Faith Matters

4 Corners Festival 2021: Take a deep breath...

Rev Steve Stockman and Fr Martin Magill, co-chairs and founders of the 4 Corners Festival, explain the theme of this year's programme, which starts next week

The 4 Corners Festival, which starts next week, hopes to help bring Belfast together in these difficult times. Picture by Mal McCann

AS a festival we felt blessed that we got through our 2020 programme before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

It was not very long into our planning for 2021 that we realised that this year's festival would be like none of the previous eight.

We surmised that the festival might be a hybrid of virtual and gathering but we never imagined that we would be back into lockdown.

Yet, we are ready for a locked-down festival. We believe that the programme which starts next Friday, January 31, and runs to February 7 is a strong festival that will bring Belfast together in these difficult times and do that in ways that will help us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Our theme for 2021 is 'Breathe'. In the times we are living through it has been necessary at times to stop and just breathe - take a deep breath for some calming relief.

But we do not mean 'breathe' simply as a passive brief break in the Covid-19 difficulties.

The Hebrew word for breath is 'Ruach'. In the very first verses of Genesis, Ruach is translated 'spirit' and is the very source of life. This is the Spirit of God hovering over the depths, creating a world.

We believe that God is still hovering. In 2021 the depths happen to be coronavirus.

So, the 2021 4 Corners Festival will seek to tap into that spirit and breathe hope into our city, fostering creativity and resilience as we respond to the challenges of the pandemic and the grace and imagination that will help us travel through it to a better world beyond.

Come and breathe with us. Breathe in for our own need of grace... breathe out for the imagination that our society needs right now. Breathe...

More about the programme for this year's 4 Corners Festival can be found here.

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Faith Matters