A woman singing during a thanksgiving Sunday service at the Redeemed Christian Church of God Living Water Parish

Date:
4 Sep 2022
Location:
Redemption Community Hub, 79 London Road, Stoke-on-Trent, City of Stoke-on-Trent
Reference:
HEC01/128/01/05/01/14
Type:
Photograph (Digital)
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Description

In 2022-23 Historic England commissioned several photographers to work with local communities to capture images representative of their local high streets. This formed part of the Picturing High Streets project. In Stoke, Natalie Willatt was commissioned as photographer. She wrote the following text to describe her work on the project: " 'Stoke' is derived from the Old English 'stoc', a word that at first meant little more than place, but which gained more specific connotations. These variant meanings included meeting place and place of worship. As Photographer in Residence in the historic town of Stoke, Natalie worked alongside diverse communities, each a part of the town, and each welcoming in to their places of congregation. With a focus on belief and faith, in its broadest sense, Natalie’s main interest is in the behaviours and gestures of people partaking in worship, music, football and heritage. In dancing with church goers at the close of a thanksgiving service; being one of many voices singing Delilah in the wake of a football win; observing a moment of quiet reflection over Diwali candles and in pausing to listen between bell rings, here Natalie has found moments of reflection, expressions of faith and a celebration of community. These photographs of congregation and union offer an alternative view to the commonly held idea of the deserted and neglected high street. Amidst dwindling footfall, a celebration of life can still be found behind closed doors." The following information was submitted by the photographer in relation to this image: "On the first Sunday of each month, Living Water Parish Church have their thanksgiving ceremony. This differs from other Sunday services as it gives people the opportunity to go up to the front and give thanks for something in their lives. People raise their hands to nominate themselves, and a member of the church tries very hard to fit everyone’s thanks in to a twenty minute section. Every time I have been, this proves to be an impossible task and keeps the congregation amused nonetheless. Thanksgiving ceremonies also features singing, traditional dress and everyone gets up to dance at the front at the end of the ceremony (myself included). This image was captured during one of the hymns that were sung by everyone during the service." 'Picturing England's High Streets' commission by GRAIN, Historic England and Photoworks.

Content

This is part of the Job: HEC01/128/01/05/01 Picturing High Streets Photographer Residencies - Natalie Willatt: Stoke, Photographer's Images; within the Volume: HEC01/128/01/05 Picturing High Streets Photographer Residencies - Natalie Willatt: Stoke; within the Sub Series: HEC01/128/01 Picturing High Streets: Photographer Residencies; within the Series: HEC01/128 Picturing High Streets; within the Collection: HEC01 Historic England

Rights

© Natalie Willatt

People & Organisations

Photographer: Willatt, Natalie

Keywords

Church, People, Religion