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What is The Detroit Sanctuary Project?

The Detroit Sanctuary Project is an interactive community photography project inviting members of the public to help document each house of worship within the City of Detroit. We are gathering a community of people together to adopt blocks of the City and go and take pictures of the visible houses of worship in their area and record some basic information about each location. (Address, Name, etc.) These images will be uploaded to a website to create a full inventory of images of every house of worship in the City of Detroit. Each image will be framed in the same way, with the intent of showing a collection that showcases commonalities in a world of diversity.

We are planning on day for everyone to come together and photograph on the same day, and have a picnic afterwards and share our experiences in the project, and connect with each other. This is an everybody-friendly, all-any-or-none faith, open-arms and heart project. We welcome the support of everyone that shares the same goal and heart.

Who can participate in The Detroit Sanctuary Project? 

YOU! Anyone that has access to the internet, a digital camera (or smart phone) and loves to take pictures. We will break down the streets of the city by block, and everyone that wants to take pictures as part of this project will adopt a block, or several, and go out to that location and photograph all visible houses of worship in their designated area. They will then email the pictures and corresponding information about the buildings (Address, etc.) they photographed. All images will be credited to the photographer that took them.

If photography isn’t your thing, and you would still like to participate, we need all the help we can get in spreading the word and letting people know this important project is happening. We have postcards for distribution, and can mail them to you to hand out to friends, groups and congregations that you think might be interested. Please contact us and we can send you some. Also, social media is a powerful tool, if you can share this website or The Detroit Sanctuary Project Facebook Page with your network, it would be greatly apprecaited. Letting people know they can be a part of this exciting event, is a huge gift and help.

We will also need lots of hands-on-deck for the June 8th event. If you are interested in volunteering to help support the event itself, please let us know.

If you are interested in participating in The Detroit Sanctuary Project or receiving postcards and stickers for distribution, go to the contact us page, or email

When is The Detroit Sanctuary Project happening? 

We will be gathering together to take the bulk of the pictures on Saturday, June 8, 2013. This will be a day for everyone to come together as a community and work together as a team and enjoy the camaraderie sharing this project together with the bonus of a job-well-done Team Detroit Sanctuary picnic for the participants. While it is not necessary to participate on this specific day, it is encouraged to support the  time of connection with your fellow teammates!

If you are unable to make the June 8th date, you can still participate! If you would like to adopt your section and go out ahead of time and photograph the area, that is welcomed and encouraged!

Why The Detroit Sanctuary Project? 

The City of Detroit, despite being the economically hardest-hit metropolis in the US, hosts one of the largest densities and, more importantly, diversities of religious houses. These recognized sanctuaries have never been fully inventoried as a complete collection.

The Detroit Sanctuary Project is gathering a community of participants to canvas all 684 miles of streets in Detroit to capture a photograph of the outside of every publicly visible religious sanctuary within the city. Each image will be framed from the same viewpoint, creating a unique collection showcasing commonalities in a vastly diverse community.

These images, potentially representing up to 3000 unique locations, will be gathered together in an online database exhibit featuring the images, addresses, church names, and key data point information (year founded, etc.) that would be gathered, if existing or available.

After this initial inventory is complete, the public will be encouraged to submit their own  images defining safe spaces of sanctuary where people gather to share, educate, celebrate, express, perform, and congregate. It is the hope of The Detroit Sanctuary Project to expand the public and municipal concept of sanctuary.