Greenbelt 2011

Outer Space presented another strong programme at this year’s festival with particularly large numbers attending the worship events.

The stall in G-source recreated the domestic heaven of a 1950’s kitchen to reflect the theme of ‘Dreams of Home’ This eye-catching installation drew a wide range of festival goers into conversation about issues of faith and sexuality over the weekend, thanks to the many volunteers who gave of their time and energy to staff the stall.

‘Dreams of Home’: On the first night, a panel of four people relayed their stories of finding a spiritual space that they call home, whether that was within formalised church or without. A wider discussion ensued about the challenges faced by those in churches that do not affirm gay people and relationships, and the variety of journeys that people have made to find a welcoming Christian community.

‘Parents of Gay Children’ on Saturday evening hosted by Bruce and Janet Kent from PFLAG who with others shared the experience of discovering their child is gay and the on-going implications for their family and non-family relationships, as well their own faith. This proved to be a moving and cathartic time for some as many parents appreciated the opportunity to validate their experiences.

‘Entertaining Angels Unawares’. Over 100 people filled the SoulSpace venue at the top of the Grandstand to overflowing at 11pm on the Sunday night for a time of reflective worship on home and hospitality, led by Tracey Byrne. This was for homemakers and pilgrims, boundary-dwellers and guests, whatever you were leaving and wherever you were headed, whether you felt at home in the world or at home with yourself – all were welcome. Stories of Jewish children evacuated from Germany to the UK during the Second World War were read and juxtaposed with the experience of gay people who often feel like aliens in their own homeland and culture.

The Outer Space Eucharist led by the Rev Mark Umpleby on Monday lunchtime was a powerful end to the Festival, drawing nearly 200 together in worship and celebration. Throughout the weekend, morning prayer was offered on the campsite and opportunities were made to socialise after the programmed events ,drawing individuals together for support and conversation.