If you go down to the woods today …

If you go down to the woods today …

… be sure of a big surprise!

The Grove at Greenbelt 2016

We may not have a Teddy Bear’s picnic at Greenbelt 2016, but we’ve got a hamper full of goodies all the same.

In The Grove venue this year we have a wonderful variety of contributors bringing fun, passion and a touch of anarchy to proceedings.

Besides the Forest Church sessions (which this year will be led by Daniel Papworth of Cheltenham Forest Church), there will also be a cornucopia of goodness from a host of beautiful people.

Workshopping all things ‘good-habit forming’, Oasis UK’s director of Ethos and Formation Jill Rowe will be leading sessions on hopefulness, self-control and forgiveness.

All the way from Scotland, where his pioneering research has shed a startling new light on the state of Christianity in the Highlands, Steve Aisthorpe will be talking about his new book The Invisible Church.

For those without a picnic of their own, a trip around the site foraging with Sara Stanley may do the trick. And for anyone who is interested in learning how to share, Anna Stacey will be exploring the life of an Everyday Radical after years of living according to a common purse.

Radicals aren’t in short supply either, as Ciaron O’Reilly, a veteran anti-war campaigner leads an examination of the life of Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ, the leading peace activist who died earlier this year.

Natural connection is a consistent theme in the Grove, and this year we have sessions on: Wild Church from Juno Hollyhock and Mary Jackson; the very stuff we’re made of – soil – from geologist Paul Nathanail; and being ‘barefoot in the head’ with a specially convened panel of muddy-footed philosophers. The author and journalist Hazel Southam will even tell us about how a year spent with a horse radically changed her life.

Hailing from North Wales, pioneering musician Gav Mart, a Greenbelt veteran of many years, will bring some special guests and a basket full of chilled acoustic tunes to the party.

From his home on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne the irrepressible Andy Raine will bring some dance workshops, with tasty grooves guaranteed to make even the stiffest legs move.

Stu McLellan will inspire creativity in us all with sessions on making natural art works, and Verity Peacock will offer safe space to women in a special session (to which no men are allowed!).

We’ll make the most of the quietness of the Grove too, starting each day with a quiet meditation session. We will nurture silence with Matt Freer of the Quiet Garden Movement, and the Franciscans will lead us in daily reflective worship.

And then finally, when all the sandwiches have been eaten, and picnic rugs are rolled away, we’ll enjoy the night, as Cathy Bird considers the dark and Bruce Stanley revels in the mysteries of the night skies.

The ancients sought out Groves as special places to commune with the divine, this year at Boughton, we’ll do the same.

Pictured: forager Sara Stanley

For more worship lineup, click here.