Monthly Archive September 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

A perfect gift for that Holloween trick or treater

A new resource to help with mission work leading up to the eve of All Saints (Halloween) will be seen for the first time at CRE 2017.

The Meaningful Treat Pack is suitable for light parties, outreach events, schools or simply for children who call at houses to trick or treat on 31st October.

Inside each pack is a bag of Fairtrade chocolate buttons and a poster with eight challenges including a quiz, maze, word game, a call to buy Fairtrade, a prayer suggestion, a national competition with a prize – and a challenge to treat someone less well off by donating to a children’s charity.

Produced by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, creators of the Real Easter Egg, each box costs £30 (there are 30 packs per box – £1 per pack). If ordered before September 30th, delivery is free.

‘Most people feel there has to be more to Halloween than dressing kids up as serial killers or monsters,’ said Meaningful Chocolate’s David Marshall. ‘The Meaningful Treat box is a way for adults to challenge kids to look at the good in the world, give to a charity and to enjoy some great Fairtrade chocolate at the same time.

‘The word Halloween means “the night before All Saints Day” – a time when we celebrate men of faith who have gone before us. We also remember friends and family members and celebrate good triumphing over bad, light over darkness.’

The Meaningful Chocolate Company are on stand S3 at CRE 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

Hope and harmony: Ukrainian group debut at CRE

Young Ukrainian music and dance group Zozulenka will perform at CRE 2017 – before setting out on a tour of the UK.

Under the auspices of Youth Zone exhibitor Hope Now, the talented teenagers offer brilliant entertainment and excitement but join us from a beautiful country that is struggling with war and years of political upheaval.

Hope Now, who have been working in Ukraine since 1992, provide healthcare for children and adults in need, as well as working in orphanages and with children taken to the Rescue Shelter by the authorities.

‘We share the love of Jesus and attempt to make him known by ministering to those in spiritual, physical and emotional need,’ said Hope Now’s Jonathan Budgell. ‘We want the Gospel to touch the hearts of young and old, rich and poor, healthy and infirm, free and imprisoned.’

Since 2014 the charity has extended its reach into Moldova and Sri Lanka.

Among the places Zozulenka will perform after their debut at CRE 2017 are Southampton, Swanage, Milford On Sea, Leamington, New Milton, Paignton, Chard, Stroud, Peterborough, St Neots, Great Yarmouth and London.

• Zozulenka are in concert at 11.30am, Wed 18 Oct, in Cindy’s Bar

Hope Now are on stand C12 in the Youth Zone in Surrey Hall

Dave HallByDave Hall

Retreat in style: old meets new at Academy Residencies

Clean rooms, reasonable food, and flexible meeting space – Academy Residences have the lot in an atmospheric listed building.

Four years ago they opened the Academy Newland Park campus. And they’ll be at CRE 2017 to tell us about another: Academy St Albans in London Colney.

While Newland Park can take up to 900 people the St Albans campus will provide accommodation for 250, eventually rising to 400.

But don’t get the idea that your group can only apply with big numbers. Academy take groups from ten upwards, providing full-board accommodation, meeting, conference and social and activity facilities all year round.

The new campus is an elegant listed Victorian building – originally All Saints Pastoral Care convent. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster acquired it in 1973 and adapted it to modern requirements, taking care to retain its original charm. With mostly twin rooms, a range of indoor and outdoor spaces, sports facilities and a beautiful central quad garden it is the perfect place for groups to relax and socialise.

Among recent visitors have been church groups, school parties, choirs, sports teams, a brass band, athletes and charity conferences.

Dr Barney Skrentny, the senior leader of City Gates Church, London, said: ‘Our church members are from all walks of life – yet Newlands Park satisfied everyone. As an organiser of weekends away for decades I know what I want: clean rooms, reasonable food, and flexible meeting space that I can prepare in any way I want to. Having used many well-known venues I was surprised this was the best.’

Academy Residences are on stand S56 at CRE 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

Young at heart: let’s deal honestly with the next generation

In a world shaped by internet technology, how can we help teens and pre-teens not just survive it all, but thrive beyond it?

