Mousey Moment … Let’s Go To A Festival!
Summer holidays beckon for many. And festivals. All sorts of festivals. Secular festivals of arts, music, food, flowers, cars, and more. Celebrations and concerts of all kinds. Small local events, and large international ones.
In the summer of 2016, 135,000 people attended the Glastonbury Festival, renowned among music lovers from around the world. And Glastonbury is not alone in attracting ever increasing numbers of people. Festivals, sacred and secular, are more popular now than ever. Whatever your passions, tastes, beliefs and budget, there seems to be a festival to suit you.
Greenbelt is probably the best-known Christian festival. Greenbelt Festival is a nomadic festival which has so far been held at several different locations in England. While the venue has changed, the core event has remained the same: a celebration of faith, justice and arts with a particular Christian perspective. Greenbelt has grown from a Christian Music Festival with an audience of 1,500 young Christians to its current more inclusive festival attended by around 20,000 Christians and those from other faiths and none. The festival regularly attracts the biggest names of Christian music and many mainstream musicians.
Our own young people are off to the Kairos Christian Youth Camp this month. Kairos is a Christian youth camp happening in Thirsk every August bank holiday weekend & is a ‘festival’ of sorts – a time for Christian Young people aged 11-18 to celebrate their faith in a party environment. Kairos means the right or opportune moment in Greek. It is the point in our lives when we decide to stand for what we believe in. The camp will be an exciting time of live worship, workshops, music, sports, activities and fun. It exists to help young people engage with God, each other and go home better equipped to live out their faith. What a wonderful challenge and opportunity this provides: to help our young people to catch a foretaste of the Heavenly Kingdom … and then bring it home!
So what draws people in such large numbers to gatherings like these? How can the Church build bridges with people in a festival context?
At a festival, you get to be part of something bigger and connect with like-minded people. There’s a sense of freedom. People participate and create a weekend for themselves, rather than expecting an experience just to be given to them. A festival opens up precious moments to connect with people and that’s the key – to connect. It’s good for Christians to provide a presence wherever they are and in whatever context they find themselves in, to participate in whatever way they can and join together however best they can. Whatever festivals we celebrate in our Church calendar – like Easter, Harvest, Advent & Christmas- maybe we could do more to open up our most treasured moments to people in our communities?
Whatever the summer brings for you, may it be a delight – and may we make it a delight for others. God bless you in your ministry.