Comment by Harborough churches: How much of life do we see through a lens?

Every week, Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week it is the turn of Revd. Alison Iliffe, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team

Monday, 31st August 2020, 11:28 am
Updated Monday, 31st August 2020, 11:32 am
Revd Alison Iliffe.

Viewpoint by Revd Alison Iliffe, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team

This month more activities have begun to open up again including in many of our churches across the town and beyond. As I welcomed people to St Nicholas and St Hugh during August I realised just how lovely it is to see other people face to face, to really see them in person, although of course with the appropriate distancing in place to help keep us all safe.

Over the last few months many of us have got used to seeing each other on a screen, but I’ve realised that isn’t the same. And for those of us whose connection with others has been the telephone it may have been months since we’ve seen each other. I know the first time I saw my dad recently it was a really special moment to be able to see with my own eyes that he really was all right.

All of this has made me ponder just how much of life we see through a lens. In the days when we went to live sporting events or concerts, or life events such as graduations or weddings, we would often have our phones out, waiting to capture the perfect moment.

When talking with wedding couples I always encourage them to let their photographer record the event and be the only one looking through the lens. This allows their guests the freedom to be in the moment, to be fully present in the “now” of the occasion. Whilst seeing most of these events through a screen has been the only option during the last few months and has kept some of us connected, I wonder how much we have missed that “being in the moment”?

The genuine joy on people’s faces as we have physically been able to meet has been a blessing to me, but even that is not without its filters as we bring our own perceptions and experiences with us. This month there is a course at Launde Abbey (a few miles north of Harborough) on contemplative photography which is called “Seeing through God’s lens”.

That made me think about the lenses I bring with me and see through in different situations.

Those reading this who are slightly older may remember the filters that were physically added to a camera (and still are by professional photographers) to make the sky bluer for example. Being aware of our own filters might help us be more sensitive as we begin to see others after a time apart.

As schools, playgroups, workplaces and social activities begin to restart we can’t know what each person has individually been through in the last few months, what has formed the lens they are now seeing the world through. So let’s be gentle with one another as we settle into relationships new and old, making kindness the filter through which we greet one another.

Revd. Alison Iliffe, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team with responsibility for the Parish of the Transfiguration: St Hugh, Northampton Road and St Nicholas, Little Bowden.

Information about online resources, opening times and activities of churches of all denominations in the Harborough area can be found on their individual websites which can be accessed from