Rowland Whitehead (Bilbo) visits Orkney
Quechup Social Networking Site: Warning

Slot Art Festival in Poland: Some reflections

Slot Festival rocked! Its an arts festival in Poland run by followers of Jesus but its much more than that. Its one of those festivals that people get really attached to and come back each year. Thousands of them. And earlier this month we drove across Europe to join them.

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We set up our Tipi right next to the main monastery building (left). Its a dang huge place - the largest monastery in Central or Eastern Europe.
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In fact, we were told that at 333,000 square meters, its the largest OBJECT in Central or Eastern Europe. Its REALLY REALLY MASSIVE, even with 5000 young people running all over it. Oh - that centre picture is my son Sam showing off some new skills to his sisters. About 120 skills were offered in daily training sessions. Abigail learned nun-chucks.

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The chapel got fixed up nicely with art installations of all kinds.

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This picture on the cathedral wall is the basis for my monthly banner that i just uploaded. You can see the other images from Slot weaved into the banner.

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These guys next to me (left) are Jesus Freak leaders. All these photos are mine, btw, except this one which Hajo took. Check out his blog post on Slot for a lot more.

A few of us met the folk that maintain this monastery and we were shown inside what was described as the best example in the world of a Baroque ballroom. Really magnificent. And all this was build for the 70 monks who lived here. Imaging trying to raise funds for that today!

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These Ukrainians started their first festival last year and invited me to come and join them in 2008. Might be worth a trip. They had a thousand people come last year which is a great beginning.

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Teaching session by Sy Rogers who taught on sexuality. I did a little bit of teaching  on the history of the emerging church movement, as part of another seminar. But hardly anyone came for that. Quite pitiful, really. I should have spoken on SEX so i could get a big crowd like Sy Rogers. Or maybe give the organizers more warning that i am coming so i can get on the program.

Actually, the truth is . .  I was on the schedule a few years ago to speak and then had to cancel right before due to my bosses setting up another meeting for me. And it was too late to get my name off the program. So they had to apologize to those who wanted to hear me - which is understandable . .  I know i would be heartbroken if i had turned up to hear me and i wasnt there. Anyway  . .  [you know i am joking, right? . . ] this trip in 2007 was a reconciling pilgrimage and it was important for me to just turn up. Which, of course, I did. And my family. And friends like Derek and Amy Chapman who blogged a little on this.

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We hosted people in our Tipi. Debbie here is talking with some friends from Hungary (hi Gaby) and Bulgaria.

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Cafe Kiwi was a club near our tent. They had DJ's that played until 4am and it was REALLY REALLY LOUD. I had to wear ear plugs to get some sleep . . . of which none of us experienced very much. Still, "KIWI" is a GREAT name for a club.

We were also right next to a drum circle which also kept us awake.
BUT YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD . . . RIGHT???

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Florian from Germany, sitting in the Roundtable Tent that was hosted by the Jesus Freaks. He introduced me to a lot of really cool people from other countries including a guy from Norway that is starting their first festival later this year. Thanks Flo.

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We loved it! It was a great time. Its a fantastic festival with a medieval feel and great music, art, teaching (mine, anyway . . ahem . . .) and lots of ambient hang out spaces that have to be seen to be believed. And its also great to see the emerging church in Poland take shape in such a good and healthy way.

Room for improvement: Multi-lingual signs, clear instructions for finding the place [took us hours], empty those portaloos more often, more showers, better food stands, more space for tents and  . .. .  read my lips . .  WIFI signal for internet.

I must blog more about the festival and also introduce you to some of the Polish people that we came to love. But thats for another post.

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