The ringing of the church bell still echos as the children run out to play. As the women of the church setup for the meal, the men start to unload the food from the wagons and setup the makeshift tables.
As the afternoon sun heats up, the women visit and tend to the smaller children, the men stand under the shade trees to discuss the the crops and the clouds on the horizon. The clouds may bring rain, or they may be the clouds of war in Europe…home for many who stand under the shade. The service that they just heard was most likely in German, Czech, Polish or any number of languages from parts of Europe.
The reason for the celebration might be the 10th, 20th or even 50th anniversary of the church.
Fast forward to 2008 and that same church building still stands, it now is 100, 120, 150 years old. Members from those same families may still attend, and the city may have grown much closer than it was from that first day. If fire or storms or ‘progress’ have been kind to it, the same building is still standing.
This is one of the reason for the Texas Church Project. When a community first started, a school, courthouse or church were the first buildings to appear after homes were built. Many of these grand old buildings have been lost, but those few that remain are sought after by the photographers of the TCP, to record how they appear today, so that others will know in another hundred years what they looked like.
The Texas Church Project is not a religious project, as much as it is the story of Texas. It is the migration of peoples from far off lands, coming for a new start in a new place. It is the story of a people who built the building, while they built a new life in a new land. It is also, perhaps most importantly what the photographer felt when we visit each location. The emotion of rubbing your hand across a pew that has been touched by so many from such a long time ago. To listen to the stories the building has to tell – The Forgotten Prayers, Weddings and Funerals, the joys and sorrows that were shared.
For more information, please visit the website of the Texas Church Project.