Giving holistic freedom to women trapped in caste-based discrimination, poverty and hopelessness is the mission of Promise Bags – returning to CRE after a successful debut in 2017.
‘Dalit (Untouchable) women have been trapped for 3000 years in a caste system that has brutalised, discriminated and treated people as less than animals,’ explained Promise Bags’ Elisha Chowtapalli. ‘Employment is a tool for their freedom. The unique power of a job empowers and gives dignity to women trapped in poverty.’
The company currently employs 12 women in a safe, loving and caring environment.
‘We started with six in 2015,’ said Elisha. ‘Our dream is to employ 100 by 2025.’
Together, they create beautiful and high quality leather and jute bags, handcrafted with passion.
‘Each and every small detail is taken care of,’ said Elisha. ‘We can even offer customised products, personalising them with a logo, embossed names, initials or messages to promote a business or brand.’
Part of the profits goes towards the Dalit Children Home and English Medium School, run by Promise Bags.
Promise Bags are on stand S26 at CRE 2018
One of the most popular performers at the Christian Resources Exhibition returns to CRE in October.
Blind almost from birth, Marilyn Baker began to write and sing her own songs in the early 1980s, releasing a series of albums which aimed to draw people into God’s healing presence.
Word spread and soon churches were inviting her to do evangelistic and encouragement concerts. She gave up her job as a music teacher and started ministering full time, travelling extensively in Britain and many parts of the world. A familiar performer at Spring Harvest and other major Christian events, Marilyn quickly became Britain’s top-selling female gospel singer.
In 1986 she was joined by Tracy Williamson, whose gifts in speaking and prophecy enriched the music with a new dimension. Marilyn’s recordings and Tracy’s books enabled them to reach an even wider audience.
As well as concerts, Marilyn and Tracy undertake church encouragement weekends, workshops and conferences. They minister to large or small groups or in elderly people’s homes and prisons. Wherever they are, the focus of the ministry remains the same.
‘Our heart is to see people entering into joy instead of mourning, beauty instead of ashes, praise instead of despair,’ said Marilyn. ‘We want them to understand the intimacy of God’s tender love and be empowered by it to reach out to others, that they too may be healed and changed.
‘He has been wonderfully faithful guiding and providing for us over all these years and has brought so much transformation to individuals and groups. We are excited about what lies ahead in his plans for us.’
Marilyn Baker will perform at CRE 2018 on Tue 16 Oct
A prayer technique developed by a 16th century Spanish priest is reaching people who wouldn’t dream of darkening a church’s door.
In what began as a small experiment by Methodist minister Rev Clive McKie, Ignatian prayer is being accessed online in more than 46 countries on six continents, through CRE 2018 exhibitor Taketime meditation.
‘Christians are finding a fresh breeze gently blowing through their faith,’ said Clive, currently minister of Reigate Methodist Church in Surrey, ‘but what is more striking is how the technique is welcomed by agnostics, atheists and those who have wondered about faith but found church too daunting.’
The trickle-down effect is that people are experiencing God’s love and encountering Christ – their changed lives affecting others with a slow but steady movement for good.
Clive is now training churches of all denominations to run local Taketime Together groups, accessible to all – especially those with no church background. You can find out how on the Taketime stand at CRE 2018.
‘It is an invisible, community venture,’ said Clive, ‘with no big event, no bunting, no fanfare… just God’s word quietly going out into the world and transforming it.’
Taketime are on stand S149 at CRE 2018
Space to relax, explore your faith and invest in friendships – that’s the thinking behind Richmond Christian Holidays, exhibitors at CRE 2018.
‘When God speaks to Moses in Exodus 33:14, he reminds us: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”. What a joy it is that our heavenly father loves to be with us in relationship and in rest!’ said Richmond Holidays’ Verity McKay.
Richmond offer winter holidays in the French Alps and summer holidays on the Island of Samos and the French Alps.
‘At Richmond, we believe that a time away of fun and relaxation offers the perfect space to grow deeper with our awesome God in the setting of His beautiful creation! Our times of ministry throughout the holiday are fashioned to give you time to just “be still and know” as the psalmist suggests.
