Thursday, November 26, 2009

The church is not a building – a Washington D.C. storefront churches exhibit

You’ve heard that before, right? The church is not a building. The people are the church.
Well, that adage could not be more true in the case of storefront churches. Many times located in buildings that were former movie theaters, laundromats, car dealerships or convenience stores, the church can’t rely on a steeple to attract worshipers.
The Wilmington area has its fair share of storefront churches with a vibrant worship culture inside each Sunday.
I had the privilege last weekend to visit a collection of photographs of storefront churches at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, “Storefront Churches: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara,” is up through Nov. 29.
While the exhibit is a study of the edifices churches inhabit – sometimes without walls as in the case of a homeless church which was a circle of chairs in a field — I was glad the exhibit examined life inside the churches as well with photos of worship and singing. It was particularly fascinating to see the time lapse photography of one church over a period of 20 years. Vergara showed how the building aged , changed congregations and its facade in that time.

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