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  • News

    Youngsters hear Easter story thanks to venture with Police & Crime Commissioner

    23 April 2019

    Police and Crime Commissioner with bibles

    Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, joined Keswick Ministries in bringing the Easter story to children at St. Herberts School, Keswick.

    The Commissioner read the Easter Story to children in Key Stage 1. Mr McCall read from the award-winning Sally Lloyd Jones ‘Story Book Bible’ of which Keswick Ministries donated 40 copies to the school as well as a special audio edition with actor David Suchet.
    Forty children listened carefully and followed up with excellent questions as the Commissioner explained the meaning of Easter. Moved by the story, Riley (7) from Year 2 said that he really liked the book, because it was quite emotional. Evie (6) enjoyed the fact that it had a happy ending.
    “What a wonderful privilege to be with St. Herbert’s School during Holy Week and to share with them the Easter Story, which is a fantastic message of hope which we all need in this world. Some lovely children - and in my job as Police and Crime Commissioner it is great to see the enthusiasm from our young folk and I wish we could capture it!” said Mr McCall.
    “We are delighted to have the Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, join us to bring the Easter message to the children of St. Herbert’s School. We are committed to serving our local community and, as a Christian charity, are particularly keen to find ways to share the Good news of the Gospel of Christ with those around us. These gorgeous story book bibles illustrated by Jago, are a fantastic way to do this and we hope the children enjoy them!”, said David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer for Keswick Ministries.

  • News

    Hundreds of pounds raised in past two months for Derwent Project

    2 April 2019

    James Adam landscape pic

    Generous Conventioners have donated £540 towards James Adams' fundraising walk in aid of the Derwent Project - in the last two months.
    The 78-year-old Convention volunteer will be tackling the famous Santiago de Compostela walking challenge later this month. He told Keswick Ministries that his training involves walking 100 miles a week.
    “I’ve got all my accommodation and travelling booked - and I’m raring to go!” he said.
    The 470-mile walk starts in Saint Jean Pied, in France, and will end in Santiago, in Spain. James expects the challenge to take more than one month, but he is delighted to be joined by fellow Convention volunteer Ray Smith for around four days of the journey.
    Further along on the route James will then be joined by a friend from Great Harwood, Lancashire, and the pair will complete the final 60 miles together.
    James has previously shared his reasons for completing the walk: “First and foremost, it is a pilgrimage and as such I want to commune with God and to find out what He has in store for me on the next stage of my life. Second, I hope and pray that people will respond in a positive way to raise funds for the Derwent Project.”
    James will fly from Manchester to Bilbao, and then travel by bus to Bayonne and then onto the starting point of St Jean Pied de Port. He will start the walk on April 26 and will return home on May 31.

    Click here to view James' fundraising page and details of how you can donate

  • News

    Keswick Convention 2019 speakers announced

    4 March 2019

    Amy Orr-Ewing

    Speakers Andy Prime, Duncan Forbes and Amy Orr-Ewing will be joining in our packed programme at Keswick Convention this Summer.
    Andy is set to speak at an evening celebration in Week One. He is a graduate from Oak Hill College and was an Associate Pastor at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh. In September 2014, he joined 20schemes and in 2017 planted a church in a housing scheme of Edinburgh called Gracemount.
    Duncan will be leading seminars and speaking at evening celebrations in Week Two. He was born and raised on a large council estate in London, where he now serves as a pastor. He’s been involved in overseas missionary work, and in the UK: prison ministry, drug rehab work, and youth outreach on various council estates. He and his wife Shay have an urban music ministry. Duncan runs the Urban Ministry Program to equip people to make disciples who make disciples in the urban context.
    Amy will be speaking at an evening celebration in Week Three. She is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa Director of RZIM. She leads a team of pioneering apologist-evangelists and speaks around the world on how the Christian faith answers the deepest questions of life. Amy gained a DPhil (doctorate) in Theology from the University of Oxford. She is also the co-founder of REBOOT, a youth apologetics initiative aimed at helping young people think deeply about faith.
    More details about speakers will be revealed in coming months!
    Plans are also being put into place for guided walks and outdoor activities to be held each week of the Convention which people can sign up for.

  • News

    Alhambra Cinema to run afternoon screenings for Conventioners

    15 February 2019

    Alhambra Cinema

    Keswick’s Convention is partnering with the historic Alhambra Cinema this summer to run afternoon screenings for Conventioners.

    This is the latest move to promote the range of activities on offer in Keswick to Conventioners who attend the annual three-week event.
    Carol Rennie, co-owner of the Alhambra, said “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Keswick Ministries to bring Conventioners to the Alhambra. They might be watching Toy Story 4, but we’d like to think they will also appreciate the heritage cinema experience. We can’t claim to be as old as the Convention, which put its first tent up outside St John’s Church just next to us a full 38 years before we were built, but I imagine Conventioners have been passing through our doors ever since.”


