A giant cross by highway I-65 is illuminated at night, marking the site of Gardendale First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala. on March 21, 2015.
A giant cross by highway I-65 marks the site of Gardendale First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala. on March 21, 2015.Matt Eich for TIME
A giant cross by highway I-65 is illuminated at night, marking the site of Gardendale First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala. on March 21, 2015.
Pete Garrett prays over breakfast, with his son P.J. and wife Dr. Cynthia Garrett, at their home in Trussvile, Ala. before attending Sunday worship at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on March 22, 2015.
Pete Garrett's hat and bible rest on the kitchen counter prior to church service, at his home in Trussvile, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
Pete Garrett prepares to leave home to attend Sunday worship at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on March 22, 2015.
P.J. Garrett holds an umbrella for his mother, Dr. Cynthia Garrett, as they arrive at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
Left: The old sign from 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Right: A deacon gives instructions to two young greeters at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
Left: A stack of hymnals at 16th Street Baptist Church. Right: A woman wears cross earrings during a service at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
Left: Flowers at the cornerstone of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Right: A cross marks a parking spot outside of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
Worship time at Church of the Highlands, a rapidly growing mega-church, in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
People pray and sing during worship time at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
The view from the sound booth as Associate Pastor Jimmy Bowers delivers a message at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
A family waits outside of the auditorium at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
(L-R) Michael McClure Jr., Michael McClure Sr. and his granddaughter Brooklyn, and Darius McClure laugh during a lively family dinner at the home of Rev. Michael McClure Sr., in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
A family dinner at the home of Reverend Michael McClure Sr., pastor of Revelation Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015. Both of McClure's sons have followed in his footsteps and are pastors at churches of their own.
Angelique McClure hangs out with her nieces and nephews in the living room during a family dinner at her father's home in Birmingham, Ala. on March 22, 2015.
The stained glass glows at night from inside the First Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. on March 21, 2015.
A giant cross by highway I-65 marks the site of Gardendale First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala. on March 21, 2015.
Matt Eich for TIME
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Inside the Most 'Bible-Minded' City in America

Apr 04, 2015

Earlier this year, the American Bible Society named Birmingham the nation's most "Bible-minded" city, with the largest number of people who say they have read the Bible at least once in the past week and strongly believe in its accuracy. As Mark Pettus, an associate pastor at the Church of the Highlands, puts it, "You walk into coffee shops like Starbucks in the morning, and you're going to see a group of people with the Bible open."

Ahead of Easter Sunday, TIME sent photographer Matt Eich to visit some of the people who helped Birmingham earn that designation. His pictures show congregants at a megachurch, the generation gap at one of the city's historic houses of worship, and the intimate moments of family prayer.

LISTEN: A sermon at The Church of the Highlands

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