Peterborough Diocese at Greenbelt Festival

By Becky Wills

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, an intergenerational group representing the Diocese of Peterborough enjoyed a sun-baked time at Boughton House near Kettering for the annual Greenbelt Festival of Faith, Arts and Activism.

Greenbelt Festival is a unique melting pot, where discussion, thinking, creativity, listening and openness are celebrated.

The Children and Youth Mission Team hosted a seminar on the Saturday (amongst the many others designed to get festival-goers thinking) with a panel of representatives from various generations, to discuss how churches can embrace all generations, in an authentic and effective way, speaking into a modern culture where generational divides seem almost unsurmountable.

The theme was continued into the Diocesan Stand, where four dramatic sculptures of a family were an interactive centre-piece. A team of mixed age volunteers, including Bishop John, asked festivalgoers to engage with the sculptures by painting directly onto the figures, words and images that represent “Family” to them. Many interesting and challenging conversations grew from both the seminar and the stand.

The Sunday morning service, always a unique experience (enjoyed by many local church goers for free) was this year led, in part, by Peterborough Diocese’s own Revd Haydon Spenceley. The service was moving and uplifting and it had inclusivity at its very heart, as each of the contributors was differently able, sharing in a visible and practical way, that “God invites us all to join the feast, asking “what will you bring?” And Christ the Multiplier takes what we bring and makes it more than enough.” (www.greenbelt.org.uk/please-bring-body/).

The benefice of Geddington with Weekley were also represented, and they hosted an on-site worship venue, as well as sharing the Diocesan stand.

It was great to work with a team of brilliant volunteers of all ages to set up, tidy up, present, chat, be willing and get involved. As Greenbelt’s host Diocese we enjoyed a really healthy relationship with the Festival Makers and it was good to have a presence there. It was an uplifting and challenging weekend – and for the first time in living memory no wellies!

Photo by: Revd Jenny Ingram