The Diocese of Ely were delighted to host the day that took on a festival theme, based in Ely Cathedral and the surrounding buildings, ‘Blended’ had an immersive and experiential feel.
The cathedral was filled with a diverse range of activities and people reflecting the festival theme of the “blended economy” and the six stages of the Fresh Expressions Journey (noticing, offering, gathering, connecting, integrating and multiplying).
The day commenced with a welcome from Bishop Stephen and an introduction from Ed Olsworth-Peter (National Advisor for Pioneer Development), followed by worship led by the Ely Pop-Up Gospel Choir.
With campfires both inside and out and an array of speakers and activities to choose from, participants were able to experience fresh ideas through pioneer labs and live workshops and by sharing stories though conversations, meet-ups and consultations.
As it was a festival, there were main stage conversations, along with different types of side-stages, including; New Monasticism, Forest Church, Campfire Communion, Sweaty Church and Messy Vintage.
Bishop Vlogs allowed for experience from others in the country to be shared via the big screens and the cathedral Presbytery was transformed into a prayer area. This included a tepee as well as the use of silent-disco headphones allowing for music-led meditation and three ecumenical partners listening in to act as prophetic voices for the conference.
The buzz continued throughout the day, with networking in the market-place in the Lady Chapel where stalls from an assortment of organisations there to chat and share resources and ideas.
Outside the Cathedral there was a real campfire, surrounded by food-vans serving ethical produce and refreshments. As the sun set the festival closed with final worship and a moving photographic representation of the day and social-media posts set to music by Steve Radley.
The closing thoughts were for us to “Go forth and combine Inherited Church and New Christian Communities to grow the Kingdom of God” candles were lit as symbols of people as beacons.