Northern Lights at Greenbelt

The Northern Lights venue at Greenbelt Festival is a collaboration of northern and celtic-fringers, concerned with issues of community, social justice, liturgy, spirituality and faithful contemporary engagement.  This year the Wild Goose Resource Group and Church Action on Poverty curated the space by draping it in the beautiful greens and purples of the aurora.

Throughout the weekend they facilitated a programme of worship, pilgrimage, discussion, poetry and more. The focus was on celebrating ‘Dignity, Agency, Power,’ the 40th Anniversary theme of Church Action on Poverty and the title of their book published by Wild Goose Publications, available to buy here. The book was launched in Northern Lights on Monday afternoon.

Matt Sowerby facilitated poetry writing workshops. Church Action on Poverty led discussions on the themes of Agency and Power. The ‘Pilgrimage at the Margins’ gave participants space to lay down their worries and share their hopes for themselves, their communities and wider society.  John Bell led a session on ‘Missing Biblical Women’, Catriona Robertson facilitated a session on how community living can make an impact in the world and Pádraig Ó Tuama (pictured) gave a poetry reading that included Adam and Eve, a butcher and a scorpion monster!

There was also a space for creative art. Festival goers were invited to stitch words of hope to fabric leaves and ‘pin their hopes’  to a cloth tree trunk in the venue. The tree of hope flourished over the weekend.

Beyond the Northern Lights, the WGRG Big Sing echoed from the Canopy around the festival site on the Saturday morning. John Bell’s talks on ‘Pandemical Faith and Doubt’ and his ‘Inheritance Tracks’ were given to an overflowing Pagoda venue.

To all who volunteered, crafted, sang, wrote poetry, discussed, pinned hopes, bought books, spoke, and came by to say hello, thank you!

See you next year!

Photo credit: Iona Community/ Jo Love

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