Wing & A Prayer
For Greenbelt Angels and Volunteers
Rising Sun For many of us, our experience is of endings, things drawing to a close, of setting suns. We are told that we build our lives among the fragments of dying and failed institutions and waning shared beliefs. That many eras are ending. All at once. But, because of our journey through space and time, if the sun is setting for some, it must be rising for others. And in the emerging Asian superpowers, and an Empire ‘striking back’, we are bound up with worlds where the sun is in the ascendancy. This year at Greenbelt we want to reach out and make connections with those worlds where the sun is rising now. And to live in the light of a faith that says the sun is still rising, new every morning; where we still dare to look to the sunrise. Holding an often-dark reality and a luminescent hope in tension is what Greenbelt does best. Because, despite talk of a ‘new Dark Ages’ and Bob Dylan singing “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there,” the sun will rise once more. If we let her. But the sun will rise once more Well, it better. The sun will rise once more If we let her … Duke Special, Brixton Leaves, Songs from the Deep Forest
Letter from the Festival Director
In this issue.
Time moving on
4 Staff news Several comings; just one going
Recently, it’s felt like a time of ‘comings and goings’. Christmas saw some of our staff team moving on in different and new directions; two of our volunteers (having stumbled across an organisation in the G-Source) have gone to work in Cambodia for a while; and, in the New Year, there was the sad and untimely death of the great Irish poet and priest John O’Donohue. Every day there’s a chance that something will happen that will completely change our lives – sometimes for a moment, sometimes forever. We had no Internet connection for the first month of this year in the office and it was incredible how debilitating this was. (Apologies if you thought we were just ignoring you!) But one of the things John O’Donohue taught us was to find the blessing in the everyday and that, despite our ever-increasing busyness, God, like the rising sun, is constant in our lives, even if perhaps it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. One of our recent blessings has been our new influx of staff. We are delighted to welcome Rachel, Peter, Linda, Emma and Phil (you can read more about them over the page). And sadly, we also say farewell to Gill, who many of you will have come to know as she has helped set up and sort out your gifts to Greenbelt as Angels or worked alongside you as a volunteer or dealt with your organisation in the G-Source. I’m especially grateful for all her support and willingness to get stuck in, particularly when we were very stretched as a small staff team. We will greatly miss her presence, insight and friendliness in the office. We also have three new Festival friends joining us this year: Church Army, Mother’s Union (MU) and Bible Society. Having recently become a member of my local MU, I’ve come to see the fantastic work they do in prisons and with asylum seekers here in the UK and in literacy and empowerment programmes in developing countries. Along with us, the Church Army are going to be focussing particularly on our young people and will be bringing a bus with them. And you’ll be able to find out more about the exciting new work the Bible Society are doing in our Borders-style bookshop environment at the Festival this year. One of the other constant blessings in Greenbelt is its unique mix of volunteers, Angels, staff and organisations who all play a part in making it truly a Festival; people of creativity and commitment who come together to show how life can be redeemed, transformed and ultimately life-changing. So, as the sun rises this Easter, we are reminded of the resurrection hope that continues to sustain us and make us whole and we continue to pray for those whose hope is lost or hidden from view.
5 The Kitchen Rachel Stringer, our new Head of Content tells us what’s cooking Angels 6 Halo All the latest Angel news and info 7 The Angels share An everyday Angel’s story Partners 8 Partners & associates an introduction from Emma Bennett 9 Church Urban Fund 10 Christian Aid 11 Department for International Development 12 Church Times 13 Ecclesisatical News, reviews & resources 14 Greenbelt news 15 Reviews There will be Blood Kester Brewin reflects on Daniel Day Lewis’s oscar-winning role 16 A bringer of great blessings Martin Wroe pays tribute to John O’Donohue Volunteers 17 Volunteer profile Derek Hill shares his story 18 Volunteer news 19 Giving response form 20 Last words Gaynor Bradshaw
Beki Bateson Festival Director
Greenbelt staff news
A lot of comings; just one going
Welcomes Rachel Stringer our new Head of Content See page 5 for more on Rachel. Emma Bennett our Development Manager, now also looking after the Angels* It’s a bit of a turnaround for Emma; she used to work in plant biotechnology, and her last job was managing a research lab. It makes a nice change to be growing a Festival instead! *Emma’s been working with us as Development Assistant for more than a year, but with the staffing restructures and Gill moving on we’re delighted she’s stepping up now.
Phil Smith our new Commercial Manager Phil joins Greenbelt after working in the sales and marketing team at Traidcraft for the past two and a half years. He is recently married, an avid Liverpool fan and enjoys nothing more than a good bowl of ice cream. Peter King our new Box Office Manager Up until now Peter has spent most of his working life in the NHS – and the last ten years in the charity sector. He’s also exploring becoming an NSM. Linda Watson our new Office Administrator Linda has worked as an administrator for several Christian charities and also for a while at the National Gallery. She is so old (her words, not ours!) that her number-one son is now the same age as she was when she first discovered Greenbelt in 1979. 4
Parting words Gill Hewitt Gill had been a volunteer for years before she started to pull together the archive of photos and memorabilia for our 30th Festival celebrations. This led to her covering a maternity leave in ‘03 and she ended up staying as our Angels & Trading Manager. How many Greenbelts? All of them, except the first one. What have you learnt? Having raised a family and done a variety of short-term administrative jobs, I’ve loved working in a lively, creative environment of talented, younger people. It’s really stretched me and I’ve become much more confident in my creative ideas. It’s been a real gift. What will you miss the most? The team and the sense of support as the Festival approaches. You just stick together and help each other.
journey. Here was a gentle Catholic woman, wrongly accused of a crime, imprisoned in a high security jail away from her young family for 8 years. I felt such a sense of outrage and injustice for her and it centred all my previous thoughts about social injustice. The fact that her story was only told at Greenbelt (in Christian circles) meant that the Festival had become a place where extraordinary stories could be heard. For me that’s the essence of Greenbelt. More recently, standing with Zoughbi Zoughbi (a Palestinian Christian) at the communion service as he stood with tears pouring down his face repeatedly saying: “we are not alone.” Also John O’Donohue, Duke Special, the Amazing Pilots, Billy Bragg and The Ukelele Orchestra. I could go on. Two other personal highlights are that my son met his wife at Greenbelt and, wonderfully, my two grandsons met for the first time at the Festival when they were a few months old – one lives in Africa and one in Eastbourne.
