A ‘Subbuteo-Sized’ Greenbelt *Updated

by Gerry Lynch last modified 14 Apr, 2014 03:56 PM

East Dorset village celebrates with church-organised festival for kids and adults.

‘A Subbuteo-sized Greenbelt’ is how a Dorset vicar describes the five day arts and children’s festival his parish church organises in a pretty East Dorset village.

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Pip Martin, Vicar of St James’ Church in Alderholt, said:

“This is the third year St James’ has organised the Recreate festival in a big marquee on the village recreation ground. Recreate celebrates the Easter season with a village festival of children’s activities and entertainment for adults. We’ve been influenced by the enormous Greenbelt Christian arts festival that runs on the August Bank Holiday weekend, and we could be described a ‘subbuteo-sized’ version of it.

“The Church underwrites the festival, and it’s mainly run by church members, especially younger ones – although older members help too.

“For many years, we’ve had a popular children’s workshop which runs on three mornings, and now attracts over a hundred kids. That was the seed from which Recreate has grown. We also have an afternoon café, kids’ craft activities, and street dancing.

Alderholt Donkey.jpg“There’s a series of evening entertainment aimed at adults. Two popular local bands, Dodgy and Willowen, are performing gigs, and we have a comedy night coming on Saturday, with a number of comics including Paul Kerensa, who is a Christian and is the chief writer of Miranda and also worked on the office. Yesterday we had a brilliant night with the Kepow theatre company, who did a series of semi-improvised vignettes about love, called A Crazy Thing Called Love, taking ideas from the audience. It was feelgood, moving, and very funny.”

With all this activity being led by the Church, is there anything specifically Christian or which might lead to Church growth? Pip says there is:

“In the grand finale – we transfer our main Sunday service to the marquee for a big Greenbelt-style Eucharist. There have been about 250 people there in the last two years, well above our usual Sunday congregation. We’re also going to start a fornightly discussion group in the pub, and we’re hoping to generate topics from the people who come to the big Sunday morning service.

“But being Church isn’t just about doing things that strike people as being ‘religious’ – it’s about following Jesus in getting out into the world and celebrating life lived to the full with people regardless of where they are in their faith journey.”

The Recreate Festival runs until 13 April at the Alderholt Recreation Grounds. Learn more at recreatefestival.org.

 

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