Thursday, July 12, 2018

layers, angles, sides

Every fortnight, we have a free barbecue at Hope and Anchor Community Church. As the weeks go on and we get into the swing of things (read: as we still try to figure out how to get the fire to catch in the grills), we are also getting to build relationships with the people that we invite into our family. I still get a lump in my throat when I look around the room and see gruff old men and teenage girls worshipping next to each other, especially because they don't know the songs, but they go for it anyway.

One of my favourite things to do during these barbecue services (because we do them simultaneously) is to stand downstairs with the people who don't feel that they can go upstairs. Sometimes they feel too dirty, or they don't have anywhere to leave their dog (the homeless often take better care of their dogs than other people do their own children), or they are a different religion, so they don't want to disrespect the church. We welcome them upstairs anyway, but sometimes, they prefer to stay with us outside.

I've gotten to know several of our neighbours this way. I appreciate the open hearts that they have to share how life is going for them. They love the idea of spending time together as a community (and they love free barbecue, because who doesn't?). They aren't afraid to share themselves with others. And that is as rare as the sunshine in London. Although, we've had several weeks in a row of sunshine and hot weather, and if that's not a sign of an Almighty God, I don't know what is.

During the last barbecue, we all got to know Sarah. I don't know the details of her situation, but Sarah has a way of turning up at different times throughout the week. She brought food to share to the barbecue, because she didn't want to just come and take. She wanted to contribute to our time of community. While Sarah was certainly inebriated, she was also kind, and she made sure to include and talk to everyone. When she found out that I was a photographer, she was keen for me to take her photo.

What I love about these photos is the range that Sarah shows. She has different layers and different sides, which I am getting to know through the texts she has begun sending me. Yesterday morning, I woke up to eight messages from her, most of them pictures of the sky. She shared what she was seeing and how she felt about it. I love getting to see Camden through her eyes.