmanuel. Her book, Crucified Woman, was published in 1991.

Doris did her doctoral study at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York. Her first teaching appointment was at the University of Saskatchewan and St. Andrew’s College. Recently she received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from St. Andrew’s. In the early ’70s she became Dean of Education at Dalhousie University. She now lives in Vancouver.

Rita Leistner: “The Photojournalism of Women”

Rita Leistner will be showing and discussing work by several women photojournalists who are covering women’s issues. In a profession dominated by men who are by and large uninterested in women’s rights, it is ever important for women to turn their lenses on women.

Rita Leistner is an award-winning independent photojournalist and a lecturer at Victoria College, University of Toronto. Rita’s photographs have been exhibited in many countries and published in major magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair Italy, Rolling Stone, Macleans, and The Walrus. She is co-author of Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq.

Her latest book, The Edward Curtis Project, with Métis Dene playwright Marie Clements, is being published in the spring by Talon Books. For more information on Rita Leistner, please visit www.ritaleistner.com <http://www.ritaleistner.com.

Marjory Noganosh: “Mother Earth and Women”

Marjory Noganosh is a hands-on energy therapist. Her educational background includes a degree in English Language and Literature, Ontario College of Teachers certification, and courses toward the Ryerson Publishing Certificate. In her thirties she became interested in bodywork and graduated from a two-year shiatsu program at Kikkawa College; she is a member of the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario. She studied various forms of bodywork and received second-degree reiki with Reiki Master Anita Levin. She also did meditation and dreamwork. She furthered her development through traditional ceremonies, such as fasting, and through guidance from Traditional healers and teachers. She is of the Turtle Clan and is a member of the Magnetawan Ojibway First Nation. She works with individuals at First Nations organizations, notably Anishnawbe Health Toronto.

Crucified Woman Reborn Workshops and Musicians

Noelle Boughton: “Meditating with Art”

Spend an hour learning how art can offer you another pathway to the Divine. We will learn how to practice imaginatio divina, a meditation with art based on the ancient practice of praying sacred texts. We will also do an art response to it and have time to share our learnings.

Workshop leader Noelle Boughton is a writer and editor, and the author of Margaret Laurence: A Gift of Grace, A Spiritual Biography. She is completing her training as a spiritual director.

Marian Botsford Fraser: “This Prison Where I Live”

Marian Botsford Fraser is a freelance writer, broadcaster, and critic whose work has appeared in Granta, The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, and the National Post. Among her books is Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women. Her book entitled Requiem for My Brother recently won first prize for Creative Nonfiction from the CBC Literary Awards. In 2009, she was elected Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, International PEN. Along the same line of interest, she recently published an article in The Walrus depicting the horrors of solitary confinement and conditions for female prisoners, such as those which led to the suicide of Ashley Smith. Another woman, Renée Acoby, an Ojibwe who is considered “one of our country’s most violent women” (“Life on the Installment Plan”, Walrus, 42), has sent us three original poems on exhibit here.

Anne Hines: “‘Writing for Her Life’: Writing Your Way to Yourself”

Workshop leader Anne Hines is former humour/lifestyle columnist for Canadian Living magazine, columnist and contributing editor for Chatelaine and weekly humour columnist for the national commuter newspaper, Metro. Her work has also appeared regularly in publications such as Readers Digest and Today’s Parent. Anne has published five books; three novels and two works of non-fiction. Her most recent book, Parting Gifts: Notes on Loss, Love and Life, chronicling her experiences as a writer, lesbian, mother of a transwoman, and student minister was featured both on CBC and at Word on the Street. Anne is currently working on a new collection of humour columns, “Life in HineSight,” and looking forward to being ordained as a United Church of Canada minister in May, 2010.

