CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Introducing the positive Halloween treat that’s right on the button

The 2018 Meaningful Treat Pack will be available at CRE, with the eve of All Saints – or Halloween – in mind.

Building on the success of last year’s initiative, the pack has a new challenge activity poster to help young people focus on being a hero and a light in the world. There is also a bag of Swiss Fairtrade milk chocolate buttons in every pack.

‘At £1 a head and with all new content, the pack is suitable for light parties, outreach events, schools, or for children who trick or treat on 31st October,’ says Meaningful Chocolate founder David Marshall. ‘Each case of 30 packs includes a leader’s guide with ideas. There is also a national competition asking children to nominate their leading lights.’

The activity poster, which can be used in groups or at home, has eight challenges which include picture puzzles, a word search, a call to buy Fairtrade, say a prayer and leading light competition with a prize.

‘It also challenges children to give a treat to someone less well off by donating to a children’s charity,’ says David, ‘while encouraging the journey of faith – taking a similar approach to our Real Easter Eggs and Real Advent Calendars.’

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

Christian venues: Hiring a room is now just a click away

A new project that enables organisations to find and hire quality Christian venues will be introduced at CRE 2018.

‘All places of worship and allied venues can have a free listing on the website, detailing basic information,’ says Nick Gazard, of freshSPRING, the organisation behind the initiative.

People search the website for suitable venues – helping churches listed generate more income. While some websites currently identify venues in particular areas, they do not tend to deal with the possibilities of renting a room for a special occasion, business meeting or family get-together.

‘Even if they have space available, they rarely identify essential items, such as the size of the room and the number of tables available,’ says Nick. ‘Often, there isn’t even a photograph to view.’

The new website offers an easy-to-follow search system and identifies what is available, at what price.

Christian Venues is a project of non-profit freshSPRING Design, in partnership with local churches and Tortilla Hosting.

Graphic designers by profession, the company makes websites for charities, churches and small businesses as a non-profit and recently revamped Your Catholic Legacy.

‘We started up when I realised many churches were creating websites at large cost and with very little help,’ says Nick. ‘We offered advice on design, graphics and marketing – including specialist courses. We try to create an ongoing relationship, to continue to the next level.’

• freshSPRING Design are on stand S35 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

From pew potatoes to daring disciples

Our commission is to make disciples, not pew potatoes – and Discipleship Wednesday at CRE 2018 will help us understand the difference.

Three seminars, taking different approaches to the same subject, are scheduled for Wednesday 17 October.

11am: How to make disciples who make disciples – Rev Brian Richardson, of Siloam Christian Ministries, talks about how Evangelism Explosion trains church members to effectively share their faith in everyday life.

12pm: Dare to disciple and see your church grow – Rev Cris Rogers, of All Hallows Church, Tower Hamlets, says our commission is to make disciples, not church attenders. How do we do it?

3pm: Holy Habits – Rev Andrew Roberts of BRF introduces the methodology behind a new and effective missional discipleship resource.

‘It is vital we help churches activate a thriving discipleship culture,’ says Rev Cris Rogers, 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.’

In Rev Brian Richardson’s seminar (11am) you will discover how Evangelism Explosion training, developed over the past 50 years, equips church members to make disciples.

‘I would like people to talk away with one key phrase in their mind,’ says Brian. ‘The key to discipleship is on the job training.’

Rev Andrew Roberts will introduce Holy Habits (3pm), a new resource to help churches engage more intentionally with discipleship. Based around 10 habits, the course is an easy-to-use, intergenerational approach to discipleship, and can be taken at the user’s own pace, though Andrew estimates the full course takes about two years.

‘And I’ll be offering some practical suggestions and ideas to introduce the initiative in your church,’ he explains.

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

Additional needs: Churches have a huge ministry opportunity

Three organisations will exhibit under the Churches for All banner at CRE 2018 – each committed to improving universal access to church buildings and programmes.

The initiative comes at a time when 10 million adults in the UK have a recognised disability – about one in five of the adult population. A further 700,000 children have one or more disabilities.

Exhibiting on stand B5, Churches for All is a partnership of UK Christian disability organisations. Count Everyone In, The Lodge Trust, and Torch Trust, all members of the association, will be at CRE offering visitors a breadth of experience and depth of knowledge on disability issues.

Churches for All’s Mark Arnold has a son with additional needs.

‘Additional or special needs parenting is tough because there is so much more to cope with,’ he says. ‘An increasing numbers of diagnoses in children at one end of the age range, coupled with an increasing older population at the other, present a huge ministry area for churches that is growing all the time.

‘Everyone, including those with additional needs and disabilities, should be included and valued in church. I hope to inspire CRE visitors as their churches plan to become fully-inclusive.’

Gordon Temple, executive officer for Churches for All, says: ‘CRE presents a great opportunity to support and encourage churches as they strive to welcome, include and involve people living with disabilities in every aspect of church life.’

