BA Photography · Student Book Archive · Finding My Religion by Booker Skelding 2021

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Foreword Religion reaches into parts of the human experience that are intimate and personal, but it is also rooted in the shared activity of worship. At its best this can open us up to experience transcendence, to be more deeply connected to one another and to the world around us. At its worst this can leave us vulnerable to hurt and rejection that strikes right to our heart. This project reflects something of the truth of the Christian faith as it has been and is being practised in Caerphilly and the Aber valley during the artist’s lifetime; that it contains both the best and the worst of its potential. Attendance at Christian worship has been declining across the Welsh nation, which is both a cause and an effect of the closure of local places of worship. It was the closure of her childhood place of worship prompted the artist to undertake this project, but the project narrates a more profound sense of loss. Like the artist I grew up in a church community, and like the artist I lost some of those important, treasured relationships within the church community when I realised my sexuality. Sadly, ours is not an uncommon story within the LGBT community, and many of us grieve the loss of our communities, of our church families, of the safety that church ought to represent. The images of pain, shame, and deep abandonment are resonant with this sense of loss.

However, perhaps in a reflection of the narrative arc of the stories within the Bible, this story does not end with abandonment. In undertaking this project, the artist has found warmth and true welcome within the churches that had once excluded her. From one cold January morning, and a conversation with Fr. Mark GreenawayRobbins, the buried seeds of the artist’s faith have started to grow and flourish once more. It has been an honour and a pleasure to walk with her, and to share the experiences of our similar hurts. In that shared pain we have found common ground on which to build. The Bible tells us that Jesus said: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) As a proud LGBT Christian and a minister in training, it is a joy to share the message of this abundantly generous, inclusive and loving God in whose arms, and in whose church, there is a welcome for all people. Finding our religion can take time, to rebuild trust so that we can be vulnerable again. As that journey goes on, I pray with the psalmist: “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:3) Ruth Eleri James

Finding My Religion Booker Skelding 1 971-2021

Chapters New birth

Mourning, Loss Impediment Judgement Upon Sin Growth, Restoration Redemption, Spiritual Atonement

or here ?Double page spread of Wine/Maroo coloured Paper


Double page Black


God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26,27

This page plain GR (religious Green) Matches his robe

REEN double spread growth

double pag Healing _m

ge Blue - Religious matches the envelopes

Double page of red? Atonement

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on earth. Genesis 9.16

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