“Over the past five decades, immigration has dramatically changed the religious landscape of the United States. Today, the encounter of people of different religious traditions takes place in our own cities and neighborhoods. In 1991, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University began a pioneering study of America’s changing religious landscape.”
In the summer of 2010, the Pluralism Project announced its first-ever Photography Contest to document the vibrancy of religious diversity in the United States. The photos below feature the 2010 Pluralism Project Photography Contest winners.
“Floating Lanterns,” Dwight K. Morita. 2010 Pluralism Project Photography Contest Grand Prize Winner.
These floating lanterns memorialize those that have passed away at Ala Moana Park in Honolulu, Hawaii. As the sun sets in the background, small boats with Buddhist monks and church volunteers help to launch and shepherd the small armada of lantern ships, each inscribed with sentiments from family and friends. This traditional Buddhist practice began as a small ritual, but has since grown to become a major event attracting thousands of people of all faiths from around the world. Photo by Dwight K. Morita.
“Mother and Daughter,” Jonathan Cox.
On June 20, 2009, members of the Sikh Sangat Society Boston held achhabeel celebration in Union Square in Somerville, Massachusetts to commemorate the 403rd anniversary of the death of Sikhism’s fifth guru, Guru Arvan Dev Ji. A mother and daughter wear saffron and navy blue, traditionally the most important colors in Sikhism, as they participate in this community event. Photo by Jonathan Cox.
“Summer Drumming,” Rev. Heron/Tara Sudweeks Willgues.
Members of the Church of the Sacred Circle in West Valley City, Utah gather outside for a summertime drumming and fire circle with friends and families. The Church of the Sacred Circle is a church of earth-based spirituality, welcoming a variety of traditions including modern Wicca, Asatru, Shamanic practice, Druidism and Native American practice. Photo by Rev. Heron/Tara Sudweeks Willgues.
“Autumn Lotus Shrine,” Sraddha Van Dyke.
Located in rural Buckingham, Virginia, Satchidananda Ashram,Yogaville is a multifaith spiritual community founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Their Lotus Shrine, an interfaith temple open to the community, is pictured here amidst the autumn leaves. Photo by Sraddha Van Dyke.
“Interfaith Action,” Alexandra Tourek.
During a service trip to Detroit, Michigan, youth active in Interfaith Action Youth Leadership Program of Sharon, Massachusetts worship at a local Buddhist temple as part of their immersion interfaith experience. Photo by Alexandra Tourek.
“Temple at Dusk,” Joshua Fahler.
Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland,Texas, sits amidst farm fields and sprawling housing developments. The Temple’s organization has existed since the 1970s. Photo by Joshua Fahler.
“Jain Center of Greater Boston Inauguration,” Melissa Nozell.
The Jain Center of Greater Boston (JCGB), established in 1973, celebrated the Inauguration of their new Center in June 2010 with vibrant decorations, rituals, a procession, and a cultural program. Here, the parade processes through the suburban streets of Norwood, Massachusetts with music and dancing.
“Interfaith Youth Leadership Program,” Rebecca Luberoff.
Arshe Ahmed, a Muslim Adult Facilitator for the New England Anti-Defamation League’s Interfaith Youth Leadership Program (IFYLP), blows a shofar during a Jewish education activity. Also known as “Camp IF,” IFYLP is an interfaith and diversity education program that brings together high school students from Greater Boston for an intensive one-week summer program. Students then meet in the fall and winter to develop and implement educational programs in their home communities. This photo was taken at Camp Kenwood and Evergreen in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Photo by Rebecca Luberoff.
“Baha’i Temple,” Prerak D. Shah.
This was a picture taken in Wilmette, Illinois at The Baha’i House of Worship for the North American Continent, one of seven such temples in the world. The true beauty of this temple lies inside where the serenity and sense of peace in this house of worship are truly unmatched. Photo by Prerak D. Shah.
“Buddhist Relic Procession,” Amanda Pruitt.
A relic of the Buddha travels to its new home, a newly erected stupa at the Watsaosoksan Temple in Wellford, South Carolina. In honor of this momentous occasion, Bhikkhuni Sudhamma, an American convert and one of only a handful of Theravadan Buddhist nuns worldwide, carries the relic in a grand procession to honor the Buddha at the Wat Lao Buddharam Temple in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 27, 2010. Photo by Amanda Pruitt.
“Botanica San Miguel,” Erin Loeb.
Recent Caribbean immigration to Greater Boston has brought with it a number of African-inspired religions, including Santeria from Cuba and Vodou from Haiti. Practitioners frequent botanicas–stores that supply the religious objects for Santeria and Vodou practice such as candles, oils, beads, statues, and herbs–a number of which are present in Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Dorchester, and Somerville. Here religious objects are on sale at Botanica San Miguel on South Street in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Photo by Erin Loeb.
“Love Never Faileth,” Dwight K. Morita.
Four Buddhist monks participate in an interfaith service at Central Union Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. The service was organized to support efforts for Health Care reform by FACE – Faith Action for Community Equity - an interfaith organization that champions issues important to the local community. Photo taken by Dwight K. Morita.
“Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Dhamma Center,” Anne Teich.
This photo was taken in honor of the 25thAnniversary Celebration of Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Monastery in Boulder Creek, California, a monastery in the Burmese Theravada Forest Tradition. Photo by Anne Teich.
“Roy Community Church,” Scott Allan Stevens.
Roy Community Church is an interdenominational and evangelical church in Roy, Washington. Photo by Scott Allan Stevens.
“Reflection,” Inbal Perlman.
Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Boston, Massacusetts, New England’s largest Islamic Center and landmark mosque, opened its doors in 2009. This photo is the view from the prayer space, looking across the community function hall, toward the café. Photo by Inbal Perlman.
“Coptic in Chicago,” Iwona Biedermann.
Set against the Chicago skyline, the photo documents Coptic Christians participating in an annual ritual of baptism in the waters of Lake Michigan. Photo by Iwona Biedermann.
“UNC-Chapel Hill Female Muslim Graduates,” Nushmia Khan.
Female Muslim graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina on their graduation day. These young women have gone on to be teachers in America, teachers in Palestine, medical school students, and Rhodes Scholars. Photo by Nushmia Khan
“Rural Highway Signs,” David W. Damrel.
This photo of two rural highway signs near Waddell, Arizona illustrates the diverse religious landscape of America. Photo by David W. Damrel.
To learn more about the Pluralism Project: http://pluralism.org/