Under new management that looks very familiar, CRE returns to Sandown Park this year (17 to 19 October 2017).
The largest annual exhibition of its kind in Europe, CRE is now owned by Stephen Goddard, its media consultant for more than 25 years.
‘Last May, the Bible Society decided to focus on its core mission of offering the Bible to the world and purposed to find a new home for CRE or close it down,’ said Goddard. ‘Offering a host of new ideas and initiatives in a fast-changing world, CRE is a strategic event in the ecclesiastical calendar. We have therefore pulled together a team with vast experience of running the exhibition successfully.’
CRE’s founder, Gospatric Home, is its new honorary president. Brett Pitchfork returns as event director. All the sales and administrative staff have worked at some time for one or both of CRE’s previous two owners.
‘The first thing we did was to listen to hundreds of exhibitors, the majority of whom wanted CRE to return to Sandown Park, its home for 28 years until 2014,’ said Goddard. ‘They also asked if it could run for three rather than four days. We therefore decided not to take up the dates reserved at ExCeL in May 2017 and instead return to Sandown Park (Oct 17-19, 2017).
‘We are working hard to put together an exhibition which builds on the experience of the past yet will present fresh ideas, products and suppliers to church leaders and members.’
If you would like to exhibit at CRE 2017, please go to the Choose your stand page, or contact one of the team below.
Carol Malpass, Sales Manager
0161 250 2467
Brett Pitchfork, Event Director
0161 250 6297
Steve Goddard, Managing Director
0161 250 2701
David Ramsay, Sales Manager
Photo: Georgie R
When Juliet Hemingray was asked to make an embroidered preaching scarf for a friend, an amazing journey began that has seen her become a leading creator of church textiles.
Countless members of the cloth now wear Juliet’s ecclesiastical vestments, including three Archbishops of Canterbury – George Carey, Rowan Williams and Justin Welby. The colourful robes worn by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu at his enthronement were also made by Juliet and her talented team, in collaboration with Watts & Co.
‘Over the years we have made more than 30,000 stoles, with countless banners, altar frontals and pulpit falls now in schools, chapels, churches and cathedrals around the world,’ said Juliet, a dedicated exhibitor at CRE since its inception and the inspiration behind CRE’s popular Clergy on the Catwalk show.
CRE has enabled her to showcase her team’s skills on a much bigger stage than the usual displays she does at theological colleges and diocesan conferences.
‘I am able to meet people from all Christian denominations and meet people from schools, multi-faith chapels, prisons and hospitals,’ she explained.
At CRE in Birmingham many years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu opened the show and was given a stole designed and stitched personally by Juliet. Cliff Richard received a special waistcoat from her at CRE in 1994 which he has sported on TV.
Photo: Cremetti Commercial
If asked to start a new church, Martyn Payne would definitely not include a Sunday school in his plans.
‘My own thinking from more than 40 years as a teacher and working with churches has been challenged,’ said Messy Church team leader Martyn. ‘Like many, I used to accept that the best way to nurture children and young people into faith was to have separate groups for their learning and fellowship. Today, I am increasingly uncomfortable with this inherited proposition.’
He points out how research into children’s spirituality and how adults become rooted in the Christian faith, reveals that both family and other significant adults really make a difference. In other words, a multigenerational approach to faith nurture is something the church needs to rediscover!
‘Of course it was there in the Bible all along,’ continued Martyn, ‘where faith was passed on at festivals as well as family gatherings and definitely not in some special Sunday school arrangement for children or youth group facility for teenagers. The young need to be alongside the old, the old the young – arguably even more so today in our fragmented communities.
‘My own grandparent generation needs to be in touch with how young people and children are thinking – to be stimulated and refreshed in faith through their questions, wonderings and sense of adventure – every much as the young need to see for themselves that God remains faithful throughout all the stages of life.’
Martyn remains excited about Messy Church, which offers a successful model for bringing the generations together on a shared journey of faith.
