Spiritual film library to honor Hicks '09

By Bonnie Wertheim '14

The most effective memorials evoke the spirit of the person or event they serve to commemorate. So when the Chaplaincy started brainstorming ways in which they might honor the memory of the late Joshua Hicks ’09, they knew their ideas had to be just as dynamic and community-focused as “Jicks” himself.

Their ideas resulted in the establishment of the Joshua Hicks Memorial Library in Spiritual Film. Hicks, who concentrated in Religious Studies during his time at Hamilton, completed a senior thesis on religion in film under the advisement of Professor of Religious Studies Steve Humphries-Brooks. After graduation, his spiritual scholarship continued, and he intended to become a minister.

Hicks’s academic interests and his career aspirations led naturally to the decision to expand and diversify the Chapel’s media offerings as an homage to him.

“We have a lot of lot of books up here,” Chaplain Jeff McArn said of the Chapel’s third-floor collection. However, he expressed the belief that films are “more compelling and accessible.”

On Thursday, Feb. 21, there will be a dedication ceremony for the Joshua Hicks Memorial Library in Spiritual Film. The library will be located on the Chapel’s third floor, and the dedication’s location is to be determined.

“It won’t be much more than a dinner,” said McArn. “Steve Humphries-Brooks has a copy of his thesis and a video project that was a part of it.”

Hicks’s brother Geoff and his sister-in-law Robin have taken lead roles in bringing the library to life. Initially, the dedication had been scheduled to take place during Spirituality 101 Week, but because Geoff would not have been able to attend, the date was pushed back.

“There’s kind of a core that Geoff said, ‘These were really important to Joshua,’” McArn said.
These “core” titles will be purchased by the Chaplaincy for inclusion in the library. Additionally, members of the Religious Studies Department have suggested titles for inclusion.

“We would like it to be in his memory but also have films that would help introduce students to various religious traditions also films that just have meaning that may not have any direct religious references,” said McArn.

“I thought it would be interesting to ask for peoples’ suggestions or donations, particularly if you have a connection to Joshua,” he added.

Clearly, the term “spiritual” in the title of the library may be applied loosely. Rather than read “spiritual” as “religious,” visitors should understand the term to mean “evocative of the spirit.”


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