Smithsonian magazine has announced the finalists in its annual photo contest. You can see them at the Smithsonian’s site, where voting for the Readers’ Choice Winner is open till May 6. All the photos are worth a look.
But most striking of all, for Century readers, may be two portraits of churches. One is Peter Zajfrid’s photo of a tiny chapel by the side of the road in Slovenia:
The other, by Michael Frank, is of the sanctuary of the abandoned Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church in Detroit:
Frank’s image—submitted in the “altered” category—is stunning with its many textures, lines, and sepia tones. The church’s arches still lead the eye to the ceiling, where light coming through from windows adds a golden cast. The colors of stained glass gleam like miniature jewels, while an alcove to the left—with water-damaged walls and a painted cross—seems part of a Romanesque abbey.
But from the point of view of a Christian who loves congregations, the photo speaks of other things: the demise of denominations, the grief over a church closing, and a dreadful, empty silence.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of