Conversation's with Friends

Amanda Cook

We managed to snag a sneaky catch-up with our great friend  Amanda Cook before she heads our way for Big Church 2023! Get ready for some golden insight and to dive into the deep as she shares with us her heart for worship, her deep connection and history with West Sussex, and her unravelling through her gift in music. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on board. 

We know very well that the UK loves having you over to share your heart for worship with us. We also know you are no stranger to the Wiston estate, what does this place mean to you personally, and how does that impact the way you lead worship at Big Church?

“This is the most precious question! I came to the UK 5 years ago and ended up in Sussex to heal, this led to a full inner unravelling. It became a safe and secure place to just be, taking long walks and asking questions. To reclaim some personal things and centre my thoughts. It’s a pilgrimage. 

Being in old church buildings was really centering for me. This old parish church I attend here: Holds something beautiful – it was built by a couple of travelling monks. This place in West Sussex is all about deep connection for me. I have so much love for it and I am so loved by it.

Also knowing the Goring family, who own Wiston Estate, I love them! They are the best-kept secret. Everything they do is a beautiful family event. They centre their decisions around being a healthy family, I read somewhere that the mark of a healthy family is moving as slowly as the slowest member. They live that out and you feel that on the fields of Big Church at Wiston so naturally.”

“Music is medicine to me when my brain is spinning out. It’s a way of gently leading my soul to God. He is the space and spacious place where we need to be.”

Last year you graciously allowed me to add on a last-minute set at the Worship Tent which was amazing! This year you are back, and there is something so special about the way you hold the Worship Tent. We have such a diverse range of people worshipping, all mixed up together. When you enter that space as a worship leader how does that feel and how do you hold that together?

“First of all, I love the diversity at Big Church – it’s so inviting! There is such a celebration of coming together in a tent, on a field. You can be on the outskirts of the tent and still encounter and observe (which is where I love to be!), It feels so unthreatening and we need safe spaces for people to process their faith. We need to feel the safety, compassion, and kindness of God to be led to change our minds. Repentance is changing our minds.

Music is medicine to me when my brain is spinning out. It’s a way of gently leading my soul to God. He is the space and spacious place where we need to be. That is what I try and do through leading worship, which is giving grace for everyone’s way of coming to Jesus by creating an environment where others can feel safe to be changed by him in and through worship. It’s all about getting out of our daily busyness and experiencing ways of expressing our love for Jesus. “

Last year your new album State of the Union had just been released a month prior to Big Church, giving you so many new songs to share with us! Can you share with us what have you been up to since then?

“State of the union ended up as a trilogy as a 3 part project. Currently, I’m starting a new project and it’s called Survey, it should be out around the time of Big Church! It’s church language-focused, Ive been on the hunt for the simple language of love being expressed through prayer, and through liturgy.

In the past, I have been terrified of getting God wrong, but through this project Ive allowed myself to freely display my love for Jesus. Ive allowed myself to weather a bit and find out that Jesus is with me the whole time, He is my best friend! The mystery of music is so wonderful! 

Whilst doing these musical projects is like letting my journal fall open to the world, I also value private faith as much as public. Over the years I have learned It’s not my job to do PR for Jesus, he doesn’t need a publicity stunt. All I want to do is keep a record of how life is developing for me in my faith, my life, and my soul, then share it through music. Survey is built around that, and I am really looking forward to sharing it with you all in the Worship Tent this year.”

Play video

Recording Live | Amanda Cook – Our Jesus

We can’t wait to hear it! I know I am so drawn in already. We know from the line-up you will be seeing some very familiar faces at Big Church this year. Is this something that you look forward to, seeing some good friends that you have written songs with and journeyed with?

“I just love seeing my friends there, I love seeing one person after another share their art in such an inspiring space, and I love the conversations that happen while walking around the fields. Overhearing the songs and walking from place to place and sharing food, the whole experience is naturally so communal. The community at this event kind of creates this big hug around us all as we connect with one another so deeply.”

This means a lot to me as the event organiser. Whilst a lot of the event is about the music, the moments that I sense the presence of God and that warm tingly feeling is seeing families and kids enjoying their time together, huge smiles on their faces.

“Well Big Church Festival is creating remarkable memories for families. It’s a profound moment to be able to have all together with artists and families across the site. You are creating a witness in faith for kids to share moments with people or they don’t necessarily go to Church with, and we so desperately need that in our culture.”


We are thrilled that Amanda will join us again at Big Church this year! Her deep connection with the Wiston estate, overflowing heart for worship, understanding of humanity, and intimacy with Jesus will undoubtedly propel us into fresh expressions of worship. Last year’s set was a wonderful surprise to all, but you can be led by Amanda live at the Worship tent this year and not miss a thing, buy your tickets today!


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