Your worst moment?
What will you be doing now?
The year we had the Emporium (the huge Big Top venue): when I walked in and saw it I thought, “it’s too small and it’s too dark!” and there was nothing I could do about it. Despite all the best planning, it just didn’t fit.
Taking time out to spend with the family, going to Iona, and volunteering for all and sundry!
Your favourite Greenbelt memories… There are so many but… to name a few: An interview with Anne MacGuire of the ‘Guildford Four’ was a defining moment in my spiritual
Cooking up a storm in The Kitchen (and beyond) Greenbelt has a new ‘Head of Content’ in Rachel Stringer. She tells us a little bit about herself here – and what it’s like rolling up her sleeves from day one in the job. At one of the programme brainstorms I was at recently a friend had to correct me when I said I’d been involved in Greenbelt as a volunteer over the last 10 years. Apparently, I’ve actually been coming for 12 years. Which just goes to prove that time does fly when you’re having fun! Over those 12 years my roles at Greenbelt have been as diverse as the Festival itself. I’ve been a manager in the old ‘record shop’, watching Asian Dub Foundation longingly from the door of the store; helped create Alt. Worship sessions involving the spiritual use of UV reactive bubbles; worked backstage on the artist liaison team, showing Courtney Pine where the teabags were; DJ-ed in various random places across site, including a 5-hour Friday night set in the Organic Beer tent last year; and been fortunate enough to help programme the music in 2007. I’ve been to, and worked at, a lot of very different festivals outside of Greenbelt and can honestly 5
say there is no other festival that offers and delivers what Greenbelt does. Its programme is inspirational, challenging, eclectic, creative, fun, prophetic and completely unique. And one of the (many) things that excites me about my new role as Head of Content is seeing how my own diverse event- and festivalbased background can feed into, and help shape, this incredibly special programme. In my time I’ve worked in the theatre, got a 1,000-strong choir to sing at the Royal Albert Hall, made it snow inside mansions for private parties, organised marketing launches, scaled festival tent king poles, designed bar interiors, given a band an encore because the man from the Mighty Boosh was in the audience, commissioned outdoor sculptures, and created AV sets for bands around the world. Already, it’s been great working alongside all our hardworking, imaginative programme volunteers – who I am constantly amazed by and grateful for – helping to formulate and action their ideas and plans. I had a really good introduction to the ideas process, when Greenbelt hosted ‘The Kitchen’ at the end
of January – a gathering of passionate Greenbelt volunteers who met around the table to drink tea, eat cake, dream big and think practically. ‘The Kitchen’ is also the name of a new venue for Greenbelt ’08, a space to nurture informal domestic types of conversation, with the smell of coffee in the background. The Kitchen will be a home for programme content which promotes community and neighbourhood involvement. It will be the Festival’s equivalent of a domestic kitchen table; a place to dream out loud, get inspired, be re-energised, dig into and chew over the practicalities, and the detail (not just the inspiration), to generate practical ideas and hatch the plot. At the end of my first week in the office, being at The Kitchen event was hugely inspiring, and is still fuelling me a month on. The ideas that were generated for this year’s Festival, and looking further into the future, were fantastic. And if we can deliver just 10% of them, it’s going to be another remarkable Festival this year. I’m looking forward to it already. 5
Development Manager, Emma Bennett, brings you all the latest Angel news. greenbelt.org.uk/angels
Purls and Wisdom
The Greenbelt knitting circle
If you’d like a permanent reminder of Greenbelt 2007 (and just how sunny it was), we’ve selected 23 photos from last year’s library of great shots and made them available for you to download from the Wing & A Prayer login area – in various screen resolutions sizes. Logon to greenbelt.org.uk/angels and then choose the ‘Angel login’ link.
We’re now on email, busily making plans for the knitting sessions in the Angel Lounge this year at Greenbelt. Current plans include a knitted cake installation, to be knitted before the Festival for our new Kitchen venue. But more plans and patterns (of course!) will soon be available in the Angels section on the website. If you would like to join the already-lively email discussion about all this please email Emma on firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer in the Angel Lounge Ever volunteered at Greenbelt? If not, and you are an Angel, why not try a stint in the Angel Lounge this year for starters? It’s a great place to be and, alongside hosting the Angel community and selling retro Greenbelt clothing, it’s the place to meet, greet and encourage new Angels. If you are interested in volunteering, please email email@example.com 6
Angel login details Keep a note of these: username: angels password: high13igh
A fond farewell from outgoing Angels & Trading Manager, Gill Now is the time to say goodbye. After five Festivals, I am hanging up my Angel wings as a staff member (but not leaving the Angel community) to pursue other interests. During my time coordinating the Angel community it has been a real joy to get to know many of you at the Festival, at Angel weekends, on Iona, or simply
by letter and email. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the Angel community growing gently, becoming more stable in its giving, having its own web page, and, for the last few years, supplying almost 15% of our income. Many of you Angels are also volunteers, and in this capacity I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jo Thomson and her team who have run the Angel Lounge for me and supported me through each Festival with cups of tea, hugs, text messages and encouraging news about sign-ups! Thank you. This year I shall be in the Angel Lounge without an organisational care in the world, enjoying the ambience, supplying Emma (who’s now taking care of the Angels) with cups of tea and catching up with even more of you than before. I can’t wait. Angels are still at the heart of the Festival and with your support and giving, I’m sure the community will continue to grow, so ensuring the future of the Festival for the next generation of Greenbelters. Gill x
To become a Greenbelt Angel or to increase your giving please use the response form on p.19.
