The Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival takes place at Cheltenham race course over the August Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August. It attracts around 20,000 mainly Christian visitors each year and provides an opportunity for people of all ages to come together for a weekend to experience “love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel”.
Every year, NCPO has a presence at the festival with the aim of:
- promoting peace and nonviolence as central to Christianity
- inspiring people to practice active peacemaking and non-violence in daily life
- giving people a deeper understanding of peace and non-violence
One of the main ways in which NCPO does this is by co-ordinating the festival’s ‘Peace Zone’. The Peace Zone is located in the G-Source tent and aims to engage Greenbelt visitors in peace issues through a variety of fun, interactive and educational resources and activities.
In the past, Peace Zone activities have included painting umbrellas for peace, contributing to a giant peace mandala and transforming a tank covered in newspaper stories of war into a colourful ‘think tank’ embodying people’s aspirations for peace. It has also played host to several high profile speakers including Norman Kember and Walter Wink and has taken visitors on a journey through Christian peacemaking from Jesus’ time to the present day.
NCPO also has a presence at the Greenbelt festival via the various talks and workshops on peace and nonviolence. In recent years, these have included ‘From Violence to Wholeness’ workshops and inspiring talks on aspects of peace activism by NCPO members.
In 2009, NCPO will again co-ordinate the festival’s Peace Zone. A pre-festival press release will be posted here closer to the festival weekend.
Christian peacemakers bring their message to Greenbelt
Almost 30 UK-based Christian peace organisations will come together over the August bank holiday weekend to spread their message of peace at the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival.
Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Dominicans, Methodists, Quakers and Unitarians will be amongst those represented in the festival’s Peace Zone. The multi-denominational peacemakers will invite Greenbelt visitors to explore a commitment to peace from a Christian perspective and will share their knowledge and experience of working for peace at the local, national and international level.
The Peace Zone, located in the G-Source tent, is a project of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations (NCPO) and a unique part of the Greenbelt festival experience. By encouraging festival-goers to embrace peacemaking as a central part of their Christian faith, NCPO hopes to inspire people to incorporate an active commitment to peace and nonviolence into their Christian practice.
Norman Kember, NCPO member and former Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) representative in Iraq, says: “My commitment to peace and nonviolence is inseparable from my Christian faith, and my involvement with the Network of Christian Peace Organisations reflects this. NCPO’s presence at the Greenbelt festival is especially important as it is the festival goers of today who will become the peacemakers of tomorrow.”
Visitors to the Peace Zone will have the opportunity to paint themselves into an imaginative art installation featuring peacemakers throughout the ages. There will also be resources for campaigning and action, suggestions as to ‘what you can do for peace’ and a team of volunteers to talk to about anything peace-related.
Christian peace organisations will be represented on the main Greenbelt programme – including via a forum theatre performance ‘A Play on Peace’ and a talk by conflict transformation practitioner and Quaker Diana Francis.
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