Greenbelt: emerging shapes

tree and sky by Dave

pic by dave

We met at Topsy, Jon & Isla's to crystalise all the great ideas we've had from the three GB discussions so far. Still lots of questions, but exciting to see potential shapes coming out; ideas finding a home in the structure. Oooh, don't look at this, it's out-of-date! Look at this instead! Here's the plan. Bits that need community members to take forward are »in bold«.

Throughout / venue

  • Need decorations. Drapes again? ("Freedom" "Fear" "Micro" "Macro" "Eternal"...) »creative types step on up!«
  • Need suitable sound track »got good tunes?«
  • Projections: "still life in motion" »film the outside to bring it in« slow zoom on tiny candle? other pictures? »your ideas here!«


  • Crowd voices sound-scape volume increases as more people come in, then shut it off suddenly to signal the start; relative stillness. »someone to record pub/cafe sounds«
  • How to welcome people at the door?»ideas« Give people a hazelnut (in its shell -- you'll see why later)? Hand out sheets?

Welcome voice

  • Tell people what will happen, who we are (a community [from Oxford] exploring creative, simple, engaged playful living in the way of Christ).
  • Introduce theme:
    • stepping back [from the pace of fashion]
    • stillness in the eternal moment
    • smallness/held-ness; hope of moving from fear to freedom in this.
  • »someone to write«

Call & response

  • Use our Christ is coming - keeping the rhythm of our regular community life. »someone to adapt«
  • »words on sheets? projections? both? Needs preparation«


Read by different community members around the room (microphones allowing). These are all about scale (vastness, depth, eternity...).
  • Vastness: Psalm 8 (Message remix?) macro skies... micro self... Why does God bother with us tiny things? [yet God does].
  • Eternity: John 1, 14-18 ish (eternal presence of God, “Before the world was created, the Word already existed”.)
  • Depth: Julian of Norwich: In this vision he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought "What may this be?" And it was generally answered thus: "It is all that is made." I marvelled how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: "It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it."

Reflection space

  • Community voice introduces. »fancy writing this?«
  • Look at your hazelnut for 5 minutes a la Rach's improvisation with the clover leaves we did last Sunday?
  • Use Lamb song "Small" (YouTube video)?
  • Hear different voices expressing different feelings about being small? Freedom / fear? »would this work here? earlier?«


  • Community voice encourages people to share their reflections with a person near them.
  • Needs to be done right: not cringy, not difficult ("turn to the stranger next to you and tell them something really hard in your life..") - you know the sort of thing we normally do well fairly naturally. »could you do this?«
  • Provides relief for people who like to share after all that reflection!

Sacred act

  • Invite everyone to [optionally] move to put their hazelnut in some sort of pattern (a line? a snake? a circle? circles? use ribbon to mark out something?) »want to take this on?«
  • symbolism: you are held; you have a place in God's eternity.
  • visually nice.


  • blessing »someone to write/find« »«
  • invite people to find their nut and take it with! [fun]?
  • keep in touch: cards with mayBe details on? »design/print them« (use
  • website / twitter / email / phone nos on projections.
  • community members clearly around to be chatted to. »make badges like Kate's last year?«
So what do you think? Please comment below, or email the community and email me (Rich) if you're interested in taking any of this forward. Next chat: mayBe weekend away.

mayBe feels at home at Greenbelt. We've been contributors there for many years, trying to stay true to what we do, but reimagining it in a bigger setting.

mayBe at Greenbelt.