CRE News

ByDave Hall

Introducing an alternative to ‘cut-down, child-friendly’ Christian comics


A new product has been launched that grabs the attention of those unlikely to sit down and read a book – let alone the Bible.

The Word for Word Bible Comic combines the original words of scripture with in-depth historical research to make the illustrations as accurate as possible. 

‘I have tried to convey aspects of culture, history, locality, ethnicity as well as meanings, subtleties and emotions,’ said author Simon Amadeus Pillario. ‘Bible commentaries and encyclopaedias can take pages to explain the same level of detail.’

The first three books in the series, Judges, Joshua and Ruth, are already available. The next instalment, the Gospel of Mark, will be hot off the press at CRE 2018.

Based in Bristol, Simon has a degree in graphic design and has been writing comics for more than 15 years. He became a Christian at the age of 23.

‘I was struck by how the intrigue, drama and challenging elements are often dropped from retellings of biblical stories,’ he explained. ‘I find cut-down, child-friendly Christian comics unsatisfying. Word for Word does not glamorise or dwell on evil of any kind but covers all the lessons the Bible teaches.’

According to Comixology, the primary consumers within the exploding comics market today are not children but men aged 27-36 (60 per cent) and women aged 17-26 (40 per cent). Word for Word is aimed at teens and adults, with an advisory age rating of 12+ or 15+.

Already, Simon has one major fan.

‘I cannot help being impressed by the thorough-going commitment to the biblical text mixed with dramatic artistic skill, to communicate to this visual generation,’ said Terry Virgo, founder of Newfrontiers, an international network of more than 1,500 churches.

Word for Word Bible Comic is on Stand YZ10 at CRE 2018


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ByDave Hall

After work, what? Now help is at hand for newly retired

Churches are failing to help people prepare for new adventures and opportunities for service in retirement.

So says Peter Meadows, who will help launch AfterWorkNet at CRE 2018.

‘A generation ago, life after work was much the same for everyone,’ he suggests. ‘Your job was done with a gold watch to mark the moment. But how that has changed!’

Today’s baby boomers meet retirement with perhaps 20 – or even 30 – years of life ahead, often in better health and with more money to spend than their parents’ generation could dream of.

‘Today, there’s a lot of active years to make the most of,’ says Peter, programme director of AfterWorkNet.

Research by retirement specialist Cathy Severson points to this longer, healthier and more affluent era as involving four distinct categories:

The Clueless – those who have done the least planning and make up almost half of those no longer in full-time work.

The Aimless – those still looking for a sense of satisfaction in retirement make up about one in five of retirees.

The Directionless – they are happy to adjust to a more relaxed and, hopefully, less stressed lifestyle and make up about another fifth of all retirees. But their agenda has no place for learning or experiencing new things.

The Motivated Redirected – these are people at the other end of the spectrum, having prepared for retirement both by way of their plans and how they can fund them. Surprisingly, they make up only one in five of those coming to retirement. For them, this new period is one with fresh challenges, adventure and personal fulfilment.

What separates the Clueless, Aimless and Motivated Redirected, points out Cathy Severson, is the time taken to think about the future and plan for the life you want.

‘Our parents didn’t need to do this kind of planning because their options were so few,’ suggests Peter. ‘As a result, we’ve no role models.’

In the main, churches fail to see this as an issue, lacking plans and programmes to help those approaching retirement get ready for new adventures and seize new opportunities for service.

‘That being the case, those of us who are heading for retirement – or are already there – need to take personal responsibility,’ concludes Peter. ‘This is not the time to be among the Clueless, the Aimless or the Directionless. After all, life after work is not a rehearsal but the real thing. We’ll only get to do it once.’

AfterWorkNet are on stand S157 at CRE 2018

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ByCRE

Hope comes to life with Compassion Experience

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.’

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ByDave Hall

Which voice? It’s your choice

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

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ByDave Hall

National weekend puts invitation at heart of local church

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

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ByDave Hall

Turning the tables on trivial conversations

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.

