Wednesday, 29 August 2007

More about Greenbelt

There was just so much going on that it is hard to give a flavour of Greenbelt. The timetable means that there are always things that you miss out on just because you go to something else. And as one of the great things is to meet up with people you know who are also there it is just impossible to do everything you would like to do.

So, having said all of that, I managed to participate in a number of organised worship experiences - Night prayer with nChant, Iona Worship, Suwarta Sangat leading a Satsang (Indian style worship gathering of singing), Matt Redman on the mainstage and the Festival Communion with Ann Morisy speaking.

Talks wise I managed to hear James Alison (as recommended by Barbara in a comment on this blog). I really enjoyed him on exploring the New Testament clobber texts but found another session called "Stand up and be Godless: on receiving the gift of faith" interesting but not as easy to get my head around. I also went to hear Billy Bragg on "Can Britishness be defended in a new bill of rights" and Mona Siddiqui on "Does theology matter for peaceful coexistence?" which I got a lot out of. A couple of things which I missed but were highly recommended by others who went were "Towards the practice of freedom:black theology and the slave trade" by Anthony Reddie (5* recommendation from my husband) and Morna Hooker on "Stars and Angels".

From the performing arts I went to "Cargo" by Paul Field which uses contemporary music, words, dance and images to tell of the Abolitionists' campaign to stop the slave trade 200 years ago and also raises awareness of the many forms of slavery that exist today. It is a difficult subject for this kind of media in some ways (not a feel good event) but it is done very well and leaves you with a challenge. The performance of "Return to the Forbidden Planet" put on by the youth theatre company "Faith, hope and gaffertape" was excellent.

On the mainstage I listened to music from Billy Bragg, Over the Rhine and Kanda Bongo Man and in the Performance Cafe to a range of artists including Esther Alexandra, The Queensbury rules and After the Fire. I also watched the children who had made kites in a workshop (including my godson) fly these from the mainstage area and that was great.

Even just going around the information stands could take the whole weekend - including of course the Methodist Church stand! Then there was the book and music tents and the stands with a very wide range of merchandise.

There were so many other things that I just happened along during the weekend that it would be impossible to write it all here. (Including bumping into Anthea Cox dressed in costume to raise awareness of the anniversary of Primitive Methodism and giving out copies of "Prayer in your pocket"). But the whole festival atmosphere was just fantastic and apart from rather more queuing than I would have liked, I can honestly say that I really felt something of the theme - "Heaven in the ordinary". Highly recommended.

What were other people's experiences? Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Carol said...

I too felt heaven in the ordinary and saw very little of what you did, but much else. I so much enjoyed beer and hymns. As we stood singing, my son nudged me to look around. We were next to some very elderly ladies and on our other side were young girls in pink and green wigs. At that point my son said "This is what heaven will be like". I told one of the elderly ladies at the end and she said, "Oh I do hope so."
I love greenbelt because it embraces all kinds of people, just like Christ did, perhaps it appeals most to those on the edge of theology, but then that's just what Christ did too.