24 April 2015
Summer festivals: 10 of the best
We're not talking here about Pentecost, Christmas or Easter. But Christian festivals of the kind where hundreds of Jesus followers pack up their rucksacks, pick up their tent pegs and spend a few nights in a field worshipping together, being inspired and refreshed through hearing the word of God. With so many to choose from, we thought we'd provide you with some handy information on some of the best festivals around to help you decide where you'll be pitching your tent this summer.
Spring Harvest for hipsters. The Pursuit is a four-day, 24/7 worship, prayer, community and justice gathering aimed at those in their 20s and 30s who are looking for something different. Yes there'll be beards and yes there'll be skinny jeans, but yes there'll be young people passionate about living out their faith with authenticity. "You and your mates" are invited to spend as much or as little time as you like in what the organisers are describing as a "constant, creative worship hub". The Pursuit speaks in thelanguage of a generation where it's not about big names, but about collaboration – about everyone bringing something to the table. The Alliance's very own threads will be hosting a venue at the event, dubbed 'The Secret Doubt Garden'.
When? 1-4 May
In three words: Trendy, collaborative, beards
This year's theme at the popular Keswick Convention is: "The whole of life for Christ." Thousands will gather over the three weeks of the convention to grapple with the challenge of living holistically for Christ – including in our workplaces, in our free time, in our communities, in our homes and in public life. Sung worship over the three weeks will be led by Stuart Townend, Steve James and Lewis Green. Keswick Ministries has been in existence for 140 years, impacting churches worldwide. With a focus on hearing from God, being part of God's mission and becoming like Jesus, this is the festival for those who want to spend time away from the hustle and bustle of life to be refreshed before returning to live out every area of your life for God.
When? Week 1: 11-17 July; Week 2: 18-24 July; Week 3: 25-31 July
Where? Keswick Convention Centre
In three words: Traditional, holistic, mission
Big Church Day Out
Picture 20,000 people from across the country gathered together for fun, fellowship, music and worship. This is one you can take your non-Christian friends to. Headed up by Tim Jupp, formerly of Delirious? fame, the festival is backed by a number of supporters including Alliance members Mission Aviation Fellowship, Tearfund and UCB. This year will see a number of diverse Christian acts take to the stage – from Faithchild to Salvation Brass to Israel Houghton and Rend Collective. New for 2015 is the Big Church Bazaar where those attending can pick up resources, books and gift ideas.
When? 23-24 May
Where? Wiston House, West Sussex
In three words: Music, celebration, tents
CLAN prides itself on being a place where people gathered from across denominations can come and seek refreshment and renewal in beautiful surroundings. Organisers hope to facilitate an environment focused on prayer and focus on Jesus. "Only when we comprehend the greatness of our King will we be inspired, encouraged and empowered t opour out from our gathering to bless and love our nation in Jesus' name." The main speaker at the all-age gathering this year will be theologian Amy Orr-Ewing and Kris Vallotton – senior associateleader of Bethel Church in Redding, California.
When? 11-16 July
Where? Kelburn Country Park, Largs
In three words: Established, refreshment, renewal
Last November after a bombing killed 40 Muslim schoolchildren, Ben Kwashi – the archbishop of Jos in northern Nigeria – spokeout against the extremist violence of Boko Haram. This summer, he is one of the main speakers at New Horizon – an annual summer event in Northern Ireland that attracts 5,000 people passionate about seeing God's kingdom come in every area of their lives.Youthwork forms an integral part of New Horizon, with the Livewire team catering for the 350 teenagers who come together to grow in their faith.
When? 1-7 August
Where? University of Ulster, Coleraine
In three words: Passionate, holistic, vibrant
For thousands of young adult Christians, Momentum is the highlight of their summer. So often described as a generation missing from the Church, but at Momentum each morning and evening, you'll see hundreds of people in their 20s and 30s packed in to the big top for times of worship, teaching and ministry. According to organisers, "the heart of Soul Survivor is to envision young people of all denominations to capture first a vision ofJesus, and then to equip, train, empower and release them intoministry in their everyday lives".
When? 27-31 August
Where? Bath &West Showground, Shepton Mallet
In three words: Energetic, refreshing, trendy
According to worship leader Ben Cantelon, Creation Fest is the highlight of his year. Unlike many other festivals, it's free. It began in the summer of 2002 in north Devon as a one-day event and developed into a three-day festival. If you're new to camping, you can try out this year's new glamping units. With 14 artists confirmed, including Chaos Curb, Guvna B and US favourites Scott and Madi Cunningham, this year looks to be one of the best yet. Creation Fest exists to share "the good news of the God who has created us and loves us, of His Son, Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us, and of the Spirit who guides us".
When? 1-7 August
Where? Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
In three words: Family-friendly, free, fun
With arts and justice very much at the heart of this Perthshire festival, Solas endeavours to be a place of generosity and hospitality. Supported by the Methodist Church in Scotland, the festival derives inspiration and values from its Christian roots and brings together activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum to talk about issues of social justice, art and beauty. At this year's offering – whose theme is 'Between the lines' - you'll be sure to see yurts, rising stars and innovative collaborations.
When? 19-21 June
In three words: Art, justice, open
New Wine: United
Every summer, some 24,000 people flock to New Wine – a movement passionate about seeing local churches equipped to change the nations. There's something for everyone at New Wine, with seminars on leadership, social justice, mission and ethics among those listed. There's never a dull moment at New Wine, with so much on the programme including worship, seminars and Bible teaching. But organisers realise that sometimes a rest is very much needed. So halfway through the week, there's a day with a reduced programme to give you time to chill. Inspired.
When? Week 1: 25-31 July; Week 2: 2-8 August
Where? Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet
In three words: Impact, transformation, inspiration
Hosted by the Ground Level Network of churches led by Stuart and Irene Bell, this year's One Event line-up includes speakers Matt Summerfield, Miriam Swaffield and Jeff Lucas. The event is now in its fourth year, but builds on 30 years of what was previously known as the Grapevine celebration. This all-age event is about "being refreshed, empowered and finding a strong sense of unity across a variety of streams and networks". There's a real family feel at One Event, with lots of activities for youngsters, including sports, waterfights, films and competitions.
When? 28 August –1 September
Where? Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln
In three words: Active, unity, energy