The United Reformed Church explores inclusion at Greenbelt festival
The United Reformed Church went to Greenbelt this August, for the second year of its associate partnership with the festival. The URC produced a packed programme of events on the theme ‘More than welcome’, and its stall was equally packed as volunteers welcomed constant streams of visitors to explore theme together.
‘It was a fantastic event that engaged with even more people than last year,’ says Steve Summers, the URC at Greenbelt Project Coordinator. ‘It also brought the URC together creatively as people all over the country were knitting food for the treasure hunt. Our original funding has finished but it has been such a great success that we are exploring ways to keep up the good work.’
Some of the written feedback from visitors at the stall said: ‘Last year was my little girls’ and my first Greenbelt. We took a URC star home for a friend who loved it. This year my atheist husband is coming too. He said it looked fun and wasn’t expecting that!’
‘To create an area that is so welcoming and so distinct in its aesthetics and vision is a wonderful achievement.’ ‘The URC is way ahead on diversity and inclusivity. It leaves the rest standing.
‘Our church can be quiet and unwelcoming but you guys are so open. It’s lovely.’
‘I’m knitting this square – even though I’ve broken my arm; it’s for my Dad – he is homeless, so I like this idea.’ ‘I’m loving the URC.’
As the world champion slam poet Harry Baker was at Greenbelt, we challenged him to slam a few lines on the URC’s theme. This was his totally spontaneous response:
It’s about feeling welcome
It’s about going out into the world
Not just staying by yourself
It is for everyone
It is for you
It is for you
Whether you’re treated with dignity
It’s still about unity
It’s not just about you and me
It’s about everyone.
Early bird discount tickets for Greenbelt 2018 (24 to 27 August) are available from www.greenbelt.org.uk until 31 October
This article was published in the October 2017 edition of Reform