Sophie Jungreis: “Birthing Stones”

Sophie’s work deals mainly with the human psyche. Her subjects follow her own search and growth processes. She explores layers of feelings through layers of stone or layers of paint. Using local Israeli stones, Italian, Turkish, and Portuguese marble, she seeks to unearth lost parts of the soul in order to regain its authenticity. Sophie received her training in art in Israel and Paris and has exhibited in Europe, the USA, Canada and Israel. Her work is represented in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Museum of Modern Art in Haifa and in private collections on a number of continents. Her latest work is in stone. To learn more please visit www.sophiejungreis.com

Property Smith: “Harlots, Whores, and the Girl Next Door”

Property Smith is a queer activist who has used her own life experiences to help her spend over ten years as a harm reduction worker specializing in frontline work with at-risk youth, drug users, and sex trade workers. With a background in Women’s Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto, she is currently a student at Emmanuel College and is the Director of Youth Ministry at Stoney Creek United Church. Property is one of the founders of www.propertyandtheft.com, a spiritual electronic music collective. In her spare time she prefers to be outdoors with her husband Leeum and their three children, dancing, or writing. Her newest project is a Mommy Blog that can be found at www.femmemomma.blogspot.com

Join Property Smith for a look at the sex trade in Toronto today. Beginning with a sex work 101, Property will discuss the ways that sex workers are stigmatized as a result of legal issues in Canada and the intersection of various identities, including an in-depth look at Aboriginal workers followed by sharing her own experience working in the sex trade.

Samantha Cavanagh and Friends: “Moving in Prayer”

Samantha Cavanagh is a student at Emmanuel College in the M. Div program. She has a love for feminist theological discourse, aesthetic theology, theology of the body, creative worship, and interfaith dialogue. She is an artist who revels in finding ways to express her questions and passions through paint, word, movement, and fabric. She enjoys creative collaboration. She is a member of L’Arche Toronto, where she co-facilitates retreats for high school students. She enjoys dancing, yoga, prayer, and thinking about God.

Stefany Davies

Artist, eco-friendly clothing designer (www.whirlgirl.ca), feminist, traveller, adventurer, gardener, dancer, sister, friend – Stefany has always loved to perform, create, and ask questions. She is grateful for this opportunity to create with her talented co-collaborators and to be a part of this important weekend conference.

Julia Lederer

A playwright, actor, and theatre artist, playwriting credits include: Frame (Theatre in Her Shoes, Alumnae, Groundswell), and the collectively written A Clothesline Quartet (FLASHQUIZ / Festival of Original Theatre) & The School PROJECT (FLASHQUIZ). Acting credits include: The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination, Dead Wrestlers, 36 Little Plays About Hopeless Girls, Things I’ve Found & How They Got There (Birdtown & Swanville). Julia was the Interim Artistic Producer of the 2008–09 Paprika Festival. She is also a founder and member of the writing-performance collective, FLASHQUIZ. Julia holds a Masters in Drama at the University of Toronto. Currently, Julia is continuing to develop her play Subway Rider … as part of TheatreKairos’ 2010 writers’ circle, and working towards FLASHQUIZ’s next instalment of The School PROJECT.

Anna MacLean is a dance and theatre artist with a love of collective creation and performance. Hailing from Three Fathom Harbour, Nova Scotia, Anna presently works at L’Arche Daybreak as the leader of a mixed-abilities dance troupe, The Spirit Movers. Past adventures include being a guest artist at the Labrador Creative Arts Festival, touring from Halifax to Vancouver with Onelight Theatre’s production of Death of Yazdgerd, teaching drama and dance at Neptune Theatre School (1998–2004), and directing a children’s musical theatre in Seoul, South Korea. Anna currently lives in Toronto and is training in voice and acting with Peggy Redmond.

Cheryl Zinyk has been a member of the L’Arche Community for 18 years. In 2007 she became the founding Artist Director of Sol Express, the Creative Arts program of L’Arche Toronto. This program brings together local artists and people with developmental disabilities in order to create unique performances and art. Sol Express has created and performed five original works. Cheryl has trained in Clown, improvisation, and voice with local Toronto Artists. In 2003, Cheryl toured Europe and the United Kingdom researching theatrical initiatives centred on adults with developmental disabilities.

Wanda Stride (musician) graduated from Emmanuel College last year, and was ordained and settled at the Woodville Peniel Pastoral Charge in Lindsay Presbytery. For the past seven years she has developed her singer/songwriting skills in the duo Poor Tom, with musical partner Susan Luke, finding joy and inspiration in the everyday encounters with the divine.

Tom Reynolds (musician) teaches theology at Emmanuel College and also enjoys playing music as often as he can. Frequently found at the piano on Sundays at St. Andrew’s United Church, he also performs locally at jazz clubs like “The Rex.”

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