The Big Church Day Out Festival will go ahead for the first time since 2019 in West Sussex over the Jubilee weekend and is expected to attract 35,000 worshippers.
Tearfund, the international development charity, will host a music stage alongside a tea garden where they will be raising awareness for those who have been pushed further into poverty by conflict and the coronavirus pandemic.
TV presenter Gemma Hunt, who is hosting Big Church Day Out, said: “After three years, Tearfund and Big Church Day Out are back together again and this year we want to stand with local churches as they support refugee and migrant families.
“I first visited Tearfund’s work in Brazil as a volunteer, back in the year 2000. This year, I met courageous migrants in Colombia and spoke to inspirational pastors who are making a difference to people devastated by poverty, by helping them find jobs and taking care of their spiritual needs.”
One area Tearfund will be raising awareness of is the migrant crisis in Colombia. Around two million people have settled in Colombia after fleeing economic instability in Venezuela and many face hostility and a lack of employment opportunities when they arrive.
Zuleima was one woman who fled Venezuela. She knew the sadness of being apart from family, but she also experienced the love and support of the local church.
Zuleima said: “I missed my parents and my grandparents. We are a large family and it was very difficult to leave it all behind. When I got here the church opened their doors, and they helped me. Not only giving me food and a place to live, but also taking care of my emotions, giving me words of hope, giving me words of faith.”
Zuleima joined a group called ‘Faith and Action’ run for migrant women by Tearfund’s local church partner. The group enables the women to support each other and save together, and equips them to lift themselves out of poverty. Through Faith and Action, Zuleima has started a business making items out of driftwood wood and has been able to purchase a table saw, meaning she can make much more.
Ruth Tormey, Head of Church and Supporter Engagement at Tearfund, said: “I can’t wait for this year’s Big Church Day Out and to be back together again, worshipping and enjoying the Jubilee weekend with each other. However, we cannot ignore the fact that conflict and the coronavirus pandemic have pushed millions of people further into poverty. Working through the local church we can offer practical and spiritual support around the world to help lift communities out of poverty.”
For further information or interview requests contact Matt Cooper: firstname.lastname@example.org or for out-of-hours: 0781 320 5340.
Notes to editors
Photo credit: Linda Esperanza Aragon/Tearfund
Photos of Gemma Hunt can be viewed here
Big Church Day Out Festival will take place on 3rd and 4th June. Performers include Matt Redman, Guvna B, Melissa Helser and Rend Collective.
Further information about Tearfund’s work helping families recover from conflict and Covid-19 can be found here
Tearfund is a Christian charity that partners with churches in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries. We tackle poverty through sustainable development, responding to disasters and challenging injustice. We believe an end to extreme poverty is possible. Tearfund is also a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit www.tearfund.org.