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The Closest Church in America Where is the closest church in America? The closest church in America is wherever you find it. This book is a representation of churches across a large swath of the United States. As my wife and I traveled the country, we stopped at a variety of campgrounds along our way. My search criteria was simple. Each time we stopped, I used my GPS device to find the church closest to us. The churches I found represented a variety of faiths, locations, and conditions. As you can see from the images on these pages, some of the churches are architecturally beautiful, and others are in poor condition. While I have attempted to make the photos appealing, I have also tried to represent each church in its own condition and setting.

Along with each set of church photos is a brief vignette. These stories are fictional, and derived from what I felt as I worked with each of the image sets.


W

hen we were small, our town seemed so much bigger. The walk to church on Sunday morning was long, but Mom always held us both by the hand as whe walked with us, down the street.

The streets were brick, just like the church, and one day I asked, “Mom, did the church grow out of the street?” She didn’t even chuckle. She stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk and put her arms around us both, drawing us right next to each other, and looked us both in the eyes. It was always funny how she could look at both of us at the same time, and it made me feel that she loved us both equally.

“God made the street, and God made the church. He made them out of the things we are used to seeing and


working with. We know how to make bricks, so God made the street and the hurch out of bricks. But some day, when we go to be with God, we will see what He really made. When we are with Him, we will see

that the streets are made of gold, and the church is made of gold and jewels. And everything is beautiful and precious.” “But why didn’t God make these streets and our church out of gold,” I asked. “Because,” she said, “what we do is not what God does. And what God has in store for us is so much better than what we could ever imagine. Some things are just worth waiting for.” Mom always knew what to say.


It was one of those early Spring days, when the sun was brilliant, and the buds were just emerging at the ends of the branches. He walked along the edge of the street, stepping on the asphalt only when the berm was too soggy from the still melting snow. We put down our paint brushes, and we could each tell what the other was thinking... he had come from the end of the road that dead-ends at the national park. And from the looks of his long beard and hair, and his stained coat and pants, it appeared that he had been camping in the woods quite a while. The man casually walked over to us and commented on what a beautiful Spring day it was. He was clearly well-spoken, and not in any way impaired. “I’d like to help with the painting, if that’s ok,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve worked around a building, and this seems like a good day to get back to it.” I felt a little like Tom Sawyer, and offered my brush to him. As we got back to work, he joined the conversation as if he had always been with us.



The Closest Church in America