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Big festival comeback planned

09 October 2008

by Ed Beavan

A CHRISTIAN FESTIVAL held in London for the first time last May is to return in 2009, when its organisers hope that it will rival the Edinburgh Fringe.

The 2008 Pentecost Festival at­tracted about 10,000 to events includ­ing comedy, music, theatre, dance, and topical debates. There were per­formances by the London Com­mu­nity Gospel Choir, comedy by Milton Jones, a talk by Tony Campolo on social action, and a pop opera, Luv Esther, by Saltmine.

Christian Aid ran a swing dance venue at St John’s, Waterloo; and a stage was put up in Leicester Square for the use of a range of entertainers from rappers to weightlifters. Next year, the organisers hope to attract four times as many people to a bigger festival, which the project man­ager, Emma Morrice, compares to “a Chris­tian version of the Edinburgh Fringe”.

“We want to show the diversity of the Church and get the Church out of the building and on to the streets. We also want to show the unity of the Church. Any church can get involved: they just have to sign our statement of faith. Last year, there were hundreds of free events on the Saturday, and on the Sunday we ran Pentecost Ex­plored, encouraging people to go to a different church, or to church for the first time. The idea is that you can take friends to every event and not make them cringe.”

The festival also provides street pastors and 24-hour prayer teams. It was conceived by the Revd Dr Rob Frost, who died last year, and his son Andy. It is organised by Share Jesus International, and will take place from 29 to 31 May 2009.


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