CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Church Times Live: Seeking the truth on youth

Youth workers, researchers and teenagers have been sharing their views on the declining number of young people in Anglican churches in Church Times – and the debate continues on Youth Day (Thu 18 Oct) at next week’s CRE.

The demographic statistics in the C of E are stark. In London, a city with more than 300,000 11-18s, just 2000 are in C of E churches. Across the country, the average Anglican church has just three children attending, and the smallest 25 per cent have none at all.

‘There is talk of a church in crisis,’ said Madeleine Davies, features editor at Church Times, the UK’s leading Christian weekly. ‘We began 2018 with a month-long series exploring the trends under-pinning these numbers.’

The debate continues when Madeleine chairs a discussion with youth workers at CRE. She will ask what can be done and if there are any reasons to be hopeful.

‘We’ll consider the clues in history, sociology and other fields to explain current trends,’ she said. ‘Our experts will share their insights into how we can reach an increasingly unchurched population – and why panic isn’t the right response!’

The debate will be opened up to the floor, giving CRE visitors an opportunity to share their stories and ask the panel for advice.

CRE 2018 will once again host a Youth Zone featuring a number of specialist agencies (see below). The seminar programme covers youth and children’s issues on all three days, culminating in a range of subjects on Youth Day. For a full list of seminars click here.

• Where are all the young people? 2.15pm, Thu 18 Oct. Church Times panel of youth workers share their insights into how to reach an increasingly unchurched generation. With Ali Campbell, Savannah John-Leighton and Polly Baker. Chaired by Madeleine Davies, features editor at Church Times

CRE Youth Zone exhibitors

Youthscape
Pulse Ministries
Every Day God Encounters
Breaking the Power of Secularism
Hope UK
Demco Europe Ltd (Articles of faith)
Hope Now
Bible Educational Services 
Kisumu Children Trust 
Word for Word Bible Comic
acet UK
Youth For Christ

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

 

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Dave HallByDave Hall

How millennial-ready is your church?

A diagnostics website will be launched at CRE next week (16 Oct) that helps local churches create support networks for emerging young leaders.

For while some churches have been hugely significant in their millennials’ development, others have little idea of the high calibre of personnel in their pews each Sunday – according to a new study.*

‘Some churches have given practical leadership opportunities, often stretching millennials** beyond what they felt ready for,’ said Simon Barrington, founder and director of Forge Leadership Consultancy. ‘Creating safe spaces where it is OK to risk and fail – opportunities like these are extremely impactful for learning and development, whether the people ended up leading in churches or in charities, the public or private sector. There is a huge opportunity for churches to be even more intentional in increasing those opportunities and being more specific in recognising the value they are bringing.’

However, the survey also discovered a profound disconnect in some churches where the established leaders had no idea how far members of their congregation had risen in the workplace, and found it difficult to know how to support them.

‘We are launching a diagnostics website on Oct 16th,’ explained Simon. ‘This will help churches to identify how millennial friendly their culture is and tools to enable them to create appropriate support networks that are safe and allow the tackling of real issues.’

The full report, Millennial Leaders: Now is Our Time and this is Our Voice, will be presented for the first time to more than 1200 visitors on Tue 16 Oct, the opening day of CRE 2018, when the Millennial Leaders website will also be launched.

* Millennial Leaders: Now is Our Time and this is Our Voice explores the opinions of Christian millennials in leadership positions across all sectors of society in the UK. Forge Leadership Consultancy, in association with Bible Society and Redcliffe College, conducted the research between September 2017 and April 2018, utilising 50 in-depth qualitative interviews and more than 440 responses to a quantitative survey.

** Millennial is a term given to a specific generation of people who reached young adulthood in the first two decades of the millennium. There is variation over the specific dates used, however for the purposes of this research millennials are identified as people born between 1984 and 2000. This fits in with the majority of millennial classifications.

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Penalties and pot luck – on the way to paradise

Make your way through rewards, penalties, pot luck – and be the first pilgrim to enter paradise.

The Gospel Journey Board Game, available from RP Books at CRE 2018 (stand 76) is engaging, fun and informative and challenges the players’ knowledge of the New and Old Testament.

