WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
(INCORPORATING WHITBY SPRING BIBLE WEEK)
Friday 17th - Sunday 19th May
AT WHITBY PAVILION
WHITBY SPRING BIBLE WEEK
Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd May
AT WHITBY EVANGELICAL CHURCH
THE FIRST WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION WINTER WARMER
Saturday 14th November
"A LITTLE BIT OF WARMTH AND BRIGHTNESS DURING COLD, DARK NOVEMBER"
Our weekend in May is now very well established as a major event on the Christian calendar with people traveling from all over Britain to attend. It really is a joy to receive the letters, phone calls and emails from so many of those who attend saying how much the event means to them. Many refer to the weekend as `a little taste of Heaven` but also say that it seems a long time to wait for the `annual spiritual top-up`.
In an attempt to keep you all happy we decided to hold a one day mini convention to get rid of those November blues. From the feedback from those who came it seems that we can say that the event was a success, with hearts being warmed and the light of Jesus shining through the November gloom. Bobby Ball cheered us all with his comedy and also gave his usual clear presentation of the gospel. We know of at least one young man who was led to the Lord by Bobby when he prayed with him.
We had received two very large donations to cover the May shortfall of expenses, and these left enough funds remaining to pay for the initial printing costs and also the cost of the mail-shot. Because of this we ended up in a position to meet all expenses for the weekend. Of course this isn't the same as breaking even and without these generous gifts we would have had quite a large shortfall. However we did have far more singers than were needed and by cutting costs where possible and perhaps increasing attendance by 50 or 60 people it may well be possible to have another `Winter Warmer`. If the Pavilion is available we would perhaps hold it a couple of weeks earlier than this year.
THE THIRTEENTH WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
Friday 18th, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th May
"THE CONVENTION MUST CONTINUE"
YOU HAVE SPOKEN AND WE HAVE LISTENED
I am sorry for the worry and consternation caused by my leaflet explaining the financial situation, I just felt I had to be honest and let the Lord's people know how things were.
Now I am the one who has been moved to tears by the response of so many people in various ways.
I feel overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people, and all costs have now been covered plus enough funds are available for getting the posters printed for November!
So many have spoken of the importance of the event as a major work for the Lord and many of you say that you look forward all year to coming to Whitby for the Convention.
The gentleman who's large gift during `Bible Week`took us well "into the black" made a very good point in his conversation with me. It is important for those who don't know Christ to be saved at the Convention, but there is another very important aspect. Christians need to get close to God and sadly in many churches don't do so. He said (and I agree with him) that through the music and ministry of the artistes it brings us very close to the Lord.
You have made many suggestions of how finances could be helped and we will be taking note of these. The artistes for November are already booked but in May we will have a few less singers and this will give them a bit more time, which may mean that they keep closer to the times I give them. Also you will have a bit more time to drink your tea and coffee and look around the artiste's stalls. There will be other small changes but they needn't be listed here.
As for me, you have made me feel guilty for even considering that the future of the event was uncertain. It was my vision to start the event and as long as the Lord gives me the strength to do so it is my duty to work even harder to not only keep WGMC going, but to see it growing each year.
