Sunday service

As I sat in the back pew at First Baptist Church in Oak Park this Sunday morning, I got to thinking about all the years I’ve worked weekends. Journalism, especially photojournalism, is not a 9-5, Monday-Friday type of gig. It’s more like all the time, including nights and weekends.

I’ve put in about a decade of working weekends and throughout that span of time I have sat in countless places of worship. Newspapers regularly report stories about or related to religion. It’s an important topic for most communities and thus I’ve found myself photographing services for just about every religion you can think of. Honestly, it’s been a blessing.

I have been exposed to so many different faiths I normally would never have thought to witness. It has challenged me to think about my own faith while considering and respecting the faith of others.

What I most often come away with is the notion that while religion and faith can have countless variances, the consistent thread among all seems to be the importance of having something to believe in and a supportive community of caring individuals around you. It’s a vital part of life no matter your core religious beliefs. The beauty of faith comes in all sorts of different packages and I like that. I find comfort in the idea that you don’t have to know what religion to believe the most. You simply have to know it’s really just about believing in something bigger than yourself.

While I sat at the baptist church this Sunday, I shot the photograph above of a member of the congregation singing a hymn and silhouetted by a stained glass window. At the same time, I was reflecting on my own kind of Sunday service and giving thanks for what it has taught me.

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