Greenbelt 1

9 09 2009

Greenbelt is an amazing thing – their official statement about themselves is Greenbelt is an independent Christian charity working to express love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel.

For us it was something like:  social justice, creativity, theology, alt. worship, other worship…  20 000 or so people with all their tents and campervans Greenbelt_09_-_the_Combi-Jokerand folding chairs and umbrellas taking to Cheltenham race course for four days of festival.


And so it came to pass that Andrew and I spent our 15th anniversary sitting on the grass, listening to theologians: more particularly (at anniversary time) Dave Tomlinson and Jenny MacIntosh talking about “What the hell do we believe?”

And then, in what was definitely a Greenbelt highlight (and I reckon, even though this is just the beginning of the third week, it’s going to be a sabbatical highlight) we went to Ikon‘s Pyro-theology: a piece of what they call theodrama or transformance art sparked by a  Buenaventura Durruti quote: “The only church that illuminates is a burning church”.  It was an amazing experience: visceral, challenging, warming, moving, provoking…  It’s hard to know what to say.  Aesthetically superb (see photos here ) Intellectually stimulating.  Theologically sharp.  And somehow, in all of that, a powerful sense of the ritual container providing a place to be at home: all of me – cynical, passionate, thoughtful, irrational, faithful, embodied…  Thanks Ikon.




2 responses

9 09 2009

Thank you for sharing your travels with such thoughtful, insightful, articulate, beautiful and evocative language. I love your writing, and look forward to following your journey here as long as the sense of sabbatical obligation keeps you posting!


12 09 2009
Paul Fromont

Hi Jemma, pleased you got away safely and that the time away appears to have been going well. Dave Tomlinson mentioned he’d caught up with you. He was surprised how small the world was. He and Pat had a great time in the Waikato – we had great weather which added to the experience. I took them both around Hamilton Gardens as ++David made it a feature of his 15-minute scene-setting talk before Dave’s first Key-Note address @ Ministry School. More reflections on my blog, including his two sermons from St. Andrew’s in Cambridge.

Happy belated wedding anniversary to you both. Take care and enjoy the rest of your experience and time away.


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