Greenbelt Festival 2005 Uniting Mission Groups in Wider Gospel Vision

The annual Greenbelt Festival 2005 is drawing closer, and will be held on 26–29 August, at Cheltenham Racecourse. Following the growth of the Festival over the past 32 years, the organisers are expecting up to 20,000 people on site this year. Gathered under the theme "Tree of Life", participants are to be made to think about the origin of the festival and how it can be grown into life beyond those four days in August.

Greenbelt is an independent Christian charity working to express love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel.

Greenbelt Festival Director Beki Bateson explained how the concept of the Greenbelt is all about breaking through the confined form of Christianity based in a particular institution or a church.

He explained, "An institution must have rules; it must promote an orthodoxy and exclude people who want to think or behave differently. The problem is that Christianity is about a vision of total peace, of universal brother- and sisterhood."

"Our Christian culture needs to cultivate an anarchic lightness, a lust for freedom, a celebratory spirit. It needs to learn from the boom in festival culture," he continued.

The Greenbelt festival will provide the opportunity for Christians all over the UK and Europe to gather and celebrate their faith and to capture the notice of the wider culture. A target has been set to inspire people to change the direction of their lives through the gospel message.

Christian Aid will be collaborating with Greenbelt to help express concerns over politics and social injustice through campaigning. This year will see the spotlight fall on the Make Poverty History campaign.

Other leading mission organisations, such as the Church Mission Society (CMS), Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), the United Society for the Propagation of Gospel (USPG), YMCA, among others, have also united to help organise the huge event.

Worship will be a major feature at the festival with a range from the alternative to the contemplative, including Asian fusion’s Pal Singh, Canada’s Aradhna, and Matt Redman, Johnny Parks and Tim Hughes. Confirmed speakers include theologian Richard Giles, Fr. Richard Rohr and Bishop James Jones.