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Prayer and plans in the face of floods

13 July 2012

by a staff reporter


Sanctuary: children from St Hild's College C of E Primary School have been having their lessons in St Giles's, Durham. The school has closed temporarily after floods contaminated it with raw sewage

Sanctuary: children from St Hild's College C of E Primary School have been having their lessons in St Giles's, Durham. The school has closed tempora...

TORRENTIAL rain and flooding have forced Christian festivals being staged this month to make contingency plans. Both New Wine and the Keswick Convention, which open their doors in the next few days, have been putting in place plans to deal with flooded campsites.

The Convention, which starts tomorrow, is creating extra venues to provide shelter for people on its site. The programme has not been altered, and campsites are dry enough for tents, the operations manager, Simon Overend, said.

The Convention was going ahead "in the spirit of Philippians Chapter 4: 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.'"

New Wine has three weeks of conferences, starting at Shepton Mallet on Saturday 21 July. The operations team have been monitoring weather, and says that a "noticeable improvement" is forecast for next week.

"We have been going for 23 years, and we know the site really well. There are small patches that won't be suitable for camping, and we are making alternative arrangements, but it only takes a couple of days of dry weather to dry out," the operations director, Phil George, said.

The first week is already fully booked, but spaces are available during the following two weeks.

Karen Stafford, the head of festival for Greenbelt, which is set to take place on 24-27 August, said that it was less vulnerable to bad weather than other festivals because the site - Cheltenham Racecourse - combined buildings, including film venues, with green fields, and had several roadways. "Great steps" had been taken to improve the infrastructure in the past two years, she said; there were many floored marquees, and, new for 2012, an "eco-spirituality venue", Eden.

The director of New Wine, John Coles, said: "Many of us are praying that God will break through, not only in the weather, but, more important, into the lives of all of us attending."

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