A ‘Jesus Loves Festivals’ edition of Mark’s Gospel will be made available to festival-goers attending Leeds Festival, Edinburgh Festival and V Festival in Staffordshire this summer.
The special 56 page edition of the Gospel will be handed out by the Festival Angels, a Christian group providing support and protection for those attending Leeds Festival, and by those involved in similar projects running at other festivals across the UK.
2,000 copies of the Gospel have been printed in preparation for these festivals and they include an overview of the Christian message along with sections on how to read the Bible, how to think critically and how to pray.
Halifax born Paul Blakey MBE, one of the coordinators of Leeds Festival Angels, claims, "When you set up church in places people don't expect it there is often a real openness to discuss faith and spirituality.
“In past years at Leeds Festival we have invited people to leave prayer requests and to watch the I.Am movie which has led to discussions and people changing their concept of the Christian faith.”
He adds, “This year we wanted to leave people with something that would help them discover more and the Jesus Loves Festivals Gospel will help do that."
Leeds Festival will take place in Bramham Park between the 28th and 30th August and has a site capacity of 80,000 people.
The Festival Angels work to provide a helping hand on the festival site, from assisting with carrying bags and setting up tents, to handing out plasters and sun cream, and giving out water to those who have drunk too much alcohol.
As well as providing an efficient and safe lost property service, last year the Angels had 4,000 people regularly visiting their Prayer Cafe, which sells hot drinks and encourages discussion and prayer.
The Revd David Newsome, Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Lichfield and a coordinator of the Festival Pastors team at the V Festival, says, “Last year at the V Festival we gave out 22,500 cups of water to thirsty festival goers.
“This special edition of St. Mark’s Gospel is a great gift to give to those who ask why we do it.”
The Festival Angels formed in 2011 as a branch of the work of the local Street Angels teams.
Paul Blakey MBE set up the Street Angels project in Halifax in November 2005 which has helped to reduce crime in the town centre by 57% and has encouraged similar projects to be set up in over 100 towns across the UK.
The volunteers for the Street Angels provide help and support for those around Halifax town centre on Friday and Saturday nights, whether it involves directing people after a night at the theatre, ensuring the safety of someone walking home from work, or helping drunk people get sober and cleaned up so they can make it safely into a taxi back home.
For his work with the Street Angels, Paul was awarded a MBE by her Majesty the Queen in 2010 and was given the Big Society Award by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.
By expanding the work of the Street Angels to festival sites, and by offering this special edition of Mark’s Gospel to festival-goers, the Angels not only provide security on site, but will give an extended audience a new insight into the Christian faith while giving the opportunity to pray and find out more about Jesus.
For more information on the work at music festivals, please visit: www.festivalnetwork.org.uk .
For more information on the Festival Angels, please visit: http://www.leedsfestivalangels.org.uk/
For more information on the Street Angels, please visit: http://www.sa-cni.org.uk/
For more information on the work of Paul Blakey MBE, please visit: http://www.blakey.org.uk/
For more information on Leeds Festival, please visit: http://www.leedsfestival.com/