Intensity, Isolation, and Fiesta: ¡Evangélicos! by Ricardo Cases

Church Iglesia Roca de la Eternidad on Sunday
Ricardo Cases for TIME
Church Iglesia Roca de la Eternidad on Sunday

Spanish photographer Ricardo Cases came to Maryland and spent three days documenting the worship at two evangélico churches for TIME: La Roca de la Eternidad, Rock of Eternity Church, and Iglesia Cuadrangular el Calvario, Calvary Foursquare Church (to read the new TIME cover story, available to subscribers, click here). If you visit either, you may feel more like you are at religious revival in Latin America than at a Sunday service just a half hour from Washington, D.C. But these churches are not exceptions. Born-again, Latino Protestants are on the rise in the United States. More than 40% of Hispanic evangelicals in the United States converted from Catholicism, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Evangélico worship styles differ greatly from the traditional Catholic mass. There are rock bands, streamers, tambourines, flags, dancing, and loud praying. Sometimes there is even prophesying or fainting in God’s presence. It was a new experience for Cases. “Although I am not religious, my education is Catholic, and I only know the Catholic Church ceremonies in which everything happens in a more linear way, less expressive and more boring,” Cases says.

His images capture the blend of intensity, isolation, and fiesta that is often part of the evangélico experience. Both La Roca and El Calvario are more than just venues for Sunday worship. They have become homes for people far from their homeland, and worship services are sacred yet familial. “For me, it was a surprise, the great contrast between the moments before the service, and the service itself,” Cases reflects. “Attendees moved from a festive mood to a dramatic one in minutes.”

The shoot itself was a reminder that evangélico worship in the United States is inextricably linked to the immigrant experience. One moment said it all. When Cases was playing with the little kids at one of the El Calvario services, they wanted to know his name. He teased them and replied: “Obama.” They all started yelling, Obama! Obama! Then one little boy, maybe six or seven years old, asked in broken in English: “Hey! Obama! Can you give me a resident?”


Ricardo Cases documented the Republican presidential primary race in Florida for TIME in 2012. His recent book Paloma al Aire documents the tradition of pigeon racing.

Elizabeth Dias is a writer-reporter for TIME. Find her on twitter @elizabethjdias.


Related Topics: , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

A man carries a child as another lies dead after two explosions on a beach in Gaza, July 16, 2014.

Why Violent News Images Matter

A recent slew of situations resulting in catastrophic violence and death has led to a renewed debate as to what kinds of imagery media outlets should be expected to show, writes Fred Ritchin

Read More
Ebola in Sierra Leone for the Washington Post

PJL: September 2014 (Part 1)

Zapruder film frame #372 of Kennedy assassination showing Mrs. Kennedy climbing towards Secret Service agent who is attempting to board back of limousine after Pres. Kennedy has been shot. Dallas. United States. Nov. 22, 1963.

When Amateur Photographers Make the Front Page

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,848 other followers