A Church Home
Project info

The day I first came to Mount Olive, the members were having a fish fry and I asked if I could attend Sunday service. This was the first step of a spiritual journey that changed my life profoundly. Initially this new relationship felt apprehensive and uncertain. Why was I, a Caucasian of Episcopalian upbringing, there? Why did I feel such a compelling need to keep going back to this church? As Mrs. Evelyn Shields, Mount Olive member of seventy-three years, so directly pointed out, this is a different culture. I found myself standing at the crossroads between faith and expression, concepts I believed could not coexist. In the months that followed, I became a witness to a community of people who felt no need to pretend, who believed in the power of the word, and who had no preoccupation with perfection. These people, who love with all their hearts, took me in and gave me a home, a church home. Here, Sundays have become a musical revelry of song, dance, and affection. In allowing me to photograph the most sacred part of their lives, the members of Mount Olive have transformed my life. Guided by their spirit, I have learned that tears can come from joy. The images in this body of work are the collective portrait of friends I have grown to love. And in their hands I am irrevocably changed.