The Angels share. It’s all well and good talking about the Angel community. But who are these people? Who are you? It’s time to start sharing some stories and putting some human faces on that Angel body. First up, Geoff and Sherry Maddocks (and their son Isaac) from the Kentucky USA (yes, Angels come from all over). Geoff is an Australian, the son of a pastor. He grew up around John Smith and the God Squad. He came to Kentucky for graduate school and fell in love with a Southern Belle and her crazy country ... Sherry was born and raised in Georgia. She graduated in exercise physiology but her world was turned right-side-up when she was called to be a missionary and she went to work in Paraguay, Bangladesh, and Lexington ... [Isaac is four years old. He’s got a hybrid Aussie-American accent and an obsession with super heroes … and Bono (his Dad says they’re not the same thing).] They met while studying missiology at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1998 and then helped pioneer a mission community called Communality in Lexington. They felt led to live out their missionary calling and training in the West. They became entwined in the emerging-newmonastic-church movement. And they continue to serve their faith community while living in an impoverished, inner city, African-American neighbourhood. They garden, cook, pray, wonder about sustainability, work on reconciliation in their neighbourhood, keep an eye out for Jesus, and long for shalom. 7
So how did you come to Greenbelt?
What do you love about the Festival?
Geoff I first came in 1986. My family was travelling with the [John] Smith family. My mum wanted to meet Cliff Richard and I wanted to meet U2. Neither showed. But we did meet Deniece Williams. And I have gleefully returned five times since.
We love being outdoors in the English countryside for five days with thousands of others – without a mosquito in sight! We really appreciate the food available on site – local, organic, and delicious. We love Martyn Joseph, too. His music is the soundtrack and poetry to our lives in mission. Billy Bragg and Duke Special were wonderful at GB07. The communion service is always a high point. We are mentored and challenged by Greenbelt speakers past and present like Tom and Christine Sine, Richard Rohr and John Bell. Beer and Hymns in the Organic Beer Tent is simply heaven on earth. And no Greenbelt Day is complete without Last Orders.
Sherry My first Greenbelt was in 2005 and I returned in 2007. We have a dear friend who serves as a Trustee (Andy Turner) and our Greenbelt memories are inextricably linked with camping with his family (see, Trustees do camp, ed!). What made you become Angels? We are Angels because it connects us with Christians all over the globe and we sense a kinship with Greenbelters. The Festival nourishes us and inspires our imaginations to better serve in our context according to the radical and loving ways of Jesus. How did we actually sign-up? Well, in 2005 we were talked into being Angels by a very charming and not-at-all-pushy Mr. Andy Turner (a Trustee of some repute we understand). What a delightful young man. Funny, too.
What sustains you? We are sustained by growing our own food and making bread. We are renewed when we think of all the saints across time and across the globe who didn’t tire in doing good. Greenbelt offers us a glimpse of the Kingdom and whiff of what happens when heaven and earth interlock and overlap. Words, songs, and images (many we can trace back to Greenbelt) help us lament and celebrate our mission context.
In partnership. Emma Bennett, Greenbelt’s Development Manager fills us in. Much of what goes on at Greenbelt is made possible through the Festival’s work with its partners, associates and sponsors. In addition to the much-needed financial stability that they bring to the Festival, we value the creative input that all our various partnerships give us – they add texture and diversity to the Festival, and give us scope to accomplish more than we could do alone. More importantly, their relationships with Greenbelt are symbiotic: coming to Greenbelt gives many organisations a unique opportunity to engage with a socially aware audience in an environment in which people are not afraid to challenge conventional paradigms. Christian Aid is Greenbelt’s longest-standing partner. With projects in around 50 countries, Christian Aid’s work strives to end poverty and bring justice to some of the world’s most marginalised societies; aims which fit well with Greenbelt’s calling to engage with social injustice. Christian Aid’s campaigning expertise has brought us a unique edge, and the Festival continues to benefit as the relationship evolves. We’re also continuing to work with Department for International Development 8
(DFID). Our newest partner, DFID implements the UK Government’s international response to poverty by tackling the root problems which include governance, conflict, trade and debt. DFID’s involvement with Greenbelt comes as part of the Department’s drive to build support for, and awareness of, its work. One of the strengths of Greenbelt’s associate portfolio is its broad range of expertise; our associates challenge and stimulate us to become part of the positive change that they work to bring. CMS is well known for its historic role in the fight to end the transatlantic slave trade and its international mission work, but did you know that it also runs projects in the UK? Social exclusion, both in Britain and overseas, remains a pressing issue which CMS seek to address by building positive relationships within and between communities. In a similar vein, Church Urban Fund works in the poorest areas of England to alleviate poverty by funding and supporting locallyrun projects, and the YMCA is committed to supporting young people, especially those who are socially disadvantaged or marginalised either through crime, homelessness or unemployment. Traidcraft address global poverty head-on, looking at practical ways
in which trade can be used as a tool in the fight to end economic injustice. Traidcraft are active in the current debate over fair trade and continue to challenge UK shoppers to buy ethicallysourced goods. Ecclesiastical Insurance have shown us how ethical shopping extends to the financial markets, too – not only do they insure historic buildings and churches, Ecclesiastical can insure your house, holiday or even your wedding, while also advising you on how to responsibly invest your funds. And the Church Times remains the world’s leading Anglican newspaper, giving informed, independent commentary on issues current in the Church. It’s a great read. Greenbelt values highly the richness of experience, heritage and practical skills our partners and associates bring. In return, the Festival offers back a conscientious audience and a space to showcase their work and concerns for the world’s global society – the mix makes for fertile soil from which fresh ideas can spring. In the following pages you’ll hear from our two main partners, Christian Aid and DFID and also from three of our associates: Ecclesiastical Insurance,, Church Urban Fund Insurance and Church Times. Times.