‘It’s our first-ever board game and was the brainchild of our publishing director, Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R. and George Allen,’ said RP Books’ Vikki Walters. ‘The Bible is brought to life as you journey through the scriptures but be careful not to get caught in Hold Up!’

Suitable for family, friends, adults, teens and board game enthusiasts, the winner is the first person to reach paradise.

‘Here there is unconditional love, no more pain or suffering – a place where humans and wildlife can live with God in harmony for eternity,’ says Vikki.

The Gospel Journey Board Game is aimed at ages 14 upwards and can be enjoyed by two to four players or teams.

• RP Books are on Stand S76 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

To free a pilgrim: charity liberates elderly people from hardships

A charity formed in the same year the slave trade was abolished, continues to help elderly people face life with practical and spiritual support.

The Pilgrims’ Friend Society, formed in 1807, maintains life can still be pretty harsh for those advancing in years.

In former days, the charity raised funds to them with practical gifts such as groceries, warm blankets and coal which, along with Christian encouragement. With housing conditions dire, it built its first housing scheme in 1835. Today it has housing and residential care homes in many different parts of the country.

‘Circumstances may have changed but many needs remain the same,’ says Carl Knightly, the charity’s director of engagement. ‘We still provide practical support for older people, enabling them to live the fulfilled lives that God intends. Those who know our housing and care homes comment on their Christian ethos and loving attitude. One relative said, “It is not superficial, it is the authentic thing”.’

The charity will share its extensive knowledge of the elderly, and ways of engaging them, with visitors at CRE 2018.

One church leader told the charity: ‘Issues of old age are matters which will increasingly grow in significance and having an opportunity to explore and think through core issues is a very valuable exercise.’

The Pilgrims’ Friend Society is a founding member of the Faith in Later Life organisation which, together with four other charities including the Salvation Army, provides resources for churches and a directory of activities for older people.

‘We follow the examples of our Christian predecessors in cherishing the elderly, treating them as treasured human beings made in the image of God and capable of continuing their spiritual growth even as their body or mind may fail them,’ said Carl.

• Louise Morse of the Pilgrims’ Friend Society will speak on ‘Empowering and enabling seniors’ at CRE 2018 (11am, Tue 16 Oct). More here

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Leading the way to the Holy Land

An introductory tour for the prospective leader of a church party is the ideal preparation for any group looking to go on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

McCabe Pilgrimages will run their 2019 leaders’ trip from 9-16 Jan 2019. It costs from just £595 per person for church and group leaders – but as an added incentive, the cost is refunded if you plan a pilgrimage with McCabe.

‘For 35 years we’ve combined empathy for the needs of UK churches with professional expertise in organising pilgrimages to the Holy Land and further afield,’ explains McCabe’s Paul Ellerby.

‘Visiting the lands of the Bible and places of Christian historical interest is a powerful experience. Pilgrimage is about travelling, living and worshipping together when often the journey can become more significant than the destination.

Many groups choose the Holy Land but the destinations currently offered by McCabe include Romania, Georgia, Ethiopia as well as walking the Santiago Way.

• McCabe Pilgrimages are on stand S159 at CRE2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

How green was my vestry? Discuss your church and the environment at Church Times Live

Richard Black, former BBC environment correspondent, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, will lead a panel discussion – the Environment, Church and Society – part of Church Times Live at CRE 2018 (11am, Thu 18 Oct).

The weekly newspaper has actively covered the topic of climate change for more than two decades. In 1997, Sir John Houghton wrote: ‘What is now required is real commitment to action by governments, industry and individuals.’ More than 20 years on, the same sentence could be repeated, though with much more urgency.

This coming week’s edition (11 Oct) focuses on the same subject to coincide with a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pick up your free copy in the entrance foyer at CRE 2018 or on stand S137). The panel at CRE will take stock of current scientific thinking, reflect on this theologically, and point towards practical action. Come, listen, participate – and discuss:

• The most effecting means to combat global warming


• What it will be like to live in a zero-emissions world


• The Church as a key player in protecting the environment

Church Times Live will be the first for the paper in its 155-year history. On Thu 18 Oct at CRE 2018 a list of distinguished guests will open up discussion on three key areas – the environment (11am), worship (12.30pm) and young people (2.15pm). 

