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  • News

    Keswick Ministries' Convention Youth Leader leads new Charity

    21 September 2018


    Mel Lacy, leader of the Keswick Convention’s Youth summer programme and full-time faculty member at Oakhill College, London has launched a new Charity for young Christians called Growing Young Disciples.

    Mel leads the youth teaching as part of the Keswick Convention children’s ministry, which, each year, hosts around 1,200 young people during the 3 weeks of the Convention. Now, Mel is launching an exciting new charity called ‘Growing Young Disciples’, which will provide training, resources and consultancy services to all those involved in children’s and youth ministry in local churches.
    “Growing Young Disciples is an expression of my passion to see young people raised in the knowledge of Christ and to equip those who teach them with Biblical resources which are relevant in today’s Christian context”, says Mel. “I am looking forward to getting this young charity off the ground and making a difference to the lives of our young people.”

    Keswick Ministries Director, James Robson commented, “Young people today face unprecedented challenges. We live in a fractured society with increasing religious intolerance. 'They are suffering, and we see the need to invest in, draw alongside and help them, in conjunction with their churches and families. It is essential that we step up and invest in the future generation, so they can move forward in their faith and lives with confidence. We can see this type of commitment at the Convention’s youth programme and it is wonderful that Mel has now taken the opportunity to launch Growing Young disciples. It is a generational investment that will help young people by training up others to serve them effectively.”

    In addition, Growing Young Disciples will provide training and resources for individual youth workers and churches, and will also facilitate a number of training events and conferences each year. The first of these training events, CONTEND, will run at from 14 – 17 January 2019 at Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre.

    Growing Young Disciples is fostering exciting links with a number of organisations and is hoping to help churches and parachurch organisations strategically think about how to reach and raise a new generation for Christ.

    Melanie was born in Ireland and has been living in the United Kingdom for almost 20 years. For 9 years she was a faculty member at Oak Hill. Throughout this time, she has been involved with children’s and youth ministry and remains committed to raising passionate and confident young Christians. She will continue heading up the Keswick Convention summer youth programme.

    David Sawday: “Mel has been instrumental in leading the Keswick Convention’s youth programme for the last 6 years. Her work is not only renowned among those attending, but churches across the country and other parts of the world. Mel is committed to Biblical and family-centred teaching. Our congratulations go to her. We are absolutely delighted that she is now sharing her expertise with the many dedicated youth and church leaders across Christian denominations. Her years of experience offer invaluable insights and a selection of rich resources, addressing the real issues young people of today face.”

    For more information on Growing Young Disciples go to:

  • News

    The first 15 prizes go to the winners of the Friends of Keswick Initiative

    15 September 2018

    Emily James - winner of Friends of Keswick

    Keswick, 11 September 2018 – This summer’s Friends of Keswick initiative sees its first round of winners with fantastic prizes donated by more than 15 Keswick shops, tourist attractions and activity providers.

    The Friends of Keswick initiative was launched by the Keswick Tourism Association in conjunction with the Newlands Activity Centre and Keswick Ministries. The aim of the initiative, similar to the Lakeland pound, was to encourage summer visitors, in particular those visiting the Keswick Convention to shop locally in support of the much-loved Lake District market town.

    “The Friends of Keswick initiative is a fantastic example of how businesses in a town like Keswick can come together and create something that is of real benefit. This was the first year for the initiative and it gave a sound base to build on in the future. We are extremely grateful to all of the businesses that took part and especially to those that donated prizes. I will be speaking to the KTA board about the scheme and we will consider whether it is something we are able to roll out on a more permanent basis or whether we continue it as a short-term summer scheme. Either way, it is really important that we carry on encouraging both residents and visitors to shop locally because it really does make a difference to our local economy.”, Vanessa Metcalfe, Keswick Tourism Association.

    David Sawday, COO for Keswick Ministries: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative which has created a real buzz amongst conventioners and the community in Keswick. The Convention brings thousands of visitors to Keswick each year and we want them both to have a great time here and be a source of real benefit to the town. Friends of Keswick encourages involvement between conventioners and local businesses and following the wonderful feedback we’d love to be involved again next year.”

    Winner of a Family ticket for the Derwent Water launch, Emily James, is looking forward to her prize and hopes the initiative will run again next year: “One of the reasons why I really love coming to Keswick is because of the Keswick Convention and its great Christian teaching and worship. We also always stay another week after, as well, because of the scenic walks, bustling high street and the fun boat rides on Derwentwater, so I am delighted that I have won a ticket for my family on the Derwentwater launch which we expect to use when we return for our annual holiday next year. Also, I think the Friends of Keswick scheme was a great idea because it encourages people to use local shops and facilities. My younger sister and I competed to see who would fill up their card with stamps first to get a badge, and lots of the shopkeepers commented on how successful the scheme had been for them so I hope it runs again next year.”

