Sunday, October 04, 2020

'Faith in the City of London' by Niki Gorick

London The Unfinished City
Candid conversations and sermons.

Were you aware that, within London's Square Mile, there are over 40 churches? I wasn't.

Back in October 2019 a Kickstarter campaign reached its goal and this book, 'Faith in the City of London' by Niki Gorick, was the result. I was one of the 140 backers and opted for a signed copy that also came with a thank you card with personal message.

It took Niki over 200 visits over four years, with unprecedented access to family weddings, festivals, events and some hidden rituals. Each photograph was caught as it happened, with nothing posed or staged. 

The result is a book that captures and reveals the close ties between the 40-odd churches, that lie within the Square Mile, and the financial district of London, all captured in over 150 photographs. The introduction is by art critic Edward Lucie-Smith and the foreword is by the Lord Mayor of London, William Russell.

My copy arrived on May 1 and what a book.

Spread across 160 glorious pages the book is split in to various chapters; Preconception, The Unexpected, Parish notes, Depth and breadth, Characters, Outside relations, Unique history celebrated, Let there be music, Venues for hire and, finally, Reaching out.

The photographs are spectacular, as is to be expected, and they show a side that, unless you were a churchgoer in one of these places of worship, very few get to see. Each photograph is accompanied by a short blurb, explaining who the various people are, or what is going on. 

Colour photographs are interspersed with monochrome images, capturing candid moments between people of opposing faiths, silent moments of reflection and crowds celebrating various festivals and the installation of a religious leaders. 

Ordinary followers are shown celebrating the various festivals and rituals that take place throughout the year, during day and night, both, in outstanding clarity.

Then there are images of various religious sites opening their doors to those who have no place of worship of their own. For instance, there is no gurdwara or mosque, in the City of London, so the Sikh community worship within the Bedouin Tent at St. Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, while Muslim Friday Prayers use rooms hired from the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers' livery hall.

Who knew that two congregations share the same altar at St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe? I didn't. Some 40 years ago the Indian Orthodox community were looking for a place within which to hold their worship. St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, a Church of England church, was closed on Sundays and seemed like the perfect place. A deal was struck and they have been holding their family services here ever since.

Each page brings more of the City of London to life and I, for one, will no longer look at it just as a financial centre of corporate business, but will seek out more of these fantastic churches.

I have learnt so much from this book and not just from the religious aspect, but about the Square Mile.

From October 3 until November 27 there is a free exhibition of Niki's work, from 'Faith in the City of London', being held at Paternoster Square (Oct 3-28) and then Aldgate Square (Oct 29-Nov 27).

Faith in the City of London Exhibition

Check out Niki's website, via the link below, to see some of her amazing photographs, which are also available to purchase.

Niki Gorick

If you wish to purchase a copy of 'Faith in the City of London' by Niki Gorick, just click the link below, or visit your local bookstore or online seller.

Unicorn Publishing

 



 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Daryl, for dedicating one of your excellent blogs to my book. It is a wonderful review and I really appreciate your enthusiastic and perceptive comments. It was certainly a fascinating project to work on and I also learnt a great deal about the City of London. All the best and many thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome. It is a book that gives a fascinating insight into so many hidden sights and rituals. I am glad that you managed to get the book published and that I could play a small part.

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