Mike Whiffin's atmospheric photograph of a shaft of light from a beautiful stained-glass window, falling silently on a wooden pew in St Teilo’s in Bishopston, Swansea, perfectly encapsulates his sentence about the church: ‘A place for quiet reflection.’
Church warden Mike, a keen amateur photographer who has been a member of St Teilo’s, in the Swansea and Brecon Diocese, since 1983, said, ‘I was hoping the photo would convey a feeling of peace. Our church is a wonderful place for quiet prayer; it’s deep down in the valley, so there’s not much noise, and if I’m down there doing jobs – perhaps replenishing the candle oil – I often like to sit there for half an hour, and just take some time to think and reflect, often about the people who would have sat in this very spot over the last 900 years or so.’
Mike’s picture shows the sunlight pouring in through the Cosgrove Window in the south side of St Telio’s, with dappled red and green light piercing the shadows inside and illuminating the oak settle to the front.
The window was presented to the church in 1969 by a local doctor called Cosgrove, in memory of his wife; as well as representations of Mary and Martha, it reflects the benefactor’s profession by featuring the symbol of the British Medical Association and the winged bull of St Luke the Physician, author of the third Gospel.
‘I was gobsmacked when Ecclesiastical called me and told me I was one of the winners, to be honest,’ said Mike. ‘I knew there would be a lot of really good entries, so I’m amazed to be in the final. We are planning to make alterations to pews, paths, and toilets to assist the disabled and elderly – I’m sure many suggestions will be put forward!’