Hopkins Photoshoot

I had the privilege of photographing an extended Hopkins clan this morning in Bartlett – and boy am I glad it stayed dry! It’s the first dry day I’ve had here really. Here’s a little sneak peak of this mornings shoot.


Hopkins Clan


I don’t even know where to start with how this week has played out…

I spent Tuesday at Park Community Church at Cultivate, an experiment in conversations about church communications. Lots of getting to know people & talking about our stories, how we are communicating truth to the world.


  • God uses a mac, apparently. Don’t think I saw a single PC all day long.
  • Church comms conferences need lots of juice – power cords hanging from the ceilings & coffee on tap.
  • There’s a hunger for this kind of conversational approach – I loved it.

I’ll share some more about the actual conversations at a later date, but the thing that has stayed with my most since then is a comment from Jon Acuff,

I write because it’s the best way I know to say ‘hallelujah’.

Wednesday and Thursday I was at STORY, calling the church back to the narrative, to the beautiful story of the Gospel. The team pulling this off did a phenomenal job.


  • The behind-the-scenes team alone was enough to make me want to be there, never mind the main-stage presenters.
  • The experience of walking into the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday was stunning – human statues, period costumes, puppet masters…
  • I got to meet a few of my blog & twitter heroes, people who inspire me, not least of all Blaine Hogan & Anne Jackson.
  • I’m so glad Ben Arment kept hanging onto this dream – and thankful for the time I got to spend talking & learning from him.
  • Great to be back among friends at The Orchard – thanks for letting me be a part of your community!

I feel like I’ve had about a month here in only one week…

“Turn Left In 450 Metres”

Good news: driving is going well! I think I am slowly getting the hang of this whole automatic, driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road thing. The first 20 minutes was a bit interesting, as I adjusted to driving with one foot, and trying to follow the GPS, but after a while I started to really enjoy it. The drive from Chicago up to Grand Rapids was really beautiful – the city was beautiful leaving Chicago, and the highway was stunning with all the trees in their various shades of fall.

Getting to that point was somewhat more interesting though! I’d reserved a car with Alamo to pick up in downtown Chicago on Saturday around 3, and was about 10 minutes late in arriving – Google fail, as I hooved it about 20 blocks down. I didn’t expect it would take too long to get set and get going, but upon arrival discovered that Alamo had overbooked everything. No cars. Hmm. After a lot of hanging around and a conversation with the guy at the rental desk, I ended up taking the metro out to Midway airport – a 30 minute ride – to pick a car up there. Not the most convenient, and it set me back a couple of hours in leaving Chicago. That said, once I got to Midway the guy at the rental place was really helpful & friendly. They also knocked off the charge for GPS as a courtesy, so it wasn’t all bad…!

GPS is becoming my new best friend – I’m actually a bit surprised by how well it works!

Techno Worship // Mars Hill

I spent the day in Grand Rapids yesterday with the wonderful Betsy, so I could visit Mars Hill. I enjoy meeting new people a lot – lots of fun to hang with Betsy and see around GR. We also took in a screening of Where The Wild Things Are, which was beautiful. Highly recommend you check it out.

So, Mars Hill was quite the experience. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of musical styles, but it seems everyone was surprised to find ourselves singing along to electronica! Troy (the lead worshiper) spoke of how putting familiar words to unfamiliar sounds might help us to engage with the words in new ways, and so they used lots of synthesisers, remixed crazy melodies, and set old praise song words to 80’s cheesy love songs!

Rob Bell was speaking yesterday, continuing the series on the Beatitudes. I enjoyed watching how the church interacts and functions within themselves. I guess people, myself included at times if I’m honest, think about all the stuff Rob’s been involved in – Noomas, his books, speaking – and perhaps forget that he’s a pastor first. He’s a pastor who studies and preaches, who knows the names of people in his church, who champions and celebrates the work they do. It’s good to be reminded of that.

I didn’t realise before I walked into The Shed (the auditorium) that it was in the round. It’s interesting to see how much that changes the dynamic of a service & of a group of people. It seems to me like it makes it a more communal thing – everyone in the room can see each other, can see that they’re called to follow Jesus in a community of other people, not on their own. I’ve never come across a church that meets in the round before, it was refreshing.

Definitely the most interesting service I’ve been at in a long time!




I saw a policeman on a Segway today, and I near killed myself laughing!