Sun shines on worshippers at Big Church Day Out at Wiston

Thousands of people headed to the grounds of Wiston House near Steyning at the weekend to enjoy the annual Big Church Day Out festival.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 4:30 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:38 am
The Big Church Day Out 2016 set in the grounds and estate of Wiston House - picture by Anna Coe

Now in its eighth year, the two-day event attracts people from across the country to enjoy Christian worship and family fun in the heart of the South Downs.

There were more than 50 acts on the five stages over the weekend, including rock and folk bands, gospel choirs as well as comedy and drama.

New for this year were some soloists hailing from Sussex. They shared the stage with Christian music world legends such as Tim Hughes, Matt Redman and Stuart Townend.

Crowds enjoy music and family entertainment at Big Church Day Out 2016 at the Wiston Estate - picture by Anna Coe

Aaron Frith started his musical journey busking on the streets of Chichester and was at Wiston on Saturday performing his Indie style worship.

Sam Archer and Si Parkin, who lead worship together at Arun Community Church in Littlehampton each took to the stage alone. Sam was returning to Wiston after record a four-track EP in the estate’s chapel recently.

Tea with CS Lewis

A big hit was one man act ‘An Evening with CS Lewis’ with actor David Payne. The year is 1963, the place the author’s living room and the audience plays the part of a team of American writers.

London Community Gospel Choir at Big Church Day Out 2016 - picture by Anna Coe

Payne received a standing ovation for his portrayal of Lewis sharing thoughts about his Christian faith, his friendship with JRR Tolkien and about how a letter exchange across the Atlantic from a fan led to love.

After a sell-out tour in America, it is now touring the UK. To find out more go to

expanding to the north

The BCDO team were excited to announce this year, that they will be running an event in the north next year, a week after it is at Wiston.

Worship leader Stuart Townend at Big Church Day Out 2016 - picture by Anna Coe

A spokesman said: “As the Big Church Day Out South has grown over the last eight years, our longing to launch an event in the North of England has become stronger and stronger.

“We’ve been praying of the last three years for the right opportunity and we’ve not been given it,

“We’ve taken a leap of faith and launched BCDO North, to be held next year at Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire.

“We’re really excited that God has opened the doors for us to launch a northern event, and we’re excited for all that He has in store.”

“Like BCDO South, our aim for the North is to see the wider church come together as a demonstration of unity, and to create a space where those form inside the church can invite their fiends and family from outside the church to come and be impacted.”