Greenbelt is a great space in which to hear different perspectives on an issue. Here’s a summary of the panel debates and conversations on offer at the festival this year.
SCRAP THE CHURCH?
With Nadia Bolz-Weber, Andrew Brown, Savi Hensman, Lawrence Moore
Chaired by Steve Tomkins
Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, we delivered the Church. Is this what he had in mind? Does the Church do the work of God or get in its way? What are our alternatives to continuing business as usual?
In association with URC
HOME FROM HOME: BRITAIN’S HOUSING CRISIS
With Andrew Francis, Chandra Morbey, Alastair Murray
Chaired by Virginia Moffatt
The UK’s housing crisis is seeing citizens priced out of affordable homes, the collapse of social housing and a rise in homelessness. Where’s the justice in that?
With Alastair Murray of Housing Justice, Andrew Francis, editor of Foxes Have Holes: Christian reflections on Britain’s Housing Need and Chandra Morbey of the Derby Night Shelter.
Chaired by Virginia Moffatt, Ekklesia
GIVING: GOOD. FUNDRAISING: BAD?
Zoë Bunter, Susan Barry, Emily Petty
We all agree that giving is good, but is fundraising? Hear from three people paid to make you part with your cash about why they’re proud to be professional fundraisers. Oh, and how it helps build the kingdom at the same time.
With Zoe Bunter, Head of Mission Development at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales, Susan Barry, Church Fundraising Manager, Christian Aid, Emily Petty, Regional Fundraising Director, The Children’s Society.
Chaired by Greenbelt Trustee Andy Turner
TOO HOT TO HANDLE: CLIMATE CHANGE KNOWS NO BORDERS
Bill McKibben, Caroline Harmon, Tom Viita, Steve Baker
Can we really cooperate to fight the ravages of climate change? And now that the UK faces Brexit, will the good things that the EU has done on climate care be lost? Do NGOs and campaigning organisations show the way forward rather than states and governments anyway?
With 350.org founder Bill McKibben, Caroline Harmon from Christian Climate Action, Tom Viita, Senior UK Political Advisor with Christian Aid, Steve Baker, Greenbelt Chair and green investor.
Chaired by Hannah Scott-Joynt.
STUDENT CHRISTIANITY. IS THERE ANOTHER WAY?
Student Christianity is still dominated by theologically conservative groups and big ‘student churches’, but research suggests this is not meeting the needs of Christian students. The small local church has a key role to play. How we can create a little bit of Greenbelt in university cities across Britain?
With SCM’s Hilary Topp, SCM student worker Emma Temple, Sheffield University Chaplain Catrin Harland, and Diverse Church’s Sally Hitchiner
CHILDREN OF THE STATE
Featuring Lemn Sissay, The Children’s Society’s Lucy Capron, and chaired by Home for Good’s Krish Kandiah
Join our panellists, along with young care leavers telling their stories, in debating whether we can truly say we live in a fair democracy while children in the State’s care are being mistreated within the system.
In assoc. with The Children’s Society
FORGET ME NOT
Professor John Swinton, Rebecca de Saintonge, Sally Magnusson
Join three special guests whose lives have each been touched by dementia and who have responded in various ways through theology, writing and action. Share in their experiences, thinking and learning around this increasingly pervasive human condition.
Chaired by Greenbelt Trustee Rhian Roberts.
In association with Livability
THE LEMONADE EFFECT: BEYONCE, BLACKNESS, FEMINISM AND WHITE DISCOMFORT
With Broderick Greer, Sekai Makoni, Vanessa Kisuule, Amaka Okafor and chaired by Chine McDonald
A group of Beyonce fans gather to explore what her turn to a more overt Black feminist voice on Lemonade might mean. Part of our Black Lives Matter programming, expect a lively, theological conversation from a savvy and spirited panel.
HAS ONLINE DATING CHANGED EVERYTHING?
