The Keswick Convention
is an annual gathering of evangelical Christians
, in the English
county of Cumbria
The Keswick Convention began in 1875
as a catalyst and focal point for the emerging Higher Life movement
in the United Kingdom
. It was founded by the Anglican T. D. Harford-Battersby
and the Quaker
Robert Wilson. The first Keswick Convention had over four hundred in attendance. They met under the banner of "All One in Christ Jesus" which is still the Convention's watchword.
Among the Keswick Convention's early leading lights were Anglicans J. W. Webb-Peploe, Evan Henry Hopkins, William Haslam, W. Hay M. H. Aitken, and Handley Moule, as well as the Baptist Frederick Brotherton Meyer.
Another frequent speaker in the early years was Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission. Amy Carmichael heard Taylor speak there and decided to dedicate her life to missionary work.
In 1903 Barclay Buxton and Paget Wilkes founded the Japan Evangelistic Band at the Convention.
John George Govan, who was to go on to found The Faith Mission in Scotland, was influenced by the Convention as well.
It was Stephen Olford who introduced Billy Graham to the Keswick message at a Keswick Convention in 1946 over a period of days of Bible study and prayer in a hotel room. This teaching gave Billy Graham the assurance of God's power in his life, which Billy said in his autobiography, "Just As I Am," came to him as a second blessing, and which has empowered his preaching ever since.
Convention Weeks' Format
In the 21st century, the annual Convention is still centered in a large purpose-built tent erected over a concrete showground with audio-visual facilities to aid praise and teaching. The venue is entered via the Convention Centre: a narrow block containing offices, a small shop etc. Additionally, events take place around Keswick
in the convention's own Rawnsley Centre and local churches and meeting halls.
The convention consists of three weeks in July/August, each with its own presenters. Current praise leaders include Steve James, Stuart Townend and Phatfish. A compilation CD of the year's hymn singing is released each Autumn.
Keswick Convention host Bible Weeks
and other events throughout the year. They also publish Christian teaching material, classic preaching etc.
Keswick Youth is a separate program alongside the main event, offering a range of Bible teaching and fun activities.
- Harford, C. F., ed. The Keswick Convention; its Message, its Method and its Men, London, 1907.
- Harford-Battersby, T. D. Memoirs of the Keswick Convention, 1890.
- Hopkins, E. H. The Story of Keswick, London, 1892.
- Pierson, A. T. The Keswick Movement, New York.
- Barabas, Steven , So Great Salvation, London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1952 — a friendly overview of half a century of Keswick teaching.
- Drumond, Lewis, "The Canvas Cathedral", Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2005.