of action in England’s poorest communities This year the Church Urban Fund celebrates 20 years of supporting grassroots projects in the poorest communities in England. Driven by a vision that all people should enjoy peace, justice and have sufficient resources to live their daily lives, our work is still essential as the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. Find out more about the difference Church Urban Fund is making in the poorest communities in England at www.cuf.org.uk www.cuf.org.u k
Transforming lives Czeslaw came to the UK in 2005 having lost his mother, father and a brother over a short period of time and losing his long term job during Poland’s transition from communism. With little opportunity in Poland he was completely alone and arrived in the UK without relevant skills or qualifications and speaking little English. For the first two years in London Czeslaw lived in a tent and travelled on a bicycle that he had rebuilt himself. He felt he had no hope for a future in England until a Polish friend told him about The Upper Room, a project funded by the Church Urban Fund that supports homeless people in East London. The Upper Room has helped Czeslaw to find a job, register on a Construction Industry Scheme and he is in the process of applying for a National Insurance number and passport. He now has a sense of purpose in life, work and the community, making new friends and having the chance to return to normal life off the streets. 9
Czeslaw pictured at work as a cleaning and kitchen assistant, a job found through the ur4jobs club, a project of The Upper Room.
The Upper Room sees an increasing number of homeless Eastern Europeans who are excluded from mainstream society because of their migrant status, with virtually no support and very limited access to the benefit system. The Church Urban Fund is enabling the project to provide an invaluable service to those in vulnerable situations: helping people to find work, secure a bank account, a National Insurance number, recognised qualifications and English language skills. Project Manager, Janie Kidson, says: “There was a gap in the market which we needed to plug – offering free services to vulnerable people. We have been
able to make a huge difference, establishing a place of respite. 500 people came through the doors last year alone and we are only open two days a week – there is definitely a need for our services and Church Urban Fund is a great help.”
Church Urban Fund Sunday – 1st June 1st June is your opportunity to kick start a week of activities to celebrate 20 years of the work of the Church Urban Fund and to engage with issues of poverty in England today. Find out how you can help us to bring good news to those living and working in the England’s poorest communities at www.cuf.org.uk
United, we can do many things. The Spirit Spirit of God is transforming. Relevant and revolutionary, the Spirit inspires living faith in today’s world and tears down the barriers between us. us.
Connecting people When the Spirit came at Pentecost, walls of race, wealth and language broke down as people from all nations heard the living message in their own tongue. The Spirit brought connection and communication, and unveiled the possibility of humanity united. The power of that same Spirit is in each of us today, prompting us to open up to one another and work together to bring transformation on a scale we never could alone. The word for spirit in both Hebrew and Greek means ‘breath’. It’s used in Genesis when God breathes life into the first human. Working through willing individuals, God’s Spirit breathes new life into the world – a full life offered to every person on earth.
Street spirit In the coastal region in the southwest of Bangladesh, sea levels are rising. Water supplies that were once fresh are turning salty, and for many, clean water is now several hours walk away. For the women and children in one village, the gruelling 24-hour-journey necessary simply to buy fresh water was crippling – but one woman saw things could be different. After training from Christian Aid partner, BCAS, Rekha Biswas took to the streets and went door to door until every person in her village believed change was possible. At first she suffered repeated rejection as people turned her away from their homes. But she says simply, ‘It was my job to help them understand.’ As a result of Rekha’s incredible tenacity, a year later every family in her village had joined the local Pani Parishad, or water council. Through the council, the women (pictured below) learned how to harvest rainwater using simple tanks and pots, and now clean water is freely available.
Fresh hope for communities Rekha’s is a powerful story of courage and determination. And with the support of BCAS, further change is happening. Pani Parishads are uniting people across Bangladesh, providing a way for communities to join together to tackle the difficulties poverty imposes on them.
Breath of life This year, the first Sunday of Christian Aid Week falls at Pentecost. In the UK and Ireland, hundreds of thousands of people will join together to take the Spirit of God out into their own communities. Standing alongside people like Rheka, they will help transform the lives of the poorest across the globe. The Spirit of God longs to bring people together. As Rheka believes, ‘United we can do many things.’ Will you unite with us? To find out more about how you and your church can get involved in Christian Aid Week, call 08080 005 005 and order your Empowering People DVD-rom.
Think how you shop!
Currently, British shoppers spend more than £1 million a day on fruit and vegetables from Africa, and it’s estimated that almost a million people in Africa depend at least partly on these UK purchases. Last year alone, developing countries earned almost £3 billion from selling food, clothes and toys to UK supermarkets. By thinking carefully about how you shop – selecting products from poor countries, including those that carry the Fairtrade logo, and asking retailers about how they source their products – you can help bring about real changes to people’s lives. A farmer who gets good prices and steady demand for his crops has a better chance of sending his children to school and affording healthcare for his family. Encouraging trade is crucial for the long-term development of poor countries. Trade enables farmers to earn their way out of poverty – it gives them the chance to take control of their own lives rather than staying dependent on aid. The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to making trade work 11
for poor countries, pushing for trading arrangements that allow them to sell their goods more freely around the world, and at decent prices. Individuals can play their part, too. As consumers in wealthy countries, we can all help by making the right choices about how we shop. We can boost African economies and improve livelihoods through “positive purchasing”. Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development at DFID, comments: “The rise of ‘positive purchasing’ among UK consumers is exciting. Many people give regular donations to aid and development charities - which is marvellous – but research shows more and more people are looking for additional ways they can make a difference. Buying products from developing countries fits the bill perfectly – trade is very much the way forward for places like Africa. We would like to see more shoppers holding retailers to account for the responsible sourcing of their products.”