Jackie Elton, Dr David Pullinger, John Kershaw, Vicky Walker, Kate Bottley
Online dating is now ever-present in our lives. From Match.com to Tinder, how has it changed the way we form relationships? Are things better or worse? Safer or scarier? How can we understand and use these tools to improve our lives? Join us for a lively, interactive and eye-opening exchange.
With Jackie Elton, Founder, Christian Connection, Dr David Pullinger, writer on singleness, John Kershaw, founder of Bristlr dating app, Vicky Walker, author and speaker on relationships.
Chaired by Greenbelt Trustee Kate Bottley.
In association with Christian Connection
CALAIS DOESN’T NEED YOUR CAST-OFFS
With Chris Sonnex, Rocky Rodriguez Jr., Sian Rowbotham & Fr Malcolm Bradshaw
Rounding off a festival full of refugee programming, let’s bring our hopes and fears together and encourage one another to act. What should we do? How shall we respond in ways that will make a real and lasting difference? How should we make #RefugeesWelcome a reality in our communities and lives?
With Chris Sonnex of Good Chance Theatre, Rocky Rodriguez Jr. of Craft Theatre, Sian Rowbotham, Senior Emergency Programme Officer for the Refugee Crisis at Christian Aid, and Fr. Malcolm Bradshaw, USPG partner in Greece.
Chaired by Katherine Maxwell-Rose
HOT HOUSE DEBATES
Christian Ethics and Designer Babies
Join Prof. Neil Messer and the debate on the ethical and theological issues of reproductive medicine and the possibility of ‘quality controlling’ our children.
Neil is Professor of Theology at Winchester University, researching and teaching on Christian ethics and the relationship of science and theology.
In assoc. with Winchester University
Is gender bendable or fixed forever?
An intergenerational conversation hoping to dismantle the potential otherness of trans experience on a personal level; exploring how church communities can better welcome trans people; and wondering how trans experience might be more fully integrated into the church’s conversations on human sexuality, so obsessed with same sex relationships.
With hospital chaplain and trans advocate Tina Beardsley, local trans Quaker Abigail Maxwell, and trans activist and theatremaker Jamie Fletcher
Too Funny? Too Far?
With Stand Up Christology and Nadia Bolz-Weber
For those who like their dinner conversations to push religion, politics and comedy to the absolute limits.
Stand Up Christology is an adult-rated ‘fresh expression’ of church. They want to see more events like theirs around the country. Nadia Bolz-Weber was a stand-up comic before becoming a Lutheran priest.
Age Advisory: 16+
And for young people – daily ‘cake and debates’ …
CAKE AND DEBATE: DID BREXIT SELL YOUNG PEOPLE DOWN THE RIVER?
When the vast majority of schools up and down the country voted resoundingly to remain, let’s talk about how you really feel about the EU Referendum. While the olds aren’t around, let’s get things off our chests. This is an intergenerational justice issue as much as it is a north-south or urban-rural issue. This is a divided country.
CAKE AND DEBATE: SCRAP THE CHURCH?
Is the Church a big disappointment to Jesus? Can we make it something better than it is now? Get your teeth into the big issues – and yummy cake. The event is presented by United Reformed Church Youth, as part of the URC’s “Scrap the Church?” programme.
CAKE AND DEBATE: OVER TO YOU
On our last day together, once again we’ll provide the cake and you make the debate. We’ve left this one deliberately open. It’s for you to set the agenda. What will you want to go deeper with at the end of your weekend? Refugees? Gender? Church? It really is up to you. What do you want to get into before the festival ends?
A new venue, the Village Hall is like any village hall – crammed with a bewildering variety of community activity but with some slack. So, while the days are packed with conversation and participation typical of a vibrant village hall, there are gaps. And that’s deliberate. Because on Saturday (1.00pm – 4.00pm) and on Sunday (5.00pm – 7.30pm) the Village Hall is your space for your agenda. Post-Brexit, in a divided society,this is your chance to talk things though with others. (Book on the board outside.)