Topics of technology and life are being tackled alongside a rich programme of Bible talks in Week One of Keswick Convention.
The annual three-week event began on Saturday (13 July) and will run until Friday 2 August.
As the theme of this year’s Convention is Longing, speakers are looking at what the Bible says about it and how that relates to topical issues in society today. Speakers include Professor John Wyatt, Emeritus Professor of Neo-Natal Paediatrics at University College London who is also a senior researcher at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge University.
He is speaking this week about technology and the future of humanity, looking at issues surrounding the beginning of life, artificial life and the end of life. He said: “I’ve been speaking on the wonder of what it means to be human, we are incredibly fragile and vulnerable as humans and yet each person is irreplaceable and of incredible value and so we want to pursue technology that supports that.”
Havilah Dharamraj, who teaches the Old Testament in a leading post-grad evangelical seminary in Bangalore in India, is leading seminars on the Bible book of Song of Songs. She said: “This is my second time at Keswick, the first was almost 15 years ago when I was a student at the university of Durham and this year I’m here as a speaker. I’m so looking forward to seeing how it feels to be in Keswick again and to enjoy celebrating God.”
Four topical seminar steams running from prominent speakers. There are also morning Bible readings, led by John Risridger from Southampton, as well as a variety of speakers in the evening celebrations.
This year, the pencil factory building is a venue for part of the popular children’s programme. Children (6-7’s in Weeks 2 and 3, and 8-11’s across all three weeks) will move from marquees on the Rawnsley site into the former Pencil Factory.
Free tours of the pencil factory are also taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week of the Convention at 2pm and 3.30pm. (See booking details below) The Convention is partnering with Keswick’s Alhambra Cinema to run special afternoon showings of The Secret life of Pets 2 for families at the Convention. And Keswick Climbing wall are running an activities afternoon.
Every year people come from all over the world to Keswick for the Convention. Brad Virgus, who is visiting with his wife Shona and their three children, said: “We’ve come from Perth, Australia and this is our second time at Convention. We are really looking forward to the singing, teaching and spending time with friends. We are hoping to do some activities on the lake and go on some hikes!”
On the opening night of the Convention, the mayor and mayoress of Keswick, David and Elaine Burn, welcomed Conventioners.
Mr Burn highlighted all that Keswick has to offer. He said: “We obviously have wonderful scenery and a beautiful town, but we also have some great retailers in Keswick, and some amazing accommodation, pubs, restaurants and café, and some outlets have actually changed the times they serve food to fit in with your programme.
“We also have some excellent activity providers in the area, and a gem of a cinema. The privately-owned Alhambra is putting on a special afternoon showing of a The Secret Life of Pets 2 for Conventioners each week of the Convention.
“Last year a number of businesses in the town signed up to a Friends of Keswick loyalty card scheme. The scheme was so successful that even more businesses have joined this year, and it gives me great pleasure to formally launch the 2019 scheme.
“So please enjoy our town while you are here. Take advantage of the wonderful products that many Keswick businesses have to offer, and I hope you all have a great Convention.”
Keswick Ministries is inviting people both locally and from further afield to come along to the Convention. David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer at Keswick Ministries, said: “The Convention is a time of refreshment and inspiration for visitors. The combination of great Bible teaching in a World Heritage Site, surrounded by amazing countryside, is something that visitors’ value enormously and return year after year to enjoy. We want people to enjoy everything that Keswick has to offer, so their stay is both a blessing to them and the town.”
Week 2 – What’s on?
• Daily Bible readings with Vaughan Roberts on the Bible book Song of Songs
• Seminars getting to grips with mental health by Chris Munday
• The Keswick Lecture- Prof Keith Fox- Contemporary challenges in bio ethics
• Pencil Factory tours Tuesdays to Thursdays 2pm and 3.30pm.