  • News

    Asbestos removal starts at former Pencil Factory site

    7 September 2018

    Zeras Industries team at the former Pencil Factory site

    The first steps have begun on the renovation of the former Pencil Factory in Keswick with the start of an eight-week programme to remove asbestos from the buildings.

    This work is being carried out in preparation for a major revamp that will see the historic factory building transformed into a conference centre and the existing former factory warehouse and admin building demolished to create space for the main tent during the Keswick Convention.

    Contractor Zeras Industries of Carlisle was awarded the £50,000 contract this Spring and will now start working on behalf of Keswick Ministries to remove asbestos from all of the buildings. Areas with asbestos include the roof spaces of the factory, gaskets in various rooms and flash pads from numerous electrical boxes.

    Lee Scott, operations manager from Zeras Industries, said: “We are pleased to be awarded the contract for this important part of the refurbishment of this building. The pencil factory is a local treasure and we are delighted to be part of the renovation project.”

    A team of five men is carrying out the asbestos removal in “fully controlled conditions” which includes two decontamination units. Their work will cover the main pencil factory, the old admin building, a large former packing hall and other ancillary buildings.

    Stephen Jackson, of Baker Mallett Quantity Surveyors, said: “It is vital for the asbestos works to be carried out, so that demolition of the admin building, packing hall, and buildings to the north of the pencil factory, as well as the refurbishment of the pencil factory, can proceed in a safe manner and avoid any remaining asbestos fibres being released.”

    Asbestos was widely used in the 1900's as an insulating material in buildings. However, it is now known to cause diseases, like lung cancer and asbestosis.
    The asbestos would have posed little risk to those in the building but is required by law to be removed in a controlled manner before any further works or demolition takes place. The specialist team will ensure than none of the material escapes into surrounding environment during the removal process.

    David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer for Keswick Ministries said: “This is a major milestone in the renovation of this iconic building. Our £10million investment in this project will ensure that the unique qualities of the Pencil Factory are retained, as we create a major new facility that will be a source of great pride and benefit to the town.”

    It is expected that Keswick Ministries' plans will go before the Lake District National Park next month. The plans also include moving the main Convention Marquee from its current location in Skiddaw Street to the Pencil Factory site for the 2020 Keswick Convention.

  • News

    Teaching and Training events programme launched for 2018/19

    31 August 2018

    Influential Leadership Workshop

    A renowned Broadway star, acclaimed authors and Christian preachers are set to speak at a host of workshops organised by Keswick Ministries.

    The organisation has launched its 2018/ 2019 programme of Teaching and Training events which features the likes of actor Bruce Kuhn, author Ted Turnau and leadership consultant Simon Barrington.

    Other guest speakers include Johnny Juckes, president of Oak Hill Theological College, in London and James Robson, Ministry Director of Keswick Ministries.

    Mr Robson said: “Our 2018/2019 Teaching and Training programme is aimed at equipping, refreshing and encouraging people and helping them grow in their Christian faith. There’s something for everyone - great teaching, great teachers and the venue of Keswick in the heart of the beautiful Lake District makes these courses a unique proposition. We’re also pleased that courses will attract visitors to Keswick outside the main tourist season - as the programme develops this will become of increasing benefit to the town.”
    Registration is now open for all twelves courses.
    Two intensive workshops that get to grips with Hebrew, the language of the Bible’s Old Testament, are taking place next month. Pastors, church planters, overseas workers and students are invited to the 24-hour workshops led by Mr Robson on September 18-19 and 25-26.
    Then on October 13th, Christians from across Cumbria and surrounding areas will have the chance to attend a one-day workshop looking at Christian beliefs on being a follower of Jesus, particularly how Jesus taught his disciples how to spread the Gospel. This will be led by guest speaker Johnny Juckes, President of Oak Hill College in London.

    Mr Juckes said: “Jesus is the master Disciple maker. The fact that our culture is less welcoming of historic Christian convictions encourages us to focus on Jesus and learn from him again what discipleship and the making of Disciples actually involves.”

    Between 22 - 26 October, a week-long intensive study course, Culture Uncovered: Cultural Engagement for Kids & Youth Ministry, will be held for those who are in full or part-time children’s or youth ministry.

    Guest speakers will be author Ted Turnau, a college lecturer who teaches Cultural Studies and Religion in Prague; Mel Lacy, Director of Theology for children’s and youth ministry training at Oak Hill College, in London and Mr Robson, of Keswick Ministries.

    Courses available in the New Year include a workshop with actor Bruce Kuhn, who has performed in Les Miserables on Broadway and now tours his solo shows worldwide. He will be teaching a five-day course between 8-12 April.

