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A Message from Our Vicar – October 2018

        ‘Working as Christ’s presence within the world’

Revd Lynn Boyle

Revd Lynn Boyle

Festival Vicar

Over the summer months it has been a privilege to be involved with each of the Festivals as they have taken place at Whitebottom Farm – in May, a Biker Festival, in June, a Country Festival, in July, a Family Music Festival and in August a House Music Festival.

Each Festival has brought along a different clientele and each has offered an interestingly different opportunity for outreach and conversation.

I held Sunday worship at two of the festivals – Buckle and Boots, in June and Blackthorn, in July. On each occasion I was joined by some of the artists performing at the Festival. The Country Festival service in June was by far the best attended with around 150 people joining us. I have found that many of those who follow country music have a faith and are not afraid to share that fact. The Bikers have their own Christian Biker Association and held their own worship.

I think something that has stayed with me the most though from being involved with the various festivals is the conversations and discussions I had with individual festival goers.

It would be true to say that many are still bemused to find a Vicar at a Festival, let alone serving behind the bar. There are so many misconceptions about the clergy! Before I could begin to talk with people, there were bridges to be crossed and barriers to be broken. But then the real conversations could begin, and I was asked some wonderful and quite deep theological questions over the course of the four festivals. It is always good to get into a theological debate, especially with somebody who is unsure about what they believe.

I find that most people are desperate to believe in something, but they have been disillusioned by their experiences. Sadly, these experiences are often of church in earlier life. It is clear that we have a lot to answer for as a church and how we welcome people and include them. So many young and older people have been ‘turned off’ by clergy and congregations alike.

I found myself discussing matters of ‘faith’ as opposed to ‘religion’ and ‘religious practices’ with those who having been disillusioned by their experience and who were eager to challenge a member of the clergy on this.

I also found myself in conversation with those who considered themselves unworthy of God because of the life choices they had made.

Thank goodness we have a God who is ever loving and ever forgiving of all our shortcomings – the shortcomings of those of us who perhaps don’t realise how off putting we might be in our reaction to the stranger who comes into church. This includes those who attend a Baptism, Wedding or Funeral and not just to our regular Sunday worship, those who perhaps have never been in a church before and are not sure what is expected of them. Every experience matters, and it is clear that it only takes one bad one to lose somebody who might have been seeking a spiritual experience and spiritual home. And thank goodness we have a God who is every loving and forgiving when we make the wrong choices in life – always ready to welcome us back when we turn to Him.

God Bless




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