Worship. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just tambourines and waving your hands in the air. In fact, it can be a heck of a lot of different things. And at Greenbelt, we like to make the space for people to worship in whatever way they choose. Here are just a few ways in which people expressed their devotion at this year’s festival.
Vicar and textile artist Rev Miranda Threlfall-Holmes is all about exploring experimental approaches to spirituality. Her latest idea, at this year’s Greenbelt, was ‘Craftio Divina’ – getting closer to God while making a quilt of mammoth proportions.
Once again, Taize helped us connect with the divine through simple chants, prayer and quiet. There wasn’t a drum kit in sight.
- Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir
There’s a lot more to Manchester’s music scene than The Stone Roses and Oasis. This diverse group of Mancunian women performed a mix of songs, prayers and chants from across a whole range of faith groups represented in Greater Manchester.
- Rev Vince Anderson’s Dirty Gospel
That Anderson describes his music as ‘dirty gospel’ tells you something about his approach to worship. His collaboration with The 9 Beats Collective explored the ancient wisdom of the Beatitudes, imagining another world in this time of uncertainty.
- Ultimate Power
What could be more worshipful than celebrating being alive by lifting our voices to the sounds of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and their contemporaries’ finest power ballads? Well, nothing. We just wish we’d packed some Lockets for the morning after.
- Murmuration by Nicola Haines
Representing peace and the presence of spirit, there are few things more worshipful than birds. And when you’re surrounded by a murmuration (that’s right) of 150 of them, all intricately hung over a 25-metre walkway, it’s hard not to feel moved. Better still, unlike the real thing, they’re unlikely to defecate on you.
- Belly dancing
Sometimes words only say so much and you need to express your worship to the Divine with your body. Or some of it, anyway. Like your belly. Well, we did it at Greenbelt.
- Willow weaving
What with all these hashtags and notifications and likes and computer phones, sometimes one needs to return to ancient practices to feel the presence of God. Creating beautiful objects from willow rods is certainly one way to do it.
- Goth Eucharist
As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. Similarly, there are many ways to take communion. At midnight on Sunday, we did it goth-style with a service themed around isolation, aimed at goth and alternative communities – and beyond.
- Sufi chants
You can learn a lot from people who do things differently to you. Which is why we invited the Ansari Qadri-Rifai group to Greenbelt to teach us some of the music and chants of the Muslim mystical Sufi tradition.
- Nabeel Masih
Where East meets West, you’ll find Nabeel and his band performing their Christ-centred worship, filtered through the Indian tradition of Satsang (truth-gathering). It was a profoundly devotional time.