Attendance at traditional religious services in the United States has declined dramatically in recent years. Meanwhile, immigration patterns since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act have markedly altered the ethnic and religious landscape of the United States. As a result, mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, and Reform and Conservative Synagogues that used to comprise the majority of the religious landscape of the Northeastern US have taken on new uses.
“In God's House” examines the sustainability of religious communities in Central New York, alongside their ethnic and linguistic identities. Religious communities, throughout history, across the world, have set aside built structures for purposes of ritual gatherings, just as these spaces also reaffirm the identity and cohesion of the group for themselves and to mark themselves toward the "outsiders" in the proximate area. Through photographs and video documentation of spaces, and interviews with religious officiants, our work reveals a resiliency across religious communities and a surprising flexibility with regard to the nature of each group’s notion of “sacred” space. This ability to adapt in the face of significant adversity ties together these diverse groups, and seems to stand as a hallmark essential for their survival. While many other houses of worship have been forced to close, and their spaces repurposed as schools, condominiums, or community centers, this particular group has thrived through the determination, flexibility and creativity of their leaders.
- Robert Knight, Assistant Professor of Art
- S. Brent Plate, Visiting Associate Professor of