‘Thanks to social media, news is now questioned and interrogated more than ever before,’ explains Paul Handley, editor of Church Times. ‘New technology brings new problems – all those uninformed, unguarded comments. So how do we bring journalism and contemporary comment into the open in an intelligent way? Our answer is Church Times Live – a day when we lift the lid on editorial judgements and open up discussion behind three hot topics.’

• Church Times Live takes place at CRE 2018 on Thu 18 Oct only. See the full programme here

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Plan well – don’t be this year’s sad café

Make sure you’ve planned that special church venture properly, advises church and charity expert Daryl Martin.

‘A café set up by one church seemed a good idea at the time with profits used for mission activities,’ recalls Daryl, founder and CEO of CRE 2018 exhibitor Advice for the Voluntary Sector (AFVS). ‘However, as the business lost money year after year, it became deep in debt and the church had to do something about it.’

His first task was to give the trustees a stern talking to for waiting so long to take action.

‘Then I rolled up my sleeves, got alongside them, and looked for a safe way out,’ said Daryl. ‘Fortunately, the example of the café is rare and most problems can be resolved in an easier way.’

On any one day he finds himself talking to a pastor who wants to clarify the relationship with his trustee board; help might be wanted somewhere in the minefield created by the new General Data Protection Regulations; another contact may want help inducting a new trustee; a Parochial Church Council wants him to look at a lease and comment on it. Even the subjects in which he is not trained are not a problem. He has a network of helpers built up over 20 years on whom he can call – all experts in their own field.

A visit to the AFVS stand (S74) might well save your church or charity falling foul of many new regulations. And there are training courses on many invaluable subjects on offer, too.

• AFVS are on stand S74 at CRE 2018

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Dave HallByDave Hall

‘Autocracy is dead, long live consensus!’ say millennial leaders

Collaboration, teamwork and good relationships are priorities in the workplace – according to a new study of millennial leaders unveiled at CRE 2018.

More than half (55 per cent) of almost 500 millennials* surveyed selected ‘integrity’ as one of the top three qualities in the most effective leader, with 44 per cent selecting ‘humility’. Ninety-four per cent stated that the quality of relationships in the workplace is ‘important’ or ‘extremely important’.

‘Today’s millennial leaders want to see an alignment between the words and actions of those in authority,’ explained Simon Barrington, founder and director of Forge Leadership Consultancy, which conducted the research alongside CRE 2018 exhibitors Bible Society and Redcliffe College. ‘Integrity was continually highlighted throughout the research with participants viewing the best leaders as those who have this characteristic and can be trusted.’

For a millennial the worst leaders are those lacking these key qualities.

‘There is real frustration with older leaders who publicly come across as having it all together, yet in private their work and actions do not match up,’ said Rachel Luetchford, researcher on the project and a millennial leader herself. ‘Relationships are everything to the millennial and the concept of autocracy is at uncomfortable odds with this. They want to see relationships flourish in the workplace. Collaboration and teamwork are priorities.’

The report presents seven key recommendations for churches, including the challenge to those in church leadership to create collaborative, team-based ministries and to welcome the challenge from millennials to lead with integrity and humility.

The full report, Millennial Leaders: Now is Our Time and this is Our Voice, will be presented on both Tue 16 Oct and Wed 17 Oct at CRE 2018, when the Millennial Leaders website will also be launched. The research took place between September 2017 and April 2018, utilising 50 in-depth qualitative interviews and more than 440 responses to a quantitative survey.

• Millennial is a term given to a specific generation of people who reached young adulthood in the first two decades of the millennium. There is variation over the specific dates used, however for the purposes of this research millennials are identified as people born between 1984 and 2000. This fits in with the majority of millennial classifications.

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Sally Phillips will open CRE and celebrate ‘the topsy-turvy topology of the Kingdom of God’

Actress and comedian Sally Phillips will open CRE 2018 (9.45am, Tue 16 Oct) and encourage hundreds of churches to put people with additional needs at the top of their agenda.

Sally, whose son Olly has Down’s Syndrome, will be joined by a 12-year-old best-selling author – Jonathan Bryan has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is entirely non-verbal. At the opening ceremony, blind singer-songwriter Marilyn Baker will be accompanied by a choir from Notre Dame School, Cobham, using Makaton, a language programme of signs and symbols to help people communicate.

