A report from the Time to Turn Festival 2011

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Philip Powell, from the UK Campaigns Team, attended the annual festival of Time to Turn. Time to Turn is a similar network to Speak, based in the Netherlands. This is his report from the event.

Arriving at the Ede-wageningen station by train, I was picked by one of the guys organizing the festival and soon afterwards we were driving through the Dutch countryside discussing all that was planned for the weekend. He explained to me that this year TTT had decided not to meet in a big city like Amsterdam or Utrect, but ‘out-in-the-middle nowhere’ to learn about the environment and sustainable living.

At the old country church that was cold and dimly lit, Eelco Fortuijn (www.goedewaar.nl) gave an challenging talk to eighty or so participants about how sustainable consumer choices can make a difference. Our voices can be heard despite what advertising and market experts say!

Following, lunch we had seminars and workshops in small groups. I gave a talk about ‘Effective Lobbying and Campaigning for Change’. About 30 people attended my workshop.

After this we had pilgrimage-journey led by John and Marlies at Brook. In groups of 4 we walked through the forest looking at nature, looking at an old ruined building and asking questions about what does to mean to live as a Christian in the modern world. We concluded this time together with communion remembering what Jesus has done for us on the cross and how this impacts the world.

For dinner, the food was from a nearby organic farm market garden and we ate at a warehouse. Afterwards we had a Indonesian campaigner for the rights of sweatshops workers around the world speak to us about her work, and how she is standing up against cooperate giants and challenging them. And no SPEAK event would be complete without techno-rave music and dancing. Kids With Guns performed their funky alternative music at an old factory building and many of us danced in freedom into the morning hours. At the back of the room some participants we practicing a new kind of gift-economy of exchanging cloths for free and outside others sat around the camp-fire laughing and enjoying friendship.

On Sunday, we had Christian anarchist-pacifist from Australia, Dave Andrews (www.daveandrews.com.au) give a powerful message on the gospel's call to creative non-violence in the face of injustice and on how to radically live the Jesus BE-attitudes.

Like any SPEAK festival it was an experience in learning to listen, explore new things, pray and confess, get inspired, hope again, and eat and dance together with fellow campaigners for justice!!!