THE TWELFTH WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
Friday 13th, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th May
A MIXTURE OF SADNESS & JOY AS WE SAY GOODBYE TO OUR OLD FRIEND PAUL DAVIS
deepest sympathy to Hazel and family on the loss of a much
As this year's Convention approached it seemed that with almost no team to help, the workload was too much to handle and the problems seemed almost insurmountable. Not only did we not have the WGMC Houseband, but Austin had said he would be unable to appear so we had no musicians for the warm up spot. Pastor Paul Davis had always organised the Saturday morning Praise & Worship and `Testimony Time` and stress levels were becoming unbearable. THEN! Two days before the Convention a call from Samuel Purdy of `Live Issue` changed everything. Samuel suspected that I would be pressing panic buttons and going into meltdown. He suggested that if it was alright with me he should give Paul Gardiner a call and if I gave him a list of songs for the evening sing - alongs, they would organise these and also the Saturday morning session. The Friday warm up session was rousing and on Saturday morning, following a two minutes silence and tribute to Paul Davis we had a tremendous `Testimony Time`. The whole weekend was the most spiritual ever with impromptu getting together of the artistes during their individual sets. The feeling of total togetherness continued right through to Sunday's Finale - and beyond! Monday morning saw crowds queuing up Skinner Street for `Convention Coffee Morning` at Whitby Evangelical Church where Michael Harcus and Friends, Crimson River, Live Issue and George IV joined me to provide the music and Roger Carswell gave his usual first class contribution as our Speaker. Many have said the atmosphere was electric with the presence of the Holy Spirit! The Music Convention was followed by Convention Bible Week at Whitby Evangelical Church where Brian Edwards gave a series of talks on the authenticity of The Bible. He is truly `Top Drawer` quality and there has been some very positive feed back from the week. Finances continue to be a problem as we try to provide the very best at a price that won't be beyond people's means, but two `angels` have already responded and we feel the Lord will provide to let us cover the remaining shortfall. Once again I would like to thank my friends Veronica, Laurie and Grahaeme who joined me for concerts at various Whitby day centres. We already have some confirmed artistes for 2012 and await replies from others who have been approached. This year a number of people trusted in Christ and we ask that you all continue to pray for REVIVAL TO BREAK OUT IN WHITBY!
FROM THE ARCHIVES
A BIG THANK YOU FROM PAUL, JILL & THE TEAM TO ALL THOSE WHO TOOK PART IN OR ATTENDED THE 2007 EVENT - WE MOVED A LITTLE CLOSER TOWARDS THE EXTENDED THREE WEEK - LONG CONVENTION (THE KESWICK OF THE YORKSHIRE COAST) THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE W.G.M.C. EVENTUALLY BECOME
Paul, Jill & the team - June 2007
JILL CALLED TO GLORY
On 17th October as she listened to her beloved `Voices of Faroe` singing "Nearer My God to Thee" Jill was called home by the Lord.
She never spoke as part of the Convention `Testimony Time` but her life was indeed a living testimony to her unshakeable faith. During the 10 year struggle with cardio myopathy and heart failure she never once complained about the heavy load she had to carry and the terminal nature of her condition. When ever we spoke of her illness, Jill's usual comment was "God is Good! We have so many blessings"
There have been so many good times during Jill's long illness, but probably the happiest times of our lives were our two visits to the Faroe Islands and the 2007 Convention, when for the first (and now the only) time all five of us were present. The sight of David, Sarah and Lucy having wonderful fellowship with so many of our singers and Christian friends was something that Jill had longed for.
Jill was a great planner and the Hymns, readings and subject of our Pastor's address for her funeral were all arranged by Jill shortly before she died. Her choice of "God be with You" to be sung at the graveside will make the Convention Finale a difficult and emotional time for future years.
All the booking of artistes for the 2008 Convention and most of the planning for the 10th Convention in 2009 has already been done by Jill, and we pray that the event continues to grow in the years to come.
In 1999 the vision of a Whitby Gospel Music Convention was mine, but as with every single aspect of my life, the one who set about turning my dreams into reality was Jill. Many are probably unaware of the fact that the lion's share of the work for the WGMC was done by Jill, so please pray that we are able to fill the enormous gap that her passing has left. During Jill's final days at the hospice she was cheered by Lucy's announcement that she was moving home from Hull and would be taking over the administrative work of the Convention. Her words to me were "Good girl! I knew she had it in her"
On a personal note, I have cancelled all my engagements up to the end of the year and at the moment I feel as though my broken heart will never mend. I hope to be singing a few songs in May and pray that the Lord will give me back my musical ministry - if not then I shall work hard behind the scenes.
The whole family have been moved by the tidal wave of love and support, we have had hundreds of cards, letters and emails over the last few weeks and we thank you all.