And buying African goods shouldn’t give you too many worries about your carbon footprint. Roses flown in from Africa can use less energy than those grown in Europe, because they’re not grown in heated greenhouses which emit relatively high levels of carbon dioxide. Kenyan flowers make an extra special gift Flower farms in Kenya are still reeling from the post-election violence, so it is now more important than ever to buy flowers from Kenya, with jobs and livelihoods threatened by the current crisis. Nearly a third of the roses we import in the UK come from Kenya, and the African country is the third biggest exporter of flowers in the world. In fact, the huge international demand for Kenyan flowers accounts for almost 10% of the total income it receives from exports. And this demand is growing, which means more jobs for poor people. To see how some of your shopping choices can make a difference, visit: www.dfidonline.org.uk/sfd/
Old friends Listen, we’ve known each other for some time, Greenbelters and the Church Times. So I don’t have to write anything impressive here. This isn’t going to be some carefully crafted advertorial, a slick piece of self-promotion to con you into thinking we’re better than we are. You know us, and if you don’t, why haven’t you emailed firstname.lastname@example.org for a free sample copy? It’s free, for goodness’ sake. And we won’t bombard you with loads of reminders and offers afterwards — though only because we’re not very efficient. Anyway, assuming that you know us, you might be interested in what we’ll be bringing to Greenbelt this year. There’s so much, I’m going to put some stuff in capital letters so that it stands out.
CARTOONS! We have four cartoons a week in the Church Times, so we hope to put together an EXHIBITION of some of the best. These will no doubt feature DAVE WALKER, who will help us produce another edition of our successful GUIDE TO GREENBELT. Dave, incidentally, has just started a new BLOG on www. churchtimes.co.uk. And there will be a brand new Dave Walker CARTOON BOOK. 12
THIRD WAY! The big relaunch is in April. If you liked it before, it’s going to be so much BETTER. If you didn’t, just imagine we’ve designed a new Christian magazine for YOU. There are special offers for new subscribers, so look at www. thirdway.org.uk.
CARIS! We had such fun launching our magazine for teenage girls last Greenbelt, we’re going to celebrate our FIRST BIRTHDAY at
Cheltenham this summer. If you’re aged 11-16 and a girl (or brave), think dressing up! Think free chocolate! In the mean time, if you don’t know about the magazine (shame on you!), check out www.carismag.co.uk. I think that’s about it. To be frank, there’s so much going on at the Church Times offices these days that I might well have missed something out. Talking of which, part of our deal with Greenbelt is to put together a Greenbelt page in the Church Times once a month. Because we wanted these to be fresh and not formulaic, and because our star Greenbelt writers, like us, have been too busy, we’ve missed a couple out. THIS WILL CHANGE, and, by the time you read this, the Greenbelt page will be back to its regular slot. There, I said you wouldn’t be impressed.
Paul Handley Managing editor (just managing, actually)
blame it on the weatherman
British weather can be unpredictable, which is why it is a national pastime to talk about it. But our climate is still reasonably reliable compared to other areas of the world. Even so, in recent years our weather patterns are becoming increasingly erratic. Rampaging tornados, freak hail storms and mini heatwaves are now all too common. There’s no more poignant example of the state of unrest our climate is experiencing than the floods which hit large areas of Gloucestershire, Yorkshire and Oxfordshire in June and July 2007. The balmy mild days of summer were replaced with continuous rainfall and the constant threat of the seemingly unstoppable rising waters. We recovered, and life in the main carried on as usual. After all, the flooding was nowhere near the scale seen in Bangladesh, for example, which regularly claims hundreds of lives and disrupts life for years after the event. We are comparatively fortunate, but our flooding should encourage us to take climate change seriously. Climate change, it seems, is never far from the top of the agenda. Every organisation is carefully measuring its carbon footprint and proudly advertising its extensive use of energy-efficient light bulbs. Some companies are using their efforts as a serious marketing tool to promote their social responsibility. But we need to do more. Without serious action (and less endless rhetoric), the situation will gradually and inevitably get worse. 13
As insurers of property all over the country, we recognise our responsibility. In many ways our task is greater, because we are responsible for protecting homeowners, businesses and much of our nation’s heritage. When disaster strikes we’re first on the scene to mop up and we lead the effort to get life back to normal as soon as possible And we’re not forgetting about our personal own responsibility either: we’ve recently switched our energy supplier to a green source, for example, and we’re committed to making our business as environmentally friendly as possible. But we’re nowhere near finished. We’re determined to continue helping customers to recover from the effects of climate change and plan for the future and, at the same time, to soften our own impact on the world. In many cases the answer is to face up to the inevitable in the
short-term and learn to deal with it. Flooding will happen; in 2008, 2009, 2010 and beyond. But we can learn to cope and protect ourselves a great deal better. Of course, we still need to keep an eye on the long-term to make sure we’re not storing up problems for the future. So, if we’re all basking in blistering sunshine this August Bank Holiday weekend at Greenbelt (and we hope we are!), bear in mind that torrents of rainfall could be just around the corner. We can’t change the damage that’s already been done, but we can look to the future to ensure that we don’t do yet more. Climate change is without doubt something we have to face up to and it is everybody’s responsibility to do something about it. Michael Tripp is Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Group Chief Executive. Ecclesiastical is an Associate Partner of Greenbelt.
