Saturday, September 01, 2007

Greenbelt worship (part 3)

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.

6 comments:

Barbarah said...

I was one of those who cried 'too Anglican' at communion (or should that be Eucharist ?!) - not because of the inevitable Anglicans doing the important parts (we're used to it) but because Ann Morissey assumed that we all use the creed in worship. Errr no, some of our forbears died for the right not to subscribe to creeds. It didn't detract from prayer balloons and the bread and wine, but it did jar and make me start thinking about just how big a proportion of speakers etc throughout the festival are Anglican and have little expectation of many of us having other ways of following Christ. Hey, we don't want lay presidency in ecumenical settings, but being allowed to do more than a reading or prayer would be a start.

Kathryn said...

Yeah...I picked that up in other quarters too. Ironically, I failed to notice the line at the time (suspect I was being blown away by the joy of a dancing toddler nearby...) - simply did not hear it, rather than thinking "Oh yes, of course we are..."
I'm sorry if it felt like an outpost of Anglican imperialism...and sorrier that it's, I suspect, almost unconscious for too many of us (though everyone I met seemed to be Baptist...so I didn't come home feeling i'd never been outside my denominational doors)Actually, I'd have been OK with lay presidency..GB is way beyond church...beyond denomination...It's simply and wonderfully family.

barbarah said...

Ok, so probably we should both be preparing for tomorrow's worship just now, but if we can keep the GB vibe going just a bit longer....
I agree that much of GB should be lived and not analysed, it was good for me and I too was distracted by dancing toddlers during communion (were they everywhere ?!) I think the creed thing was just a moment that felt like 'ordinary' rather than heaven in ordinary. But I'm not losing sleep over it, I know that God loves Anglicans too.. ;)
PS I'm not a Baptist neither

Kathryn said...

lol
You are /so/ right Barbarah...
I'm sorted for the morning, but not a CLUE how to distill all the possibilites that GB presented into something that might touch my evening congregation.
Let's talk more sometime - and thank you for commenting.

ben edson said...

Just for note, on the stage on sunday was an anglcan lay minister, an anglican bishop, a urc minister, a methodist minister, a practicing Roman Catholic and Ann (who i think is anglican). i think that's pretty ecumenical. None of the liturgy used was anglican and the nicean creed is not exclusively used by anglicans...

Kathryn said...

Thanks, ben...you're preaching to the converted in that I thought it was great in every way, and didn't notice any denominational bias...but hooray that I now have evidence to offer to those who tell me it was "too Anglican".