One long summer as a student, lots of lovely holiday, and two Christian camps. I worked at both New Wine and Greenbelt (in radically different roles) and I was surprised by how different they are. I guess in comparing the two I need to add the caveat that we go to New Wine annually with wonderful friends, and it is 20 years since I went to Greenbelt. It is always easier to appreciate the merits of a system one knows and understands. None the less, I find myself quite down on Greenbelt, and this is why…
There is a strong pro-Palestinian emphasis at Greenbelt, which was not interpreted. I think it has been in the past, but this year at Greenbelt, it was not. I cannot comment on the Greenbelt leadership’s support or otherwise of Israel, but without interpretation, the publicity gave leave for anti-Israeli sentiments to flourish. I heard them vocalised often. The situation there is simply too complex to offer only one side of the war.
I missed collective prayer and worship. Sunday morning’s service felt musically pedestrian and was made ‘creative’ by an abundance of unrelated symbolism. There was little in the way of prayer ministry, and an emphasis on maintaining Greenbelt, rather than a proactive challenge to a group of rich, educated Christians to get out there and change the world.
I’ll leave the little grips (queuing, prices, consumerism, commercialism!). And I’m glad there are people who benefit from Greenbelt, and have their faith enlarged by it. But I won’t be going back.