- Keswick movement
- The Keswick movement in England has paralleled the Holiness movement in the United States. It is centered on a yearly nondenominational conference held in Keswick in northern England.Simultaneously with the growth of the Holiness movement in the united States, a similar phenomenon appeared in England, as Christians sought to promote personal holiness and a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit. It drew support from the visit of Walter and Phoebe Palmer during the years of the American Civil War, and from the 1873-74 ministry of fellow-Americans Robert Pearsall Smith and his wife, Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911). Hannah was the author of The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life (1870), the book most identified with the movement. Dwight L. Moody made his first tour of the British Isles at about the same time.The spiritual search prompted by the Smiths and others led to a proposal for a conference to "promote true holiness." The first such gathering convened at Broadlands, near Romsey (July 17-23, 1874). Subsequent gatherings were held at Oxford (Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 1874) and Brighton (May 29-June 7, 1875). At the Brighton convention, Canon Harford-Battersby, vicar of St. John's Church (Church of England) in Keswick, suggested his town as the sight of the next convention.Since that original 1875 gathering at Keswick, a convention has been held every year, now attracting several thousand people. The Holy Spirit is formally recognized as the leader of the gathering, and no one was ever elected to chair the meetings. During his lifetime, Canon Harford-Battersby presided over the convention. Following his death, his place was assumed by Henry Bowker and then by Robert Wilson. Texts of the addresses given at the convention have been gathered and published in The Keswick Week.Without accepting the perfectionism of the Wesleyan Holiness movement, the Keswick leadership preached the possibility of enjoying unbroken communion with God and victory over known sin. Keswick supporters teach that all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the time of their initial regeneration, but most are not controlled by the Spirit. By abandoning their lives to Christ, the fullness of the Spirit can become expe-rientially real.Toward the end of the 1880s, the conventions began to include appeals for support for foreign missions and calls to the mission field. The first missionary sent and supported by the convention was Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), who in 1892 left for Japan and then in 1895 settled in southern India.Beginning with Moody, various Protestant leaders, including G. Campbell Morgan, and later, John R. Mott and Robert E. Speer, have promoted Keswick, which became known for ignoring denominational labels. Meetings following a similar format (moving day by day through the major steps in Christian commitment) began to be held in locations across Great Britain, North America, and beyond. Albert Benjamin Simpson's Christian and Missionary Alliance was the North American group most identified with Keswick. As the Pentecostal movement spread to Europe, Keswick became a significant influence in its development. The movement continues to enjoy the support of the more conservative wing of the Church of England.Further reading:■ C. F Harford, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, Its Method and Its Men (London: Marshall Brothers, 1907)■ J. C. Pollock, The Keswick Story (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1964)■ Walter B. Sloan, These Sixty Years: The Story of the Keswick Convention (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1935)■ Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life (Westwood, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1962), various editions.
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.