02 May 2011
Scriptures in pictures
Sometimes, pictures tell stories far better than words can. And the winning entries to the Biblefresh photo competition certainly showed creatively and profoundly the impact of the greatest story every told...
Launched at the end of last year, the photo competition - part of the Biblefresh initiative encouraging Christians to re-engage with the Bible - invited entrants to take a photo of themselves depicting how the truth of God's Word has changed their life.
They were invited to send in pictures of themselves holding a sign starting with 'Now I…' or 'Now we…' and then stating the difference having the Bible has made in their life.
Biblefresh co-ordinator Helen Bastable said: "We thought an interesting angle would be to encourage people to connect their surroundings in some way with the meaning of the words on their sign. The more creative and original the better."
Rachel Valler's (pictured above) was the winning entry - and she received an Apple iPad for her efforts. Standing behind a row of books, her photo reads: "Now I am part of the story." Rachel described the Bible as being "full of the stories of people and their journey with God".
She adds: "I love that the lives we live today are part of the same story - God's story - and that through Jesus and his living Spirit in our world, God is a part of all our stories."
The second prize - a Kindle - was won by Paul Keeys and the Walk Through the Bible Instructors who held the sign "Now I am washed clean" while standing, covered in mud, next to the Dead Sea.
Helen said the Biblefresh team were inspired by the creativity sparked by meditating on the truths of scripture.
"As the deadline fast approached, we received a flood of entries and realised that an extension to the closing date was needed so as not to disappoint our budding photographers," says Helen.
"As we looked at the entries as they streamed in, all we could say was 'Wow'! We weren't disappointed. We received approximately 100 entries even from as far afield as Holland, France and the US. Prisons, ships, stations, hillsides, seasides, towns, villages, bedrooms, classrooms and monuments all featured in the pictures.
"Every subject was covered by the pictures: 'Now it has made me fall more and more deeply in love with him', ' Now I have a light on my path', 'Now I have strength', 'Now I serve', 'Now I rest fearlessly at His feet', 'Now I do not need to strive', 'Now I am free my chains are gone', 'Now I am washed clean', 'Now I know I will never be alone', 'Now it reminds me to believe God's truth and reject my eating disorder's lies'."
The special youth prize of a Nintendo Wii went to Abigail Cook. Abigail, 15, was inspired into action after hearing reports from her father's trip to a charity for street children in Kolkata, India. Her sign "Now I know stuff isn't important" supports her decision not to place so much value on shopping and acquiring things.
Abigail said: "We have so much stuff in this country, but Jesus said: 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions' (Luke 12:15)'."
Krish Kandiah, executive director for England and churches in mission for the Alliance, said: "We were heartened by the level and quality of entries that poured in from as far as the US. We hope that these photos will inspire other people to consider the many ways of deepening their understanding of the Bible as each one tells an entirely different story from a unique point of view."
Helen adds: "We would like to express our thanks to all the entrants. We were really impressed with the photographs and the stories behind them. In particular we hope that the photo competition has also modelled a creative way of engaging with the Bible and could be used as inspiration for churches to use in their own congregations throughout the Biblefresh year of 2011.
- If you would like to see a selection of the photos submitted, see the photo album on the Biblefresh Facebook page: facebook.com/biblefresh