I’m lost. I drive down these back roads and highways for hours. Looking for signs. Granite signs, wooden signs, metal signs, plastic signs. Anything that reads “church this way”. For the first eighteen years of my life, I found myself sitting in Sardis Baptist Church each Sunday dressed in my best clothing. Always on the right side of our large sanctuary and only a few pews from the pulpit. Mind wandering, making lists, reading random verses from the Bible, and occasionally even sketching the speaker or person in front of me. At the time I didn’t understand why I was returning to this place multiple times a week. Then I moved away from home.
At first I tried to become involved with a new church in an unfamiliar town, but as the weeks went by I began feeling very disconnected from what I thought church should be and the way I felt sitting in the pew at home. I began to question what other people felt while sitting in the service and participating in the week’s activities. These questions led me to the images you see before you. Sunday Best is a visual representation of my personal search and struggle for religious answers. I didn’t choose my home church, my parents brought me along. My mind is crowded with Bible stories, and I could list an indefinite number of scriptures. I learned massive amounts of information in my time spent there, but that was not why I was going. It was the community.
The images you see here depict religious establishments from back roads and highways. They were not the largest buildings of their kind and not always the most appealing. They are found between small towns, in the heart of larger cities, or on the outskirts of places you’ve never heard of. Each image portrays the building as a passerby would while driving down the street or walking along the sidewalk. Many don’t appear to hold thirty people as a single building and others could harbor five hundred. They represent the many different opinions, views, and possibilities of religion. As you view these images, ask yourself what you would find within their walls. Reflect upon your own experiences or lack thereof. The same questions that prompted me.