The Big Church Day Out is a Christian Music which has been held at Wiston House in West Sussex since 2009. This was the first year that the Non-profit organisation had ventured up North, hosting a second festival in Cheshire at Capesthorne Hall at the start of June. This is where myself and 10,000 other Christians, including Dioceses, parishes, youth groups, families and friendship groups gathered together for the weekend.  It was great to just have a journey of a couple of hours, instead of the 8/9 hours we had been travelling for the past few years to West Sussex.

We travelled as a small group from Lancaster Diocese setting up camp in a sun covered field on Thursday afternoon. Before long there were tents as far as the eye could see and a real buzz around the place. As Friday came and more people arrived the buzz continued to grow, as did our group. We moved over to the arena for the first time where we found the 3 stages of music as well as the Kingdom Come Tent, set aside especially for worship. Some of the biggest acts in the genre of Christian music played on the main stage throughout the two days including Tim Hughes, Bethel Music, Rend Collective and Reuben Morgan from Hillsong Worship. Alongside this were new acts playing for the first time but all with one aim, to lead all 10,000 people in the praise and worship of God. And that is what sets this festival aside from others. To the untrained eye this festival could have been Leeds/Reading, T in the Park or V Fest. But to those in attendance it was a community of Christians, coming together to praise God and give witness to the Gospel, all led by artists who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News.

A personal highlight for me was being in our camping area, 13 of us in 6 tents, ready to celebrate Mass for Pentecost. After bumping into a few friends the night before and letting them know where we were camping, before we knew it we had gone from a small congregation of 13 to a much larger group, all together ready to celebrate the birthday of the Church on our final morning of camping at the Big Church Day Out! It was a blessed way to end our weekend in Cheshire. The Church is alive!

Next year’s dates are 26/27 May in the South and 1-2 June 2018 in the North. Think about joining us!

Richard Teasdale, Workington