This year the theme for the URC was ‘More than Welcome’ and we were exploring what it means to be welcome and more than welcome. The URC hosted a series of intentional conversations around the theme of a banquet – from Luke 14: 15-23 and conversations were hosted by a variety of people, from those who welcome strangers, to those who forget they are welcome to those who are disabled or women in leadership. We had a panel discussion in one of Greenbelt’s venues, which was hosted by Elizabeth Grey King and Rachel Mann, Minor Cannon of Manchester Cathedral, Savi Hensman, from Ekklesia, Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty and Jane Henderson CYDO! The title was All Welcome (Terms and conditions apply!). This was very well attended. URC youth held a Cake and Debate session for young people. And then there was our tent!
In our tent we had our knitted food treasure hunt, as well as our stories of welcome chair, and our knitting and pompom making activity. The tent was very colourful and welcoming and very very popular. We had 2800 items of food sent from a variety of churches all over the UK, from the top of Scotland to the Southwest. We were so popular that we were running out of wool on Saturday night. So, Toller URC very kindly purchased us some more wool and others from Desborough and Toller donated some wool.
All the knitted items of food were collected in during the weekend and then on the Monday, we blessed the food and gave it all away to festival goers.
The aim of the URC at Greenbelt is to get people taking, thinking and to inspire them. Which we did, several people over the weekend said we had inspired them to go home and do something in their own churches. People found our panel and conversations inspiring, healing and one lady said that the conversation she went to was the best thing she had been to. Lots of people from the URC called by and a lot from our Synod. It was great to be part of this event, and we hope that it can continue next year.