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

Mg Ko, 20 years old. A Shan farmer with his cow in Lui Pan Sone Village. Kayah State.

Transforming Lives in Burma, One Solar Panel at a Time

In Burma, where only a quarter of the population has access to electricity, solar panels can change lives, as Spanish photographer Ruben Salgado Escudero found out

Read More
Diana Walker—Contour by Getty Images for TIME

An Intimate Portrait of Hillary Clinton in Photographs

LOVED ONE LOST:NAME: Jabril BradleyAGE: 20DOB: 10/6/1990SEX: MaleDATE OF DEATH: 9/1/2011TIME: After MidnightLOCATION: 9th st and Ave of the States, Chester, PACIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO MURDER: Bradley was riding his bike home from a friend’s house on the east side of Chester, September 1, 2011, when an unknown gunman opened fire. He was struck in the back once and continued to ride his bike home. A number of blocks later he collapsed to the ground from blood loss. He bled to death on the street. Bradley’s family claim that he was shot because of mistaken identity. According to his mother, Bradley was supposed to still be in prison. He was serving a sentence for possession of a controlled substance and was allegedly released before his time was up. Within weeks of his murder, the FBI came looking for Bradley at his mothers house, claiming that he got released by mistake. IN PHOTOGRAPH:NAME OF FAMILY MEMBERS: Sister to Jabril Bradley: Danita Harris, 30.Son to Danita Harris: Jah’lil Harris, 3.

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 23, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,624 other followers