City of God Documentary Photography Project

The past couple of years have been rough for me.  First came the pandemic. Then I had to change jobs and move to a new city.  Then my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer.  As a church pastor, trying to encourage others each week, I found I needed encouragement myself. I found that encouragement in a surprising and wonderful way. 

The place I moved to was Lynn, Massachusetts, an immigrant city filled with people from seventy nations.  Lynn is known regionally as the "City of Sin", a place reportedly filled with poverty, crime and drugs.   But come to Lynn and you will find God. 

Over our history, religion has been important for most immigrant groups coming to America.  Leaving your home country brings a sadness of loss but also perhaps trauma from violence.  The journey itself can be filled with uncertainties and dangers.  Arrival and resettlement can be a time of loneliness and th experience of prejudice.  As with saints in the past, many immigrants turn to faith in a higher power. 

As I discovered my new city and talked with people, I found faith in abundance -- through dozens and dozens of church and faith communities, as well as public proclamations found in front yards, on mailboxes, cars and clothing, and at street corners and outdoor festivals.  I found a city of God filled with people living a deepening faith amidst the hardships of life.  Their example has brought me hope and strength and courage during my own difficult times, and I now wish to share their example with others. 


CITY OF GOD is a multi-year documentary photography project which celebrates the immigrant church in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts.  The project, made up of several portfolios, is partially funded through a grant from the Louisville Institute.  

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