‘This isn’t the traditional Sunday school way of things with children,’ he says. ‘In fact, were I to be asked to start a new church, I would definitely not include a Sunday school in my plans! There is an argument for some separate age and interest groups but not for the main church gathering, where for me the default must be togetherness. It might be messy but it is certainly the best way to form healthy Christians.’
Photo: Cremetti Commercial
We may want our churches to be open and welcoming but that may leave them open and vulnerable, warns a specialist insurance broker.
‘Church Insurance is often misunderstood – it’s about so much more than just cover for buildings and contents,’ said Nick Day, of CRE exhibitor UK Church Insurance. ‘Churches face a whole host of complex issues arising from a desire to be open, welcoming and serving their communities through a diverse range of activities and ministries. One such issue, and it doesn’t make easy reading, is that of safeguarding – not just of children but anyone who might become vulnerable.
‘While policies and procedures are designed to protect the church and those in its care, we know that in the Diocese of Chichester an interim enquiry into abuse by church leaders found Sussex had an appalling history spanning two decades – thought to be the worst of any in the country.’
Claims don’t arise solely as a result of inappropriate behaviour of leaders. Churches can be just as exposed to the average church attendee.
‘After all, do we vet and monitor everyone who walks through your door even before a DBS check would normally become necessary?’ asked Nick.
The reassuring news is that many Church Insurance policies provide cover for the church and its officers when defending claims for any form of abuse. However, insurers differ in the way they’re covering churches for these and, indeed, some other types of claim.
‘There’s a real danger that, due to inadequate advice, churches are losing vital protection when they switch policies or are missing one small but necessary feature,’ warned Nick. ‘Abuse is an unfortunate threat that churches face but they can insure for it. UK Church Insurance is one of the few companies that firmly understands this area of church risk and can offer expert advice to ensure churches have the peace of mind correct, robust cover brings.’
A married couple are hoping that a card game they’ve invented will help couples draw closer and enjoy frank, open conversations.
Marie Reid invented My Truth after writing subject headings on paper, screwing them up and challenging husband Clif to share his views on the subjects in question.
‘I was amazed and surprised at some of the insights Clif shared,’ admitted Marie. ‘Even after 17 years of marriage, I really saw his heart on issues more deeply. If this “game” could bring out new insights for us I figured it could do the same for other couples.’
‘Answering the questions really made me dig deep,’ said Clif. ‘I found it a very valuable exercise. Marie and I have a strong marriage but this game made it stronger.’
The Reids piloted the game with more than 25 couples and received great feedback. Couples who purchase My Truth will get a pack of cards with a total of 80 topics for discussion.
Having established themselves as major gospel artists over the course of the last four years, the Croydon-based couple have performed at over 100 churches around the UK and released an album in 2012, If Only, now available on iTunes.
However successful the Back to Church initiative has been, it will never fulfil its potential with church-goers paralysed by fear of rejection.
So said the project’s developer Michael Harvey, author of Creating a Culture of Invitation (Monarch). Over the past 11 years Harvey, who has developed the concept of invitation as a mission tool across 17 countries, carried out hundreds of focus groups and training sessions – asking people why they do not invite their friends and family to church.
‘I found Christians paralysed by anxiety,’ said Harvey. ‘Their sublimated fears, perhaps related to previous rejections, are projected onto the church. Would-be inviters view it as unattractive, not “fit for purpose” and unwelcoming.’
The result is Harvey’s book which explores rejection and acceptance, and looks at some best-practice ideas for establishing a culture of invitation.
‘People are not prepared to invite until their fellow congregational members and church are perfect,’ he said. ‘Perfectionism is riven through the church and this cannot be right. The Bible says where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be present. It does not say where two or three are gathered in my name, doing it perfectly well, I will be present. The church is never going to be perfect.’
It is estimated that one million invitations have been offered and thousands of people have been added to the church through the Back to Church project. However, Harvey points to psychological projection, a theory in psychology, in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.
‘Christians deny the existence of fear within themselves but attribute the real problem to the church,’ he said. ‘They are waiting for the perfect moment, or the right time to invite. If we keep waiting, nothing can go wrong. The name of the game is safety and not the risk of faith. The Apostle Paul warned about timidity. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’
Taking themes from the Book of Revelation, the new glasswork at St Thomas’ Church, Telford Park, Streatham is part of an ambitious, high quality and sympathetic programme of works at the church.
