Greenbelt 2013

Greenbelt this year was great. It was dry – hurray – and all on one side of the Cheltenham racecourse so you could scuttle between sessions more easily.

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Some highlights for me were: Eliza Carthy, Ciaran O’Reilly from the Catholic Workers on why he didn’t get his hair cut when he was arrested by claiming to be a Nazarite, Badisha on how social media are changing war reporting around the Arab Spring,  Peter Riddell’s book on How (not) to speak of God, which I am still reading and which has me marking things on every page, and above all Dave Andrews on incarnational mission, whose CD’s I have ordered and will listen to and listen to and listen to…. There was poetry, lots more music – I missed Courtney Pine, sob sob, – and an astonishing Latin evensong sung by 20 young women which was packed out at 10.30 at night! The monastic orders were well represented and I went to some beautiful calm worship. Sheena and I blagged real Tibetan chai off the fabulous Tibetan food stall before it was open. Add endless chat to people, – it was always hard to know whether to go to a session or some music or  just chat –  plus reading Red for a switch off in bed at the end of a long day and it all made for a very good weekend indeed. I had thought that I would give it a rest next year but I don’t think I can. It just keeps you in touch with new movements, new thinking, old people and wonderful music. Greenbelt is so big that anyone else who went will have done utterly different things, which is part of its excellence. Whatever your taste it’s good. And grandson Zachary had a great time and didn’t escape!

Jan Betts

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