A Fading Faith
Category: Spontaneous Moments
Photo and caption by Lauren Pond
Pastor Randy Wolford handles a rattlesnake during a religious service in Panther Park, West Virginia, on May 28, 2011. Based on literal interpretation of a passage in the King James Bible's Book of Mark, the Pentecostal practice of serpent-handling has long been a tradition in Appalachia. However, with the religious, environmental, and economic identity of the region rapidly changing, serpent-handling seems to face an uncertain future. In the coal towns of West Virginia, older generations of practitioners have passed away, and younger generations have simply lost interest.
Location: Panther, West Virginia, USA
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