i went to greenbelt festival this weekend. it was celebrating 50 years (or fifty festivals or both?). i have been to over 40 so it's been a very consistent part of the landscape of my life ever since my village youth group leaders took us in 1981. i have been shaped by it and am so grateful it exists. t's been a joy to be part of, to make friends there, to be challenged, uplifted, contribute to the programme in multiple different ways.
the image above is a lino print by sarah kirby that is in the book fifty: a festival lexicon. we helped crowdfund it - it is a beautiful book with 50 vignettes by different authors (i assumed it was fifty but i think it may be 52) around words that capture the spirit of greenbelt - like home, festival, portal... i was thinking what word i would pick if i were asked (and not wanting to pick one used). i landed on 'sign'. for me greenbelt is a sign of hope in a world that seems to have lost its way, a sign that another world is possible it's also a sign of what the church can or could be be at its best, a prophetic sign. the book was available at the fetsival but i don;t know how you get hold of it now - i am reading a section or two a day, i imagine we'll use it to reflect on life together round the meal table with friends. look out for it.
this year my favourite music moment was dancing to the latin soul funk of sam redmore whilst being passed a hip flask of a fine single malt from a friend i bumped into there. it was joyous. bruce cockburn was a close second. i also loved hearing martin shaw's tale of an encounter with the holy maker of all things after 101 days in the woods - mesmerising stuff. the gathering of pioneers hosted by cms was a buzz as ever and it was especially lovely to meet four visitors from korea. a lot of people told me how moved they were by one of harry's poems which was clearly brilliant and high on the vulnerability stakes - sadly i missed it! we (cms britian hub team) were co-hosting the exchange which was a venue focused around social enterprise, business for good, finance and alternative economy. all the sessions were full which was great. it's all part of the healing of all things (aka mission). i stepped in for someone to host a panel for those who have broken up with church and are working out life and following the way of christ beyond gathering in that way. it was packed which tells you all you need to know and i loved chairing it.
the best parts are still the gaps - bumping into friends old and new, and family. here's me with one brother and two sisters. come along next year!
if you read my earlier post it turns out i was over confident when i said the app we are creating would be launched - it didn;t land in teh app store. we have some things to sort out so watch this space for that.