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  • News

    MP Tim Farron to speak at Keswick Convention 2019

    11 January 2019

    Tim Farron

    The Keswick Convention programme for 2019 will once again bring renowned speakers to talk about some of today’s most relevant issues.

    Among the contributors are the South Lakes MP Tim Farron who will be speaking on change in society and Rebecca McLaughlin, whose family is from Barrow, Cumbria. Rebecca is the author of “Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard questions for the World’s Largest Religion”.

    Tim Farron will hold the traditional Keswick Lecture on Thursday of week 3. Other contributors include Dai Hankey, former skate-boarder and DJ from Wales, a passionate abolitionist speaking on slavery today. Singer and Sony Radio Award winner, Gareth David Jones, based in Newcastle performs as part of the Keswick Unconventional programme. Gareth was the singer-songwriter in residence at The Mining Institute, Newcastle Upon Tyne and has written the album "The Usual Quarterly Days' as a way of depicting mining life all the way back into the 14th century.

    From further afield, the Convention welcomes Havilah Dharamraj, Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testament at South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore, India and Ray Ortlund, pastor at Immanuel Church, Nashville USA. The theme for this year’s Convention is “Longing”, which will focus on human’s innate desire for God.

    James Robson, Ministry Director, said: "Our lives are filled with desires. We try and meet them through food, love, power and material goods. At the heart of our desire, however, is the longing for purpose and union with Christ. It is this that the theme of this year’s Convention will centre around. We have speakers from all walks of life exploring this theme. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming speakers such as John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics at the University of London, who will be exploring the issue of our humanness in the midst of robotics and artificial Intelligence.

    "It is going to be a very special summer, with much food for thought. While people from all
    over the world travel to be part of the Convention, we particularly want to invite our
    community here in Keswick and wider Cumbria to come along and explore the Christian

    Another interesting aspect will be the expression of our faith through the creative arts in our
    Keswick Unconventional programme. The Japenese artist, Kaori Homma, Associate Lecturer
    at University of Arts London, for example, will be exhibiting her fire etchings and offering a
    fire-etching workshop, open to everyone.

    This will be the 144th Keswick Convention and will take place across the Skiddaw Street and
    Rawnsley/Derwent sites. More speakers to be confirmed soon.

    Bible Readers and worship leaders are as follows:

    Week 1, 13th – 19th July               Week 2, 20th – 26th July
    Bible Reader - John Risbridger         Bible Reader - Vaughan Roberts
    Worship band – Colin Webster          Worship band – EMU Music

    Week 3, 27th – 2nd August
    Bible Reader – Ray Ortlund
    Worship band - Olly Knight and band

  • News

    Town Liaison Form - Convention 2019

    21 December 2018

    Base Camp Keswick Town

    The 5th Town Liaison Forum - the last one for this calendar year - highlighted Keswick Ministries' continued commitment to supporting and working with Keswick’s community and local businesses. Planning for the 2019 Keswick Convention is underway and more engagement with Keswick businesses, through a host of initiatives, is at the heart of the agenda for the coming year.

    The forum was launched by Keswick Ministries to develop a higher level of two-way communication between the annual 3-week summer event and the town, and to encourage a greater level of connection between the town and the Conventioners.

    The Friends of Keswick and Enjoy Keswick schemes both proved popular in 2018 and are set to continue. Friends of Keswick is a loyalty scheme that encourages visitors to shop and eat locally. The Enjoy Keswick website will also be refreshed and expanded and is supported by the Enjoy Keswick brochure, which is distributed free to all Conventioners. Both aim to profile local shops, restaurants and activity centres and help businesses boost trade.

    As was the case this year, a stand promoting Keswick will again feature at the Convention’s exhibition marquee, Base Camp, on the Rawnsley site. The marquee hosts a coffee shop, a relay of the main Convention services and displays of Christian charities such as Caring for Life in Lancashire, which supports previously fostered adults.

    These and other measures were discussed at the Town Liaison Forum where traders, councillors, tourism, local authority services and Keswick Ministries met to discuss Convention plans and how to maximise the benefits for the community.

    The Convention Programme
    Among the topics discussed, were updates on the Convention programme, which will run from July 13 until August 2. Week One will continue to be in school term time and no afternoon meetings will be planned for all three weeks of the Convention.

    The main elements of the programme are in the mornings and evenings, with one evening concert per week from 9.15pm to 10.15pm.

    James Robson, Ministry Director for Keswick Ministries, said: “We used to have a talk in the afternoon at 2.30pm. But, after listening to the town, we decided to give Conventioners more free time in the afternoon so they can fully enjoy all Keswick and the locality has to offer.”

