Visitors to Keswick Convention are thrilled the event is on the combined Pencil Factory and Rawnsley sites for the very first time.
This is a momentous year as the three-week Convention has moved onto the Pencil Factory site which is under-going a major transformation.
During the Convention (17th July – 6th August), meetings are being held in the factory’s former Packing Hall, as well as on the newly refurbished ground floor of the Pencil Factory and also a relay tent and youth tent on site. Keswick Methodist is also a relay venue.
A village green area has been created on the site with an awning, picnic benches and a huge chair, made from wooden beams from the former factory.
At the opening night of the Convention, Steve Harwood, Deputy Mayor of Keswick, welcomed convention goers and praised Keswick Ministries for their hard work getting the site ready for this year’s Convention.
He said: “We are very grateful that Keswick Ministries took the brave decision to restore and renovate the existing iconic building with appropriate flood protection measures to provide a new conference centre which will suit the future needs of the convention and the local community throughout the year.”
A raft of Covid measures is in place at the Convention, such as wearing masks inside and twice weekly lateral flow tests, as the event continues into its second week.
Despite the government lifting restrictions on 19th July, Keswick Ministries, which runs the event has retained social distancing measures and Covid procedures for conventioners, staff and volunteers to follow.
The organisation is being guided by Allerdale’s Environmental Health and Cumbria County Council for the event.
David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer for Keswick Ministries, said: “We are conscious that the Convention may be the first event that people are attending since coming out of lockdown and government restrictions lifting and we want to make sure everyone on site stays safe, so the Covid procedures will be maintained throughout.
“We have had some great feedback from Conventioners who are enjoying meeting together and hearing a range of Convention talks.”
One Conventioner said: “An outstanding conference which must have taken an enormous effort considering the move to the Pencil Factory site and the Covid restrictions. Excellent relay and facilities at the Methodist Church. A real treat to hear such wonderful speakers.”
This year’s programme features Morning Bible Readings, Evening Celebrations, Keswick Lectures, a selection of Seminars, as well as programmes for families and youth, all based on the theme of Faithful.
Topics include mental health, our relationships within marriage, family and talks about God’s faithfulness.
BBC Radio 4 also recorded one of the Evening Celebrations last week, and the meeting featured in the Sunday Worship programme this Sunday.
Main meetings are being streamed online and are available on catch-up via the Convention website: vkc.keswickministries.org