Hymns, beer at Greenbelt

This year’s Greenbelt Festival kicked up more attention than usual when Gene Robinson attended. But there were also a number of other attractions at the Christian music event, including hymn-singing and organic beer at the Jesus Arms tent.

According to the menu at the Arms, lagers offered at the 2009 tent included the Absolution, Redemption, and Confession labels.

Flickr albums and blog entries, such as that of an Anglican priest named Kathryn, speak of a mostly joyous beer ministry brimming with folk.

I’m hopeless at estimating numbers, but there were surely a couple of hundred of us left sadly outside the picket fence, while the empty “beer garden” recalled the great gulf fixed between Dives and Lazarus, dividing us from the happy souls within, who could both drink and sing.

After a rather sadly ironic interlude during which a man near me decided to lay into the steward about the madness of the restrictions, and the unreasonableness of a festival that was trying to protect the safety of its visitor, while all around him the crowd sang “Praise my soul the king of heaven”, things looked up.

We might be beerless, but nothing could stop us singing. I was surrounded by good voices, who were quick to pick up parts and we had the time of our lives.

This year’s fest ended August 31.

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