‘Whether you, your family members or friends are looking for adventure or seeking rest, we will tell you more about our holidays at CRE this autumn.’
Richmond Christian Holidays are on Stand S63 at CRE 2018
Our commission is to make disciples, not church attenders.
That will be Rev Cris Rogers’ message at CRE 2018.
‘It is vital we help churches activate a thriving discipleship culture,’ said Cris, rector of All Hallows in Bow, east London. ‘Some of us struggle with the term “discipleship” and use “spiritual formation”. I will look at the differences between the evangelical understanding of discipleship and the more Catholic understanding of spiritual formation. Neither deliver biblical discipleship on their own but when the two merge we get a biblical picture of Jesus’ understanding of discipleship and formation.’
Developed by Cris, Making Disciples is an assessment tool to help churches, small groups and individuals interested in developing as disciples of Jesus. Churches developing a discipleship action plan have found people serving in and outside the church has gone up, financial giving has risen and disciplines of personal daily prayer have grown.
‘I will also look at how the modern school system has killed how we do discipleship within the church because our education is teaching rather than apprenticeship based,’ said Cris. ‘I will also look at the way we need to grow leaders, another important part of building a discipleship culture.’
Cris took on the leadership of an Anglican Church in Tower Hamlets, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse areas of London. The church had shrunk to seven people before his arrival. He is also part of the Spring Harvest planning group.
Rev Cris Rogers will speak on ‘Making Disciples’ at CRE 2018 (12 pm, Wed 17 Oct)
World record-breaking football freestyler Dan Magness will perform his phenomenal tricks at October’s CRE 2018 encouraging churches to ‘make history’ with their own creative and sporting flair.
Dan kept a football in the air in Covent Garden for an astonishing 24 hours – making him the Guinness World Keepy-Uppy Champion. He also set the world record for the longest-ever recorded journey while continuously kicking or heading a ball, keeping the ball in the air for a staggering 36 miles, visiting every Premier League football club in London.
He became a Christian at 3am outside a Southend nightclub.
‘I was with a couple of mates and must confess I was full of another kind of spirit,’ he said. ‘We saw some street pastors talking to clubbers and I thought “I want to go and talk to them”. Minutes later, they were telling me about Jesus. Now I use my talent to praise his name.’
Dan is appearing at CRE in support of Mercy Ships, who are challenging churches to make history, by taking on one of three sporty or creative #MercyActs challenges.
Darren Richards, Church Partnership Manager at Mercy Ships, added: ‘Mercy Ships has launched a brand new set of resources that call on UK churches to use their talents and skills to help send free medical care to some of the poorest people in the world. The church is a treasure trove of talent. Imagine what could happen if everyone took something they loved doing – their hobbies and sporting passions – and then used that to help the poor in Africa?
‘Imagine if kids sang, teens vlogged, students shone on stage, parents picked up a paintbrush and grandma shimmied across a ballroom. Those who can’t draw or dance, can write or arrange flowers. Those who can’t cycle can swap clothes or bake. Everyone can do something! Everyone can love mercy, act justly and walk humbly by taking on a #MercyActs challenge.’
Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries. Today, Mercy Ships is a faith-based international development organisation with a creative solution to poverty – the world’s largest floating hospital, crewed entirely by volunteers. Their hospital ships serve some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need.
Mercy Ships are on Stand S151 at CRE 2018
As World Cup fever grips the nation, Christians in Sport have told us of several churches showing the matches on big screens.
Before the little maestro had to fly home with the rest of the Argentinian squad, one church in Yeovil ran a ‘Messi Church’. Meanwhile, Town Church, Bicester (pictured), hosted a World Cup Sunday with five-a-side football tournament and BBQ. They shared a short gospel message before showing England v. Panama on a big screen. Town Church’s Jonny Reid, said: ‘It was great to welcome loads of people who wouldn’t normally think about coming to church and it gave them a chance to hear more about Jesus.’