    At the meeting town representatives were encouraged to pass on details of the programme to food providers, as Conventioners tend to eat earlier in the evenings to then go to the 7.30pm sessions.
    “We know that restaurants serving meals earlier are benefiting from that,” added Mr Robson. Keswick Ministries representatives will also be visiting local businesses in the Spring to brief them on the Convention programme, so businesses will know when Conventioners have spare time to shop and eat and have information on the opportunities to participate in Enjoy Keswick and Friends of Keswick.

    Keswick Ministries shared ideas to encourage town engagement in the afternoons by organising events such as walks, outdoor activities, and perhaps a visit to the cinema.
    Details of the 2019 Convention speaker programme are now available. Again, world-calibre Christian ministers and praise leaders have been invited:

    Week One (July 13- 19) John Risbridger is the main speaker for the morning meetings and worship will be led by Colin Webster. John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College London, a well-known speaker on issues of artificial intelligence, and beginning and end-of-life issues, will be among the seminar lecturers.

    Week Two (July 20- 26) features Vaughan Roberts, as the main Bible reader and worship will be led by EMU Music. Count Everyone In will again offer meetings and activities for adults with learning difficulties.

    Week Three (July 27- August 2) US pastor, Ray Ortlund from Nashville, USA, will be the main Bible reader and worship will be led by Olly Knight. Evening speakers include Any Orr-Ewing from Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. As part of the Week 3 Keswick Unconventional Programme, art masterclasses are planned, which would be open to the town.

    The main meetings are live-streamed globally.

    Steve Wilde, from Cumbria Police is working with Keswick Ministries on safety. He said: “We’re making sure our planning is right so Conventioners have a safe and enjoyable time over the three-week period.”
    New Complaints phone number
    David Sawday, Keswick Ministries' Chief Operating Officer, said “robust” complaints measures will continue, with the addition of a new, dedicated complaints telephone number for the 2019 Convention in case complaints arise.
    The Derwent Project & more visitors to the town of Keswick at other times of the year
    Updates were given on the Derwent Project, as the Lake District National Park is expected to make its planning decision in February. Work will then start on demolishing the old admin and packing buildings, and refurbishing the ground floor of the former Pencil Factory, in readiness for the main marquee to move from Skiddaw Street to the Pencil factory site in 2020.

    Representatives heard that Keswick Ministries' growing Teaching and Training programme is bringing more visitors to Keswick throughout the year.

    The next Town Liaison Forum is set to take place on February 12th, 2019.

  • News

    Keswick firm awarded contract for our new website

    14 December 2018

    Nicky Gyles, from KCS and Sarah Robinson, from KM

    Keswick Ministries has awarded a new contract for the redevelopment of its website to Keswick Computer Solutions (KCS).
    The project will involve the complete overhaul and relaunch of the organisation’s website and online marketing channels.
    “As we move into the next stage of our development with more Teaching & Training events, a stronger emphasis on children and youth and the completion of the Derwent Project we need our website to keep step.”, says Sarah Robinson, Communications Executive for Keswick Ministries.

    “We are looking to create an engaging and visual site that demonstrates the high quality of Bible teaching at the Convention and on our courses, the joy of worship and the wonderful surroundings in Keswick. Our current website has not had any major updates for more than 10 years, so our brief was quite demanding. We spoke to several web development companies, but KCS were the clear winners. They bring a fantastic blend of creativity, organisational expertise and marketing knowledge.”
    The project will take around four months to complete and the aim is to have the new website in operation for the 2019 Keswick Convention.
    Over the years, several new sections had been added to Keswick Ministries existing site to help accommodate the charity’s addition of a resource page and the newly developed teaching and training events. The charity’s volunteer sign-ups and donations platform are also managed through the site.
    “We’re delighted to be working with Keswick Ministries. With its 140-year history, Keswick Ministries is a distinguished and prominent local organisation with a cherished global reputation.” says Nicky Gyles, Webs Manager, KCS.

    "We want to give the Keswick Convention the best profile possible and also help people better engage with Keswick Ministries and all the events and resources it offers in this unique and inspiring location.

    The current Keswick Ministries website is packed full of important information and we are eager to deliver this content in a fresh, modern way. It will be KCS' 20-year anniversary this month and what better celebration of this milestone than our new alliance with Keswick Ministries at a highly significant point in their history!"
    Keswick Computer Solutions offer full web design, development and hosting services and showcases a portfolio of over 350 Cumbrian and international websites, including for Keswick Town Council, BEC and Honister. Based in Keswick’s Packhorse Court, the company has 12 staff and is a one-stop-shop for all computer, IT and website requirements. KCS also provide search engine optimisation (SEO), digital marketing services and cyber security.
    “The new website will offer Keswick Ministries' supporters and volunteers a more contemporary feel and easier access to the information they need. It will also serve as a platform for future developments.”, says David Sawday, COO, Keswick Ministries.
    “We are pleased to be working with KCS. We have a local sourcing policy and wherever we can want to award contracts to local businesses. There’s some great expertise within Keswick, it is more convenient to work with local businesses and it helps ensure that the benefits of hosting the world-famous Convention in Keswick are shared locally.”

