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Jesus Army Baptism – John Angerson, 2007

21 February 2008

A Jesus Army elder facilitates the Baptism of an Iranian asylum seeker in the River Wharf, North Yorkshire. Many persecuted Christians from across the globe have found refuge in the Jesus Army.

My latest book is a portrait of the Jesus Army. For most of us, if we register them at all, they are the tambourine-wielding, gospel – singing fanatics who intrude on our Saturday morning shopping excursions.

But for the members themselves, this charismatic Christian sect – often dismissed as a cult – is a total way of life. Founded in 1969 in Northamptonshire, England, believers are expected to renounce all their possessions, live in communes, and share all earnings. Their motto, and three basic tenets – Love, Power and Sacrifice – form the title of this book.

What gives these photographs an eerie relevance today is that fanatical religious belief has, seemingly out of the blue, come to the foreground of contemporary life. From the Christian fundamentalist certainties that have underpinned recent American policy, to the Islamic extremism that has erupted everywhere from New York to London and Madrid, competing religious beliefs have redrawn the contours of the modern world.

John Angerson has worked on photographic projects for a variety of publications including the Sunday/Saturday Times Magazine, Shelter, El Pais Magazine and the British Heart Foundation. His recent personal work is concerned with Britain and it’s changing cultural landscape. These projects aim to address definitions of community – focusing on how specific communities form, shift and develop.

Photographer since 1988, EPUK member since 2000.

See more work by John Angerson

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