CAPTION: Barry is one of the people featured in the exhibition

New ‘This is My Story’ Exhibition Shares Inspiring Stories of Christian Faith

Posted: 22nd April, 2023

A new photographic exhibition, which tells the faith stories of Christians from across Devon, has opened.

This Is My Story, which will be touring churches across the county throughout 2023, was launched by the Bishop of Plymouth on Saturday at St Pancras’ Church in Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping Centre.

It features a series of black and white photo portraits taken by photographer and military chaplain, the Rev’d Huw Ryden.

Accompanying each portrait is the subject’s faith story in their own words.

Esther said her belief in God helped her overcome anxiety

People featured include scientists, farmers, former members of the armed forces, students, priests, musicians and Exeter’s MP, Ben Bradshaw.

Each person has a unique story about what being a Christian means to them.

For example, Barry, a forester who has experienced homelessness, said: “My childhood was chaos, there was no moral code and a lot of drugs and drinking.

“A few years later I was homeless in London and only had 30p for a bag of chips.

“I looked-up and said God help me, just help me, this is too much. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for God, he’s the real deal.”

Poster for This is My Story exhibition featuring lots of black and white portrait photos

The exhibition features Devon people from all walks of life

Esther is a singer who suffers from anxiety. She said: “Through praying and reading the Bible I felt God’s sense of security and peace. It gave me the courage to seek help with anxiety.

“I was approached to be on the TV show ‘The Voice’ and was picked by Tom Jones.

“It was amazing being able to do that, having struggled so much with anxiety.”

The Diocese of Exeter exhibition is designed to prompt questions about faith and explore the way our beliefs shape our lives.

It was the inspiration of Katharine Otley, a Communications Officer for the Diocese of Exeter.

Katharine Otley at the exhibition launch

She said “I used to work for the National Trust doing visitor engagement and I found that visitors connected with a place much more when we told the stories of the people who lived there rather than just sharing details about the history or architecture.

“In the same way, I want to help churches to share the incredible faith stories of Christians living in Devon today.”

As well as the exhibition, there is also an Instagram account @ThisisMyStoryUK which features more portraits and stories.

This Is My Story will be touring churches across the county throughout 2023 and will also be displayed at Exeter Cathedral and the Devon County Show.

It will be on display in the churches of Central Exeter for the next two weeks.

If your church would like to host This is My Story, please email the Diocese of Exeter Communications team. Click here for more info.