Showing posts with label Moravian Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moravian Church. Show all posts

Monday, February 12, 2018

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Moravian Memories with Reverend Lawrence Junek

Nain church and building, Nain, Labrador. 1995-26-07.
Moravian Architecture of Labrador - Dale Jarvis collection.
Scanned from colour slide number CF18.
Courtesy of Memorial University's DAI. 
As part of the Collective Memories project the ICH office is showcasing community material which has been placed on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. Check out this interview with Reverend Lawrence Junek at his home, the Moravian manse, in Nain, Labrador, conducted by Dale Gilbert Jarvis as part of his thesis research in 1995. This interview is primarily about the Moravian system of dividing the congregation into age and sex based groups called "choirs" dead houses, funeral rituals, and the role of chapel servants.

The ICH office is helping communities place previously recorded materials online. If your community has material you would like to make publicly accessible reach out to the Heritage Foundation at 1-888-739-1892 ex.2 or

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Abandoned Sacred - Unmaking and remaking sacred places

Guest post by Dr. Barry Stephenson

Places of worship have life histories: they are conceived, grow and develop, pass through transformations, perhaps even die. My work examines sacred sites that have, for one reason or another, been abandoned by their users. Abandonment does not necessarily bring down the curtain on a place’s religious significance or use. There is a rich history of religious buildings being “converted” from use by one tradition for use by another. Alternatively, religious architecture, built for liturgical purposes, may be “converted” into seemingly secular sites; for example, a church becomes a theatre or a condominium complex. The language of conversion applied to sacred architecture uses a metaphor to evoke the sense of heightened emotion, import, and transformation associated with a religious experience and maps this transformative process on to a material site or natural landscape.

The phrase “abandoned sacred” then refers to processes of unmaking and remaking that take place at sacred buildings and locales. And even when this process moves in the direction from sacred to secular, there may be residues of the sacred, or a mixing of cultural domains, or a change in how the sacred is understood. The premise is that studying sacred sites during moments of crisis and change offers valuable insight into the dynamic relationships between religion and culture.


My work, using a combination of ethnographic, visual, and historical methods, examines this dynamic of abandonment-conversion at a number of sacred sites. Typically, research on sacred places has focused on the symbolic meanings of religious architecture; my work, in contrast, emphasizes moments of change in the use and meanings of sacred places. I’m interested in the eventful nature of architecture, the ways in which spaces are used, especially their connection to ritual and performance. My aim is to build relationships with partners and organizations in Newfoundland and elsewhere that have an interest in the question of church closure and transformation, in order to identify case sites for ethnographically informed study and research. As much of my research is in the area of ritual studies, I am particularly interested in the role and functioning of deconsecration rites, which have received very little study.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Barry Stephenson
Dept. of Religious Studies
Memorial University
Ph: 709-864-8113

Photos: top - Hebron from the cupola of the Moravian Church; 
middle - stone foundations of one of the Moravian buildings, OKaK; 
bottom - the former Double Island Church, Uviluktok, Labrador. 
All photos summer 1995, by Dale Gilbert Jarvis.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Did Labrador have the first Christmas tree in North America?

Larry Dohey, the local archivist who runs the fabulous Archival Moments blog, posted this photo today, from The Rooms Provincial Archives: VA 118-48.2: Grenfell Mission Staff Photograph Album, of a miniature Christmas tree.

Larry argues that while the oldest documented Christmas tree in North America is from 1781 in Sorel, Quebec, the Moravian settlements in Labrador date to 1771, and that they quite possibly had the tradition there first.

Read the full blog post here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Moravian architecture slides added to Memorial's Digital Archives Initiative

We are in the process of adding a series of scanned photographic slides to the ICH Inventory on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. The Moravian Architecture of Labrador collection is from folklore thesis fieldwork I did along Labrador's north coast in the summer of 1995. At the moment, there are photos from Hopedale, North West River, and Happy Valley, with more photos to be added shortly from Nain, OKaK, Hebron, and beyond. All photos were digitized by DAI staffer Chris Mouland.