See hope come to life in a purpose-built slum – that’s the thinking behind the Compassion Experience, a major front-of-house feature at CRE 2018.
Originally constructed in the USA and inspired by an initiative of Compassion International, the Compassion Experience made its UK debut at Edgeborough School in Farnham when nearly 250 children and over 70 adults past through its doors.
Housing interactive, tactile, audio and visual stories of Sameson, the Experience follows the lives of a boy from Ethiopia and Shamim, a girl from Uganda. Both Sameson and Shamim grew up experiencing the vulnerability, restrictions and dangers that poverty brings in their respective cultures and contexts.
Beth O’Reilly, a Year 3 teacher at Edgeborough, said: ‘We aim to cultivate our children’s global perspectives and to teach them about life outside of Farnham. We want to encourage our children to recognise that not all young people have the same opportunities that we have. By involving alternative educational tools such as the Compassion Experience, we hope to provide the children we teach with an experience that will not only be memorable, but also effective in helping them to develop attributes such as compassion and to contemplate how they might make a difference in the world.’
Compassion is an international child development charity with more than 60 years’ experience working with some of the world’s poorest children. At present more than 1.8 million children attend Compassion’s church-based projects in 25 of the world’s poorest countries.
‘We brought the Compassion Experience to the UK to bring the developing world to our doorsteps,’ said Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK. ‘When people think of poverty, they often think of the lack of material things, but actually poverty is the lack of freedom to make meaningful choices. Poverty narrows children’s horizons and undermines their ambitions. Through our holistic child development program Compassion stirs hope in children. You can witness that hope coming to life through the Compassion Experience.’
‘The Compassion Experience will enable visitors to CRE to experience another world without leaving their own,’ explains Compassion UK’s Caroline Cameron. ‘We hope hundreds of visitors will consider bringing the trailer to their local churches and schools. Most importantly the presentation will offer a message of hope for children sponsored through our world-class child development programe.’
Providing quality Christian artists for your church event – that’s the thinking behind CRE 2018 exhibitor Ministry of Music.
‘School missions, worship services, youth outreach, café churches, conferences, festivals and training workshops/seminars. We do the lot!’ said founder Mike Maidment.
With more than 20 years’ experience in Christian music and events, Mike is in an ideal position to work alongside artists and event organisers. He is supported by an experienced team including bookings manager Kim Dopson, an artist review team and a group of trustees. To date they have facilitated more than 450 Christian events.
Mike will bring a number of artists to CRE 2018, to perform in Cindy’s Bar, including Bean Baker, Rebekah Vyce and Voices Beyond (pictured). Joining them on their stand will be Bryn Haworth, a singer-songwriter with a distinguished history as a recording and live artist. Bryn also has a special ministry to people in prison, having recorded two albums specially for prisoners – Time Out and Inside Out.
‘Ministry of Music is a great “one stop” resource to help churches find the right musicians for the right event,’ said Bryn. ‘It’s also great to see a place where new artists can bring their musical talents and put them to good use through the wider church. This kind of platform has been missing for many a year.’
Ministry of Music and Bryn Haworth will be on Stand E3 at CRE 2018
A feeding of 5000 at Kempton Park Racecourse will be just one event during next week’s first-ever National Weekend of Invitation (Fri 15 to Sun 17 Jun 2018).
‘Every church has an opportunity to do something – big or small, for young or old, for five or 5000,’ said Michael Harvey (pictured left), co-founder of Back to Church Sunday. ‘We know from research that almost three million people are open to being invited to church. The National Weekend of Invitation is an opportunity for us to do the inviting.’
Many churches are already preparing for the weekend. On the evening of Fri 15 Jun, a team from St Saviour’s, Sunbury-on-Thames will knock on doors, offering to pray for people and inviting them to a special service on Sun 17 Jun, called Joy@KemptonPark.
Free resources offering churches special advice on the initiative are available at the National Weekend of Invitation website.
‘Over the years we have discovered that about seven out of 10 Christians feel God may be prompting them to invite someone to church,’ said Michael Harvey, who will be introducing the National Weekend of Invitation to visitors at CRE 2018.
‘However, eight out of 10 have no intention of doing so. We fear rejection, of failing and getting it wrong. We imagine God is only pleased with success. This creates a fear to invite. We hope the weekend will part of a paradigm shift in church thinking about invitation and, in particular, the role of the inviter.’
The National Weekend of Invitation will be on stand B3 at CRE 2018
Photo: Michael Harvey (left), co-founder of Back to Church Sunday with Rev Dr Michael Volland, principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge
What do you talk about with non-Christian friends? The latest box set on Netflix? Contestants on the latest TV talent show? The weather report?
For most of us, it’s easy to find something trivial to provoke a conversation – but our faith is a different matter.
‘We have connections with lots of people in our daily lives but what’s the next step?’ asks Sharon Lanfear (pictured below) of CRE 2018 exhibitor The Ugly Duckling Company. ‘Not every friend or acquaintance is ready to attend a Sunday service or an enquiry course. They don’t want to be told what to believe but are happy to have a conversation. That’s where we come in!’
The Ugly Duckling Company provide a number of creative ways to stimulate meaningful ‘Jesus’ conversations in contemporary culture.
‘We have several ideas and initiatives you can use with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours,’ explains Sharon. ‘These resources could be described as pre-evangelism, in that they are aimed at those who are not engaged with church in a meaningful way.’
Table Talk is one such resource – a conversational game which creates space to explore the big (and not-so-big) questions of life, articulate your thoughts and discuss ideas meaningfully with others.
A variety of Table Talk packs are available, targeting a variety of users, from youth and children to third agers. In addition, you will find a series of apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
‘Table Talk helps move people on in their spiritual journey,’ says Sharon. ‘And I’ll be showing you how at CRE 2018.’
The Ugly Duckling Company are on Stand S109 at CRE 2018
Photo: Sharon Lanfear of The Ugly Duckling Company
After more than 30 years as its press officer, Steve Goddard could not contemplate the end of Europe’s largest annual exhibition for churches – so he bought it.
Read this short profile of Steve Goddard, Managing Director of CRE, which appeared recently in Northern Life magazine.