Sharon Lanfear of the Ugly Duckling Company

‘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

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ByCRE

CRE to return to Event City, Manchester, in 2019

The Bishop of Manchester, The Rt Revd David Walker, has welcomed the return of the Christian Resources Exhibition to Manchester, Event City on 13/14 March 2019.

‘Manchester is world famous as a place where the best is showcased and creative ideas and technologies are quickly adopted,’ he said. ‘I’m delighted that CRE is returning and hope many relevant local and national organisations will exhibit at Event City. Here is an opportunity for 150 organisations to bring their skills, services, ideas and resources back to the north west and for members of all church traditions to come and draw inspiration from them. We look forward to welcoming CRE again in 2019.’

Everything from computers to communion wine, chair manufacturers to children’s charities are expected to be on display at CRE North 2019. A series of seminars, given by both regional and national experts, will cover issues of vital concern to local church leaders and members of all kinds – from parish magazine editors to treasurers, youth workers to worship leaders.

‘Event City offers great transport links and thousands of free parking places in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘And its location next to the Trafford Centre makes it easy to find.’

CRE North will be opened by Irish singer and former MEP Dana, who also opened CRE 2017 at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey.

* For more information on booking a stand at CRE North, contact sales director Carol Malpass on 0161 250 2457.

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ByDave Hall

‘Emotional homecoming’ for Christian Resources Exhibition

From a lively opening featuring Eurovision winner Dana, to a solemn ending – when former special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Terry Waite, spoke of his five years’ imprisonment – the Christian Resources Exhibition’s return to (CRE) Sandown Park, Surrey, ‘touched all the emotions.’

A total of 4,061 people (excluding exhibitors and their staff) visited the show during its three days and some 200 exhibitors were so enthusiastic that more than 30 have already booked stands for next year.

CRE’s new owner, Steve Goddard, had been its public relations consultant for many years. He and his wife Allison took ownership of the event late last year. They appointed Brett Pitchfork, who had managed the exhibition in the early 2000s, as event director. Based in St Helens on Merseyside, Steve was delighted with response to the first CRE under his control.

‘Many local church leaders, lay and ordained, rely on it for fresh ideas for ministry, mission and maintenance,’ he said. ‘Taking the event back to Sandown Park, after two years at ExCeL in London, proved an emotional homecoming.’

Some 200 exhibitors displayed everything from pulpits to puppets, sound systems to stained glass, charities to children’s work. A 55-strong choir from Notre Dame School in nearby Cobham (pictured) sang a reworded version of Dana’s Eurovision-winning song, All Kinds of Everything, ending it with ‘for your church and you’. Visibly moved, Dana told the girls: ‘I am so glad you were not singing in Eurovision – I would have faced stiff competition!’

Terry Waite’s visit was made more emotional by the presence of 59-year-old Andrew Coleman, son of the late Canon John Coleman, whose freedom Terry had negotiated in Iran, prior to his own capture in the Lebanon.

‘It was wonderful to meet Terry again after all he did for my parents,’ said Mr Coleman.

Other guests included musicians Bryn Haworth and Jonathan Veira. Some 40 seminars covered subjects like evangelism, social media, sound systems and church building projects. Among the speakers were George Verwer, veteran of world mission, who founded Operation Mobilisation and Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance.

While one in four of the visitors to CRE came from Surrey, and more than one in ten from London, others came from all over the UK including Cornwall and the Scottish Highlands. Three people travelled to Sandown Park from Japan. Most traditional denominations were represented on the visitors list with 43 per cent belonging to Anglican churches and 16 per cent to Baptist churches.

‘Response was so positive that we have re-booked Sandown Park for the same week in 2018,’ said Brett Pitchfork. ‘CRE will run for three days again, from Oct 16 to 18. We are also considering more regional exhibitions, too.’

