Sunday, 2 November 2014

Community, unity, discernment and friendship

I've pressed the 'pause' button on Greenbelt ABC (well...as long as it's completed by the time the next festival comes around...) : partly because RL as they say, looms large just now, Mr GP's mother died several weeks ago and we have the funeral tomorrow. It's been quite hard to concentrate on much else. Also, might as well blame my INFPishness....aka tendency to flit around from metaphorical flower to metaphorical flower,  all too easily distracted by the new and shiny.  That's my excuse, anyway.

So it was last week as I struggled to respond to a questionnaire generated by our church. To give some background here: our  community has reached, if not the end , certainly a pause in what's been a long  rebuilding project, inspired by a major discernment on the part of the congregation some seven or eight years ago. Now it's time to rest, take stock, reflect and pray about where, we as a community are being called to be and to do in the coming years. Hence some points for us all to ponder before an opportunity to meet together to pray, discuss and begin to discern in a few weeks time. 

So it was not altogether serependitious (speeling!) that in the same week I stumbled across not one, but two words I'd not known  before, both relating to the outworking of community: Gemeinshaft, via The Love that Moves the Sun's reflections on Unity and Community, and Gelassenheit from an old blog post of Radref's intriguing thoughts on whether some aspects of contemporary Christian spirituality plays down close friendships in favour of community life.  

Oh - the joys of the blogosphere, when you discover  unexpected treasures like these that set your thoughts off on a whole new track! Even if none of this got translated into the rather woffly response I sent in. Though this brought about another revelation: After a lifetime of thinking I express myself better in writing than verbally, I think the opposite might be true now. Maybe I'm developing wisdom along with the grey hairs. Plus an ability to look out beyond the level of my own navel.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (7)

S - Susan Sayers - (See D). Silent Eucharist, courtesy of Luminous.
      Showers and Sinead O'Connor - though not,  thank goodness, at the same time. Though given           the       volume, you could easily have heard her from the wash block anyway. One of the perks of                   volunteering is free entrance to the showers. The ability to be able to  stand on one leg              whilst                getting dressed whilst          simultaneously attempting  to stop your clothes ending up in a soggy        heap on the cubicle floor is recommended. [Gremlins strike again!]

T - TSSF: (See F)

       Tortoise -  Yes, that's right, a tortoise, accompanying its human during the Silent Eucharist. I do        wish I'd had my camera handy! Did it go up for a blessing, I wonder?

        T-Shirt -  Just as well I didn't have my camera handy. Some of us suit volunteer T-shirts, some            of         us don't. I don't. Make a great extra layer on those chilly evenings, however.

        Tent: You've heard quite enough about Darth Vadar MkII already, so I'll spare you any                       more.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday Trivia - Zap those Monsters!

Image courtesy of Ambro freedigitalphotos.net



I've just been reassuring Daydreamer that she needn't worry; those antibacterial sprays really do kill 100 % of all known bacteria - and some.  If you're a Time Lord...or a time Lord's companion....or a Time Lord's companion's pupil (IRL the safeguarding authorities would have freaked out in a big way) that is. Oh, and if you happen to be on the moon and are being attacked by a giant spider. 

You can tell it's a Friday afternoon, can't you?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (6)

P - Pre Festival. See Arrival and Codeine

Q - Queues. Other than for the ladies' loos, there didn't seem to be many this year. Unless you count those needed for moving on and off the site, which, mercifully I missed as I arrived during build week.

R - Suggestions, anybody?

Chez Greenpatch Pre-Greenbelt



Monday, 6 October 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (5)

M - The Mount.  One of Greenbelt's worship venues. 2014 was the third year I've volunteered with this team. We've gone through various changes of name and locations: We were Sanctuary in 2013 - and what a sanctuary it was - tucked away  near the top of the grandstand buildings in Cheltenham. Oh the joy of having a warm, dry place to retreat to! The year I joined the team in 2012, we were 'Eden,' an outdoor venue tucked away in what used to be stables at the edge of the racecourse. 'The Mount,' was...a mount, literally. Well, a man-made mound, with spectacular views out over the festival village. Not that easy to get to, (definite acessibility issues there), but a sanctuary of a different kind, with so many analogies with our faith journeying.

