(the 3rd Annual 4 Corners Festival is well in the planning. I was asked to write an article about it for The Presbyterian Herald. Here is that article. It tells you what, at least I think, we are about and some hints and clues to this year's events...)
During the last 4 Corners Festival I had just left the Festival’s Prayer Breakfast where we had prayed for Commissioners of Youth, Equality and Parades as well as the Lord Mayor. I was waiting for my next meeting and decided to read a Scripture for a Devotional I was writing for a Church in Alabama. The reading was Isaiah 61 and verse 4 caught my eye immediately; “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” That is exactly what we are aiming for in the 4 Corners Festival. We have a love for Belfast and long that we might make a contribution in its restoration and rebuilding in the name of Christ.
The Old Testament prophets are so interested in the city. A verse that continually challenges and inspires me, as the minister of an inner city congregation, is Jeremiah 29 verse 7 “… seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” The 4 Corners Festival prays for Belfast’s peace and Kingdom of God prosperity and then our hope is that we can somehow make a contribution to the answering of our prayers.
We are a Do-It Yourself festival. We have no staff. We have no budget. We don’t even have a bank account. Yet, after just two years together as a group we are looking forward to our 3rd Festival in February. Our committee is made up of Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans and Catholics. We long to bring the 4 very divided corners of our city together. We desire to create space for listening, dialogue and for friendships to form across the divides. We see ourselves as a fringe event for the Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity. Where that week shows some reconciliation within the walls of the Church we are keen to take Jesus outside of the walls and onto the streets, believing his birth, life, death and resurrection to have the transformational power that our city needs for the rebuilding and renewing that Isaiah talks about and the peace and prosperity that Jeremiah would have us pray for.
Being Do It Yourself we are still to confirm most of this years events and over the next weeks you will see confirmations building on social media and at our web page at www.4cornersfestival.com. We are running from January 30th when we will have our Prayer Breakfast in Stormont. There will be a Youth Conference that weekend in collaboration with The Irish Churches Peace Project. The week will then include New Irish Arts performing their Greater Love about World War One, hopefully in Clonard Monastery; a meal for Refugees in the parlour of City Hall; a gathering of Christian NGOs to celebrate Belfast’s generosity to the 4 Corners Of The World; an evening looking at Trafficking with Tearfund and Trocaire; imagining a city without walls with Vicky Costick who is finishing her book on Belfast Peace Walls; and art, poetry, literature and so much more.
Please look out for events, come along to some of them and pray for our city and our Churches contribution to it through 4 Corners’ Festival.