Sunscreen and speakers

by
24 January 2007

Music, experimental theatre, arts, worship, Bible teaching, debates, sport, dance, social-justice campaigning, creativity — just some of what’s on offer this year at conferences, festivals, and Bible weeks. Julia McGuinness tells you what’s happening

Fun for the kids at New Wine in Club One

Fun for the kids at New Wine in Club One

31 March-5 April; 5-10 April; 10-15 April
Spring Harvest
Minehead Butlins. Shuttle bus available from Taunton station. Also, Skegness Butlins.

Who goes: 55,000 people, of all denominations.

What’s happening: Spring Harvest began in 1979 as a one-week location for fewer than 2000 people. It is now the biggest event of its kind in Europe — despite the Butlins chalets. The programme includes a mix of seminars, worship, talks, music, entertainment, comedy, theatre, and sports activities, as well as a full children’s and youth programme. The main focus of Spring Harvest is the evening celebration, and seminars seek to give inspiring teaching and practical tips for Christian living. This year’s theme is “One people”, looking at Christian identity and calling. Speakers include Steve Chalke, Ian Coffey, Jeff Lucas, Charles Price, R.T. Kendall, and Gerard Kelly.

More details: Accommodation is in Butlins apartments, or in caravans. The site offers disabled access. There is still limited availability across all three weeks. Half-board ranges from £172-£252 per adult; self-catering (based on groups of four) is from £436-£652.

Contact: For bookings of fewer than 20 people, phone 0870 190 0192. For groups of more than 20, phone 0870 190 0193 (Minehead) or 0870 190 0194 (Skegness).

They say: “Don’t forget to bring your Bible, along with an inquisitive mind and an open heart.”

They say: “Don’t forget to bring your Bible, along with an inquisitive mind and an open heart.”

25-28 May
Firm Foundations, Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead.

25-28 May
Firm Foundations, Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead.

Who goes: 1200 young people aged from 13 to 25, including many non-church attenders.

What’s happening: It’s the 18th year of this youth-oriented event run by the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade (non-members welcome).This year’s theme is “Connect”, and the programme includes music, teaching, sports, activities, and fellowship. Speakers include Dennis Pethers, Andy Frost, Jo Wells, and Carl Belcher. A range of artists from the contemporary Christian music scene will be there, and the organisation Christians in Sport will be represented.

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More details: Bring (or share) a tent. The site offers disabled access. Tickets are £57 for Boys’ or Girls’ Brigade members, £67 for non-members (£7 ticket discount before 31 March). Day pass £15, evening pass £8.

Contact: www.firm-foundations.org.uk.

More details: Bring (or share) a tent. The site offers disabled access. Tickets are £57 for Boys’ or Girls’ Brigade members, £67 for non-members (£7 ticket discount before 31 March). Day pass £15, evening pass £8.

Contact: www.firm-foundations.org.uk.

They say: “Don’t forget suitable clothing for camping, and a readiness to be challenged.”

22-23 June
Focusfest
Waterfront Hall, Belfast

Who goes: 2000 women of all denominations.

What’s happening: Focusfest represents the biggest gathering of Christian women in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1993 to inspire and affirm women, and give them an opportunity to realise their potential. The programme offers a range of talks, worship, and seminars, all dealing with women’s issues. This year’s theme is “The truth will set you free”, and the main speaker is Priscilla Reid. Worship leaders are Geraldine Latty and Sarahanne Wilmont.

More details: Tickets are £30, but visitors must arrange their own accommodation.

Contact: Phone 028 9047 1100, or visit www.emins.com. Phone Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609, or visit www.gotobelfast.com.

They say: “Don’t forget your Bible, and a readiness to receive.”

14-20 July; 21-27 July; 28 July-3 August
Keswick
Venues around Keswick.

Who goes: Keswick’s slogan is “All one in Christ Jesus”, and it attracts around 12,000 people of all denominations.

What’s happening: Keswick started in 1875, and was part of the Holiness Movement. Its aim was to teach people how to apply their Christian faith practically, and today it continues to focus on offering Bible reading and exposition in fabulous Lake District surroundings. The programme also features celebrations, worship, seminars, and drama. Keswick offers a full programme for children and young people, plus a special programme for those with learning disabilities. The theme this year is: “Unshackled? Living in outrageous grace” and speakers include: Alec Motyer (week 1); Steve Brady (week 2); and Alistair Begg (week 3). Also, Dotha Blackwood (Moorlands), Clive Calver, Chris Green, John Stott, Rico Tice, Dave Fenton, Liam Goliger, Jonathan Lamb, and Peter Maiden.