CRE 2018 comes at a time when things are tough for disabled people and their families. The UNHCRPD investigation found the UK guilty of ‘grave and systematic violations of the human rights of disabled people.’

‘This concerned restrictions of welfare benefits, access to independent living and appropriate schooling,’ says Sally, ’but not included were the three avoidable deaths a day of people with learning disabilities within the NHS and the ethical questions around the commercialisation of our prenatal screening programme in the form of the roll out of the new “Downs test”.

‘I believe that the church is ideally placed to promote and model a way out of this miserable situation. Many of the problems faced by those with disabilities are mitigated by being loved. In community and in the church we are not only called to be blessed by carrying each others’ burdens but understand that in the topsy-turvy topology of the Kingdom of God, in which the weak are strong and the poor are rich, we will certainly be richly blessed for doing so. After all, we are only the body of Christ if we are all included. All in communion together.’

Sally will be at CRE to encourage churches to be accessible and welcoming to those suffering the effects of social and economic exclusion.

‘We can think creatively about church services and house groups as well as about buildings,’ she suggests. ‘There are also many job opportunities within the church. We could work with charities to open up some of these to people with different disabilities. We could also prioritise inclusion within our vibrant network of church schools at a time when exclusions of children with SEN are at an all-time high.

‘I also believe that we need the church as a body, and church members as individuals to speak prophetically about the need for an inclusive society. The prevailing political philosophy of utilitarianism has resulted in the normalisation of the idea that society will always have winners and losers – and we’re not OK with that, are we?’

It will be Sally’s first visit to an event often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’. She rose to prominence as one third of the all-female sketch show Smack the Pony, and then gained lead roles in the hugely popular BBC sitcom Miranda, as well as in the Bridget Jones films, as Bridget’s best friend, Shazza. As well as opening CRE, she will be interviewed by Rev Cindy Kent in Cindy’s Bar.

Gordon Temple, executive officer for Churches for All, an association of organisations seeking to improve universal access to church buildings and programmes, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Sally to our zone at CRE, representing as it does a great opportunity to highlight the need to bring people living with disabilities into the centre of church life.’

• Sally Phillips will open CRE 2018 at 9.45am and be interviewed in Cindy’s Bar at 11.30am on Tue 16 Oct

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Be seen and heard – to be understood

At a time when a lot of local church leaders are dependent on smart phones and state-of-the-art computers, why do so many still preach from a microphone-free, raised pulpit? It’s a situation that troubles David Sharpe, of CRE exhibitor SES Technical.

‘New technology enables first-time visitors to a church, at a wedding perhaps, to enjoy the experience more if they hear the message through a clear sound system, sing hymns from a screen and see the finer points of the sermon reinforced on a Powerpoint display,’ he maintains. ‘Even churches with a limited budget can take steps to ensure that everything that happens is seen, heard and understood.’

SES understand the pitfalls of working in historic churches, listed buildings, new build or even churches making renovations – especially when that means making the screen and speakers ‘disappear’ into the fabric of the building, to protect the beauty and aesthetic charm of a church.

‘We want to retain the visibility of the stained-glass windows, or elegant carvings,’ says Dave, ‘but also enhance the experience of worship and communication of the gospel message. We are happy to evaluate the needs and requirements of any church, design a system which provides the maximum quality of sound and vision – with a minimum of disturbance to the building or the congregation.’

The company also trains volunteer helpers so ‘you are never left in the lurch with no-one on the sound-desk or controlling the screen!’

SES are part of Novum AV, a company which has worked effectively with major businesses such as Nivea, Elastoplast and Australian Christian company Hillsong conferences in the UK. They have also provided expertise and equipment at major events at the NEC, Birmingham and Echo Arena, Liverpool.

‘The pyrotechnics used in some of our productions would be out of place in a church!’ admits Dave. ‘However, we are just as happy to install a simple sound system or provide a screen with a facility to show hymns, missionary photographs or video sequences which can increase people’s interest.’

Anyone leaving their visiting card at the SES stand (S55) at CRE 2018 will be put into a draw at the close of the event with two winners each being given a high-quality, reconditioned microphone with a full 12-month warranty.

• SES are on stand S55 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
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Save the date for CRE 2019!
Join us at Sandown Park
15-17 October 2019