The Torch Trust is promoting Sight Loss Friendly Church, a new initiative to enable churches to become more inclusive of people with sight loss. Count Everyone In aims to enthuse local churches about being more welcoming and relevant to people with learning disabilities through their new Know and Grow training while the Lodge Trust provides spiritual support to adults with learning disabilities.

• Mark Arnold and team will speak on Churches for All at 12pm on Tue 16 Oct

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

Curvy Casala: Not so shabby at the abbey

When Westminster Abbey were looking for a functional chair that fitted in with the venue’s aesthetics, a CRE 2018 exhibitor took up the challenge.

‘The resulting product is based on our Curvy chair,’ explains Casala’s Jemma Veal. ‘The seat and backrest are made in oak veneer, stained with a predetermined colour that is candlewax resistant and we modified the features to meet the abbey’s requirements.’

The outside of the backrest is engraved with the abbey’s crest. Subtle bump rubbers on both sides of the frame, and sound-stack protection mounted on the underside of the seat, reduce sound during set up, storage and stacking procedures as well as when they are in use during services and ceremonies.

‘We are very proud our chairs are in the most famous cathedral in the world,’ says Jemma. ‘They are used for services attended by many famous people and members of the Royal Family.’

The transport dolly has a storage capacity for 90 chairs. Because of their heavy weight in combination with an uneven floor, castors with a large diameter help to move the transport dolly easily.

A recent report in the Daily Telegraph called on churches to keep their traditional pews. ‘Modern churches are more than just a place for contemplation and reflection,’ maintains Jemma. ‘Increasingly, they are developing into multifunctional buildings for a wide range of occasions: from seminars to concerts, from lectures to workshops. Whatever goal you have in mind with the furnishing of your church, we have the furniture to suit it.’

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

O little bauble of Bethlehem

They’re hand-blown by Muslims in Hebron, hand-painted by Christians in Bethlehem, and shipped by Israelis from Ashdod.

Bethlehem Baubles seeks to renew the authentic Christmas spirit by offering an original and thoughtful gift that represents a deep sense of connection and community.

Each bauble arrives on a bed of straw in its own presentation box along with a certificate of origin. No plastic is used – and it’s made from recycled materials!

Founded by Ros Pollock while posted to Jerusalem with the UN, Bethlehem Baubles aims to provide a grass roots, fair living wage to a struggling community.

‘Together we can make a difference for these skilled artisans,’ she says.

With a unique design for the collection each year, Ros believes Bethlehem Baubles have the potential to become an intrinsic and abiding part of the Christmas experience – perfect for stocking fillers and ‘that tricky relative who you never know what to get.’

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3


Dave HallByDave Hall

Masada, mocha and Rev Andy’s mission

Warning! That figure hunched all morning over a laptop in an Earl’s Court café may be a vicar.

When Rev Andy Roland, 73, retired in 2015 he started a new career as a writer – and now spends his mornings at a local coffee house, logged on to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In the afternoon he writes books.

And the products of his efforts will be visible at CRE 2018 – on a stand just outside Cindy’s Bar and ‘near enough to smell more coffee’.

Bible in Brief, his key volume, is an interactive six-month overview of the scriptures with a chapter to read each day and a question to answer on the opposite page. He invites readers to post their comments online – and he replies, in between sips of mocha.

Five Steps to Faith, his latest book, will be available at the exhibition.

‘In this one I invite you to go to someone’s home and present the Christian faith in five steps by asking questions,’ he explained.

Each section has an interactive point. In the first section, for instance, is a prayer for the family which a parent can pray with their children at bedtime.

‘You can’t help but be moved when you do that,’ he said.

Other books available at CRE will include A Week of Prayer in Jerusalem – recounting one of his many visits to the city.

‘I have written about people I met in the street and raise questions that are likely to affect anyone visiting Israel for the first time,’ he explained. Andy helped on excavations at Masada, the mountain fortress in which 970 jewish rebels committed suicide rather than face captivity by the Roman troops surrounding the mountain.

There is also Job – his play for public performances.

A former personnel officer at Imperial College, Andy trained at Durham University for the Anglican ministry and spent 21 years as vicar at All Saints Hackbridge and Beddington Corner in Surrey before ‘retiring’ in 2015.

The Bible in Brief website includes plenty of useful information for people keen on honing their Bible knowledge, including six-month readings from Bible in Brief; nine short animated films on Old Testament characters; prayer leaflets to accompany Discovering Psalms as Prayer; three music videos to use in public performances of Job, two short videos to accompany the Five Steps to Faith book, as well as many Bible blogs on biblical questions.

You will find Rev Andy Roland at Rev Andy Books, stand B9 at CRE 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

Bryn, blues and a blessing behind bars

Before visiting prisons, legendary slide guitarist Bryn Haworth had no idea about the church behind locked doors.