    While a five-day influential leadership course will be held between 20-24 May with guest speaker Simon Barrington, who is the Founder and Director of Forge Leadership Consultancy. Prior to that Mr Barrington led Samaritan’s Purse UK as Chief Executive.
    All but one of the workshops will be held at Keswick Ministries' Rawnsley site.

    The plan is that in the future the Teaching and Training programme will be held in the proposed refurbished Pencil Factory. Keswick Ministries will be transforming the former Pencil Factory into a modern conference centre that will be let commercially to businesses and organisations from around the country for conferences. KM’s plan will attract 5,000 additional visitors to the town each year outside the main tourist season and generate income and jobs for the town. The venue will also be available for Christian and local events.

    To register for the courses go to

  • News

    Speakers for 2019 Keswick Convention confirmed

    16 August 2018

    Convention 2018

    Keswick Ministries has now confirmed its main Bible speakers for the 2019 Convention. Once again, the Keswick Convention will host some of the leading Bible speakers of our time. They are:
    • Week 1: 13 - 19 July, John Risbridger,
    • Week 2: 20 - 26 July, Vaughan Roberts,
    • Week 3: 27 July - 2 August, Ray Ortlund

    John Risbridger is the former Chair of Keswick Ministries and is currently Chair of Council for the Evangelical Alliance. He is the minister and team leader for Above Bar Church in Southampton and has a passion for evangelism. The church leader is also author of The Message of Worship.

    Vaughan Roberts is Rector of St. Ebbe’s Church, Oxford and a prolific speaker and writer of some very well-known book titles including God’s Big Picture, God’s Big Design and True Spirituality. He is also the director of the Proclamation Trust, an organisation that encourages and equips Bible teachers.

    Ray Ortlund is Lead Pastor at Immanuel Nashville, and part of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. He is also a world-renown Evangelical leader and speaker. His book Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel was one of the top Christian book sellers in 2017.

    James Robson, Ministry Director of Keswick Ministries, said: "The Keswick Convention has a worldwide reputation for the quality of the bible teaching we offer. Once again, we have attracted three speakers who are renowned for their strong Biblical teaching and challenging messages. The confirmation that they are joining us means that we can already start to look forward to another inspiring event next Summer.

    The theme of the 2019 Convention is Longing – the concept of Christians wanting a better world under Christ.

    Mr Robson said: “The desire for a greater knowledge of God captivated those who founded the Keswick Convention, so ”Longing" is a natural and inspirational theme for us to return to in 2019.

    “Longing is part of being human and we will be considering the view that all of us are searching for a deeper meaning in life. Although we may try to fill our lives with many different everyday pleasures, the only way to be truly satisfied is through a relationship with God. It is only when we have a relationship with God that we can truly experience satisfaction, healing and peace. Longing is common to all mankind and longing can only be satisfied by the one who created us. It’s often described as ‘A completeness in Christ.’”

    Speaker John Risbridger said: “The question I want to unpack in our exploration of the Psalms at Keswick 2019 is; What would life look like if we nurtured longing for God as the defining desire of our hearts? We know God wants to draw us closer, take us deeper and send us further in our journey with him. If this shape our values, influence our choices, defines the people we want to be - then we will long for change in us, long for impact in society and long for a new creation.”

    Among those already looking forward to next year’s Convention and discussing the theme of “Longing” is local pastor Gary Brown, from New Life Church in Whitehaven.

    He said: “As humans we are all a patchwork of hopes, fears and dreams that we could sum up by the idea of ‘longing’. The message of Jesus Christ brings a solid foundation to all of these areas of human life and flourishing. The Keswick Convention serves us wonderfully once more by bringing faithful teaching and faithful teachers to inspire us and challenge us all. I and the church I serve will make the 2019 Keswick Convention a priority.”

    The dates and themes of the 2019 Keswick Convention were shared with Conventioners and many have already booking accommodation for 2019.

    A spokesperson for Sally’s Cottages said: "The phone calls and emails have been coming in from Conventioners wanting to book accommodation. We have received a lot of re-bookings for 2019 from Conventioners, and it seems to have been at a higher rate than usual.
    “We are delighted that, this year, attendees had more opportunity to get to know Keswick and to enjoy everything our lovely town has to offer. We hope more people will continue to explore the town’s attractions next year.”

    Mr Robson added: "The Keswick Convention has been going for 143 years and I genuinely feel our programme gets stronger and stronger each year.
    “It’s a delight to announce the speakers for our main morning bible readings for 2019. Our other plans for next year are already fitting into place. It’s also encouraging to see and hear from so many Conventioners who are so enthusiastic and already making plans to return to Keswick!”