On Friday I travelled to Ross-on-Wye to lead a vision day for the Ross Parishes using photography. The Ross Parishes comprise three Church of England parishes: Ross-on-Wye, Walford and Brampton Abbotts. Situated on the banks of the River Wye, this picturesque town has been voted as the UK’s most loved market town by one tour operator. Tourism here dates back to 1782 when William Gilpin wrote the Country’s first travel guidebook about the Wye valley.
I always like to explore places I’m leading workshops and so I travelled the day before and got my own camera out. I chatted with several of the local shop keepers and wandered along the streets. I think in photography you must always feel a connection to whatever you are photographing.
Sometimes I will include photography as part of the day, but for this workshop I asked people to share images of their community to padlet (a great app for collating photos). You can see the images below.
It never ceases to amaze me how differently we can see the same place, and this is the beauty of using photography to inform our vision. The picture becomes a third partner and by chatting about what we see and feel with others, we develop our relationships as we learn about one another. Photography also helps us to notice what is going on around us, it helps us to not just look but truly see, and as we pause we discover we are surrounded by so much which is beautiful. Around 50 people attended the day with another 10 joining us online via zoom. It was exciting to see so many people committed to serving the community. The church we were in has recently undergone an amazing refurbishment which allows it to be used in different ways to serve people, but church means people and we reflected on how a building must always serve the people, not the other way around.
After a presentation and discussion on contemplative photography (where the importance is placed on the process of taking a picture not the end result) we moved into groups using the pictures to help guide a conversation around vision and the ways in which we see and can serve our community.
The churches are led by Revd Sean Semple, an incredible vicar with an amazing passion for life and those he is called to serve. My hope is that the pictures and conversations will continue to be sources of encouragement and inspiration as the congregations seek to move forward within all the changes the pandemic has brought, continuing generations of faithful Christian service to the people of Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding villages.
To find out more visit thier website at: The Ross Parishes: Ross-on-Wye, Walford & Brampton Abbotts – Inspiring faith, hope and love in each generation.