'Strathpeffer' Convention move to Inverness
The Scottish Northern Convention which is commonly known as the Strathpeffer Convention some years ago meandered to Dingwall and is now moving to Inverness for the 2010 Convention meetings. This development has raised some eyebrows.
Strathpeffer Parish Church
From its inception in 1931 until recent years the Scottish Northern Convention has met in the Church of Scotland in Strathpeffer.
Modelled on the Keswick Convention, the week-long series of events first started on a Friday with a Youth Weekend; the main Convention teaching meetings running from the from Monday through to Thursday.
Much has changed over the years – not least the extent of car ownership and ease of travel – and in recent years the Convention moved to the neighbouring town of Dingwall which has ample parking available.
However this move just 5 miles ‘down the road’ essentially preserved the ‘provincial’ feel of the Convention and was still located within the county of Ross-shire.
Questions; answers; more questions
So some questions arose when the decision was taken to locate the 2010 Convention in Inverness. “Why was this being done?” “Was it the start of a ‘drift’ towards along the ‘all roads lead to Inverness’ path?” “Would the rural feel of the convention location be lost in the hustle and bustle of Inverness city centre?”
Assurances were given that the move was “for this year only in order to accommodate greater numbers”. However this raised further questions. “Is this conferring enhanced status on this year’s speakers? “Will the move back to Dingwall suggest that speakers at subsequent Conventions will be seen as ‘second class’?”
And of course a big question: “What will happen in future if the likely numbers attending continue to place a strain on the facilities in Dingwall?”
The organisers respond...
Christians Together approached the Convention Committee for a view on these questions and the organisers provided the following information:
“The particular issue this year concerns the size of the venue. The main speakers this year, God willing, are Charles Price, who is coming for the first time, and Alistair Begg, who was last at the Convention in 2004.
When Alistair Begg came last time, the meetings were held in Dingwall at Castle Street Church, but the facilities there were not able to cope with the numbers who came on that occasion. It was felt, therefore, that somewhere bigger was needed.
Various venues in Ross-shire were considered but none was found suitable in terms of having facilities for the meetings themselves as well as serving teas and providing room for the mission stalls. Those three things are all necessary for the Convention to run smoothly, which is why, after long and prayerful consideration, the decision was made to move, this year, to Inverness.
Inverness East Church satisfies those conditions very well and we are grateful to the minister and Kirk Session for their readiness to let us use their facilities.
The Committee realise that the Convention has a loyal and supportive following in the Dingwall area and have every intention of continuing there in the future. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to strengthen the existing support of Christians in the Inverness area and widen awareness of what the Convention is able to do for the churches in the whole Highland region.”
The Convention this year is scheduled to run from Saturday 25 September and Thursday 30 September 2010. Archive recordings of previous years are available on the Convention web-site.
Glasgow-born Alistair Begg is the Senior Pastor of a Parkside Church in Ohio, a position he has had since 1983, and is the voice behind the Truth for Life Christian radio preaching and teaching ministry that broadcasts his sermons daily to stations across the U.S. The author of several books, Alistair is a strong advocate of historic Protestant Evangelical theology. He stresses the importance of believing the Bible to be the completely authoritative Word of God, and the importance of using the mind to know the Bible and knowing God through repentance and faith in Jesus.Before moving to America he spent eight years at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church in Lanarkshire. His wife, Susan, is American by birth, and he himself became a U.S. citizen in 2004. The couple have three grown children.
Charles Price has been the Senior Pastor of The Peoples Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada since September 2001. He has a weekly hour-long television programme, Living Truth, which is broadcast internationally.
He was converted under Billy Graham’s ministry and spent three years at the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow, Scotland, and became a field representative of the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers, based at Capernwray Hall, Lancashire, England. In September 1993, Charles was appointed Principal of Capernwray Bible School while continuing in a wide international conference, convention and evangelistic ministry. He has preached in over 80 countries on 5 continents around the World and is the author of 7 books. Charles has been married to Hilary since 1980. They have three adult children: Hannah, Laura and Matthew.
Strathpeffer is a small and pictureseque village in Ross-shire known for its Spa. The county town of Dingwall is 5 miles to the east and houses the Highland Theological College. Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and is 15 miles south-east of Dingwall in Inverness-shire.