by Lucinda Murphy
from Signs of the Times No. 55 - Oct 2014
Modern Church was once again proud to take up its small part in the extravaganza that is the Greenbelt Festival.
Held this year in a beautiful new location on the outskirts of Kettering, the Festival certainly did not disappoint. With a wide range of arts and crafts, stalls, talks, book reviews, and performances to attend, many of us found ourselves unable to ascertain which way to divide ourselves!
These numerous activities included Mindfulness Meditation sessions with our own Tim Stead as well as significant contributions from our new President, Linda Woodhead who chaired a packed keynote discussion, ‘Is the Church of England worth saving?’ To cut a long conversation short, despite the negative picture of the Church’s current state conjured up here, the final hope-filled answer remained a resounding yes. The Church of England is worth saving.
What was more up for debate was the kind of Church that this would be. Perhaps this is where the philosophy of Modern Church fits in. Whether you think the Church of England should be bolstering its cultural position of standing as part of the State or whether you think it should be more reminiscent of those smaller successful competing sects, it is clear that what is needed here is discussion. What is needed is a Church willing to be responsive and reactive to current issues, to recognise the need to generate new initiatives and to regenerate old ones. This is not necessarily about scrapping tradition, as many visitors to our stand feared, but about making traditions live.
This epitomises many of the engaging conversations Modern Church members enjoyed on our stand. We were impressed with the wide ranging discussions provoked by our literature and encouraged by the number of people who expressed a real interest.