Putting the protest back in Protestant

Take one stand-up comedian and mediator, an actor, activist and biblical scholar, a team of peace activists, and a handful of turbulent priests. Each one exploring the connection between spirituality and activism. Add to that, Quaker worship in stillness that settles, calms and opens hearts. This week, Quakers are offering this mix to thousands enjoying Greenbelt Festival.

Q logo Greenbelt logo two blue hands

The festival runs from 24–27 August at Boughton House, Northamptonshire. Tickets for Acts of Imagination are still available.

Threading through the weekend will be conversations about the call of protest as a form of witness and how God-words can get in the way when sharing experiences of the divine. Several dozen supposedly 'silent' Quakers will be on hand to talk about their faith journey, as well as tricky topics like death and finding hope when society feels broken. Workshops and worship will stimulate witness and sharpen skills for activities like peace education.


God asks me to work for peace and justice for all.

- Sam Walton, Quakers in Britain


The invitation in the programme says this: "Meet the Quakers. From civil wars to civil unions, Quakerism has always meddled in British history. This is an opportunity to talk to a Quaker and find out what's happening in the ResisTent this weekend. Whether it's sabotaging the arms industry or unpacking end-of-life issues, join us to explore what your faith calls you to do in these turbulent times."

Sam Walton of Quakers in Britain and Methodist minister Dan Woodhouse tried to disarm war planes. They got caught, arrested, tried and acquitted. Sam asks what happens when society's values run counter to God's purposes. His session is 'Putting the protest back in Protestant'. In his blog he writes this, "As a person of faith, my first loyalty must be to God's purposes, to act on conscience even when it is not easy. But I'm not a Quaker because it is easy. I'm a Quaker because I know experientially there is that of God in everyone and that means God asks me to work for justice and peace for all."

This year, Quakers in Britain are an associate of Greenbelt.

Arrested, tried and acquitted