June Fest embraces many cultures

by Marian Gonzaga Orfila Ettmüller

Activities and decoration of the event
Activities and decoration of the event

The city of Liverpool has always been a place of great diversity with people originating from many countries. Today this is reflected in the Liverpool ward of the Church, where members come from as many as 50 different nations. It is amazing how the gospel is able to connect people from so many places and backgrounds.

“It is important to embrace these wonderful cultures while also not losing your own identity and heritage as an English ward.”

David Hoare, Bishop of Liverpool ward

In order to help integrate the mix of cultures, the ward organised an event called June Fest, with three purposes: to raise funds for the For the Strength of Youth (FSY) programme, to provide missionary opportunities, and to strengthen unity in the ward.
It was inspired by a Brazilian holiday called Festa Junina.

In Brazil, Festa Junina marks the beginning of winter but the Liverpool ward, being located in northern hemisphere, decided to mark the beginning of summer.

One of the organisers of the event, Talita Mateus, said: “What I like about the event is that we are mixing our cultures. Yes, it is a big deal in Brazil, but it is so great that we are adding a British flavour to it, with performances and great food!”

Members preparing the food that was sold to help the youth with the FSY funds
Members preparing the food that was sold to help the youth with the FSY funds

The amazing efforts of all members in preparing the event helped build unity among them 

Bishop Hoare said, “The time and effort put in by several large multi-cultural organising committees to have a Brazilian theme but linked with traditional English fête type games and blend of live music and excellent food brought a special spirit to all who attended.”

As a result, all goals were achieved: money was raised to assist youth at FSY; about 500 people attended the activity, about 300 of whom were non-members.

Said Amy Bogh, a member of the Liverpool ward, “I have never been to an activity and seen so many people leave with a Book of Mormon and a smile on their face. It was the spirit of the event that was created that suddenly made the approaching missionaries less intimidating, less 'project like' and ensured a warmer reception. In all my 40 years in the Church, I've never seen such success. A formula that needs to be repeated!”