    Details of the screenings were announced at Keswick’s Town Liaison Forum this week. The forum was launched by Keswick Ministries to encourage more two-way communication between the Convention and the town, and to engender a greater level of connection between the town and the Conventioners.

    At the forum, David Sawday, Chief Operating Officer for Keswick Ministries, spoke about the partnership with The Alhambra, saying: “We’re all very positive about this dedicated afternoon at the cinema. We are working hard to ensure the benefits of the Convention flow through to the town, so we are continually exploring ways to encourage a deeper engagement between Conventioners and local businesses.”

    Discussions are taking place for guided walks and outdoor activities to be held each week, which people can sign up for.

    Following the forum, Mr Sawday said: “Last year Keswick Ministries freed up the afternoon schedule of Convention activities – so that Conventioners can spend more time enjoying the town and the local area. We will do the same this summer.”

    Keswick Ministries will continue to work with the Keswick Tourist Association and local traders with the Friends of Keswick and Enjoy Keswick initiatives.

    It was also agreed that Keswick Ministries will distribute programme schedules to businesses around the town, particularly pubs, restaurants and food outlets, so traders are aware of when peak times will be and can co-ordinate their meal offerings around Convention meeting times.

    There are also plans for a dedicated area in the Convention’s Base Camp marque at Rawnsley for local businesses to promote themselves.

    Further details of the 2019 Convention programme were given. In week one, an afternoon theatre performance of The Turbulent Priest by writer James Cary will take place. The Keswick Lectures, which are open to all, will be given by Keith Fox in week two and Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron in week three.

    Town Councillors Jean Murray and Adam Paxon raised questions by residents about litter, noise management and armed police in the town during the convention.

    Bob Johnston, Counter Terror Security Advisor for Cumbria Police, said armed police were deployed as considered necessary by the area commander for West Cumbria. This was usually based on numbers of people rather than the nature of the event and while sometimes armed presence is visible that is not always the case.

    Updates were also given about the planning approval for the refurbishment of the former pencil factory.
    Mr Sawday said the Lake District National Park Development Committee were “unanimous in their support”.

    Members heard that phase one of the rebuild will see the demolition of the warehouse, the provision of toilets on the ground floor of the pencil factory and building the standing for the marquee, ready for the Convention to be on one site in 2019. Further phases will see the full renovation of the pencil factory by 2023.

    The next Town Liaison Forum is set to take place on Tuesday 14 May.

  • News

    Keswick Ministries welcomes LDNP’s vote to support pencil factory revamp

    6 February 2019

    Derwent Project site plan

    Today, the Lake District National Park Development committee unanimously voted to support the planning application for the renovation of the former pencil factory site, and delegated authority to the head of the planning department for approval.

    Keswick Ministries, the owners, are now set to refurbish the site as a new home for the Keswick Convention and a modern conference centre.

    “This is a wonderful milestone in our charity’s 140-year history and for the town of Keswick,” said James Robson, Ministry Director, Keswick Ministries. “The site, which has been derelict for 10 years, will be transformed into a facility that the town and the people of the Lake District can be proud of.”

    The site will bring all Convention activities together in one place. Old warehousing will be cleared to provide space for the Convention’s main marque and the whole area will be sensitively landscaped to improve the amenity value. Meanwhile, the Pencil Factory building will be modernised to provide toilet facilities, accommodation, meeting rooms and a conference centre.

    As well as the Convention, the facility will host Keswick Ministries' teaching and training courses, visiting church, school and local community groups. It is also envisaged that the conference space will be in demand by organisations from around the country. This will attract additional visitors to Keswick outside the main tourist season and create employment opportunities.

                                                   David Sawday video screenshot

    “Our vision is to create an even better Convention experience for supporters on one site with improved facilities, plus a modern venue in this World Heritage Centre that will attract many other visiting groups throughout the year. This project will allow us to strengthen the work we are doing as well as provide a fantastic local facility.”, said James Robson, Ministry Director, Keswick Ministries.

    For more than 100 years, the Keswick Convention has drawn thousands of people from all over the world to the beautiful Lake District to hear leading Bible teaching. Many Conventioners work with young people, the elderly and the disabled and return home refreshed and inspired to serve some of the poorest and underprivileged communities in the world with renewed strength. Helping to drive positive change amongst the people they care for.

    In addition, the Convention and Keswick Ministries operations bring considerable economic benefits to the town and the local area. It is estimated that each summer the thousands for people who attend the Convention bring over £3 million in inward spending to the area. Meanwhile, the production of the Convention costs more than £1m and, wherever possible, contracts are awarded to local suppliers.

    Work will start as soon as final planning permission is granted and it is planned that the first Convention will be held on the site in 2020.