‘It started in 1990 with a “nagging” Bible verse,’ recalled Bryn, in concert at CRE 2018 (3pm, Wed 17 Oct). ‘Matthew 25:36 says “When I was in prison you visited me.” I discovered brothers and sisters who had simply got into trouble and needed help.’

That first exploratory visit developed into the Music in Ministry Trust with Bryn and wife Sally reaching dozens of prisons across the UK.

‘Prisoners are starved of resources – books, song books, music equipment, people to talk to and pray with them,’ said Bryn, now 70. ‘It has been shown that inmates who maintain healthy contact with the outside world are six times less likely to reoffend. And prisoners specially respond to the blues!’

At the end of a recent service in Wandsworth Prison, three men came forward saying they needed forgiveness for what they had done.

‘They had real urgency on their faces,’ said Bryn. ‘It was wonderful to pray with them and see the relief on their faces.’

He is well aware that not everyone is called to work in prison but he will be at CRE to show visitors how they can pray, read the biographies of ex-prisoners, use the Fine Cell web site for Christmas shopping, or even eat at The Clink Restaurant! There is one inside four prisons in the UK – Brixton, Cardiff, High Down in Surrey, and Styal in Cheshire. The restaurants train prisoners in culinary skills to help them find work on leaving prison.

Visitors to CRE will also find out how they can join The Welcome Directory and learn how to help ex-offenders turn their lives around.

Bryn and Sally will be on Stand E3 at CRE 2018

Bryn will be in concert in Cindy’s Bar (3pm, Wed 17 Oct)

Dave HallByDave Hall

Cliff: light at the end of the tunnel

A well-honed Cliff – he was preparing to play Heathcliff at the time – is presented (in the photo above) with a stunning waistcoat at the opening of CRE 1994.

Made by top ecclesiastical textile designer Juliet Hemingray, the colourful garment was worn by the entertainer on succeeding TV programmes – much to the maker’s delight.

Juliet trained as an art and design teacher in Derby but was unsuccessful in securing a teaching post and spent the next few years ‘mending clothes and making curtains.’ In 1980 a friend approached her to design and make an embroidered preaching scarf/tippet to wear at children’s services.

‘He wanted to express the Gospel in a lively and colourful way,’ recalled Juliet, one of CRE’s most loyal exhibitors. And so was created a design featuring the God of creation who made the heaven and the earth – ‘a fun scene of hills, sheep, fish, stars, moon, sun and sky.’

Word got around and the back room of Juliet’s Victorian house was soon bursting at the seams. Her Aladdin’s cave is now in an old Victorian railway bonded warehouse. Over the years she has been commissioned to produce thousands of stoles, altar frontals, banners, copes, mitres, chasubles and other religious regalia – hundreds of orders coming from CRE visitors.

The enthronement robes worn by the former Archbishop of the Canterbury, Dr George Carey, were made by Juliet. On the release of the Archbishop’s special envoy Terry Waite, Juliet was commissioned to make a special chasuble celebrating his freedom.

‘I chose rich golds, yellow and oranges, portraying the light he was starved of for so long,’ she explained.

Her forte is taking a seed of an idea and making something that is not only a visual aid to worship but also something of beauty that will speak of the fullness and richness of the gospel of Christ.

‘It may have been presented to him years ago but Cliff, like Terry, has come through some very dark times,’ said CRE managing director Steve Goddard. ‘Juliet’s sumptuous waistcoat expresses the light he found at the end of a long, long tunnel.’

Juliet Hemingray is on stand S131 at CRE 2018

Dave HallByDave Hall

Marguerite revs up for Sandown debut

A ‘Mecca’ for artists and those who love creative thinking on cards, posters and mugs – that’s the thinking behind CRE 2018 exhibitor Marguerite’s Dreams.

Artistic block, however, caused by years of teaching design and technology, almost stopped founder Marguerite Slater from any creative endeavour. The turning point came when she attended a course based on The Artist Way, a book by Julia Cameron, where she discovered other people liked her designs. Later, a work colleague told her she should be doing more – and promptly helped her set up a website.

Now Marguerite is bringing her own range of colourful, sometimes quirky designs to CRE 2018 – inspired by the Bible and creation. She has made a full-time job out of something she not only loves, but in which she is very proficient. One of her first designs – Ask Seek Knock – begins with a keyhole through which nothing is visible and then blossoms into a wonderful view of creative glory.

‘After many years of feeling blocked, it expresses how free I felt,’ she said. ‘I want people to wonder what is on the other side of the door – and how to get through. This is how I feel about so many things, including art, and the people I meet. I enjoy seeing God open up opportunities or exposing things I have missed with my own eyes.’

Working with watercolour and mixed media, Marguerite is now seeing her work sold in art shops and other retail establishments. Best of all, it not only expresses her faith but gives pleasure to those who buy it. And now you can see it all for yourself at Sandown Park in October.

Marguerite’s Dreams is on stand S27 at CRE 2018

Save the date for CRE National 2019!
Join us at Sandown Park
15-17 October 2019