This dazzling firework, lighting up the night sky above St Luke’s in Kingstanding, Birmingham, symbolises the sentiments of photographer Sarah Farnan: ‘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, a school administrator who joined the congregation six years ago, took the picture during the annual Patronal Festival at the church, when parishioners are encouraged to invite friends, family, and neighbours to a celebration.
For her, it perfectly expresses what the church is all about.
‘Situated at the heart of a deprived inner-city area, Kingstanding is often the focus of bad press’ she said. ‘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. The church is a real sanctuary – our parish brings people together and tries to unearth the hidden diamond within each of us.’
The church, which recently celebrated its eightieth anniversary, is vibrant and busy, with a sizeable congregation across all ages, and runs events like theatre and day trips and parish meals, and does a lot of outreach activity and charity work alongside the usual services.
Keen amateur photographer Sarah said, ‘I didn’t think I would win, so it was a wonderful surprise. 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.’