‘Sense of belonging’ at URC Big Day Out

Pilots Summit Group ShotExcitement is mounting for the URC Big Day Out 2017 at Warwick Castle on 20 May. The festival for all ages will be hosted by Pilots, the URC’s ecumenical, non-uniformed organisation for children and young people.

Activities will run from 10am to 5pm in the historic and beautiful setting. A festival-like programme on the Pageant Field will celebrate many aspects of the URC’s life, with participants including the URC’s General Secretary John Proctor; Neil Thorogood, Principal of Westminster College; Paul Northup, Creative Director of the Greenbelt festival; Wayne Hawkins, Mission Secretary (Europe) for the Council for World Mission; and representatives from the Christian Aid Collective and Messy Church.

Individuals and groups, with their church communities and wider family and friends, are all welcome to be part of what promises to be a day to remember. An enthusiastic event crew has also been keen to sign on the dotted line and take part in the event; among them synod moderators, Assembly Moderators and Church House staff.

Many attending the Pilots Summit meeting in January (pictured) were quick to voice their support for the May celebration.

Anne Hatch, Regional Pilots for the North West Region, said: ‘One of the best things about big days out is seeing the Pilots faces when they realise that there are others with badges and bags just like them and that they are part of more than their own company. It's about belonging. Meeting people from all over the country some you know but most you don't who have something in common.'

Alan Kendal, Regional Pilots Officer for the Yorkshire Region, agreed: 'I always enjoy the Big Day Out no matter where it is, because for me it is about catching up with old friends, and the lively worship we all share together. The other activities provided by the venue and by Pilots are the icing on the cake!'

Yvonne Campbell, Regional Pilots Officer for the Mersey Region and General Secretary of the Congregational Federation, added: 'It is such a special day as it gives Pilots an opportunity to get to know each other better and experience being with other Pilots, giving a bigger sense of belonging. The day is so uplifting, it gives me new enthusiasm for my work with Pilots.'

Mick Smerdon, Regional Pilots Officer for Scotland, is looking forward to the whole adventure: 'Every Big Day Out for us is special and starts early in the morning. For us the journey is all part of the adventure, coming from the North of Scotland we don’t get the opportunity to see other Pilots Companies so this is our chance to meet and join in with other Pilots from across the land. We usually stay in church halls but this year we will bring our tents to Warwick Castle and camp, the excitement is building and we have already practiced putting the tents up in the church hall. We look forward to seeing you all at Warwick!'

Further details are available from the Feasts and Festivals desk or 020 7916 8637, and booking forms should be returned as soon as possible, but no later than 31 March 2017.