In her seminar at CRE 2017, Rachel Gardner, Relationships Lead at Youthscape and president of the Girls’ Brigade (pictured above), will give visitors insight into digital sexual culture.

‘I’ll look at why online porn and sexting damages our young,’ said Rachel. ‘I’ll also encourage people not to shy away from difficult conversations, offer practical tools to use with young people and provide links to Christian organisations and resources for discipling and encouraging them.’

Rachel’s seminar is one of four youth-orientated talks scheduled for Youth Leaders’ Day at CRE (Thu 19 Oct). Tom Butler, Head of Missions at the Message Trust, will look at ways we can reach young people today and how we can mobilise the church to adopt them effectively. Laura Hancock and Dan Lodge of Youth for Christ will examine fundamental shifts in youth culture and how we respond to ‘Gen Z’ in a relevant way. Jo Squires, also of Youth for Christ, will look at the importance of the family unit in the life and mission of the Church.

CRE’s Youth Zone will be open for all three days of the exhibition, offering short, TED-style talks on subjects like engaging marginalised young people, parents as disciple makers, re-defining all-age worship and inspiring young men to become ‘warriors for Jesus’.

Youth Zone exhibitors include:

Bible Education Services
Discover Archery
Hope Now
Hope UK
Innervation Trust (ising Pop)
Message Trust
Pulse Ministries
The Treasure Box People
Youth For Christ

Dave HallByDave Hall

Bags of blessing for ‘untouchable’ women of India

Buying the right shopping bag will not save the world – but it provides freedom for people living in poverty.

CRE 2017 exhibitor Promise Bags employ women classed in India as ‘untouchables’ – to make jute, cotton and leather bags. The beautiful products deliver freedom and dignity to their makers.

A Promise Bag is colourful and stylish with all manner of uses – shopping, food or stationery, for example. Made of jute, cotton and leather, it can even be produced with a company logo or publicity message printed on the surface.

Best of all, purchasing a Promise Bag has a direct benefit on people like Mani – an ‘untouchable’ from the rural Indian village of Andhra Pradesh. Mani had no hope and no future having given up school to help provide extra income for her poverty-stricken parents. Married at 14, she lives in a thatched mud house. She worked wherever she could – for long hours under the hot sun in rice, cotton or vegetable fields – for the equivalent of $2 a day.

Now 24, she has regular work, is treated equally and given opportunities to design different types of bags. ‘My ideas and thoughts are valued,’ she said. ‘I am so glad to be part of the leadership team of Promise Bags. I am full of joy and dreaming of building a nice house. I have dignity and the opportunity to dream.’

Promise Bags do not just ensure that ten women stitch together material to create something useful. They are stitching together lives that have been ravaged by unfair treatment and lack of hope. The company’s owners intend to have 100 women in employment by 2020 – a dream that visitors to CRE can share in, by taking away a bag to treasure.

• Promise Bags are on Stand S73 at CRE 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

How Christian colouring is making waves

A helpful way to rest, pray and meditate – that’s the secret behind Images of Grace and Hope & Joy, books in which readers colour scriptures woven into captivating designs.

Artist Jacqui Grace encouraged Just Cards Direct to launch her ‘big idea’ at CRE 2016.

‘We weren’t prepared for such a positive response,’ said Just Cards’ Anne Horrobin. ‘We have received a steady flow of inspiring stories as people shared how they have used the books in exciting ways, to support various ministries. Changing the format of the designs has also meant new creative options for groups, outreach initiatives and “bite-size” colouring products for those keen to try it out.’

One church minister in Jersey began inviting busy families into his church to colour in a poster together – initiating unexpected conversations about life, relationships and faith. For many living with illness or disability, Christian colouring posters and bookmarks have helped trigger powerful breakthroughs in communication with carers or family and friends.

‘God is using the simple art of colouring to draw together people from all walks of life – and to him,’ explained Anne. ‘At CRE you will hear how to use colouring resources to equip and encourage others. And If you’re looking for cards and gifts that will really stand out this Christmas, have a look through our beautiful new range of cards, mugs and coasters.’

