screenshot

Uncategorized

Feb 21

Self-Care and Service

At Oasis Church Bath, as part of speaking series called ‘Hands In’, I explore how we can strike a healthy balance between looking after ourselves, and getting involved in our church and community hub.

0
comments

Jan 03

Shepton Mallet Prison

It’s been a while since I’ve got my camera out and enjoyed a day just capturing something beautiful or interesting, so when I heard Shepton Mallet Prison was closing for good, I had to go! The prison closed as a working prison in 2013, but for the last few years has been open as a tourist attraction documenting its fascinating history, as well as offering tours and experiences such as escape rooms and even overnight stays.

Having spent most of my working life as a youth worker, some of which involved working in youth justice, I find some of the glamourising around prison and crime really uncomfortable. In my experience, working with young people in custody often meant working with very hurt and traumatised young people who had themselves often been victims of crime such as abuse or neglect.

That said, it’s important awareness is raised, stories are told and space is given to reflect, particularly around criminality and justice, and the urgent need for prison reform. There’s also something really powerful about entering a space you’re not normally allowed to enter. The vast majority of the population will never enter a prison, never see beyond its gates, walls and barbed wire. Stepping inside one and being able to wander, explore and visually document the space felt like a real privilege, a kind of ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

What I mostly felt walking around and taking photos, was sadness. Sadness at how much pain there has been in that place – the pain caused by the people in custody here, and the harm done to them through an ineffective and outdated system that does little to repair or rehabilitate. I also felt strangely hopeful, mostly through the little details of beauty I found in some of the decaying and neglected spaces, and through the powerful metaphor of a closed prison where no one is locked up and all are free. We all have parts of us that hold the potential for harm and evil, and we all have things in us that keep us bound and locked up. We all have ways in which we long to be free. These photos remind me of the ability we have to escape what binds us, to recover, restore and repair. You can see the full set here, and some of my favourites below.

0
comments

May 01

#NewProfilePic

This spoken word poem below was inspired by this photo, taken by my wife while we were on a weekend away recently.

It became more than a photo and took on a deep meaning for me – how sometimes just smiling and living fully are acts of rebellion against all the despair and hopelessness we can sometimes experience in our lives or read about on the news. Not many of us have had an easy time in the last few years, and sometimes it’s just lovely when a moment of joy like this is captured.

I hope it inspires you to be you, to recognise joy when it finds you, to live fully, and to love your imperfections and quirks! The full words to the poem are below the film if you need them.

I uploaded a new profile pic today,
The one I made you take.
The one where I sat with my back to those cool wooden slats and you made me laugh,
Reminiscing about that clip from that show on Netflix.
I realised how brilliant it is to exist.
How existence is resistance to all the shit-ness I’ve witnessed,
My smiling an uprising an insistence of aliveness.

I uploaded a new profile pic today,
The one I made you take.
No I’m not holding a mic and it’s not with my wife or my kids,
Ok I don’t have any but if I did,
They wouldn’t be in a picture or a visual description of me,
They wouldn’t define who I am or who I can be, don’t you see?
I’m enough when alone I have worth on my own.

I uploaded a new profile pic today,
The one I made you take.
Light is shining right above my head,
A reminder a spotlight on the good times ahead,
Or the divine guidance and kindness that’s been mine every step.
There’s a part like a shard that’s pierced the darkness,
Just a shimmer just a glimmer but it still softens the starkness.

I uploaded a new profile pic today,
The one I made you take.
It shows my tattoos including the one that’s still new,
Like me not yet healed and it’s partly concealed its design not quite yet fully revealed.
If you zoomed in you’d see wrinkles and dimples, crinkles and pimples, imprints on my skin,
But these marks are battle scars I’ve made my peace with.

I uploaded a new profile pic today,
The one I made you take.
And okay I’ll spend way too much of my day, having a play in Photoshop
But I won’t change, rearrange or display what I’m not.
Maybe a filter is needed, some aligning and refining,
Some shifting and lifting and colour defining.
But this picture will still be the real me,
Both who I am now and who I’m trying to be.

0
comments

Oct 02

Let Me Be Like Autumn

Let me be like Autumn leaves
Born from mighty oaks.
Rooted in the unseen.
Feeding, nourishing,
Provoking growth.

Let me be like Autumn trees
Unbreakable but bendable. Dependable.
Aware of all that’s nourished me,
But able to let it go.
Grateful.

Let me be like Autumn leaves
Falling with grace at a gentle pace,
Unafraid to change, unafraid to leave.
Letting go, moving on.
Staying near, but in a new place.

Let me be like Autumn trees
Formed from the layers of before.
Every season shaping and making me,
Good and bad, sun and storm,
I embrace it all.

0
comments

Aug 02

The Simple Fact

It’s a sitting back,
Shoulders relaxed,
Lungs contract at the simple fact…

You have been with me each day that is done,
And you will be with me each day that will come.

0
comments

Feb 02

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

In this speaking series at Oasis Church Bath on the parables of Jesus, I explored and unpacked the Parable of the Prodigal Son. How would a Jewish audience have understood this parable and what can we learn from it to apply to our lives today?

0
comments

Jan 02

We need to talk about…hell

What do Christians really believe about hell and where do these views come from? In this talk for Oasis Church Bath I attempt to expose some of the myths we’ve been led to believe and look at what the bible actually says. What kind of hope can we have for the future and how should this impact how we live now?

0
comments

Sep 02

TEDx Bath: The Strengths of a City

How effective is a deficit based approach at resolving social problems and is it the right route to identify robust and sustainable solutions? How can we take a more positive approach to identifying and resolving the route of the problem? In this short talk given at TEDx Bath in 2019, I highlight the benefits of applying the positive approach of Asset Based Community Development in the resolution of social problems.

0
comments

Aug 17

Vineyard Bath – Vision Films

This was a challenging collaborative effort, done with no budget, limited time and lots of wonderful volunteers! My former church – Vineyard Bath, wanted a short and simple film which communicated the overall vision and mission of the church. We decided to involve lots of different members of the church saying parts of the church vision statement to camera, with a nice white background created by a makeshift studio in the church office. We added text to introduce some colour and movement, and to make it more accessible. Here’s the final version…

We begged and borrowed a few different pieces of kit, but the film was shot using two Canon 5D Mark IIs, one with a 50mm prime lens and the other a 24 – 105 zoom lens. Sound was done with a Rode VideoMic Pro on a mic stand linked in to a Zoom H4 audio recorder.

0
comments