Snow-covered steps

Snow-covered steps
Kodak VR35 K40
Kodak Max 400 (expired)

At church, we all come in the back door. Our parking lot is back there.

But it means we often forget about our front door. The door that the neighborhood sees. And so on this snowy Sunday, nobody thought to shovel it clean. Were it not for the footprints on the steps, our neighbors might think we were not even open. Indeed, when we encounter them around the neighborhood that’s sometimes what they tell us.

It’s a common trap churches fall into: we know our ways. But we want to meet people who aren’t in our church, and they find our ways strange, or even to make no sense. And we wonder why we seldom see anybody new on Sunday.

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11 responses to “single frame: Snow-covered steps”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    Modern churches are all about the car, but these old ones were not. I have noticed in old Catholic churches particularly that are still in neighborhoods that once teemed with parishioners. Now many drive in from elsewhere and few come from the immediate neighborhood.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Check this out:

      This is our congregation in 1914, all spilled out across the front of the church. We have other similar panoramic photos through about the mid 1920s hanging on our walls.

      In these days, you’re right, it was quite common to just go to the church of your denomination that you could walk to in your neighborhood.

      Our church became one of those drive-in-from-elsewhere churches through the 1990s and early 2000s — until the members began to age out and die. When our current pastor arrived in about 2005 or 6, there were eight members. He immediately began to take the message back out into this neighborhood, and that is where most of our members come from today.

      It is a challenging ministry given that this is a neighborhood that knows poverty and all its problems. And if we took a whole-congregation photo in front of our building now, we would certainly not need a panoramic lens. But we have had some success returning to the neighborhood.

      1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

        Wow, that was a happening place in 1914! That is an impressive picture.

  2. Mike Connealy Avatar

    The camera, the film and the photographer all did a nice job on that composition.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Why thank you!

  3. davidvanilla Avatar

    True, that scene would be less than welcoming on a Sunday morning which with your explanation I know is not the intent, but. . .

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m an elder in this small congregation. I really can just drive down early on snowy Sundays and just shovel the walk and steps!

  4. susanJOY Hosken Avatar
    susanJOY Hosken

    Jim, I used the randomiser for the first time on any blog and came to this shot. It is Sunday morning here and I used to go to church but don’t anymore as I don’t find it very inclusive. I will always pray and love God though. LOved that I came to this photo and learnt more about you as a person and photographer regards from susanJOY

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I hope one day you find a congregation that resonates with you!

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