More details: Visitors must make their own arrangements with campsites, b. & b.s or hotels. There’s no need to book — just turn up. Although there is no set charge, costs of about £55 per person for the week are covered by invited donations at the sessions. The site offers access for disabled people. Speakers have been arranged, and a loop system is available.

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Contact: For more details on the learning-difficulties programme, phone 0118 9516978, or visit www.prospects.org.uk. See also www.keswick.org, www.keswickministries.org.

Contact: For more details on the learning-difficulties programme, phone 0118 9516978, or visit www.prospects.org.uk. See also www.keswick.org, www.keswickministries.org.

They say: “Don’t forget your Bible and sun cream. We had a heatwave in Keswick last year.”

21-27 July
New Wine (North)
Newark and Nottinghamshire County Showground.

21-27 July
New Wine (North)
Newark and Nottinghamshire County Showground.

28 July-3 August
New Wine (London and South East)
Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

5-11 August
New Wine (Central and South West)
Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Who goes: Around 28,000 people, over three weeks. New Wine attracts people from all denominations, but predominantly Anglicans.

What’s happening: New Wine seeks to inspire people to go back to their church and live out their faith in the community. It began in 1989 in Shepton Mallet, and this year, for the first time, it is taking place in three regions. The programme includes seminars, worship, evening entertainment, a children’s and youth programme, as well as special events for those aged 20 to 30. This year’s theme is “Cry Freedom”, and speakers include Nick Crawley (London and south-east), Simon Ponsonby (central and south-west), and Mark Stibbe (north).

More details: Take your pick of tent or caravan. There’s a list of caravan-and tent-hire companies and b. & b.s for both sites on the event’s website. The adult price, including pitch allocation and five-per-cent online discount, is £129 (£118 before 31 March). The site has disabled access.

Contact: Phone 0208 567 6717, or visit www.new-wine.org.

They say: “Don’t forget a tin-opener, and a bike for getting around the site and exploring your surroundings.”

28 July-4 August
Faith 07
East of England Showground, Peterborough.

28 July-4 August
Faith 07
East of England Showground, Peterborough.

Who goes: People of all Christian denominations from the UK and abroad. About 5000 stay on the site; 1500-2000 are day visitors.

What’s happening: The international flavour of this event, which has grown out of the ministry of Colin Urquart, is set to give Faith 07 a lively atmosphere. Such is the demand from abroad that it is even possible to book foreign-language translation, as long as it’s arranged in advance. Speakers include Colin Urquhart, Clive Urquhart, James Maloney, Bengt Wedemalm, and Anselm Madubuko.

More details: Accommodation in tent or caravan. The site offers disabled access. Adult ticket price is £85 before end February, £95 before end May, £100 after that. Children’s prices vary. Day passes £14 adults.

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Contact: Phone 01293 851883, or visit www.kingdomfaith.com

They say: “Don’t forget your Bible and a sleeping bag.”

24-27 July
Momentum
Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet

13-17 August (A); 18-22 August (B)
Soul Survivor (South)
Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet

3-7 August (C)
Soul Survivor (North)
Cheshire Agricultural Showground, near Knutsford.
Who goes: More than 25,000 young people.

What’s happening: Soul Survivor emerged from New Wine’s youth work to become an event in its own right in 1993. This year, it is at the Cheshire site for the first time — a venue more accessible for northern delegates. The event includes speakers, worship, teaching, ministry, and after-hours gigs. It also has workshops, cafés, sports, cinema, a skate park, and a children’s programme.

Momentum caters for students and 20-somethings. This year’s theme is “Into his likeness”, and speakers include Jo Saxton (C, and Momentum); David Wilkinson (A and B); Roger and Maggie Ellis, Rich and Ness Wilson, Ken Costa, and Frog and Amy Orr-Ewing (Momentum). J. John, Ali MacInnes, Mike Pilavachi, and Andrew Croft are speaking at all events.

More details: Accommodation is in tent or caravan. Some off-site accommodation is available. Under-18s must be accompanied by an adult. The site offers disabled access. Signing available at one week (to be confirmed). Tickets £82 (early booking price of £72 before 31 January; £77 before 31 March). Day-passes, starting at £25, available online nearer the event.

Contact: 0870 054 3331, or visit www.soulsurvivor.com/uk.

They say: “Don’t forget your Bible, and a plentiful supply of pot noodles.”

30 July-3 August
Keswick in Wales
The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales

Who goes: Around 300 Christians with an Evangelical perspective.

