just back from two weeks family holiday in portugal...
it was my first visit to portugal and we had a great time. we stayed near obidos, about an hour north of lisbon on the atlantic coast.
i now have one day turnaround and then heading off to greenbelt festival which i am looking forward to as ever. it's going to be a busy weekend. along with gayle and a team of other volunteers, i co-ordinate and plan the worship programme. if you're going, greenbelt is unique for a festival in terms of worship - there is so much diversity. i write a monthly column on greenbelt worship for the church times. each month i have focused in on a particular theme or worship group. but for the latest (possibly the current issue? not having been in the office i haven't checked) i chose to write the latest one on the breadth of the programme so i have cut and pasted most of it here to give you the sense of what is going to be happening.
The New Forms café is the venue dedicated to new and alternative worship led by communities round the UK. Join in Emerging Matins with Feig from Gloucester or meditate on feminine images of God and the mystery of birth with Park from Sheffield. These are both very young communities making Greenbelt debut’s. Sanctuary from Birmingham bring a multicultural flavour fusing Asian spirituality with alternative worship. They have inspired others to go on a similar journey so we actually have five groups from Birmingham this year. DJs and VJs will mix it up while you get the best coffee on site.
The familiar alternative worship groups will also be there – Visions lead a Trance Mass, Ikon the God Delusion and Grace take you on an Emmaus Rd journey in the Arena guided by the Big Screen. Sanctus1 will be leading this year’s Sunday morning communion service across two venues around the story of the wedding at Cana – one traditional and the other more leftfield but united in sharing bread and wine (and by video feed!).
Soul Space is the most wonderful venue on site in the panoramic café at the top of the Grandstand overlooking the racecourse. It is a fitting location for contemplative worship. Expect a full immersive experience of music and scripture with Molten Meditation, bathe in the ancient stillness of liturgy with Nchant, be silent, join in Evening Prayer with bishops’ thoughts or go to Orthodox Great Vespers.
Taize and Iona have both been renewing streams in the worship of UK churches and will be leading services across the site. Join in the Iona Wild Goose Big Sing on Saturday afternoon. And if you really like singing, elsewhere you can catch Matt Redman, the Love and Joy Gospel Choir, Vineyard, rock worship and even ska with Sounds of Salvation (think Madness playing choruses). Or have a go yourself at the open mic worship.
If you prefer black and purple to white and beige then join the late night Goths. And if you really fancy something a little bit quieter join the Cheltenham quakers or visit the Fransiscans on the camp site with a daily rhythm of liturgies. John Taverner is at this year’s festival for the first time which should be quite a treat if you like your music on a classical tip.
To encourage new young talent there is also a project Unusual Suspects being launched by proost at this year’s festival. Three young talented suspects – Cntrst, Sophie Dutton and Isaac Everett will be showing movies, DJing, reading liturgy and poems, and performing music across the site. Proost’s Jon Birch will also be leading worship with a mix of new animations, reflections and tunes.
The UK church is packed with creativity and diversity in worship and Greenbelt is a feast of it. Festival spirituality is wonderful – a chance to enjoy things on a scale that you never encounter at home, step out of your comfort zone, be renewed, have your imagination sparked, and find yourself feeling hopeful about the church again.
one thing that is quite different for me this year is that I have had nothing to do with planning the grace worship experience as i haven't been around to help plan and i am so busy with the relaunch of proost (will blog separately about that) and the wider worship programme. it sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun on sat afternoon at 3:30pm guided by the big screen in the arena following the emmaus road. rumour has it that there are lots of windmills involved. i'll be there as a punter.
the weather forecast looks to be good for the weekend which is good news as it's been a pretty weird summer for weather in the uk.
the wider programme has some great stuff in it - coldcut, nu:tone and logistics, and soweto kinch will be on my list to try and catch. then there is the usual amazing line up of speakers and seminars - i doubt i'll make many but it's great that mark yaconelli is making a greenbelt debut, as is becky garrison and i want to try and hear john o donahue for the first time. experience tells me that most spare time will be spent with friends (old and new) drinking and chatting. greenbelt always feels like a reunion.
hope to see some of you there...