Popular Christian conference New Wine has been cancelled once again due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The 'United' gatherings were due to be held in July 2021.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by New Wine's National Leader, Rev Paul Harcourt. In a video released by the organisation, Harcourt explained: "We said in the summer that we would keep you fully informed about our planning for United.
"March 2021 is when we would need to make major decisions on contracts, but we know now that the situation in the UK event industry will not have changed sufficiently by then for us to legally, safely and realistically run an event of the size and complexity of United.
"Sadly, we can no longer hold United next year as we know it."
Harcourt said it was important that New Wine puts "safety and public responsibility first".
Despite expressing sadness over the main cancellation, Harcourt revealed some exciting plans for a "six-day digital event" next year, along with some limited in-person gatherings. "We also hope we can gather up to three thousand people on-site at the showground in Peterborough, to experience it live as 'day delegates' whilst we stream" he explained. "They'll be a questionnaire coming out in the coming weeks to ask how we can best serve you in this."
"This year, the context for everything has changed," Harcourt continued.
In a written announcement on the New Wine website, the organisation further clarifies its decision regarding the 2021 events:
"In summary, we cannot hold our United A and B events safely and legally for our normal numbers of around 11,000 – 12,000, as originally planned for the summer of 2021.
"We haven’t taken this decision lightly and have prayed, discerned and applied our best wisdom as we have wrestled with this together and liaised with the events industry and other Christian festivals and events.
"Making this decision now does enable us to concentrate on delivering an awesome alternative option, and we can confirm that we will be running a 6-day digital United event from Thursday 29 July – Tuesday 3 August 2021.
"As we don’t want to close the door on physically gathering next summer unless we absolutely must, we are also trying to find another way to be together in person, even if in limited numbers.
"The following blog provides full details on the decisions we have taken and why, what this means for existing bookings, and plans and possibilities for 2021.
"For those who have already booked for United 21, we want to thank you for your faithfulness. The blog lays out how we will do this. Please rest assured that you don’t need to make any decisions or take any action before early spring 2021, when you will have all the info you need to do so."