Up to 15,000 people attended the Keswick Convention for Bible study and worship over three weeks in July.
The convention saw its highest attendance in its 138-year history. Week two saw a record attendance of around 3700 at the Bible readings to hear Oxford University mathematician Professor John Lennox.
A special showing of the play God particle, written by BBC scriptwriter James Cary, was held. There were special streams for people who used British sign language, people with learning disabilities and young people under 40.
General Director of the Evangelical Alliance (EA) Steve Clifford encouraged churches to get behind fostering and adoption in their areas. There is a national shortage of foster homes and families willing to adopt, and the campaign Home for Good aims to reduce this number.
Mr Clifford said, ‘One child waiting for a home in the UK is one child too many. Every day this year, 50 kids are going to be taken into the care system. Every one of those kids involves a real life story, often tragic. Every child is someone who God deeply loves and wants their lives to flourish. That’s part of our calling as a Christian community’.
The Home for Good campaign was launched in March to raise awareness of the issue, encourage families to foster, and show churches how they can support and encourage them.
Krish Kandiah, also from the EA, has been fostering children for the last seven years. ‘It has been the most rewarding and challenging thing our family has done. We have three birth children, an adopted daughter and a constant stream of lovely foster children’.
There are currently 4600 children in the UK waiting for adoption, with another 9000 families needed.
The Keswick Convention is one of the largest and most complex events in Europe, with 550 volunteers. Organisers do not charge a fee in order to make the event accessible to all. Many people committed their lives to serving God through mission this year.
David Bradley, General Director of the convention, said organisers were delighted at the popularity of this year’s event. ‘There seems to be a real hunger to go deeper into the Bible, seeing how it is relevant for today and how it is compatible with science. It bodes well for next year’s convention, when we will be exploring some of the difficult questions that are sometimes asked about the Christian faith.
‘We are ever so grateful to the people of Keswick for all the support they give to the convention, and have given over many years’.