Reporting back from Greenbelt 2019
August 2019 was a double first for me –my first time at Greenbelt and my first time camping.
As most of you probably know, Greenbelt is a Christian festival of arts, faith and justice. It is an amazing melting pot and meeting place for ideas which welcomes folk of all ages and from all denominations. It is currently held in the grounds of Boughton House, a beautiful country estate near Kettering. Some folk stay for the whole weekend, others come for a day. Many stay on the huge and brilliantly well organised campsite while others choose to stay in B&B accommodation nearby. The atmosphere created by over 10,000 Christians all in one place is pretty special.
I was warned that I would try to do too many things and, indeed, that inevitably happened as it is not easy to make choices between the huge range of activities on offer. There were about 20 different tented venues of various sizes. Your own camping chair was a must unless you wanted to sit on the floor!
There was every genre of music imaginable, from rock to folk, from jazz to classical. Many different styles of worship were on offer including early morning, meditative services led by a forest church, a gentle Taizé gathering one evening and the massive Sunday morning Communion. There was an amazing range of talks and workshops to stimulate ideas on subjects as diverse as the climate emergency, social justice, science, interfaith matters, economics, scripture and theology. Speakers included Justin Welby, John Bell and Russell Brand! Creativity and the arts were well represented with opportunities to listen to poetry or comedy and to try painting, woodworking, cookery, singing, dance (belly dancing or salsa anyone?) and feminist knitting (I didn’t go, so I have no idea what that one was about!).
It was also important to find time to sit and chat with friends, whether over coffee, late night hot chocolate, food from the delicious world food stalls or a simple camp stove meal. Actually, it was good to just sit and relax and take it all in.
Have I whetted your appetite? I hope so and I hope that next year a few more may venture to Greenbelt. I can’t promise that the weather will be as wonderful as it was over the August bank holiday this year but I can almost certainly guarantee that you will have an amazing time and come back refreshed and buzzing from all your experiences.