Mud. No, not these gentleman.  Mix rainy Bank Holidays, rolling fields and the tramp of thousands of pairs of wellie boots and the result is kind of inevitable.

N. Nadia Boltz-Weber. Greenbelt stalwart and Lutheran Pastor like no other Lutheran pastor I've ever seen. Not that I know any others. You can see her in action here. One day I will get to one of her talks, although she did do a spot for the Volunteers' welcome and briefing, which was a huge improvement on the usual fare.

O. Orpheus.  Way way down in the Underworld - The Mount's mirror opposite, home to a labyrinth and other installations which I never got round to visiting. More on its history here.

Mud, mud, glorious mud. That Tuesday morning feeling.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (4)

I - Ice-cream.  I thought I'd recapture that Greenbelt vibe this afternoon in Oxford with one last squidgy cone with flake.  Alas - it wasn't to be; the machine, which had worked perfectly up until then, broke down, leaving me the perfect excuse to get myself a Cadburys at the station thinking that maybe said machine had the ability to read my cholesterol levels.

J - Jesus Arms  - Greenbelt's pub, meeting place and venue for the infamous 'Beer and Hymns.'  The other drinking hole is the Blue Nun Wine Bar - back on site after a couple of years in exile.  In the new, more compact layout of the festival village, the JA is conveniently situated next to mainstage and food traders.  I only made it over there a couple of times this year; the terrain thereabouts bearing a passing resemblance to a lunar landscape, (wasn't sure if the bumps and lumps were compacted molehills, cowpats or rabbit holes!). My mainstage visits, apart from Sunday's Communion service  weren't intentional, more a case of catching whatever was on whilst en route to loos or  to fetch my tea, but I did manage to catch some of Sinead O'Connor on one evening and the great Folk On. (Not playing together, obviously!)

K - Can't for the life of me remember what I'd intended to put here.

L - Loos! What can I say....When one or more Greenbelters are gathered together, the conversation  turns either to the weather or toilets: old, new, state of the facilities therein, length of queues, location of, the dreaded long-drop loos from way back in the Good Old Days of Dene Park, Castle Ashy and Knebworth (Cue chorus of Monty Pythons 'Four Yorkshiremen').  No cosy, warm, civilised Ladies and Gents with hot water and hairdryers handryers as we enjoyed at Cheltenham, softies that we were. "Luxury! Why...I remember...."

Is this  Dr Who's Tardis? No - it's a scenic view of Utility Point Six

Monday, 22 September 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (3)

F - Franciscans - There on the campsite, the brown-robed First Order brothers and sisters and in the resources area where the Third Order, of whom I'm one, had their stall.  The former, and more recently members of other religious orders, have been a calming  presence at Greenbelt for many years now.

Facebook - Like Marmite again; Greenbelt has several groupings on the dreaded Facebook. I find them a mixed blessing. Great for getting practical information on the nuts 'n bolts of the festival,  to have fun, and to make new contacts. It's good to have some familiar faces to look out for once you're there on the campsite. It's useful to have a place where you can feedback post festival, too. The downside, and I guess this applies on all social media, is that arguments can get extremely intense, misunderstandings can blow up in a matter of minutes. Sometimes it's better to 'Travel light' and take a break.

G - The Grove  - A woodland, sylvan area by the lake. One of the sister venues to the one where  I was volunteering, it had a similar, contemplative vibe, with a more eco feel to it. I didn't actually get to any of the events there, though from what I saw on the programme visitors there spent much time being At One With the Soil (as indeed we all did by the time Monday's rainstorms arrived).

Glamping - At the beginning of the festival I cast many a supercilious glance across at this encampment of luxury yurts.  By the end, the thought of forking out a small fortune to have access to hot water, cooking facilities and your own private block of loos seemed  entirely justified!

H - Higgedy Pies. Mmmmmm!