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Picturing the hands of Christ

In these photographs, an Episcopal priest captures people's hands receiving communion to show "how our hands...become the next in a long line of hands that act as the hands of Christ."

February 28, 2012

The Rev. Noelle York-Simmons has written about leaving her Episcopal parish in Atlanta and traveling around the country taking these photographs in a reflection and sermon. She asked each person: “What is the most important thing you do with your hands?”

Dot

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Norfolk, Va.

Well I never did what I thought I was going to do. I thought I was going to be a missionary… And towards the end of senior year [in college], I met a man who changed my mind completely. I was married in the fall. I had two children.

I have always worked at a church doing something volunteer. I’ve been doing Sunday School for about six years here and I love it. Oh! I love children. I’ve done so many things along life’s path. I was a den mother, I was teacher, mother, all the things that wives do. I was president-elect of the Junior League of the South. All that stuff. But Godly Play with the kids is the most important thing that I do right now.


 

Petero

The Episcopal Church Center
New York City

The most important thing I do with my hands is pass the peace. That is the best part of the whole worship service.


 

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church Center
New York City

I think the most important thing I am called to do with my hands is to bless, both liturgically but also welcoming, receiving, encouraging people to come and be part, welcoming them in.


 

John

The Episcopal Church Center
New York City

The most important thing I do with my hands is hug the other, the other person, to hold them. I’m Puerto Rican, that’s what we do! The hands are important because they hold and comfort.


 

Allison

St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral
Jacksonville, Fla.

I cut hair. So I make people feel good by having a haircut and shampoo.


 

Jim

Trinity Episcopal Church
St. Augustine, Fla.

Praise and prayer. Amen.


 

Sandy

Holy Comforter Episcopal Church
Atlanta, Ga.

I wash my hands to keep them clean.


 

Dwight

Holy Comforter Episcopal Church
Atlanta, Ga.

I help out at the personal care home.


 

Eli

All Saints’ Episcopal Church
Atlanta, Ga.

I like to fold up my hands to pray. That’s important. Oh! And ride my bike, too.


 

Ellie

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Abingdon, Va.

The most important thing I do with my hands is to touch people, to lay hands on them. I touch people on their hands and feet and bodies to be a reminder to them that they are not alone when they are ill or dying, especially when they are dying. It is a holy moment to be with people in death.