A Big Event for a Small Church
An FIEC church in Northumberland is making final preparations to gather evangelical Christians from across the north of England for its 72nd annual Bible convention. Rachel Dalby reports.
It’s hoped that more than 100 people will take part in next month’s event, organised by Longhorsley Mission, Morpeth.
The village church, which was established in 1875 and has around 35 members, sees providing the annual weekend of teaching and fellowship as part of its mission.
Deacon and Treasurer Alan Pagan, who, for many years, has organised the event with other members including his brother and co-Deacon, Ian, has attended every convention since it was founded with the help of their grandfather.
Alan said: “I was just eight when it all began. The convention’s growth meant that, in the mid-Fifties, it had to move to a marquee in a village field which was bought for the purpose by a church member.
“In 2007, with my brother and I getting older and less able to set up in the field, we moved the event to a community hall a few miles away. The facilities there are excellent, so we’re really glad we made the change.”
Over the years, the convention has featured many high-profile evangelical Christian speakers, including Alistair Begg, Iain Murray, John Blanchard and Alun McNabb.
This year’s speakers will be Andrew Lucas, the minister of Omagh Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, and Robert Murdock, who is the Principal of the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh.
George Curry, the minister of Elswick Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, will chair the three-day programme which will include times of worship and the Lord’s Supper.
Places are still available for the convention, which will be held at The Memorial Hall, Longframlington, Northumberland from 6-8 July.
Alan said families were very welcome to take part. “It would be great to see newcomers, as well as those who’ve already attended in recent years,” he said.
While many participants attend all three days of the event, and stay in local bed and breakfast accommodation, some people join in for a day or two.
Places are free-of-charge, although the church is grateful for donations from people who feel able to contribute towards the event’s £3,000 running costs.
The church has seen its own congregation expand over the past 18 months with the arrival of nine newcomers. Alan said: “We’re feeling particularly encouraged at the moment, and we are thankful for our very active weekly Mother and Toddler group, and growth in our Ladies’ Fellowship group.
“We’re thrilled to be putting on our 72nd convention, and we pray that everyone who attends, including our own church members, will be truly blessed by their time with us.”
More information about the Bible convention can be found on the Longhorsley Mission website.