What’s new Greenbe
A whistle-stop tour of what’s new or changin
Say ‘good afternoon’ to the Communion Service
greenbelt.org.uk/communion For a while we’ve been wondering about our Sunday morning Communion Service. It’s at the heart of the Festival weekend and at the centre of who we are and what we believe. But are we getting it right, given the changing make-up of our community and our journeying sense of what this gathering could mean? At the same time, we’ve noticed that some other (all-age, familyfriendly) festivals focus their make-it type activity towards a communal procession. We wondered about this idea in relation to our focal point, the Festival Communion service. We reckon a different time of day would give more time (for all those who want to) to make and prepare things that would then feed into the service itself; a different time of day would give a different vibe and so freshen the service up; a different time of day situates the service more at the heart of our our all-age Sunday; a different time of day marks more of a punctuation point for the Festival (rather than being the Sunday morning 14
highlight it could feel more like the ‘beginning of the end’ of a three-day weekend, with Monday then having a different feel and tone, perhaps); it might also make it easier to attract the local churches to share in our service, after their morning meetings. So, this year, we’ll be holding our Festival Communion service at 3pm on Sunday afternoon. It’s an experiment. It will feel strange. But strange is good. Because things made less familiar often help us enter into a greater sense of participation and mystery as we share, remember and celebrate together.
Environmental levy (at ticket booking stage) greenbelt.org.uk/levy To play our planetary part and to help reduce our Festival welly-print, we’re introducing our own optional environmental booking levy. We’ll ring-fence your donations and give the vast majority* of them to projects that are helping the most vulnerable people in the world to cope with the effects of climate change. Rather than using an off-theshelf offsetting scheme, with
all the difficulties that are associated with these, we have decided that we want to try and offer a hand to those that are already feeling the impact. We’re looking at various possibilities and we’ll announce the scheme(s) we earmark very soon. But think more along the lines of projects where people are doing things creatively and differently to counteract the impacts of climate change – building houses that can cope with flooding, planting crops that are resistant to drought, and so on. * We’ll also keep a small bit back to help make it easier for you to get to Greenbelt in shared or public transport.
Keep your records straight … on our database! my.greenbelt.org.uk Here’s where you can update the details we hold about you on our database, and especially let us know your preferred means of us keeping in touch with you. At my.greenbelt.org.uk you can: – update the details we hold on your name, address, email and telephone number – tell us how you wish to be contacted, including
Reviews. greenbelt.org.uk/reviews There was no blood Kester Brewin reflects on There Will be Blood, for which Daniel Day Lewis won his second Oscar for ‘Best Actor’. This review is a form of theological reflection and we thank Kester for permission to abridge his original blog post – at kester.typepad.com/signs – on the film. email preferences and the option to receive electronic rather than physical mailouts – change the password on your Greenbelt Account to something more memorable – check the status of your order(s) or view your past order(s) – and access any purchased downloads you might have The subtext, the pretext,
nothing but the Text greenbelt.org.uk/text
Text GREEN to 88010 to receive Festival news direct to your mobile. There is a one-off fee of £1 to register to receive text messages for this Festival year. But, once registered, all the messages you’ll receive from then on will be free – right through to the autumn. At that point, we’ll unsubscribe you for this year, with a view to asking you to sign back up to receive another batch of messages from us for next Festival year (2009).
Greenbelt 08 Rising Sun 15
There Will Be Blood is a terrific movie. If you haven’t yet seen it, do. No matter how big your plasma screen, you’ll need to see this one on the big screen. Oil, Crude and Spiritual, are the two things two men are drilling for. Boring down into dangerous fissures within themselves and their communities, risking explosion and hurt to those around them. Daniel Day Lewis’ extraordinary performance as Daniel Plainview, and Paul Dano’s equally good one as revivalist revelation cult leader Eli Sunday are full of gutteral, primordial sounds, helped along by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood’s score. No matter how deep they dig, and what riches they bring themselves - crude or spiritual - it’s real blood that they both know is absent. Plainview’s ‘son’ is simply an orphan he took on; the brother that finds him a fraud; and the blood of Jesus that Sunday screams for never materialises into grace. There may be oil and wealth, but there is no blood, no family blood to root one of them, none of God’s blood to save either. And so they fight and drill deeper into darker places.
This is, of course, a film about the American identity: a country built on escape from backslidden families, a new puritan world with opportunities for all. A country built on, and sustained by, oil. Yet, it seems, a country at sea in its own quest for identity, for real history. As an outsider it seems the U.S. is, more than elsewhere, a country in search of blood. Family blood - desperately trying to cling onto Scottish, Irish, African, Spanish heritage - and God’s blood - desperately trying to divine Christ’s blood to purify all the soiled ground beneath everyone’s feet. And, in the final instance, as in the film, there is blood. There always will be. In the madness of the consuming search for God’s blood and our family’s blood, we strike out and wound the other. If we get bloodfever, like Gold or Oil Fever, then blood we will find. Violent, painful and destructive. The same bloodlust that wounded Christ. Grace needs no drilling, no violence to the earth or the body. Instead, it seeps into us if we will seek the peace and silence to simply wait for it. Only then will it, in the mystery of the elements, become blood, binding us to God and our brother, allowing a gentle security of identity to take root. Kester Brewin
A bringer of great blessings Martin Wroe recalls Greenbelt favourite John O’Donohue, who died in January. (This piece is abridged from Martin’s full tribute in the Church Times on 25 January 2008.)
