Ben Heimsath in Austin, Texas is sharing daily in his Church-a-Day project. 

He explains...  

They could be anywhere! Images or references to churches, worship places, temples, or sacred objects of all kinds are much more common than we think. So inevitably we take them for granted.

Maybe it’s a place that we see so often we no longer think of its connection to faith or spirituality. Maybe it’s a common object or image that we never associate with a faith or a spiritual environment. It could be a place, a building, a rendering, or a media image. These spiritual or faith connected visuals could be almost anywhere. My goal is to focus on one place, image, or reference to a church, temple, or spiritual object every day for 365 days.

I use the label ChurchaDay with some hesitation. In our Western culture, most of us understand and associate with a Christian heritage. However, for Americans, in both historic and modern times, the number of diverse religions and their influences is truly astounding. So this inquiry is to identify and spotlight elements of all faiths and traditions that far too often are hiding in plain site.

Why did you decide to do this project? This project fell in my lap - almost literally - on December 31. My wife had been waiting all day for a delayed Amazon order. So before we left for a New Year’s gathering in the country, I checked the mailbox one last time. There it was, Noah Scalin’s 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. My wife read out loud as I made our way through traffic. Before too long, she asked me what I would do if I could commit to something creative everyday. “That’s pretty easy,” I found myself saying, “I would share something about churches and holy places.”

I’m an architect who has spent the past 30 years building a practice that specializes in project with churches and faith communities of all kinds. I’m often surprised to realize how much I’ve been able to see and learn in my day-to-day activities that most people never appreciate or experience. This is a chance to share.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? So far, Church-a-Day has been an outpouring. I’ve been thinking about many of these issues for a very long time. There’s something beautiful about committing to a daily deadline. The posts aren’t perfect, the pictures aren’t always architecturally stunning, but these ideas now have a home.

Now that I’m into my second month, I also find I’m forced to take action in a way I hadn’t before. If I drive by an interesting site, I start looking for a place to park so I can take pictures. When I’m online, I’m consciously looking for references to worship or faith places so I can bookmark the site.

Then there’s a few posts of things I don’t think I ever would have noted. My recent post about the Flash Factory in NYC came from a casual conversation during a conference call. My contact recalled his friend had gone out dancing and was impressed with the space that looked like a converted church. It wasn’t, but when I looked into it, the Flash Factory was actually a space made of castoff church pieces and maybe a start of a new trend.

See all of Ben's project HERE.  

No comments: