This was an annual event from 1947 to 1997 on a June Saturday, modelled on the long-established Durham Miners' Gala, popularly known as the 'Big Meeting'. The initiative came from the Home Mission and Chapel Committee of the Sunderland and Durham WM District, on the suggestion of an Easington local preacher, George Walker. Principal elements in the early meetings were processions with bands and banners, a service in Durham Cathedral, an open-air gathering with distinguished speakers (including most Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Conference) and evening rallies. The programme was streamlined over the years in accordance with changing tastes, to include music, drama and dance and an evening rock concert. Industrial, social and religious changes led to the decision in 1997 to abandon the Meeting in favour of a biennial ecumenical act of witness, beginning at Pentecost in 2000.