One of the troubles with the contemporary Church, John O’Donohue once told me, is that it has abandoned the divine call of beauty in favour of prescription and imperative. “The Church is: ‘You must, you shouldn’t, you can’t.’ But go back to the carpenter-poet Jesus, and it was always the experience of wonder with him, and out of that followed tranquillity, compassion, and joy.” O’Donohue, who died on 3 January 2008, aged 53 years, while on holiday in France, was among the most mesmerising speakers to have come to Greenbelt. It wasn’t just that he was an original religious thinker, and a very funny storyteller, but that he had the mind of a poet. When he spoke, it was as if he had spent hours carefully framing every clause in every sentence — including the silences around them. He had been a Roman Catholic priest for 19 years, and was an accomplished scholar. He wrote his Ph.D. on Hegel in German at Tübingen University, and for some years combined parish work with lecturing. But the 1997 publication of Anam Cara (Gaelic for “soul friend”), an elegant treatise reclaiming ancient Celtic spirituality for third-millennium man and woman, gave him a worldwide audience. The pop star Ronan Keating and his wife reportedly 16
called it their “relationship Bible”, while Mary McAleese, the then Irish President, was said to have bought a dozen copies for friends. O’Donohue embodied a marriage of philosophical training and poetic muse. It enabled him to reach for a new kind of language to express what he felt was the essential mystical unity of all life, to navigate the complexities of being alive, and the tantalising possibilities of faith. He spent most of his time in solitude at his remote home in Connemara in the west of Ireland, sceptical of what he called “the religion of rush”. He wrote from personal experience that “if we trust our need for silence, stillness, and solitude, we will find where we need to go.” Prayer, he said, “is the ground of eternity”. Having discreetly left the priesthood for life as a full-time writer, he began to accept more speaking invitations, including — after a lot of persuasion — agreeing to come to Greenbelt. Persistence was necessary, as his phone was often not answered, and for many years he looked with disdain on new technology. “Why would I want email?” he used to ask. “Why would I want to return from a walk to find 70 people waiting for me in the kitchen?” As he left Greenbelt last year, he announced that this time he had “really got it” and would be coming back for sure. I like to think he felt Greenbelt had become one of “the great shelters of belonging” that he believed true religion should offer. As he
said: “If your marriage is going bad, your kids are on dope, your work is unsatisfactory, you’re really unhappy, maybe the place not to go to is the pub, maybe the place to go to — even if you’ve lost all faith in the divine — is into the church, a safe spiritual space of no judgment. Just go in, and let some of that into you.” His final collection, Benedictus, a book of blessings for 21st-century “threshold” moments, is a powerful spiritual epitaph. It is full of the kind of inclusive and luminous religious language that can touch people far beyond the crumbling walls of institutional religion — not least when they escape it through death. He had a very Celtic understanding of death. If he was right, then he and all those in that great cloud of witnesses remain closer to us than we can imagine. Go to greenbelt.org.uk/talks to hear snippets and order John’s recorded talks given at the Festival. And to www.greenbelt. org.uk/index.php?p=966 to read Gareth Higgins tribute written for the Greenbelt website (with lots of links).
… I love having an idea and then seeing it happen.
Derek Hill is the Bob the Builder of the Programming Group, onsite days before the Festival with toolkit and big boards of plywood in hand – all part of his coordinating the Visual Arts (VA) programme at Greenbelt. When was your first Greenbelt? I have just consulted my photo albums, got sidetracked reminiscing, and worked out it was 1987. But it feels like always. A fresh-faced 17-yearold, camping with some mates and having fun. First impressions? I loved it. I like to camp, so the prospect of a weekend under the stars with dodgy washing facilities was not daunting. Added to that I got to meet up with friends and soak up the atmosphere. I was hooked. Why did you come? And why did you come back? My summer Pathfinder Camp leader Ben was always encouraging us to come. I thought he was pretty cool, so I did. Since then it’s become an annual fixture, apart from a short break while my three kids were toddlers. It’s great to be part of a community that meets once a year. Along the way, I fell for my future wife one year and found out we were expecting our first child on the way a few years later. It’s also been a place to catch up with friends from all over each year. Community is important to me; add to that the music, art, performance, and the opportunity (wherever I am with my faith) to be inspired 17
encouraged and challenged by like-minded people, then why wouldn’t I keep coming back?! How did you begin volunteering? I first helped out with ‘The Multitude’, a big hands-on clay sculpture about six years ago. And I just did a bit more each year: helping to build the GB30 exhibition, being a venue manager, working in the VA pre-build team, creating a sculpture of my own, and coordinating all the VA volunteers one year. Until, after the Festival in ‘06 Steve Spicer (who had run the VA programme for years) said he was taking a break ... the rest is history. What do you do now and why? I am on the Programming Group, responsible for the VA programme. Throughout the year I and my team think about what we want to see at the Festival, try to book it, worry about how to get it there, set it up and then take it away afterwards. We also consider how to get more people involved with hands-on stuff. My job is to coordinate all this and make sure it all happens as smoothly as possible. I do it because I love the Festival and used to come each year thinking how could I get more involved in being a part of it. Now I am. What are the challenges. And what do you enjoy? Time. I have a young family and run a business, so finding time for Greenbelt is hard. But I enjoy it and I have a very understanding wife, The other challenge is build week. We have about four days before
the Festival begins to make sure that all the things we have been planning all year arrive, exhibitions get built and hung and all is ready and in place for the opening. But I like to make things and I love having an idea and then seeing it happen. I love being part of this committed volunteer community – which is what gives Greenbelt such a unique quality – where everyone involved is passionate about it. Is it different to your day job? I currently make Custom Seating for wheelchair users. And, while my business does fulfill some of my creative ambitions, having come from a design background I do enjoy being involved with the VA programme. In fact, both ‘jobs’ need good communication and organisational skills and some creative flair. Can you imagine not volunteering? Not at the moment. I would like to build up a good team and pass on the reins in due course, but at the moment I am enjoying it all too much. 17
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Volunteer news. greenbelt.org.uk/volunteer Online questionnaire The Volunteer experience We want to hear from you about your volunteer experience with Greenbelt. Take two minutes to answer the online questionnaire we’ve set up at http://tinyurl. com/yvkkqb and you will be entered into a draw to win a complete set of recorded talks from 2007. You’ll also be helping us to build a better picture of who our wonderful volunteers are and how we can better work with you all going forward!
