Swanwick Christadelphian Family Bibleschool
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
How the Family Bible School started...
For many years several brethren in the UK had been saying, "We should have a Bible School" particularly those who had the privilege of being at Bible Schools in other countries. The fellowship that had been felt, the gathering of those with like faith, some from isolation, some from larger meetings, young and old alike, met together with one aim: to study the word of Yahweh, to be strengthened and in their meeting together to strengthen others too.
It has been said that the British are too conservative, never able to get things started, always waiting for others and then happily following along! So it was the case with 'The Family Bible School'. It was an Australian brother, who was at the time living and working in this country, who was probably fed up with the 'we should have ...' who one day announced to a few brethren and sisters gathered in someone's home, 'we are going to have a Bible School! I have found a very suitable Conference centre, and have made a preliminary booking for next year!' He then asked those present if they would be willing to work together for the purpose of having the first 'Family Bible School' in the UK. That decision was prayerfully taken in 1977 and the first 'Family Bible School' took place in the 'Whit' week of 1978 and was run for 5 days!
The format of the school was based upon the ‘Rathmines Bible School’ in Australia, which had been running well for a number of years. There was much discussion, over such things as, ‘should we have two speakers or three?’ ‘Would brethren and sisters support it?’ ‘How would we care for families?’ ‘Will it really happen?’ In fact that last point was the one which came up at every meeting we held to discuss the school, we truly believed that the ‘appointed day’ was so close, that we would be taken to the judgment seat before the spring of 1978. Amazingly we have witnessed the 42nd school, the 42nd occasion for brethren and sisters to gather around ‘The Spirit Word of Truth’ and to strengthen those of like precious faith.
One very important consideration was upon what basis we should hold the school. From this, two points came out. Firstly, that brethren and sisters should know that the views held and those which would be put forward throughout the school, were sound doctrinal principles, therefore it was emphasised that our basis should be made clear to all who were considering attending the school. Therefore it has clearly been stated in the printed programme as follows: “All baptised members attending are expected to accept without reservation the Gospel as contained in the Word of God as expounded in the writings of the pioneer brethren and epitomised in the B.A.S.F., and that fellowship does not exist with those who do not accept this basis. We ask all attending to conduct themselves according to the Commandments of Christ, and to refrain from entering into controversy over fundamental issues.” That remains our stand today, and through it we believe that we have been blessed to the extent that we have been privileged to meet in this way for forty two schools. We pray that the Mercy and Graciousness of our Heavenly Father will continue until the return of His Beloved Son.
Since those early beginnings we have been encouraged with the numbers who attend each year. The ‘school’ now runs for six days, and perhaps can be best summed up in the words of a sister who said, at the end of her first school, “This is just what I believe the Kingdom will be like”. Also that of a brother who, upon his return home after his first school, rang the then editor of the Christadelphian, and informed him “That is the best weeks fellowship I have had in my forty years in the Truth”.
This Family Bible School has worked well for two reasons: firstly and most important, that our Heavenly Father has blessed the work, and secondly because of the whole hearted involvement of children and brethren and sisters who attend.
We hope that you will join with us and share in the joy and fellowship, that strives to give Glory and Praise to the Almighty in these last days.