What’s happening: Keswick in Wales has a direct link to the 1904 revival. It started the previous year in a large canvas tent, before moving into churches and then into the Pavilion in 2000. The event offers “a unique Welsh perspective”, with a programme of teaching and Bible exposition, children’s morning meetings, and some afternoon seminars. Youth activities run alongside evening events. An extra main meeting is held on Thursday afternoon, as traditionally day visitors come by coach from South Wales. There is no set theme this year, and speakers include Derick Bingham, Francis Paton, and Geoff Thomas.

More details: Visitors stay in guest houses or on campsites. The organisers can supply a list of suggestions. There is no charge, and offerings are taken at the meetings to cover the week’s costs.

Contact: For more information,phone 01597-822700, or visit www.keswickinwales.org.uk.

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More details: Visitors stay in guest houses or on campsites. The organisers can supply a list of suggestions. There is no charge, and offerings are taken at the meetings to cover the week’s costs.

Contact: For more information,phone 01597-822700, or visit www.keswickinwales.org.uk.

They say: “Don’t forget to come ready to look at the beauty of the scenery, and to listen to God’s word.”

4-9 August
Revival Fire, Detling Bible Week
Kent County Showground, Detling.

Who goes: 5000 people a day from all churches and backgrounds (half are campers, half are day-visitors).

What’s happening: Detling started in 2000, and places its emphasis on Christian revival rather than simply renewal. The week offers seminars, worship, and children’s and youth events — as well as nightly entertainment hosted by the opera singer Jonathan Viera. This year’s theme for the programme is “Rhythms of Grace”, and speakers include Kyle Horner, Dan and Mary Sutherland (US), as well as Mike Murphy (Australia).

More details: Camping on site is available. Price is £106 per adult before 30 April; £123 after. Special family tickets are available, and day- passes cost £23 for adults (£12 after 4 p.m.). The site offers disabled access, and signers are available.

Contact: Phone 0870 9017777, or visit www.detling.com.

They say: “Don’t forget your Bible and sun cream. We’re hoping for a return of the usual hot Detling sunshine after last year’s rain.”

24-27 August
Greenbelt
Cheltenham Racecourse, with shuttle bus to Cheltenham station.
Who goes: 20,000 people from all denominations.

24-27 August
Greenbelt
Cheltenham Racecourse, with shuttle bus to Cheltenham station.
Who goes: 20,000 people from all denominations.

What’s happening: The first ever Greenbelt festival was held on a farm in Suffolk in 1974. Greenbelt moved to its current location in 1999. It is predominantly a music festival, and was once dubbed “The nice people’s pop festival” by The Sun. Characterised by a twin passion for artistic expression and international peace and justice, it also features a stimulating programme of talks, theatre, comedy, film, dance, and art — plus more than 120 worship events ranging from an iPod shuffle to a main eucharist. There is also a full children’s and family festival programme, and a youth programme for those aged 11-18. This year’s theme is “Heaven in ordinary”, and speakers include Ched Myers, David Dark, Robert Beckford, Tony Juniper (Friends of the Earth), Sister Frances Dominica, the poet Micheal O’Siadhail, and Anthony Reddie.

More details: Greenbelt offers a team of sign-anguage interpreters, a quiet area run by the L’Arche community for disabled people and their carers, advance festival information for the visually impaired, and disabled camping area, and disabled parking and lavatory facilities. Bring a tent or caravan. Alternatively, limited off-site accommodation is available. Adult price £90 (£75 before 31 March, £80 before 30 June.) Adult concessions include those for full-time Christian leaders. Day-passes available online from June.

Contact: Phone 020 7374 2760, or visit www.greenbelt.org.uk.

They say: “Don’t come without sunscreen and some Red Bull to see you through the events that go on till 2 a.m. — or even all night.”

24-28 August
Grapevine International Celebration
Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln.

Who goes: About 12,000 Christians of all denominations, including 3000 day-visitors.

What’s happening: The programme includes talks, worship, and seminars, with main meetings in the Big Top. Nightly “late-night specials” from 10 to 11.30 p.m. include an on-site concert from a guest performer. Children’s and young people’s programmes are available for those aged nought to three, and for the 18-30s. The theme this year is “Momentum”, and speakers include Stuart Bell, Dave Smith, Steve Campbell, Dave Carr, Paul Alexander, and Philip Jinadu. Worship leaders include Chris Bowater and Howard Williams.

More details: There are on-site facilities and access for the disabled. Signing and deaf-loop area available for the main meetings. Accommodation is either tent or caravan on-site, or in a hotel. Camping pitch and event: £80 adult; event only: £59 adult; day pass: £18 adult. Early booking discounts apply before 15 March and 30 April.

Contact: Phone 01522 533535, or visit grapevinecelebration.org.uk.

They say: “Don’t come without a torch for after dark and a radio to receive Grapevine FM, our on-site station.”

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