I drove to Gary IN this morning. I had decided to take photos. Take pictures of Gary to share on Intersections. Expand my skills. Introduce a sense of immediacy. Sure.
Captain Brenda McCoy had a full house for Sunday worship this morning at the Gary-Merrillville Corps. The congregation of adults and young people from the neighborhood filled the small chapel.
No piano, no live music. The singing was accompanied by recorded music. But it worked; the corps is a happy corps, it sings.
The time for greetings in the service was enjoyable. All were glad to see one another. They took plenty of time to share smiles, exchange blessings, shake hands, hug one another. There was also a meaningful time of pastoral prayer. Men, women, boys, girls told what they were concerned about. And we prayed.
After Cadet Rod Morin’s sermon a dozen men, women and young people responded at the altar.
The morning had begun with breakfast. Boiled eggs, sausage, biscuits, oatmeal, Sunny D prepared by Captain McCoy, her daughter Jasmine and Cadet Becky Barringer. Adults met for Bible study with Cadet Kris Morin. Dell Staggers (brother of Chicago Temple’s Envoy Tyrone Staggers) taught the young people’s class. Captain McCoy explained that the class is training them how to live as Christians. Meaning such basic things as appropriate physical contact, language, how to treat people. This is discipleship.
After morning worship, lunch served. Then rehearsal for young people learning how to play brass instruments. A busy day. A leader talking with a worried looking parent and son who had stopped in to arrange court ordered community service. I like our mission. Families can come to the Army when they are in trouble.
Earlier in the morning before going to the corps building I drove through downtown Gary. Exited the Indiana Toll Road at Grant Street. Headed east and then south on Broadway. I brought a camera today. I was going to take photos.
I didn’t. I couldn’t.
Why take more pictures of a broken down city?
Gail and I served in Gary in the early 1980s. Rough then. But things look so empty now. Deserted. A ghost town. It looks like a zombie city.
Empty staring buildings. Broken windows that stare at you. Gaping holes in walls where some valuable architectural feature has been rudely ripped out. Here and there tumbled down piles of bricks from decaying structures. It’s the kind of place that is menacing.
In time a person gets used to this sort of thing. But to get used to it, you get changed. Desensitized. And even then your eyes begin to see a certain beauty of these places. Strange, isn’t it?
Should we be changed this way? our eyes seeing a city this way? German and French photographers come to Detroit. It fascinates them, decaying city.
I continued south on Broadway, headed for the corps located in the southernmost fringe of Gary, in the Glen Park neighborhood. Once past 12th Street it becomes easier on the eye. It looks more like places on the westside and southside of Chicago.
I thought If anyone wants a taste of Detroit, just come here. My morning in downtown Gary was enough for me. I felt ready to go someplace else.
A moment later, approaching I94 I saw the exit sign: Detroit.
Gary, Indiana: Decline of Great Americana City from the BBC.