It’s not too late to download a series of free World Cup resources in Christians in Sport’s Mission Pack that features a new multimedia World Cup quiz, an evangelistic short film, a guide to creating a ‘fan zone’ and a collection of school resources. The pack has already been downloaded more than 900 times.
‘While the World Cup is dominating the headlines at the moment, it only comes along every four years,’ said Christians in Sport’s Ed Mezzetti. ‘Let’s not see it as a one-off. Would Wimbledon tennis or the Ryder Cup golf work better for your church? We need to keep sport and big sporting events on the radar if we are to reach millions of people in this “nation” of sports lovers.’
Christians In Sport are on Stand A36 at CRE North (13/14 Mar 2019)
What does today’s digital world look like for young people? How can we support an increasing number facing mental health issues? What are the best ways to reach their unchurched families? Where can we find resources to help young people engage in the Bible in a practical and creative way?
These and other key questions will be addressed in the Youth Zone at CRE 2018.
‘You will discover a wide range of people passionate about working with children, young people and families,’ said Laura Hancock (pictured below) of zone sponsors Youth for Christ. ‘Whether you have been involved in youth or children’s work for years, or have never considered it until now, we would love to meet you.’
As well as providing a space for visitors to talk to experts and discover new resources, a rolling programme of 10 to 15-minute talks throughout the day will introduce a range of relevant topics.
‘You are welcome to drop in at any time throughout the three days,’ said Laura. ’There are also in-depth seminars in the main exhibition programme, particularly on Thursday (18 Oct) when there is a special focus on youth and children’s ministry.’
Exhibitors in the Youth Zone include:
Bible Educational Services
Breaking the power of Secularism
Every Day God Encounters
Kisumu Children Trust
Word for Word Bible Comic
Youth for Christ
There is currently just one stand available in the Youth Zone. For more information contact James Batterbee or call him on (0161) 250 2306
They have already produced several lunches for more than 60 people, hired the place out for children’s parties and are now looking to put on a film club and a meeting place for young people. And members of Carpenders Park and South Oxhey Methodist Church in Bushey are grateful to Nelson Dish & Glasswashing Machines for helping to make it happen.
‘Because we were building a new church, it made sense that a proper, commercial kitchen should be included at the same time and Nelson did a great job on the installation,’ said Alan Bryant, one of the committee members responsible for overseeing the work.
Currently celebrating their 40th year, Nelson will be at CRE 2018 displaying dishwashers and glasswashers with a very low carbon footprint and sophisticated energy and water-saving features. Despite growing in size over the years, the company has never become complacent.
‘Every customer, however large or small, deserves the best advice and service we can provide,’ said managing director John Nelson. ‘This is one of the reasons we have been embraced by churches. We’ve advised on and installed many of our dishwashers in churches and their associated buildings to help ensure crucial health and safety legislation is met. And, via our sister company, Nelson Catering Equipment, we’ve helped a lot of churches enjoy the many benefits that a well-designed commercial kitchen can bring to the community.’
Nelson will be on stand S105 at CRE 2018
The National Weekend of Invitation (June 15-17) saw thousands of people invited to church – and in the process an untold number of Christians began to overcome their fear of rejection.
‘These are the first steps of a much-needed cultural change, moving churches at best from being welcoming, to being welcoming and inviting,’ said National Weekend of Invitation founder Michael Harvey. ‘We are already hearing stories of people becoming Christians over the weekend or wanting to explore the Christian faith after simply being invited to church.’
The National Weekend of Invitation came about after Michael discovered that about seven out of 10 Christians feel God may be prompting them to invite someone to church. 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,’ he said. ‘We hope the weekend will be part of a paradigm shift in church thinking about invitation and, in particular, the vital role of the inviter. At CRE 2018 I will highlight the power of invitation in igniting a congregation to follow the call of God. And I’ll show visitors how a church can become invitational.’
Michael will be joined by Saltmine Theatre Co who will present a series of sketches on the subject of invitation.
The National Weekend of Invitation is on stand B3 at CRE 2018
Photo: Some 2000 came to Joy@KemptonPark on Sun 17 June: a day of family, food, faith – and acrobatics from Duggie Dug Dug! Pic by Rix Banga