One Photographer, Three Sites
A couple of Sundays ago, on 23rd June, you may have seen me darting about between the rows, snapping photos of King’s family for the LOOP Magazine. Photography is part of my job as the King’s Creative Media Intern; for both internal (baptisms, King’s Stories) and external (the odd evening conference) events, as well as a few snaps here and there from the back of the room on a Sunday. It’s a lot of fun and quite challenging (particularly when your subject is a group of children running around hunting for Easter eggs!) One of the best things about taking photos for King’s - for me, at least - is getting to stop and really look at the people around me.
I don’t mean that in a creepy way - honest! What I mean is I enjoy focusing all my attention on capturing moments that might otherwise be missed; a fleeting smile or a sparkle in someone’s eyes when they’re telling a story. Most of all, I enjoy being able to step back and get a feel for the kind of energy a particular group of people has.
This was particularly the case on the 23rd of June, as I was visiting all three sites in one Sunday.
It’s a feat that many of our eldership team have managed over the years, but it was a first for me and was, in fact, quite eye-opening.
I began my day at Mile Cross, arriving a little before the start time of 11 o’clock so that I could catch up with a few friends. The energy there is warm and welcoming - everyone greets each other with a smile. People from all ages, cultures, and walks of life mingled and chatted over tea, coffee and cake (an excellent way to start a Sunday service in my opinion!) The young children bouncing around joyfully in front of the band during worship gave the feeling of exuberant, electric energy, while the more mature members of the congregation brought a bedrock of comfort and safety to the group. I even got some absolutely cracking shots of all this. What a wonderful start to my day!
From there I went to City Centre (my usual site) to get a few shots of the guests in God Story (a group that meets during King’s Care to provide a place for King’s Care guests to discuss the gospel and support each other). Despite the fact that I had driven from one location to another - and hadn’t actually heard a preach yet - it seemed like I was still in exactly the same church.
The people at each place might be different, the congregation a little bigger, but the heart and soul of City Centre and Mile Cross are palpably the same. Written on a page in the cold light of day, you might be tempted to say to me: “of course they are the same, Joanna, we are one church which is multisite!” There is such a difference between hearing the term ‘multisite’ and actually seeing how God has made it work so wonderfully in King’s.
I remember first hearing about King’s going multisite - with the plant in Mile Cross - and not understanding at all what that meant. If a church is in a different building, with different people, surely it’s just a different church altogether, right? Well, maybe two churches feeling like a close-knit, but extended family could be coincidence, but two is a pattern (or a God-incidence, as I like to say!)
I nipped across from City Centre to City West in the afternoon and found myself yet again in the same church. Here, the demographic is predominantly young families and students, but the vivacity of the Spirit was the same. It was as though all I had done was stepped from one room, to the next, to the next - and it was great!
The day (while being quite tiring, due to all the fun) turned out to be such an encouragement to me that there really is something special here at King’s and we should be very honoured in that. I would also recommend visiting other sites to your usual one if you can - there is nothing quite like meeting (and re-meeting) distant church family, seeing what’s going across the sites, and realising that we really are together on this mission.