Church, a place and time of whole-hearted, meaning-crammed communion, is something each of us encounters in different venues that captivate us – the camaraderie found in others’ company, the transcendence found in the out-of-doors, the intersection of our Life with lyrics and melody in song. That place to encounter (perhaps share or confess) truth safely, in safety, that place to come to terms with tough times and the good, Church is both a social and familial entity, a place in which you can grow and mature. Not movement forward, independent of others, not alone in thought, not only within our own priority, Church is that sacred entity of relationship carried forward by two or more people in Life’s pilgrimage connecting each to something bigger than self (selves), that thing that drives ethics in action and purpose in Life, that thing realized when we realize we are here for more than ourselves, having something to contribute to the Lives of others.
Church as pilgrimage has been on my mind as I’ve watched a film by Emilio Estevez – ‘The Way.’ Martin Sheen, as father makes pilgrimage from France to the Church of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, a trek following ‘The Way of St. James.’ Tom (Sheen) takes up this eight-hundred kilometre trek, a trek his son had begun and makes it on behalf of his son who, recently deceased, is ever-present throughout the trek task. The pilgrimage becomes Church as three ‘peregrinnos,’ pilgrims, cluster with and around Tom; each carrying forward a Life task that’s brought them to a cross-road in their Lives. It’s not so much that disclosure of Life’s challenge needs to occur among the peregrinnos, but that each comes to understand that their shared company and good understanding of what’s at play in each other’s lives makes the road easier – something that Church is about, an entity of relationship carried forward that associates to Life’s pilgrimage, direction and purposes.
Images – The Roman Catholic Church of St. Louis in Buttertown (across the Peace River from Fort Vermilion, Alberta) and the Woking Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Woking, Alberta).
Listening to – much of the soundtrack to ‘The Way,’ containing two songs that intrigue, David Gray’s ‘My Oh My’ (from Rhythm and Soul broadcasts) and Alanis Morissettes’ ‘Thank U’. James Taylor’s ‘Country Road’ also features in the film.
Quote to Inspire – “Imagine a world without photography, one could only imagine.” – Berenice Abbott
7 thoughts on “Pilgrimage Church”
I love your photography – and the editing
Thanks for looking in … the editing – not only do my photos receive it, my writing often needs its share of morning revision; I’ve had another go at the text of the Church Pilgrimage post and tightened it, distilling more prior to heading out to Church, this morning. Prayer and listening are part of things, too.
We’re on Victoria Day weekend, here in Alberta, Canada. 🙂
These are really wonderful … as usual 🙂
Hey there, Gina:
Last night, I read your note, on the outskirts of Fort Vermilion, Alberta, along the Peace River on my Blackberry Z10, under a nearly full moon and much dusky light and colour. At this time of year, the golden hour really stretches colour into dusk and with a peaceful Peace River I was able to work on reflecting colour-filled clouds with contrasting shapes. While bracketing images with longer exposures, two beavers swam by, minutes apart, in the habit of older married couples shopping – one taking the lead and the other catching up. The beaver tail slap of the first was significant, indicating strength and size. The second, the follower, simply disappeared under the water when unsure of things. So, at Fort Vermilion, along the Peace River, I was out at Alberta’s oldest fur trading site where the Hudson’s Bay Company traded for beaver pelts which would then be shaved down to produce a felt covering for the English top hats worn by gentlemen in the 1700-1800s.
It was good to have a note to read during longer exposure times. Good! 😉
The detail on the clapperboard church is great, I love the sense of abandonment, the atmosphere of lost souls wandering and sad.
Hello again, Jim:
Lost souls and sad – the grave yard to the far left is still in use; on Sunday night people were coming out and tidying grave plots and markers, and, they were praying; within the hour prior to sunset three families had been out to the grave site. Lost souls, curiously, can refer to those left behind – the souls who’ve lost those others so important to us … and are sad.
Clapperboard Church – there’s an effort to claim the Church and site as a historic site; the structure will be reinforced and the alter returned.