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Hybrid Churches of Canada: A Space for Religious 'Inculturation'?

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Title: Hybrid Churches of Canada: A Space for Religious 'Inculturation'?
Author: Langevin, Breena
Department: School of Fine Art and Music
Program: Art History and Visual Culture
Advisor: Boetzkes, Amanda
Abstract: This thesis explores Christian missionary churches built or reconstructed in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s that express a fusion between Christianity and traditional Native spirituality. This fusion involves an appropriation of spiritual messages and a symbolic juxtaposition of religious imagery apparent in the architecture and visual furnishings of the church, as well as the liturgical practices of its congregation. My research focuses on three particular communities in Canada that are home to Christian parishes possessing a strong Native presence. The hybrid features of these churches can be seen as a move towards religious inculturation, which for Christianity means redefining their systems of representation and broadening their embrace. I consider each church’s individual missionary history and their approaches to evangelism and examine the churches as a site of ongoing colonial struggle. I argue that rather than resolving the problematic past of missionary history, these churches act as a space for discussion surrounding the ongoing process of working through the irreconcilable past of missionary invasion as well as the enduring confusion regarding the convoluted iconographic language expressed through their teachings.
Date: 2014-11
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