Volunteer opportunities greenbelt.org.uk There is a wide range of roles listed on the website at greenbelt.org.uk/volunteers and we’re looking to recruit more volunteers than ever to make the Festival as smooth enjoyable for everyone as possible. Take a look and see how you could get involved. Tell your friends, too.
Curry nights Report back from one of the regional ‘curry nights’ Nicky McGinty reports from Leicester. Nicky chairs our Volunteer Development Group and is the Production Manager for the Communion Service this year. (For more on changes to the Communion Service, see page 14.) A dozen Angels and volunteers met in Leicester for a curry at 18
a veggie restaurant specialising in South Indian food. The group met over a set meal of 13 different dishes including a rather curious warm orange coloured semolina pudding.
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There were volunteers who had been involved for over 15 years and those who had just started volunteering at the last Festival. Nine different teams were represented. As beer and mango lassi (the drink – not the dog) flowed, stories were shared of Greenbelt moments, some poignant, others more frivolous. The one that sticks most was from last year’s communion service where someone recounted a tale of how one of the young people sitting with them had been filling in the wordsearch puzzle. There was a moment when they found the last hidden word and excitedly shouted out “I’ve found Jesus!” just as everyone else went quiet. This just goes to prove that people do have conversion experiences at Greenbelt and I’m sure that there are prayers of gratitude rising all over the country as you read this! It was a memorable night, partly because of the chair which collapsed mid-evening, but also for the great conversation between people who all make a contribution to the Festival in very different ways. As one person summed up the evening: “good food, good company, both new and old friends – shame about the furniture.”
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Last words. Gaynor Bradshaw.
In the second of our interviews with the Festival’s Trustees, we talked to Gaynor Bradshaw. Gaynor is a mother and a grandmother to three grandsons and one granddaughter. In her working life, she is the Financial Director of a small independent media company specialising in TV commercials. She still occasionally gets out with the film crews as Production Manager. The first time I came to Greenbelt was just as an evening visitor. It was at Castle Ashby, ‘84 or ‘85. I remember it being big, really BIG, and walking miles. That was it. I was hooked. I don’t think I’ve missed one since. I camped for years with my children and youth group. I remember those years: endless nights with whoever was camping next to us practising their guitar into the early hours (and never getting any better). Later, I was fortunate to come as tour manager for Martyn Joseph and so got to stay in a hotel. I felt guilty, and so I mentioned to someone onsite that I had spare time and was there anything I could do? That was it: since then I have spent years helping at Contributors’ Reception, and then running the backstage area – which I still do today, with a fantastic team of volunteers. 20
I love Greenbelt. For me it’s mostly about people. I marvel at the number who give their precious time and energy. I am taken aback by the contributors who come – giving up their bank holiday for very little – to perform or speak. I love the way the Programme Group create a fantastic programme crammed full of so much you can only experience a fraction of it. Working, as I do, in a busy profession, I am also amazed that such a small staff achieve so much. And then there are the Angels: we might not have continued without them, and their continued support enables Greenbelt to do more than it could ever do without them. All these different people bring about a Festival that is inspiring, challenging and great entertainment. Yes, ‘entertainment’; it’s not a dirty word, and there is nothing wrong with it. It’s good to be entertained. We spend so much time looking for the meaningful, but it’s also good to laugh and have a good time. In fact, the two often go together. Greenbelt is a place where people are accepted as they are. Having been brought up in a church that was often judgmental of people and their situations, to be at event where so many diverse people live together in harmony is amazing to me. And it rubs off. The mainstage artists are often amazed, too. We encourage them to take a wander and when they come back they are always positive about what they’ve seen, and how people have been. We usually get the sense they’d like to come back. Often they do.
The Greenbelt Trustees – who are, of course, all volunteers! – share their hopes and fears for the Festival, and tell us a bit about themselves. The one change I’ve seen develop recently is still being able to have a bit of Greenbelt throughout the year – downloading the talks MP3s, seeing the funny bits on YouTube, and browsing the photos. I love the Internet and long for us to develop the website more to help deliver more of the Festival all year around. I hope there is a long future ahead for Greenbelt. As well as continuing to grow and being community together, I hope we continue to explore the issues of the day. I hope that during the Festival we look at life in a different way; it’s not about how we’ve always done things, but more about how much can we change, while still holding onto the things that the Festival makes us realise are so special. Being a Trustee is a challenging journey. After 20-odd years of being involved in a few different roles I thought I had a good understanding of Greenbelt. I didn’t, and I probably still don’t. And because Greenbelt is so big, and made up of so many people with big ideas, big energy, big hearts and big vision, keeping up in Trustee meetings can be tricky sometimes! So, from those early perceptions of Greenbelt – its sheer size and the amount of people – as a Trustee I’m now focused on the processes involved in making it a safe place to be, on it being a platform to showcase the broadest range of subjects to engage as many people as possible through the most diverse range of programming – so that there are always different ways for people to soak it up. Yep, it’s still big! But what a privilege to be a small part of it.