• Just Cards Direct are on Stand FC5 at CRE 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

Margaret’s mission: to see modern pilgrims step out in style

Pilgrimages are making a comeback in the UK – and one CRE 2017 exhibitor has taken up the challenge of producing footwear to protect thousands of aching feet!

Margaret Wylie, of Holy Socks, will launch Pilgrim Socks at Sandown Park, using a design based on the view from St Ninian’s Cave, near Whithorn in Galloway. St Ninian, Scotland’s first saint, is said to have used the sea cave as a retreat – and Margaret’s creations celebrate the growing number of people taking one of several pilgrimage routes in Scotland.

The first, St Cuthbert’s Way, links the 7th century saint at Melrose and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in a 62.5-mile walk. The Borders Abbeys Way is a 64.5-mile circular route from the 12th century Kelso Abbey, taking in the sites of four other abbeys. The newest route is the 72-mile Forth to Farne walk from North Berwick to Lindisfarne.

Holy Socks

These pilgrimages, which can be taken in short stages, necessitate a good pair of socks inside the walker’s boots. Margaret has stepped in to provide that support – and a spiritual tone to every journey.

‘I picked St Ninian’s cave because Bede wrote how, long before the time of Columba, a holy man named Nynia, born among the British people, preached the Christian faith in Scotland,’ said Margaret. She also uses Psalm 84:5 as an apt message accompanying the socks – ‘Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.’

• Holy Socks are on Stand 60 at CRE 2017

Dave HallByDave Hall

CLC offers CRE visitors six of the best

Visit the CLC Bookshop at CRE 2017 and pick up one of six free books – including two that will make excellent additions to a Christmas stocking or two.

The Glory of Christmas is a classic collection of stories with the true spirit of Christmas in mind, by authors Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Anne Graham Lotz and Henry and Richard Blackaby.

My Merry Christmas is a rhyming story by Sally Lloyd-Jones, best-selling author of The Jesus Storybook Bible. My Merry Christmas helps children relate favourite holiday symbols – twinkling lights, angels, stars – to the true story of Christmas.

Or choose from four other books:

• Sing! by the Keith & Kristyn Getty (co-songwriters with Stuart Townend)
• Living Faith by Helen Roseveare
• Choose Love by Stormie Omartian
• The Monster Within by Brian Greenaway (ex-Hells Angel)

CLC is an international organisation committed to the distribution of the Bible, Christian books and a variety of Christian media. The organisation was founded in England in 1941 and today has its international HQ in Sheffield.

Dave HallByDave Hall

Silver Servers launched to bridge generation gap

As elderly people get more confident with computers, an 83-year-old will launch Silver Servers at CRE 2017 – encouraging grandparents to join their grandchildren in online Bible study.

Bert Gray launched the first Postal Bible School in 1958 with his wife, Wendy, when they were missionaries in Ireland. That vision caught on and they established Bible Educational Services to provide lessons and resources for others to run independent Postal Bible Schools.

‘We adapted a course used abroad and created a product which has proved very successful,’ said Bert. There are now 17 schools in Ireland and the UK with thousands of children getting lessons each month.

BES UK was established 16 years ago when the couple moved to Cardiff. It now has partner organisations in more than 60 countries working in about 40 languages with up to three million children involved.

The couple’s latest venture is a play on ‘silver surfers’, used to describe older Internet users. It will enable grandparents to teach their families and other children using a simple lesson programme.

‘With something like 15 million people in the UK aged over 50 regularly using the Internet and 95 per cent of UK children no longer attending a Sunday school, the new website provides an ideal platform for the two age groups to learn Bible truths together,’ said Bert. ‘Silver servers will be particularly useful for children to do a regular or occasional lesson encouraged by parents or grandparents.’

The website will be overseen by the couple’s grandson, Steve McDonald, who operates a website design company and has been designing lessons and administering the BES website for some years.

‘All are welcome to our two stands at CRE 2017, to catch the vision,’ added Bert.

• The couple would be delighted for volunteers to help them on the stands at Sandown Park. Contact Bert here.