I really don’t want to bore you…but I do need to note some other highlights of Greenbelt worship this year, if only so I've a reference point when I need it …
Sunday Eucharist: this is always a huge challenge…how do you include up to 20,000 people from right across the traditions, in one act of Communion?
If the worship is led by a particular denomination, other groups may complain (as ever, the cry seemed to be that it was “too Anglican”…though wonderful Bishop Nelson from Uganda is surely rather outside the mould of your conventional C of E cleric ;-) )…if there is lay presidency, this raises issues for others.
Altogether, creating something that works for everyone is quite a task – but one that Sanctus 1 rose to with creativity and zest.
For the last couple of years it hasn’t been possible for everyone to fit in one place, so the worship has been divided between the arena and mainstage areas. Last year I was at mainstage, where the “live” service was taking place but I felt far more connected and involved this time round, when I opted for the arena.
This was billed as being more “alternative” but in fact (unless I’m now so used to alt worship that it doesn’t strike me as such at all) there was only one part of the service when things diverged particularly…the mainstage congregation were singing something while in the arena we were shown a video loops on the big screen and invited to pray around it.
As in previous years, we were invited to gather in groups of around 20…friends and strangers together.
We gathered as a community by writing our names on strips of paper to link into a multicoloured chain…(which I got to keep – so I have a mini Greenbelt family to pray for when I can). As a community, we released our prayer balloon and watched it join the others, sailing off into the bluest of skies…
Later, when the Bishop prayed the prayer of consecration Serena stood in the centre of our circle holding up the bread and wine
We sang, we danced, we celebrated…and it was very good.