Parish life in pictures

Parish life in all its glory has been documented through photographs in a unique project that tells the story of a Wakefield Parish over the last twenty years.

Photographs of the life of the churches in Sandal Magna, Wakefield taken by the vicar, the Revd Rupert Martin has now been compiled into a Book of Parish Life and has gone on sale to raise funds for the parishes.

Rupert was given a Kodak Instamatic on his eight birthday – and it inspired a lifelong interest in photography.

In the 1980’s he worked at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, curating exhibitions of the history of Aerial Photography and Flash Photography, and worked with photographers such as Bill Brandt, Robert Doisneau, David Bailey, Fay Godwin, and the train photographer O. Winston Link.

Since 1995 he has been documenting parish life as a way of communicating the often unseen life of worship and Christian service in the community.

Said Rupert: “To begin with this was simply to bring encouragement and a sense of excitement and common purpose to our two churches. More recently it has also become a good way of communicating with the wider community through social media.”

A recent post on the Parish Facebook page about the Church School, Sandal Castle Voluntary Aided Community Primary School  seen by some 7,500 people!

“Photography can only represent the surface of what goes on in Parish life. The important work of prayer, healing, ministry among the bereaved, discipleship, pastoral care and ministry in the workplace can only be hinted at and lies too deep to be captured in megapixels.

“Images can, however, have a significant impact: the Bible is full of visual symbolism and prophetic imagery; Jesus used images drawn from the everyday life of agriculture and commerce in his parables; and art has always been part of the culture of the Church down the centuries.


And with modern technology, photographs can be taken by anyone in any situation.


Said Rupert: "Looking through A Book of Parish Life, I hope that people will no longer be able to say that church is boring, mono-cultural, introverted, exclusive or parochial in a narrow sense, but will be surprised at how joyful, varied, creative, inclusive and outward looking it can be, and how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ can touch the lives of people in our communities through the loving service and life-enhancing presence of many gifted people, inspired by the Holy Spirit."

A Book of Parish Life can be purchased for £20 (including p. & p.) from the Vicarage, 333, Barnsley Road, Sandal, Wakefield WF2 6EJ. Tel. 01924 255441 or e-mail: sandalmagna [at]




Graffiti Granny Mary Greenwood, contributing to a work of Graffiti art on the wall of the Community Centre as part of the annual Soul Portobello festival, 2011

One of three crosses which are carried through the Parish to meet on the hilltop ruins of Sandal Castle on Good Friday, where members of local churches gather every year for an ecumenical service of devotion, Good Friday 2011


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