Dreams of Home was the theme of this year's GB and in the tent at night after the long walk to the site when it was pouring down and COLD then I must admit, I dreamed of HOME and a hot shower and a warm bed. But most of the time at Greenbelt I felt I was home.
The painting is the view from the flap of our tent on the final morning as we were ourselves packing up and Homeward Bound. So it captures for me something of the 2 homes. The temporary tented home that GB manages to create each year at Cheltenham Race Course and the anticipation of my own home, my place of being as part of family which maybe (hopefully) reflects a dream of a more eternal home...
DREAMS OF HOME
Greenbelt represent a space which generates freedom to explore faith and belief, in the context of music, Art, creativity, Justice, variety, spontaneity, humour, food and drink, challenge, concern, It attracts all ages, all types, children, youth, families, elderly, monks and punks, laity and clergy, speakers and listeners, promoters and punters.
The CMS presence was much smaller than the usual CMS marquee , reflecting hard times. But we were there in G-Source and we had some great conversations with GB punters. We were featuring the Pioneer training, but we were able to also talk to lots of CMS members and supporters as well as ex-Misson personnel. Chuli Scarf, ex CMS Area Coordinator was there to lead Salsa dancing. She is off soon with CMS-Asia to teach cricket to girls in Nepal.
I also spent some time on the Musalaha stall. GB is currently focused on the Wall dividing Israelis and Palestinians and Musalaha represents a small action - taking people of conflicting backgrounds into the desert on camels to leave their baggage behind and to encounter each other. They have been a CMS partner for a number of years.
There are lots of other groups in G-Source: YWAM, Tearfund, Medair, Applecart's 12 Baskets, Mildmay; Retreat Centre, and lots more ....
For me the highlights this year included good wholesome food Nuts (with especially good deals for crew) Mushroom, Dhal, Veggie Berger, Falafel which could be consumed whilst listening to live music in the Performance Cafe; Foreign Slippers, the Ronaldos (a skittle Band) singing Ghost Riders in the Sky ; folk singing from Peter and the Wulf (Pete Ward was the ABC's youth Advisor and used to be a CMS Trustee). Their music 'Foolish Folk' is available for download from bandcamp
Soul space is a GB tradition for quiet creative meditation. There is lots more on offer Taize singalong in the Big Top: Ian Adams was doing a meditation/reading on his book Cave Refectory Road in Abide, next to a Christian Meditation Yurt 'Breathing Space'. And then there is the Worship Cooperative - I dropped in on an excellent session on Curating Worship but I unfortunately missed Pal Singh's Sanctuary (Asian Worship) although I did encounter his Sitar player tuning up on the stairs.
The GB communion is the only event that everyone is more or less expected to attend - vast crowd packed in front of the Main Stage. The collection at the communion service always goes to support Trust Greenbelt. For me there is no doubt that eating and drinking together as an act of worship does create a sense of community, a feeling of home coming.
I didn't get to any main talks this year. I just heard snippets of Rob Bell telling a story about a Jawbone of an Ass on MainStage and Paula Gooder wondering 'Do Angels have wings?' in Jerusalem. Talking of Angels, there was a big push this year for more supporters - Greenbelt Angels account for 15% of Greenbelts income. Do think about becoming an angel....
ART FOR ALL
The Methodist Art Collection was stunning. it was my Greenbelt 11 high: 'Jesus in the Everyday'. Each year there is an art stream 'Art for All' and I have increasingly found a home there - which has maybe helped to ignite an inner passion for drawing/painting. They had 6 areas to visit with a free poster at the end (they ran out of posters but I did it anyway) Angels of the North; a Huge steel and enamel Bowl by Mel Howse (Christian Aid Cathedral Exhibition); an participative 'where the wild things are' mask making which caught people's imagination; a light show Lumina Domestica by Willie Williams; and the Scriptorium , where individuals hand scribed Matthew's Gospel from The Message, as well as the Bible Society's People's Bible project.
IN THE ARMS OF JESUS
a pint of 'Jonah (and the Ale)' in the Jesus Arms, catching up with people I know well, Peter and Grace, Nigel, Katie, Colin - various friends. They used to serve Deliverance, Redemption and the best name in my opinion 'Absolution' There were lots of other ideas for names: He-brews. Ale-Mary, Holy GrAle. Ale-luyah. Unfortunately I missed Beer and Hymns.
I downloaded the #GB11 APP before Greenbelt, but it still didn't get me to things on time. There is far too much to do and to see. Everyone's Greenbelt is different, but then again everyone's home is different, reflecting something of who they are. Greenbelt gives you the space to be yourself .... safe in the 'Arms of Jesus'