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Greenbelt, Canon Tilby, and the C of E

05 September 2014


From Colette Joyce
Sir, - I would reply to Canon Angela Tilby (Comment, 29 August) that the whole point of Greenbelt is the emphasis on "Festival" rather than "Christian". As a Christian festival, Greenbelt, in one glorious weekend, offers a celebration of the many manifestations of Christianity, including its ecumenical, interfaith, artistic, and social-justice dimensions. There can surely be few other opportunities to encounter the sheer breadth and diversity of our faith in just one space.

That's why I go to Greenbelt. I look forward to meeting her there one year.

National Justice and Peace Network organiser of the Catholic Mass at Greenbelt
28 Rossington Avenue
Borehamwood, Herts WD6 4LA

From Katharine Salmon
Sir, - Having attended Greenbelt for more than 20 years, I was delighted to see your excellent coverage of the festival. This year, it certainly was a brave departure for a new greenfield site. There were the inevitable teething problems, and those organising the festival are to be commended for all they did to make it possible. I was, therefore, very sorry to read the negative comment by Canon Tilby.

To label it sectarian not only is disappointing, but undermines the very boundaries that Greenbelt has always sought to cross. Greenbelters come from every denomination, and yet those who have left institutional church behind for a multitude of reasons can nevertheless feel at home. I have friends who feel that their only church is Greenbelt, and yet who find the festival's justice ethic gets under their skin and leads them back to a worshipping community.

There are others who may put a lot of time and effort into their church community, and need the experience of Greenbelt to give them refreshment and new ideas. When I was in leadership in a small church community, I described Greenbelt as the inspiration that saw me through the rest of the year and helped bring new ways of worship to my community.

I am privileged now to worship in communities that see Greenbelt as part of their year, with children who are now second- and third- generation Greenbelters. Another important part of the festival is hearing from amazing Christians whose work may be breaking down barriers in inner-city Glasgow with the Iona Community, or serving as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine.

I hope Canon Tilby will come to the 42nd Greenbelt Festival next year.

22 Greystones Road
Sheffield S11 7BN

From the Revd John Longuet-Higgins
Sir, - Greenbelt 2014 travelled far too lightly. Previously a Greenbelt supporter, I left this year cross and early, wondering why the Church Times stays on board and why Anglicans go.

There was nothing headlining home-grown Anglicans, apart from a brand-new bishop running the music and poetry in "Canopy". None of the worship offered was even remotely Anglican. Has the C of E nothing to add to the world of Greenbelt, except for a Durham ethicist hinting publicly that, post equal-marriage, a common Christian take on marriage is too complex to matter any more, and Andrew Brown declaring that "Anglicanism isn't worth saving"?

The Rectory, Over Old Road
Hartpury, Gloucestershire GL19 3BJ

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