  • News

    Hive of activity at Rawnsley Hall for Operation Christmas Child appeal!

    30 November 2018

    Operation Christmas Child appeal 2018

    Following on the heels of the Keswick Christmas light switch-on, in the early hours of Saturday, 1,358 Christmas gift shoe boxes started their journey to children in the Ukraine.

    Allan Daniels, Keswick’s Deputy Mayor, joined the volunteers at Keswick Ministries' Rawnsley Hall to help load the truck for The Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Child appeal.
    Over the last few weeks, families, children, schools and churches all over Cumbria packed shoe
    boxes for this appeal with essentials like hats and gloves as well as small toys and other gifts
    while volunteers from Keswick and surrounding areas worked together diligently preparing the
    shoe boxes for their journey. Many of the volunteers help year after year.
    Kelly Lightfoot, teacher at Broughton Primary School, said: "At this time of year, when it’s all
    about giving, we wanted to give our children a chance to give." During the week, the school was
    invited to send some of their pupils to Keswick Ministries to see how the boxes are prepared for
    the 3,000 km long journey.
    Molly Bell, aged six, said: “It’s quite fun because we get to see the shoe boxes being checked.”
    While Phoebe Moore, aged five, said: “It’s so exciting.”
    Allan Daniels, said: "We are a caring community and the children are part of this. As they give
    shoeboxes to other children miles away, we hope they will grow up to continue to care for
    others. This is a wonderful example of this small community working together, not only for the
    benefit of the town, but for the benefit for the greater good, not just in England, but around the
    "This is a fantastic cause which underlines the Christian message of hope, especially during this
    Christmas season. Our premises are used for a variety of community activities, but this outreach
    is particularly close to our hearts. We are delighted that again, this year, we were able to
    contribute by making the Rawnsley Hall available for packing the boxes ready for shipment.",
    David Sawday, COO, Keswick Ministries.
    George Tsintas, regional co-ordinator of Operation Christmas Child, who has led the activities in
    Keswick for the last six years, is passionate about the appeal: "The people of Keswick and the
    wider county have always been so generous. I am moved when I see the stacks of boxes
    children have packed and how much the volunteers enjoy working at the Rawnsley Hall
    ‘warehouse’, preparing them for their final destination.
    "This is one more example of how people and organisations work together to deliver such
    wonderful results!"
    Since 1990, Samaritan’s purse’s appeal has allowed more than 157 million children in some of
    the poorest communities of the world in over 160 countries to receive a shoebox for Christmas.

  • News

    Firefighters use former pencil factory for vital training

    23 November 2018

    Simon Overend at fire presentation

    Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has thanked Keswick Ministries for allowing on-call firefighters to carry out vital fire and rescue training at the charity’s pencil factory site in Keswick.

    The charitable organisation has been commended by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service at a recent celebration event at Keswick Fire Station.
    Since purchasing the site, Keswick Ministries has made the space available to a number of organisations. It has been used as a backdrop for filming, offered free parking to residents during Keswick’s local shopping weekend and served as a training venue for police and fire services training.

    “The use of the old Keswick pencil factory as a training venue for Cumbria Fire & Rescue has been invaluable for the development and on-going maintenance of fire crews' skills across both Allerdale & Copeland. There are very few sites in the county which are secure, out of sight from the general public and large enough to accommodate several fire appliances. We have organised multiple vehicle collision scenarios and simulated industrial fires which not only test our crews in a realistic environment, it also provides great opportunities to expose our operational commanders to managing incidents with large numbers of Fire Service resources.” Phil Stannett, Station Manager, West Command.

    “The pencil factory is a fantastic site and we have always wanted to ensure that it serves those around us. It is great that we were also able to support the local fire station. We are now looking forward to the next phase of the building’s life that will see it transformed into a venue both for the convention, our bible training courses as well as a space that other organisations in our community can use.” David Sawday, COO, Keswick Ministries.

    At the appreciation evening, Keswick Ministries received a certificate, signed by Chief Fire officer Steve Healey, and handed over by Will Richardson, Group Manager, Allerdale and Copeland, in recognition of the ongoing contribution made in supporting on-call firefighting duties for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

    Simon Overend, Head of Operations at Keswick Ministries, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to attend the Keswick Fire Service Appreciation Evening, honouring those who serve our community as ”on-call firefighters“, and the employers and families that make this possible. ”.