Photos of Sacred Silence

Photography by Jane Laping
View the entire Nov 2012–Jan 2013 issue, “Hope for Eco-Activists: Discovering an Environmental Faith
jane laping
Jane Laping, Photographer and Vice-Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care

Jane lives out her passion for her faith and the environment through her work in public health, her volunteer activities, and actions through her church, First Presbyterian in Asheville, NC. She is the former director of Mothers for Clean Air in Houston and now works in cancer control and prevention in Western North Carolina. She is the Vice-Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care, coordinates a community garden that feeds the hungry, and leads hikes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She also leads the Creation Care Team at her downtown church and participates in its many programs to help the homeless. Jane is  the author of the PC(USA) program, Earth Care Congregations, A Guide for Greening Presbyterian Churches.

Of her photography and her experience in nature, Jane writes, I can think the thoughts. I can feel the feelings. But I cannot find the words to express them. My mouth and tongue won’t work together to form the right sound. My hand and brain don’t connect to write the precise word.

I want to write about nature and how it lifts my spirits when I am in it. I want to write about how full my heart feels when I gaze at the mountains. I want to let people know how sure I am that God is present within me and around me, and how obvious that is to me when I am in nature.

But how do I describe –

the powerful rush and grace of a waterfall,

the intricacies of a wildflower,

the peculiarity of a mushroom,

the perfectly choreographed colors of a sunset.

Ina says, “Give specifics. Evoke the reader. Tell a story. Write in detail. Avoid the abstract. Don’t use words like beautiful or awesome.”

How can I do that? I feel lost. I know of no words that can describe the perfectly beautiful and inspiringly awesome world that our Creator has given to us as our home. Whatever words I try or stories I tell or readers I evoke fall so very short of what I think and feel.

That is why when I am in nature, I carry a camera and take photographs.

Below we share some of Jane’s photos embodying her “Sacred Silence” in the presence of God’s creation (all photos are copyrighted and require permission for reproduction). To view each photo as a stand alone piece, simply click on the image.

mountain view


forest and stream


flowers on path

hikers on mountaintop

misty forest


kevin kleinman
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