At Greenbelt we like to try new things – especially when it comes to worship. Gathering thousands of people together in a single act of worship is always going to bring new experiences (and challenges) for many. But Greenbelt is a place where we can all come together to share – from all sorts of churches and none, and we make no distinctions of gender, race, background or sexuality. Whoever you are, you are welcome as we seek to reflect a vision of God’s coming Kingdom. As we celebrate communion we come simply as ourselves, without rank or precedence. It’s a hugely counter-cultural act.
In the wonderful economy of God, children have exactly the same worth as adults. If anywhere can reflect this, it is Greenbelt. Yet we always find it hard to make it a reality – at Greenbelt, in the church & elsewhere. In the secular economy children are sometimes treated as potential units of production and consumption. In the church they are often a problem to be solved or scalps to be won. But under God they stand beside us, instruct us, inspire us and lead us. In fact Jesus gives children a special role in calling-out both the church and the culture. God uses children to disciple adults by helping them to look at themselves honestly, and especially by teaching them to laugh, love, play and discern.
The communion service at Greenbelt 2016 will be led by children. It is not a children’s service, or even an all-age or child-friendly service. It’s not even a service about children. Rather, it is a service led (as much as is practical) from a child’s perspective, where we worship God together from that viewpoint. Even Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s ‘preach’ will be delivered in the form of answering children’s questions. We are excited about this service and look forward to sharing it with you.
This year, as part of our desire to accommodate everyone, we will be making our offering in three forms: Craft, Lego and Money (the Lego element needs some forward planning!).
During the festival, adults and children will work together to make a quilt covered in silent stars. At the offering we will pass the quilt over the crowd towards the platform as an offering to God.
Please bring any used or new pieces of lego to Greenbelt as a way of giving. You don’t have to be a child to do this! The lego will be washed and delivered to Ilamula House, which provides a home for 20 vulnerable, abused and orphaned girls aged 2-13 just outside the Soweto, Johannesburg.
Each Greenbelt communion we take an offering. We try to give that offering away through Trust Greenbelt. We usually manage to do this. But sometimes we need to keep some or all of it to ensure we keep the festival itself going (so we can give again in the future!). Thanks to your generous giving in recent years, Trust Greenbelt made £80,000 of grants in 2016 to projects and initiatives in the UK and beyond combining arts, faith and justice. For more details, see the Festival Guide and the Trust Greenbelt page on our website.