Asbury And Remembrance
Photograph - Photography
If you look at the top of the marquee in this image you will see the symbol of a clown adopted by Asbury Memorial to honor members' traditions as well as reinforce faith. The practice of remembrance, as indicated by the occasion noted on the marquee, is also important to the community. Anyone walking past may notice posted on a side fence the names of people recently lost to gun violence or other means.
Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church, located on the east side of Savannah, Georgia (USA), is a very unique structure and community. As I hope my series of digital paintings and photography depicting it will show, when viewed from different angles the building can look like a traditional church, a school, or a medieval castle.
The cornerstone of the church was built in 1921 (according to its website) and literally sits on a corner intersection of two streets, Henry and Waters Avenue. An impressive education annex was added several decades later. Its unique appearance fits the church's approach to Christianity, which some find controversial. Their logo is a clown, viewed as symbolic of the notion of "Holy Fools" who risk social criticism for their devoutness but which is also an emblem of spiritual joy celebrating the teachings of Christ.
In addition, they stress the importance of creativity as a fundamental aspect of spirituality. Members honor a tradition of "clown-making" established a long time ago by a group of women who used to meet to make clown dolls which were sold to help pay church expenses during economically-challenging times. In addition, the church presents every year a very popular "God on Broadway" production which utilizes theatrical techniques and themes to illustrate a powerful sermon. Like I said: unique. Put all these together and the church's motto becomes: "Where the Joy of God is Expressed Creatively!"
In a very progressive approach for the American South, the church stresses that all people are "included at Asbury regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, ethnicity, religion, ability or background. Change and growth are primary at Asbury—growing in one's personal life, relationships, and in relationship with God.”
artist and author of Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah
co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
September 18th, 2019
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