The Greenbelt Festival is a faith-based justice, music and arts festival (20,000+ people) held every Summer in Cheltenham, England. The remarkable thing about Greenbelt is the way in which people of faith come together in a very open environment in which conversation and the arts are shared. Conservatives and liberals - free church and Anglican - all share in this festival despite their differences; what unites them is Jesus and a heart for justice. There really is nothing like it in the US. Although that may very well change; i went to a meeting about "Greenbelt in the US" - a potential festival called "Wild Goose" which may take place in a couple of years.
There were 8 HFASSers who went, including my husband, Matthew.
Here are some highlights:
A global emerging church meet up at Gloucester Cathedral the night before Greenbelt. We had this 800 year old church to ourselves.
Gloucester cathedral (photo by Amy Clifford)
Ikon (Pete Rollins' collective in Belefast) did a theo-drama piece clalled Pyro-theology. I'm still thinking about it today.
House for All Sinners and Saints led our Bluegrass liturgy. Steve Collins shot a bit of video you can see here. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing since we were in the New Forms venue which generally is where really alternative forms of worship are experienced...lots of multi-media, interactive, deconstructed stuff and we were coming in and playing old Americana hymns and doing a traditional liturgy with confession and absolution, a sermon, and the Eucharist. But it worked. The service was everything I could have hoped for. Much to our surprise we topped out the venue at 250 people, sadly leaving about 120 in line unable to get in. I'm so grateful for the musicians, most of whom were from the UK, who stepped in and made this service happen. The HFASSers there really did a great job, especially Jessica who sang like an angel. The individual absolution with the laying on of hands was beautiful.
I got to be on a couple of panels Sunday.
The first of which was hosted by Doug Gay and was on Leadership and Authority in the Emergning Church. My fellow pannelists included two beloved friends of mine - Cheryl Lawrie and Cary Gibson
I gave a talk Monday on being both emerging and denominational.
(photo Amy Clifford)
What was really amazing was being able to share Greenbelt with my husband and parisioners. Also spending time with my friends, many of whom I only get to see one a year, fed my soul.