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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, August 18, 2005
    We're pretty good at putting on a party
    Big day today. The Greenbelt wristbands arrived: sign that the year's most-anticipated event is very near. Spent an hour putting them in envelopes and posting them off to each member of our team. This time next week, I'll be in the bar at Cheltenham Racecourse with some of them. Lovely.

    Meanwhile a team of twenty young people from Oldham helped a group of us put on a free festival in Norris Green Park today. Part of Merseyfest, in which two thousand volunteers from all sorts of far-flung places (and Oldham) have been taking part in various community programmes, cleaning up the city and creating celebrations in places previously neglected or reviled.

    Nogsy Park is quite well-used, though often by people who value it as camoflague for their nefarious activities. And when our team arrived on Monday morning the area which was fifty years ago a lovely rose garden was a glum, glass-strewn, graffiti'd place. Three days of litter-picking, repainting and general tidying-up later, we were able to repay the considerable local interest in what was happening there, by holding a free party for everyone - bouncy castles, face-painting, footy competitions, a tattooist, etc etc etc. And yours truly with Now! 61 on the PA system. It was good; and we'll be at it again tomorrow (if you're passing).

    Driving my car, illegally over-full of young women, back to their festival campsite at Croxteth Park this evening, we noticed the big mainstage assembled ready for the weekend's climactic carnival events, a fairground at the ready, and what's reputed to be Europe's biggest skatepark taking shape. Reflecting on this, on the day's events, and on the glorious treat ahead next weekend, I couldn't help thinking, we Christians get a lot of things wrong but y'know, we're pretty good at putting on a party.