Photographs capturing the stunning spires, close communities and wondrous windows of Anglican churches have been celebrated in a nationwide competition.
Parish Pixels was launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance in 2019 to help capture the full spectrum of church life from architecture to celebrating faith to supporting those in need.
Anglican Churches in England, Wales and Scotland were invited to submit a photograph capturing the essence of their church in a single snapshot, accompanied by a one-sentence caption.
Over 600 entries were submitted ranging from pictures of people, places, features, and artefacts.
Nine churches from across the UK were then selected as regional winners and each received £1,500 before shortlisting for the overall winner and a chance to win £5,000.
With many churches across the country struggling financially as a result of Covid-19 Ecclesiastical has this year created a second and third place prize of an additional £1,000 each – giving even more money back to local churches and communities, in line with Ecclesiastical’s corporate ethos.
The judging panel, made up of representatives from the Church and Ecclesiastical staff supported by a public vote decided on the following winners:
3rd Place (£1,000) – Rector Nicki McNelly, St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh
“Like the ice appears to break the window, we are a beautiful church in a broken world doing our best to live as Jesus commanded.”
2nd Place (£1,000) – Sarah Farnan, St Luke’s, Kingstanding, Birmingham
“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.”
And the overall national winner is:
1st Place (£5,000) – Freedom Church, Blackpool
“We may not have our own church building and we may live in an area of deprivation but we believe that it doesn’t matter where you meet to worship God, as long as you meet to worship God.”
Unlike last year’s winners’ lunch, which was held in London, the event was streamed online through Ecclesiastical’s website due to restrictions in place as a result of Covid-19.
The regional winners all joined the live ceremony online and enjoyed a complimentary Afternoon Tea in line with Government guidance on social distancing.
Michael Angell, church operations director at Ecclesiastical, said:
“We received so many incredible entries, each illustrating the unique and fascinating items, stories and people that make our Anglican churches so special.
“Thank you to everyone who took the opportunity to showcase their churches, and especially to all of the winners. Congratulations to them, and especially to the overall national winner Freedom Church in Blackpool who showed us the impact the church can have in our local communities.”
The Venerable Peter Townley, Archdeacon of Pontefract, was one of the members of the judging panel and was full of praise for the entries.
“As you can imagine, it was no easy task whittling 635 fantastic entries down to just nine and then to the final three, including the overall winner Freedom Church in Blackpool.
“I would like to personally thank all involved. From the churches that took time to enter and to join us on the online ceremony to the judges for their time and to the individuals who have made Parish Pixels happen.”
Copies of the images submitted by the regional finalists can be found at the Ecclesiastical website www.ecclesiastical.com/parishpixels.