St.Wilfrid's Church: Fragments of the Soul of an Urban Church

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2019-05-22

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Abstract

This is a personal chronicle about a small stone church in Camden, New Jersey. St. Wilfrid’s Episcopal Church has survived de-industrialization, corruption, racist policies, and apathy over its one hundred-thirty-three years. The vulnerability and resiliency of the church enticed me into its sphere and motivated me to join the effort to preserve it. The pure beauty of the sanctuary touched me, and I was saddened to think it might be lost. I wanted to honor the spirit within the sanctuary by describing it before it was destroyed. I discovered old church records with delicate pages and elegant handwriting. I was able to talk to people who loved the church and worked to keep it alive. I worked beside volunteers who supported the church’s open door clinic and attended Sunday services with them. The spirit of the church captured my heart. This experimental documentary knits fragments of the past together with visual images, and personal accounts from the present to illuminate the story of the church and its people. Thousands of small churches have experienced the same travails, hundreds of cities have abandoned their neighborhoods and lost their places of worship. Only a few congregations, like St. Wilfrid’s, have survived. They have been able to reinvent themselves and find a mission that is meaningful. This is a hybrid visual narrative documenting the faith, resiliency, and resurrection I witnessed at St. Wilfrid’s Church.

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Fanjul, Stephanie (2019). St.Wilfrid's Church: Fragments of the Soul of an Urban Church. Capstone project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18575.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.