Planning is well underway for the United Reformed Church’s contribution to this year’s Greenbelt festival of arts, faith and social justice. The popular event will take place at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, from 25 to 28 August 2017 – and the URC will be there for its second year as an Associate Partner.
The United Reformed Church enjoyed a very successful debut at the 2016 event with the attention-grabbing theme of ‘Scrap the Church?’ Over 500 people wrote down their comments about what the Church could scrap or improve and the URC activities prompted many a conversation and personal reflection about the role and effectiveness of Church in society.
This time round, the URC will have ‘More than Welcome’ as its focus.
‘More than Welcome’ will explore issues around who is, or isn’t welcome in our churches and society – and what that means individually and corporately, locally, nationally and internationally. It also offers the opportunity to listen to those who are missing from ‘the banquet’ and from our conversations, communities and churches.
The theme for the festival as a whole is ‘The Common Good’ and it is hoped that many of the URC events will complement the Greenbelt challenge as how we might collectively transform life for the sake of the world.
Plans are in hand for a range of exciting URC activities, including:
- A ‘More than Welcome’ banqueting table and shelter art installation (made by scrap church artist Nic Walters)
- A knitted food treasure hunt and yarn blanketing
- Street theatre
- Pop-up picnic liturgy
- The URC stand (now known as the ‘URC lounge’) which will host various events during the festival period
- Hosting a series of ‘intentional conversations’ at picnic tables near the URC lounge
Last year’s hugely popular treasure hunt saw people go in search of 13 stars decorated by the synods. This year, knitting and crochet fans are urgently needed to help prepare a treasure ‘trail’ of knitted food from across the world. Festival-goers will head for hampers dotted around the site where they will answer questions on food/feast stories from the Bible and collect various knitted food items. They will then be asked to add the ‘produce’ to an empty banqueting area so that, over the course of the weekend, the area goes from being empty to abundant.
There is a lot to knit so the more people, groups and churches involved, the better! If you do start this project, please send a photo of the group/individual doing the knitting for a display in the URC lounge! Interested individuals, community groups and churches should email email@example.com for patterns and information about where to send the produce.
Knitting/crocheting patterns are available but do feel free to use any you may have already. The knitted items should not be too big (so they fit in the palm of your hand). The food production needs to start as soon as possible if there is going to be enough of it in time for August Bank Holiday.
On the last day of Greenbelt, volunteers will head out to distribute the knitted food. An attached postcard will explain that it is a gift from the URC and it will also include a ‘food for thought’ idea or challenge.
The early booking ticket deadline is the end of April; if you buy your weekend tickets before midnight on 30 April, you will save £35 on the onsite adult weekend price. Visit here to find out more.
Why go to Greenbelt?
Looking back at Greenbelt 2016
'Scrap the Church?' at Greenbelt 2016
Making a Scrap Church from Scratch!