Tender to the World: Jean Vanier, L'Arche and the United Church of Canada

2019 10 Nov
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Tender to the World: Jean Vanier, L'Arche and the United Church of Canada

 The Church Council at Glebe-St James United Church invites all to join them for the launch of Carolyn Whitney-Brown's Tender to the World.

"What is the secret that allows L'Arche to exist? I'll tell you: pleasure!" explains Jean Vanier, founder of the international federation of L'Arche communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities share their lives. Vanier's spiritual vision and playful sense of humour shaped L'Arche, but the organization was also informed by its surprising history with the United Church of Canada.

November 10, 7pm
Glebe-St James United Church
Corner of Lyon St. & First Ave., Ottawa

In Tender to the World Carolyn Whitney-Brown explores the connections between the two organizations through diverse critical insights from Julia Kristeva, Doreen Massey, and Mikhail Bakhtin, as well as Vanier's controversial articulation of the gift of weakness. Tracing the five-decade relationship between L'Arche and the United Church alongside evolving disability theories, Whitney-Brown examines both the fundamental importance of stories and the agency of people with intellectual disabilities. Inversion - a transformative overturning of expectations in social interactions - can be upsetting or exciting, challenging or inspiring, she argues. This book offers a fresh look at how L'Arche and the United Church have worked to break down walls of difference, illuminating how each tenders something unexpected to the other and to the world.

Carolyn Whitney-Brown, a former member of L'Arche Daybreak, is a fellow at the University of Victoria's Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. She teaches in the department of religious studies at St. Jerome's University.

"Carolyn Whitney-Brown offers a remarkably fresh, tender, and challenging account of Jean Vanier’s life and work. Her unique insight into Vanier’s special mix of mission, humour, agency, and fragility makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding not only of the spiritual revolution of L’Arche but also of interreligious dialogue, disability studies, and new ideas of human community and culture. A timely and deeply caring book." - Richard Kearney, Boston College 

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