‘At seven metres tall my glass artwork forms the centrepiece of the redevelopment, filling the chancel arch and separating the worship space from the newly built meeting rooms,’ explained CRE exhibitor Sarah Galloway.
Dominating the east end of the now foreshortened nave, Sarah’s work provides a backdrop to the altar. At first floor level, the glass cleverly forms a wall in the new community room created by infilling the former chancel.
Taking themes from the Book of Revelation, a key motif of the screen is the river of the water of life, nourishing the tree of life, depicted on the left side of the screen. The imagery of light is also represented, whilst the church as part of a larger city is symbolised through the abstract depiction of high rise buildings. These elements are positioned beneath a cross, which is itself at the front and centre of the screen, symbolically standing above all the other components.
‘Created through combining hand-applied colour and deep sandblasting, I worked very closely with West Scott Architects and the church, ensuring that the aspirations for the artwork were met,’ said Sarah.
The Revd Martin Gordan, vicar of St Thomas with St Stephen, said: ‘Sarah has captured a real sense of who we are as a church and created a vibrant piece of contemporary art that will add to the heritage of the local area. At the same time she has made something beautiful that will help many connect with God.’
As well as making work for churches and sacred buildings, Sarah creates contemporary architectural glass for public and private spaces, both inside and out.
New, cloud-based software takes care of all aspects of managing church rooms.
‘There is no longer any need to use paper or multiple calendars to manage who is using which room or when,’ explained Kyle Cottington of iKnow Church. ‘Our new software saves church administrators a great deal of time every month.’
The room booking module clearly shows you who is using each room and what they require. The module:
• Prevents double booking
• Shows clearly which rooms are being used
• Allows for repeating bookings – with clash warnings
• Manages items such as projectors
• Makes provisional bookings
A recent government report called for assemblies to change from the current legal requirement for a daily ‘act of collective worship’ to a ‘time for reflection’ – but what are the pupils to reflect upon?
CRE exhibitor Ethos Education have launched AssembliesOnline.com inviting pupils to reflect on life issues such as identity, purpose, family, respecting those with different traditions and facing difficult choices.
‘But, crucially, each assembly also provides two additional important features with a well-considered rationale,’ explained Ethos founder Nick Pollard. ‘First, by using extracts from popular feature films the assembly grounds those life issues in the pupil’s contemporary culture. Secondly, by including at the heart of each assembly a relevant passage from the Bible, pupils are enabled to reflect for themselves on what it teaches about the life issue.’
Whilst calling for a ‘time for reflection’ the report also calls for what it calls ‘greater religion and belief literacy’.
‘Our response is to provide schools with assemblies that build pupils’ biblical literacy as they explore important life issues,’ said Nick.
Church-goers still love a good sermon, as long as the preacher stresses content over comedy, a survey of 1800 church-goers has discovered.
Almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) disagree or strongly disagree that the idea of a sermon being preached in church each week is outdated.
But when asked what they wanted to see most in a sermon, men in particular (49 per cent) most wanted to hear biblical exposition (women 39 per cent). Women wanted to hear even more practical application (44 per cent) than men (36 per cent). A sense of humour is only perceived as important by two per cent and personal anecdotes by one per cent.
The age of the rambling sermon is over, too. The most common sermon lasts between 10 and 20 minutes (44 per cent). Only 15 per cent of sermons last more than 30 minutes and only one in 10 think a sermon should last any longer than that.
‘Christians are hungry to think about their faith and how it relates to life in the 21st Century,’ said Krish Kandiah, president of the London School of Theology. ‘Far from being an outdated concept, in good preaching we hear how the never changing good news about Jesus relates to our ever-changing culture. Despite the militant atheist caricature that Christians are people who believe but don’t think, the survey shows that Christians believe because they think. Christians are keen to grapple with the deep truths of the faith not just be entertained on a Sunday.’