Blaithwaite House has served the North of England as a Christian Centre for over 40 years. The property is owned by the Donald family and Dennis Donald has dedicated much of his personal ministry to presenting Blaithwaite House to the public as place where warm Christian hospitality can be expected and enjoyed; its been a place of prayer; healing and restoration and is held in the deepest of affection by many.
"The House" has been organised and managed in various ways over the years and I will be forever grateful to Dennis Donald for the opportunity given to me to take over from David & Ann Bowie in 2005-2006 and live in the Coach House as Centre Manager for the next seven years. It was a most challenging but rewarding season of life. I went to Blaithwaite House as part of In2venture's contribution to the life & ministry of the Centre. As such I feel able to express my personal opinion with conviction and say that without In2venture's presence at Blaithwaite there would undoubtedly be no Christian ministry taking place there today - the Centre would simply not have survived the combined impact of the recession & decline in its traditional Church clientele which have been a feature of the last decade. In2venture brought schools; a new outlook and the chance to survive to Blaithwaite.
Sadly, the Donald family have chosen to end In2venture's lease at Blaithwaite from April 2014. In my opinion this is a sad time which will likely see the end of Blaithwaite's life as a primarily Christian Centre. I acknowledge that there might still be a warm welcome & that some folk will continue to hold it in prayer but for me the heart that has powered it for decades already beats more faintly, almost imperceptibly. Although having left Blaithwaite for some 18 months myself I do hold the view that this latest chapter of change has been tinged with words & actions by people that I have held in the highest regard, that may one day be looked upon with regret and remorse.
So, this weekend sees the last gathering of "Team In2venture" at Blaithwaite. It'll be good to catch up with the folk who have been the soul behind that beating heart during In2venture's time. It will be appropriate that much of In2venture's future direction will be determined over the weekend, a future which glows brightly with hope and a determination to continue to inspire the people of the North of England & beyond but balanced by an appreciation of the real challenges faced by the Charity. For me, although there will be more events to attend at Blaithwaite this is the one that will see my final farewells to a place I have loved dearly since the first time I visited in 1996 - its the end of an era.