Welcome to Crucified Woman Reborn

This website is an opportunity to share presentations, poetry, art and photos from the 2009-10 year-long commemoration of the placing of Almuth Lutkenhaus-Lackey’s sculpture – Crucified Woman – in the grounds of Emmanuel College at Victoria University.

The website extends the impact of the May 14-15, 2010 Conference at Emmanuel College: Crucified Woman Reborn.  It is also an opportunity to network around issues of concern to women.

We begin with Professor Joan Wyatt’s invitation to attend the conference.

Introduction and Invitation

In the spring of 1979 while living in Port Hope Ontario, I read in the Globe and Mail that Almuth Lutkenhaus’ 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.

In 2009, marking 30 years since this remarkable occasion, we gathered at Emmanuel College to hear reflections from Sophie Jungreis, a Jewish artist, Nevin Reda a Muslim academic, 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 Aitkin, Professor Emerita from St Michael’s College and an original member of the committee who brought the sculpture installation to Emmanuel College and Victoria University 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’ 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 themselves 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 Dunstan, 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 suffering of women.

May 14-15, 2010 people 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 liturgy and present along with social activist Pat Capponi and photo journalist Rita Leistner. Come listen, reflect and join this ongoing conversation, a conversation that also invites submissions to be considered for publication.

Professor Joan Wyatt

Director of Contextual Education

Emmanuel College

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