Anabaptists gather in the Lake District

On Wednesday 20 July members of the Anabaptist Network from the northwest of England and the southwest of Scotland gathered at the historic Baptist chapel in Hawkshead Hill. Dating from the 17th century and with an outside baptistery supplied by water from a stream, this was a wonderful venue for the first Anabaptist meeting in this part of the country since the Network began in 1991.

We used the Anabaptist daily office at the start of the day, discussed some material supplied by Alan & Eleanor Kreider on the relationship between worship and mission in 1 Corinthians 14, shared lunch prepared by Kath, enjoyed a stroll along a ridge above Tarn Hows (see photos) and explored various options for further Anabaptist activities in this region.

Our hosts were Andrew & Kath Dodd, long time members of the Network but remote from most other members. Kath is the minister of the chapel and Andrew supports her while also being the county ecumenical officer and a solicitor working for the Crown Prosecution Service.

We were joined by David Kirkman from Annan and Eric Macarthur from Castle Douglas, and by five members of the Anabaptist study group in Leyland – Barry & Joan Williamson, Tony Crawford, James Watterson and Geoff King (Geoff was the minister of Hawkshead Hill chapel before Kath and Andrew moved there!). Stuart Murray Williams also drove up from Oxford to be involved in the day.

A number of suggestions were made to strengthen Anabaptist links in the region:

1. The Leyland study group, which meets monthly, will travel to Hawkshead every third meeting so that Andrew & Kath can be included (they may travel down on other occasions). David and Eric may also come down to these meetings when they can.

2. David Kirkman is hoping to arrange an Anabaptist day event in the Annan area, inviting local contacts and other Scottish Anabaptists, and supported by Anabaptists from northwest England.

3. We talked about holding an Anabaptist conference in Preston, which would be accessible to all who were there and also to people in Manchester and further south.

Further details of these and other developments will appear in the Network newsletter and on this website in due course. If you live in this region and would like to receive information, please contact us.