Kangaroo Valley revolution
A revolution is coming to Kangaroo Valley next week, and it promises to be gentle.
Beyond Festival, to be held from November 23-25, aims to be a space for music, art, performance and faith to meet under the banner of social justice.
The long line-up of acts involved includes Paul Colman, Gungor and Katie Noonan.
The Christian festival, open to all, is expected to attract more than a thousand people of different faiths under the banner of social justice. A variety of workshops will be run by experts on a key justice issues including gendered violence and Indigenous justice, with the hope of starting a gentle revolution in our communities and cities.
“Society and culture are becoming more violent in every element,” says festival co-ordinator the Rev Andrew Palmer, who is director of global mission for the Baptist Church of NSW and ACT.
“The way we speak to each other is more aggressive, more oppositional, and violence begets violence. Revolution can sound like a violent thing, but Jesus is on about a gentle revolution in the cross. Jesus goes to the cross in an act of gentle revolutionary behaviour.”
Mr Palmer hopes Beyond will provide a witness to the love and justice of Christ to those who don’t believe but also want to make a positive change in the world.
He sees the festival as an opportunity to work alongside churches to reach people with the gospel in a unique way.
“Their heartbeat is for a better world,” he says.
“What we hope to achieve is that those who attend the festival [will] be inspired, educated and mobilised to live out justice within their communities.”
With people of all faiths present, careful thought has been given to providing a safe space for people to not only consider social justice issues, but encounter Christ. Festival chaplain the Rev Andrew Paterson, rector of Kangaroo Valley, will be available for those who want to engage with Christianity further.
“The chaplaincy role is a support work that is a gentle Christian presence and pastoral care model,” he says.
“I hope to be able to bring the aroma of Christ to people I speak to as well as provide basic practical help to people who need it. I hope to have lots of conversations with the locals who come and out of town visitors, too. Pray for God to do his work through me and all the Christians who are there.”
Kangaroo Valley Anglican will also run a special Sunday service on the theme of social justice.
Both Mr Paterson and Mr Palmer consider this a key part of the festival.
Says Mr Paterson: “All attendees will be invited to come on Sunday and celebrate the ultimate giver of justice and mercy – Jesus himself. This will be our focus for the service and preaching. The service will also bring some of the artists and musicians from the festival into the service itself. The music will be amazing!”
Mr Palmer hopes that everyone who attends the festival will be part of the gentle revolution, and encounter Christ in some way along the journey.
“Beyond Festival is not the destination, it’s a gathering point,” he says. “Jesus the Redeemer is at the core of our message and mission. This mission is largely carried out one-on-one in relational ways, listening and learning and laughing and living with all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.
“Justice is love, it’s love in the public space. It’s profoundly kingdom of God oriented, but different people have different reasons for desiring it. If, at the end of the festival, it’s a group of people coming together to work for the common good, that’s a good outcome.”
For more information on Beyond Festival and to purchase tickets see www.beyondfestival.com.au