Massive Christian Festival Invades Central London

Thousands of people are expected to attend a massive Christian festival that will take place in parks, coffee shops, bars, churches, clubs and theaters in central London.

The 2009 Pentecost Festival, which began Tuesday and will run until Sunday, is a highly visible event with some 240 hours worth of entertainment crammed within six days. Last year, more than 10,000 people attended over 150 events held in some 60 venues and outdoor spaces.

"In an age when people often claim that Christianity is in terminal decline, Pentecost Festival demonstrates the innovative nature of the church as it demonstrates God's compassion in the world," said Andy Frost, the director of London-based Shared Jesus International, the main organizer of the festival.

"The program demonstrates the vitality and the breath of the church," he said. "It is fantastic to have such a diverse range of Christian tradition joining to celebrate on the streets of London."

Andy Frost's father and the founder of Share Jesus International, Rob Frost, was the one who envisioned such a festival. He died, however, before the vision could become reality. It was his son Andy who launched the first Pentecost Festival last year.

The aim of the festival is to bring the church out of the building and into the middle of the bustling world famous city. Highlights of this year's festival include a film festival showcasing the U.K. premiere of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie," the critically acclaimed modern retelling of the crucifixion, "Son of Man," and the first cinema showing of "Invisible Children: Rough Cut" about the plight of child soldiers and night commuters in northern Uganda.

Other event features include a session led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Sir John Houghton and performances by comedian Jo Enright and Christian rock group Phatfish.

Due to the large amount of events being offered, organizers this year have come up with a solution to help attendees choose the right event for them. Called Festival Editing, events are organized into five different categories. These categories highlight the different aspects of the festival.

The five categories are: "I need to be challenged," "I need to try something new," "I need music," "I need to chill out," and "I need to spend time with the family." The categories, which are available online, help direct festivalgoers to events they want to attend.

"Today, people are busier than ever: Festival Editing provides easy, customized guides for those who don't have the time to look through such a huge program, while showing that this year's festival really does have something for everyone," Frost explained.

The festival includes music, dance, comedy debate, fashion shows, sports event, and worship sessions. The event was made possible with the help of many churches, Christian organizations and charities in the United Kingdom.

On the Web:

www.pentecostfestival.co.uk