The fourth load of washing has completed its revolutions, the children are eating Pringles and playing their bargain CDs, and I've just made the painful decision to separate myself from my wristband.Greenbelt is over for another year.
So...how was it for me?
Very mixed, if truth be told.
The Festival was its usual exciting and loving self. To arrive on site felt, as always, like coming home...So many friends, so much passion for things that really matter, such freedom to be truly myself...bliss.
This year I was less intent on attending every seminar that might possibly be of interest or relevance, and as a result enjoyed some special time with special people.As always,though, I've returned home with regrets about those I barely caught up with...Oh Ops team, how would it be if we could maybe extend the Festival a day or two on either side, without a programme? Then there might just be time to see everyone.
I don't suppose you'd care to consider it, Liz?? ;-)
Maggi's seminar on Biblical interpretation (whet your appetite here) was both inspiring and helpful....her clarity of thinking is incredibly refreshing, and she manages to bridge the gap between the exciting world that is Greenbelt and the less dynamic realities of life in the parish...I always bring something usable home with me from her sessions. This year I got to spend time with her too, which was great...It's always a little scary when virtual friends emerge into the real world; how disappointing will I be? will they want to engage at all? But, now I come to think about it, I met most of my cherished Greenbelt friends on line,- so perhaps I should just stop angst-ing.
It's an extraordinary thing, though, how easy it is to share at the deeper levels via this wonderfully anonymous medium....sometimes I struggle to let down the barriers enough to communicate in the same way face to face....I wonder what's going on there.
Oh well, - back to Greenbelt.
Further delights were Jeffrey John on The Meaning in the Miracles (bless you, Linda, for buying me the book...I am starting it tonight, having been thoroughly inspired by his seminars);
Ched Myers,- of course;
Morna Hooker and Anne Morrisey too;
and, against all expectations, Iona worship on Monday night. I really didn't intend to go....thought, rather snootily, that I was bored with it but I did want to meet up with a friend there, and the message of the evening was exactly what I needed for that moment.
Also enjoyed discovering Esther Alexander at the Performance Cafe,- oh, and that amazing French potato food stall. Yum!
I'm trying to think through questions of inclusivity which arose for me after the panel on The Rite Stuff (have to read that too....people did give me some wonderful ordination presents.... :-) )...and how one makes the things that work in a settled community accessible to those who might not speak the same language of ritual.Surely it can be just as excluding as words, unless you share the common expectations.On the other hand, if you tell people what they ought to be thinking of and experiencing, you are clearly drastically restricting the potential of the whole.
My current parish (trad Anglo Catholic but open to progress, I think!) is so very neurotic about "getting things right"....and it can seem that worship falls victim to concern over the details which are designed to facilitate it. However, I've met people equally anxious that they might not do what was expected of them in alt. worship....how do we help people to make the ritual work for them as a route to God, and not to see it as something in which they can succeed or fail?
Time I read that book methinks...urgently needed,ways of refreshing worship in the sort of parish where you won't know everybody every week, and anyone might just appear....watch this space.
Overall, though, my perception of this year's Festival is rather more confused than normal. I spent the 9 to 5 slot back in the parish helping with an Open Day, which was startlingly successful. Might blog about it later...people came, the Old Guard survived a gentle exposure to worship outside their tried and trusted norms, and some were even caught smiling in church...maybe things might be moving there, confounding expectations yet again.
However, when I came out of Good Little Curate mode and switched on my phone,things fell apart rather badly, as they had for a dear dear friend...lots more processing to do there, as we consider the best way to show the love and care we feel in a horrible situation. Prayers hugely welcome.