This summer the pastor of my church is preaching a series of sermons on inclusion, a topic I consider of high importance. Yesterday's sermon was about the men who lowered their paralyzed friend through the ceiling so that Jesus might heal him. Jesus remarked on the faithfulness of the friends during the healing. Sometimes we can't get out of a problem by ourselves. We need others to help us. The pastor went on to say the church is like a stretcher – sometimes we need to be carried, sometimes we do the carrying. But we don't do it just for each other, we do it for the surrounding community too. We welcome everyone who needs to be carried or can help with the carrying.
Over the last couple months I've been very aware I need the fellowship of the church to carry me. My dad is in the hospital (round three) and while I carry him as well has Mom and manage his finances I need others to say, "We've been there. We know cancer is a bitch. Any time you need a hug or anything else, let us know."
I had a part of the planning for this sermon series. For two Sundays several weeks ago I took headshot photos of members of the congregations. A couple other photographers did that as well. By the time we were done we had a collection of over 200 photos.
These photos have now been turned into posters and pasted to the side of the church that faces the major road. The purpose is to show those on the street how diverse the congregation is and therefore they would be welcome too.
Here's what the whole thing looks like:
My face is not in this set, though several of my photos are, particularly those with a brick background.
Here is a closer look at one block of posters. There is quite a mix – black and white, young and old, regular suburbanites and a biker. There's even a lesbian on the wall, though not in this block.
In front of all the posters is a banner with 200 headshots. The lead pastor is in the lower right corner.
As the posters were almost up a man driving by noticed them. He was impressed, so stopped to learn more. He created a video of the pastor explaining the project, then emailed it to the pastor. It was shown during the service yesterday.