Greenbelt Christian festival in Britain


This video from England says about itself:

10 May 2012

Dr Joe Bennett, Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for English Language Study, introduces Owen Jones, author of ‘Chavs – the demonization of the working class’ in an event at Waterstones, New Street, Birmingham.

By Symon Hill in Britain:

Radical Christians still outnumbered

Friday 29th August 2014

Greenbelt is a Christian festival at which the divide is not between liberals and conservatives but between liberals and radicals, says SYMON HILL

David Cameron and the right have tried to own the Christian vote, which is fundamentally unbiblical,” declared Anna McMullen, attending the Greenbelt festival last weekend. “Jesus and the Bible’s teaching are all about socialism, basically.”

It’s not an unusual comment to hear at Greenbelt, one of Britain’s largest Christian festivals, which has drawn crowds of between 10,000 and 20,000 for years.

It has gained a reputation as open-minded and left of centre. This does not mean it is a hotbed of radicalism. Nonetheless, radical ideas were both present and visible.

McMullen’s comments came after a rousing talk by Owen Jones.

Rob Telford, a Christian who is standing for the deputy leadership of the Green Party, told me he had agreed with almost everything Jones said — until he expressed support for the Labour Party. When it came to austerity, Telford said: “Labour aren’t going to sort the issue out.”

Similar disputes came up several times over the three-and-a-half days of Greenbelt. Christian supporters of Labour — including Suzy Stride, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harlow —were vocal in encouraging Christians to rally behind Ed Miliband. Others dismissed Labour as pro-cuts and pro-Trident as they gave their backing to more left-wing parties such as the Greens or Plaid Cymru.

Of course, there were also Tory and Lib Dem supporters around, sometimes complaining of anti-government bias.

Greenbelt is different from many Christian festivals in that most attenders oppose the government and support same-sex marriage. But at times there was a strong smell of middle-class liberalism with people talking about helping the poor in ways that sounded more like charity than solidarity.

Thankfully, this was not always the case. Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty said that churches tend to be good at “rescuing people who have fallen into the river” but that they need to be challenging those who are “throwing them in.”

Juliet Kilpin from Urban Expression believes churches should not be celebrating when they open new food banks but protesting about the fact that they need to do so.

There were frequent debates on sexuality and gender. Evangelical singer Vicky Beeching, who came out as gay just before the festival, received a standing ovation for her courage and resistance to homophobia. For the first time, Greenbelt’s main communion service on Sunday morning included a prayer for people campaigning for LGBT rights.

Some went further. In a late-night debate, Anglican priest Rachel Mann said the church had made a “fetish” of marriage, while theologian Marika Rose suggested that polyamory could be ethical for Christians.

Many Greenbelters go to the festival for music rather than for talk. Sinead O’Connor drew the crowds in spite of rain. Folk singer Grace Petrie began her act with her anti-fascist song They Shall Not Pass.

This video says about itself:

15 October 2011

Copyright Grace Petrie

A little glimpse of the Josie Long Alternative Reality Tour. This is a song I wrote about the nature of protest, to commemorate the Spanish Civil War and The Battle of Cable Street.

LYRICS:

You’re not my brother, nor my countryman
Not my sister or my friend
But you’re my comrade, be so ’til the last
They shall not pass; they shall not pass
Now blood is running through the streets of Spain
And London gripped in fear
Oh, smell of gunfire, sound of breaking* glass
You shall not pass; you shall not pass

Why fight the good fight, fight the good fight? Why not let them burn?
I dread the day when the suffering of my fellow is none of my concern, so

Stand up today that we might save tomorrow
Oh I know there’s a way that we might save tomorrow
Yes its late in the day but we might save tomorrow, if we try
I shall not turn against my brother
For his creed or for his colour
Nor the one he takes his lover
Or his class
You that beckon me that way, you shall not pass

And you who speak of ideology, who speak of people like they’re pawns
Whose motives lie ‘neath frosted glass
You shall not pass; you shall not pass
In the name now of humanity,
Not left nor right, not black nor white
Tear the fascist flag now from its mast
It shall not pass; it shall not pass

Why fight the good fight, fight the good fight? Why not let them burn?
I dread the day when the suffering of my fellow is none of my concern, so

Stand up today that we might save tomorrow
Oh I know there’s a way that we might save tomorrow
Yes its late in the day but we might save tomorrow, you and I
We shall not turn against each other
For our creed or for our colour
Nor the ones we take our lover
Or our class
You that beckon me that way, you shall not pass

Stand up and speak, it’s not a call to arms
Get on your feet, it’s not a call to arms
Get on the street, it’s not a call to arms
It’s a call to helping hands

Why fight the good fight, fight the good fight? Why not let them burn?
I dread the day when the suffering of my fellow is none of my concern, so

Stand up today, that we might save tomorrow
Oh I know there’s a way that we might save tomorrow
Yes its late in the day, but we might save tomorrow, if we try
I shall not turn against my brother
For his creed or for his colour
Nor the one he takes his lover
Or his class
You that beckon me that way, you shall not pass

*Accidentally sang “burning glass” which doesn’t make a lot of sense… :/ sorry folks!

The Symon Hill article continues:

Satirical duo Jonny and the Baptists poked fun at Ukip, beginning with councillor David Silvester who blamed floods on same-sex marriage. “He’s the first member of Ukip to believe in man-made climate change.”

This year’s festival was held in the grounds of Boughton House near Kettering, replacing the popular previous venue in Cheltenham. On the whole, regular festival-goers responded positively to the new site, although a number of disabled attenders argued that parts of it should have been made more accessible.

Greenbelt is a Christian festival at which the divide is not between liberals and conservatives but between liberals and radicals. The actively radical voice is getting stronger, but it has far to go to make a big impact.

Left-wing Christians need to speak up more loudly.

2 thoughts on “Greenbelt Christian festival in Britain

  1. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award, thank you betternotbroken! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Theatre in Scotland about the extreme right | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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