Photo: Laurence Cremetti

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ByDave Hall

Cobham school choir set to serenade Eurovision Song Contest winner

It will be Dana’s turn to be serenaded when Cobham’s Notre Dame School: Bordeaux and Lestonnac Choirs (pictured) sing a new version of her famous Eurovision-winning song ‘All Kinds of Everything’ at Sandown Park next week (9.45am, Tue 17 Oct).

The 50-strong, all-girls choir will be in full voice at the opening of the Christian Resources Exhibition. Their fun version of Dana’s most famous song will feature organisations, suppliers and charities at what is often dubbed the ‘ideal church show.’

‘The pupils are learning a whole new ecclesiastical vocabulary that includes “chasubles” and “thuribles” – all part of a well-rounded education!’ said exhibition owner Steve Goddard.

‘I am happy and honoured to cut the ribbon on this wonderful exhibition,’ said Dana, Ireland’s first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. As an 18-year-old schoolgirl in 1970 she was the last of 12 performers to sing before an estimated viewing audience of 200 million.

‘It is a special pleasure to welcome Dana back to CRE,’ said Steve Goddard. ‘And I’m especially delighted she will be with us for all three days when she will sing, be interviewed about her distinguished career in music and politics and take part in Worship Alive, a special conference for musicians and sound technicians in local churches. She will also speak and sing at Notre Dame on Wednesday morning.’

Almost 200 organisations at CRE 2017 will display everything from pulpits to puppets, computers to clergy clothing. Some 40 seminars will cover a range of practical subjects like cyber security and sound systems.

Notre Dame School: Bordeaux and Lestonnac Choirs

Notre Dame School in Cobham is committed to offering an excellent all-round academic education for every individual, whether they be two or 18. With a rich 400 year history and an international living tradition, Notre Dame welcomes families of all faiths. We have a truly committed and dedicated staff, who encourage each child to achieve their full potential.

We aim to offer a holistic and personalised education, in a secure and stimulating environment where pupils are encouraged and challenged academically, socially, creatively and in sports, music and drama. Our students are encouraged to treat themselves and each other as valued individuals and to have a responsible and independent attitude towards work and society and contribute willingly to the wider community.

We are a school that offers a Christian education, so the principles of welcome, nurture and compassion are evident as you walk through the door. As a Catholic school we are distinctive in our care and love for each individual. This is part of our mission as a faith school where all are welcome, and this ethos stretches worldwide, seeking to bring stability and compassion into an uncertain world.

The Prep Music Department at Notre Dame School offers an inclusive, well rounded musical education which educates the whole child. Music is always a practical activity and all skills, knowledge and appreciation are learned through the musical activities of performing, composing and listening. Singing is a natural and fundamental activity accessible to all. Musical experience in the Prep School is both grounded and spiritual, both individual and communal, and both personally tailored and all embracing.

The Lestonnac and Bordeaux Choirs are part of our Junior Music department (ages 7 to 11) and regularly perform in school masses, concerts and services as well as in festivals, care homes and charity concerts.

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ByDave Hall

Bin the penguin! Anne’s mission to make Christmas cards count

The Christmas card you give to the milkman, accountant, binman or school teacher needs to feature more than dancing penguins.

So says Anne Horrobin, director of CRE exhibitor Just Cards Direct. ‘Christmas is a time when we can share our faith more easily but for many of us, buying Christmas cards means a scramble for the last remaining pack of cards on the supermarket shelf.’

Just Cards Direct will be at CRE 2017 to present a range of cards expressing the true meaning of the season with a verse to encourage and prompt interest in the Christian faith.

‘Time and time again I hear people say how it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find Christmas cards on the high street reflecting the true meaning of Christmas,’ continues Anne. ‘We aim to provide cards that are impactful in both design and message.’

With matching coasters, mugs and magnets to accompany the designs there are gift sets available, too.

• Just Cards Direct on stand FC5 at CRE 2017

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Save the date for CRE 2018!
Join us at Sandown Park: 16-18 October 2018