THE ELEVENTH WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
Friday 14th, Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th May
SECOND DECADE UNDERWAY
In this year's souvenir programme I wrote -
Earlier this year I was singing at some churches in the Reading area including Carey Baptist where David Magowan, the former pastor of Whitby Evangelical Church is now in ministry. As I shared a lovely meal with David and his family I nearly choked on my piece of beef at something David casually dropped into the conversation. “When will you wind up the Convention” said David, “Perhaps the fifteenth would be a suitable time to bring the event to a close”. It came as quite a shock to even think about writing a message of goodbye in four years time.
If I had been thinking about possibly ending the event in a few years time, I would have soon changed my plans. A steady stream of you bombarded me with comments like; "You can't wind things down, it's the high point of our year" and "We need this weekend to get spiritually topped up for the next twelve long months". I will however need to find the right person or persons to keep the Convention going when I become too old or when the Lord calls me home, even my friends on the small team are only a year or two behind me and Lucy and Sarah will have their own lives to live.
Our small team is now even smaller as after eleven Conventions, team member and WGMC Houseband leader Dr Fred Page has decided to call it a day. The opening Praise Music will in future be provided by Austin on piano and and Kath on organ. We will miss Fred both for the sing-along and also the light hearted "Mistakes" and we ask you to pray for Fred's wife Pauline who continues to have ongoing health problems.
It suddenly seems more important than ever to establish the two - week long Whitby Convention that has featured in my vision from the word go, and this year I have been so encouraged with respect to this. The "Spring Bible Week" based at Whitby Evangelical Church was a great success and I would like to thank the many visitors who stayed on in Whitby for the events following Convention weekend. The church elders are happy to host the meetings again and it is hoped to make Whitby Spring Bible Week a regular part of future Conventions.
I would also like to thank my friends Veronica, Laurie and Grahaeme who joined me for three short concerts at Whitby Hospital and also at Marton Court Day Centre. It was good to be able to take some music and the gospel message to some of the folks who couldn't attend the weekend at the Pavilion. We hope to do the same again next year.
In the ever more hectic work with the Convention I have rather neglected my `tent making` as the apostle Paul might put it, so in the coming months this will have to be addressed. Because of this I may see some of you at a few more theatre type venues with my Country and Gospel show, I also hope to do a few more church concerts than in the previous year.
THE TENTH WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
Friday 15th, Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May
THANK YOU ALL
Here is a paragraph from the 2009 web page.
"This year we have run into financial problems because there is now no direct flight from Faroe and we will have to bring the choir via Copenhagen. I am hoping to do some fund raising concerts and looking for other ways to cover an estimated shortfall of £10,000."
My estimated shortfall was really a `guesstimate` and to be honest I booked all the artistes with my heart ruling me and not my head. I was carrying out Jill's wishes to have as many of our favourite artistes as possible on the bill, and when I did a true estimate two months before the event I found the shortfall was likely to be £18,000! I immediately applied the formula that we have established of working as if everything depends on us and praying as if everything depends on the Lord. (As indeed it does.) For two months I was on the go for twenty hours a day contacting hundreds of churches and radio stations, and many people brought the matter before the Lord in prayer. Your response has been wonderful with many of you buying the WGMC souvenir CD and the souvenir photo album that Lucy put together. You were also very generous in making so many donations. They ranged from the proverbial widow's mite to several three figure gifts and even a couple of four figure donations. We were blessed with record numbers attending and at the end of the day we were only £500 short of our target and there are sufficient CDs left to cover this when they are sold. To quote the well known line that Ray Winkler wrote in the Jim Reeves hit recording of `Welcome to My World`. "MIRACLES I GUESS STILL HAPPEN NOW AND THEN"
The weekend was so special and the numbers of letters, cards, telephone calls and emails received about the event says it all. We pray that many lives will have been changed from this special tenth anniversary event.
THE NINTH WHITBY GOSPEL MUSIC CONVENTION
Friday 16th, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th May
The event was a tremendous success both in numbers attending and more importantly in the way God touched the hearts of so many people. When the `Altar Call` was made on Saturday afternoon more than fifty people responded, some to give their hearts to Christ and others to make a new commitment. To see such a mini revival was a great help to the Wheater family, as the whole weekend was a very difficult and moving time for us all.