Greenbelt is different from other Christian festivals. For starters it doesn’t even describe itself as such in its publicity material.* Yet the whole festival stops everything onsite on Sunday morning for an open-air family-friendly communion service attended by thousands. For us it is one of the highlights.
At other times you may find us in a packed out venue listening in to a talk by a distinguished speaker with whom we don’t necessarily entirely agree….
Or attending a small worship and/or reflective service led by Christian Aid, Taize, the Northumbrian or Iona communities or other.
Or sitting on a high bank overlooking the glorious lake leading up to the beautiful Boughton House in whose grounds the festival is sited. This bank is designated a quiet zone and a lovely spot in which to soak up God’s peace and presence.
Or queuing up for some time in order to find a seat for some comedy, slam poetry, theatre or other extravaganza. We usually manage about 20 minutes of one of the bands before our eardrums start to protest.
Or hanging out with a welcome beer/cider in a reusable beaker in the ‘Jesus Arms’ or the ‘Blue Nun’, talking to complete strangers…
Always we come away changed, our discriminatory views challenged, our imaginations enlarged, our flagging ‘activism’ reactivated, our sense of ‘us’ broadened and our desire for righteousness and wholeness renewed. It happens (to quote from last year’s programme notes) ‘in the space, between the lines, in the things left unsaid, in the encounter and imagination.’ Truly God’s Spirit is with us, breathing new life..
Come for a day or the whole weekend, camp or glamp, or stay in a B&B or even the Premier Inn! Bring your children and young people (see Facebook or the Greenbelt site for a glimpse of their programme and line up.)
Any questions, do ask us. Or see more at greenbelt.org.uk
*’This is not about watering down its Christian identity but out of an awareness that for many this is a fraught label, often setting up barriers rather than building bridges’.
Some would level a charge of Greenbelt being too liberal. Maybe? Certainly in comparison to New Wine it is!
Yet in inviting conversation there is always a potential harvest of inclusion.
You don’t have to be onsite for more than an hour without being aware that Greenbelt is an inclusive place. A Kingdom place.
P.S it’s also an award winning place, committed to sustainability – this year, single use plastic bottles are banned!
See you there!
Paul and Rosie Watson