Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Bekah Galucki shares her experience taking part in an interfaith photovoice project across the country. She dives into the fruitful community of this leap into the unknown as well as deep personal growth. 

 

Within this year of service, an abundance of opportunities have found themselves my way. Given that time is one of the most valuable nonrenewable resources, I am not able to take on all that happens my way. I was particularly intrigued by one opportunity in particular, a Shoulder to Shoulder Interfaith Photovoice project that met once a week for about a month. While I had never heard of this group nor the project, I jumped at the opportunity.

Photovoice is the process of giving a voice to a topic through photography: an examination of why things are the way they are. This collaboration of Shoulder to Shoulder and Interfaith Photovoice, in particular, takes an introspective look at both Muslims and Christians through photography.  

I met virtually with this group each week, composed of the organizational leaders and other intrigued folks like me. We came from all different backgrounds and got to share all of our personal experiences and stories through the common lens of photography. Each of the four weeks brought a different theme to the table:

  1. Introduction, Self-Portrait
    Introduce yourself to other participants. The only rule is: you cannot be in the photo.
  2. Faith in Everyday Life
    What does your faith look like in your own everyday life?
  3. The Challenges We Face
    As a person of faith, what challenges do you face in everyday life?
  4. Telling Our Story
    What did you learn about yourself and others? What are the key themes that emerged? Which of your photos intersect with these themes?

 

This entire process was extremely life-giving for me. I absolutely love taking photos, documenting a moment in time, and connecting with God in this deeply personal way. The slow unpeeling of my eyes, opening up to the wonders and questions of this life. I was grateful for the space and grace given to savor each of life’s moments, calming my restless mind, and looking inward to greater appreciate that which was outwards. In those moments, I fell deeper into communion with God and all the more in love. 

Here are some photos and tidbits that I would like to share from this fruitful experience. 

Build bridges with photography. Love as you’d want to be loved. 
-Art is to see things deeper through God’s eyes.
-In terms of religion, no one is right. God reveals Himself to certain people in certain ways. 

Some common themes and takeaways we all experienced throughout this project:
-Universally experiencing God through others (family, friends, strangers, etc.)
-The universal blindness to faith while it is in plain sight. We must have the eyes to see what lies in front of us. 
-Holistic challenge of hardness of heart, taking on many different facets and names.
-The peace from making space to be in the present moment

In this open dialogue with others of different faiths and backgrounds, I was able to more deeply connect with the Lord in ways that holistically everyone can and those which intimately only I can. I believe each of us within the project has been enlightened in more ways than not of just how universally God can speak to us. 

 

Reflection: Stretch your photographic eye to see God’s hand in your everyday life. Dedicate the time to take pictures (remember that there are no “bad” pictures), allowing yourself the space and grace to appreciate Him in the present moment.