KESWICK CONVENTION: A summer religious reunion, lasting one week, which has been held annually at Keswick (24 m. s.s.w. of Carlisle), England, since 1875, chiefly "for the promotion of practical holiness" by means of prayer, discussion, and personal intercourse. It may be said to have had its origin in the general revival that swept over England in the early seventies (Moody and Sankey, and others). The first meeting was held at Broadlands, near Romsey, July 17-23, 1874, followed by a convention at Oxford Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, 1874, and one at Brighton May 29 to June 7, 1875. At the Brighton convention Canon Harford-Battersby, vicar of St. John's, Keswick, suggested a convention at Keswick, to be held the following July on the grounds of his own vicarage. Since then the convention has met annually at Keswick, the last week in July, and year by year it has grown in numbers and influence. The meetings are held in a large tent and are attended by several thousand people, including representatives from foreign countries. The services are notable for their spiritual character, for the prominence given to silent prayer, and for their apostolic simplicity, music and all else being subordinated to the one object--the glory of God through the promotion of truth and holiness. Since the Holy Spirit is recognized as the leader of all meetings, there has never been any formal election of a chairman. During his lifetime Canon Harford-Battersby presided over the convention. After his death the chairmanship passed by general consent to Mr. Henry Bowker, and, after him, to Mr. Robert Wilson. The Keswick movement is distinctly Evangelical in charaoter, and is supported chiefly by the Evangelical branch of the Church of England. Keswick stands for no new school of theological thought. The Keswick speakers and teachers, some fifty in number, are conservative in spirit, clinging to old truths and avoiding new and strange doctrines. Without exception they hold to the absolute plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures in every part. To them the Bible is the final court of appeal in matters both of faith and duty. In the Keswick teaching stress is laid upon the infilling of the Spirit, and upon the power of faith to claim promised blessings. The convention takes an active interest in missions and maintains a number of 322
missionaries in foreign fields. The literature of the convention includes the Life of Faith(London, 1879 sqq.), the weekly organ of Keswick teaching, The Keswick Week (an annual volume. containing addresses delivered at the convention), and the Keswick Library (London, 1894 sqq.), a series of religious booklets.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Keswick Convention; its Message, its Method and its Men ed. C. F. Harford, London, 1907; A. T. Pierson, The Keswick Movement, New York, 1907; E. H. Hopkins, The Story of Keswick, London, 1892; and T. D. Harford-Battersby, Memoirs of the Keswick Convention, ib., 1890.
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