Words by Adam Smith
A Kingstanding church has won £2,500 after a picture of fireworks above the parish came runner up in a national photography competition.
Sarah Farnan was inspired to pick up her camera after seeing the fireworks light up the night sky above St Luke’s Church, Cavendish Road.
She entered the picture into the Parish Pixels competition with the following description to help capture the character of the church: “The St Luke’s family has been sparkling like a diamond at the centre of the community of Kingstanding for over eighty years, shining out the love of God for all to see.”
Sarah’s snap won the West Midlands regional final of the competition which saw more than 600 Anglican churches enter pictures.
Sarah and church representatives were due to attend a glittering national ceremony for the final in London last week, but due to COVID-19 restrictions the event was streamed online.
However, there were still celebrations after judges announced Sarah’s picture clinched the runner’s up spot winning the Kingstanding church another £1,000.
School administrator Sarah joined the congregation six years ago and was delighted her photo was recognised.
She said: “Situated at the heart of a deprived inner-city area, Kingstanding is often the focus of bad press. There’s quite a lot of unemployment and crime. But St Luke’s is like a shining light, a sparkling diamond, with the love of God at its heart.
“As soon as you walk in, you notice an overwhelming sense of genuine warmth and welcome. Our mission is to meet people ‘where they are’, recognising the diversity within our community, embracing and building on the goodness and community spirit that exists here.”
She added: “The church is a real sanctuary – our parish brings people together and tries to unearth the hidden diamond within each of us.”
“I don’t know yet how the money will be spent, but there are always things which need doing in any church and fundraising is difficult in an area such as ours, so it’s very welcome.”
She added: “So I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who supported my entry by voting for my picture.
“The national final was going to be a trip to London, a presentation lunch and awards ceremony in Westminster. Very disappointingly that fell victim to COVID and instead the ceremony took place virtually online.”
The Parish Pixels Award 2020 ceremony is now available for anyone to watch online and can be seen here:
St Luke’s Church posted about the competition on its Facebook page: “Thanks to all of you who voted and shared our photo. It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm and support for the competition despite the months of lockdown and lovely to experience the support and interest from our parishioners.”
We’re also excited to announce two runners up in our Parish Pixels competition. In second place, St Luke’s Church in Kingstanding! Huge congratulations to everyone involved. You can learn more about their entry on our website – https://t.co/OACE941ww3 pic.twitter.com/knxS32mEOY
— Church Matters (@ChurchMatters) October 9, 2020
A spokesperson said: “We received more than 600 entries, from all corners of the United Kingdom, and together they formed a magnificent illustration of the astonishing diversity of our places of worship and the humbling faith and dedication of their congregations.
“Whittling the 635 brilliant submissions down to nine regional winners was tough enough – but then our judges faced the almost impossible job of naming a winner.
“We invited you to help them to choose by voting for your favourite on our website, and over 7000 of you responded.”