Sold out signs went up just before Christmas with more than 130 organisations taking all the original space earmarked for CRE North (Event City, Manchester, 13/14 Mar 2019).
The first exhibition in the north for five years will be opened by Irish singer and former MEP Dana. A choir from St Leonard’s C of E school in Padiham, Lancashire will serenade the former Eurovision Song Contest winner with ‘All Kinds of Everything – for your church and you.’
The Bishop of Bolton, Rev Mark Ashcroft, will speak on church growth in areas of deprivation. In a world dominated by Brexit, Andy Flannagan from Christians in Politics will lead a discussion on how churches can help bridge the divide and bring people together again.
There will also be more than 20 free seminars on a range of practical subjects from job searching to safeguarding.
Special features include CRE’s first-ever Study Zone where representatives from eight colleges will guide visitors through the academic maze, offering one-to-one consultations on all aspects of theological study. There’s the Compassion Experience, a walk-through African slum and the biggest exhibit in our 33-year history (bar the odd inflatable church!) Not forgetting a special focus on social engagement and sports projects, a youth and children’s work trail – and entertainment in our first-ever Inflatable Theatre, hosted by the redoubtable Rev Cindy Kent MBE.
‘Entry to the show is just £4 if you book in advance here,’ explains CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘That’s a saving of 50 per cent on the day-of-entry cost of £8. Groups of three or more can pre-register for just £3 each.’
And there’s good news for organisations who still want to take space.
‘Through subtle manipulation of the floor plan, we’ve been able to squeeze another eight stands into an already packed hall,’ said Brett. ‘So do call Carol (0161) 250 2467 or James (0161) 250 2306 soon, if you have not yet booked a stand for your organisation at CRE North.
‘We look forward to welcoming everyone to Event City, whether they travel by car, train – or donkey.’
With relationships and sex education statutory in schools since September, Sarah Smith (pictured) will be at CRE North to help Christian educators deliver this important topic in schools, churches and other youth settings.
In her seminar ‘A Guide to Growing Up: how to have honest conversations with young people about puberty, sex and God’ (date and time tbc), visitors will gain an insight into the relational and sexual health issues young people face today.
‘It is vital that parents/carers and youth leaders tackle topics often seen as taboo and become more effective in talking about bodies, relationships and sex,’ said Sarah, CEO of acet UK, a Christian charity delivering relationships and sex education in secondary schools and training to youth workers, teachers and parents.
Her book A Guide to Growing Up is published by CRE North exhibitor Lion Hudson, and features detailed chapters on topics such as masturbation and same-sex attraction. A Guide to Growing Up aims to support parents in talking to their children and is an essential guide in any young person’s journey – ‘a guide they can go back to time and again.’
* Lion Hudson are on stand B7 at CRE North 2018
Providing quality Christian artists for your church event – that’s the thinking behind CRE North 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.
A number of Mike’s artists will perform in Cindy’s Theatre, including Voices Beyond (pictured), a Manchester-based gospel collective of singers and musicians passionate about sharing the good news through a unique sound which appeals to both Christians and non-Christians.
‘Ministry of Music is a great “one stop” resource to help churches find the right musicians for the right event,’ said fellow musician Bryn Haworth. ‘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 are on Stand D40 at CRE North
A re-purposed tour bus, providing emergency shelter and support to vulnerable adults in Greater Manchester, will be on display at CRE North.
‘Our 14 berths mean 5,110 nights off the street in one year,’ explains Embassy bus founder Sid Williams. ‘It’s a creative response to an urgent need. Homelessness is growing and finding new beds or building hostels takes time and significant investment.’
Before launching the project, Sid consulted with people who work with homeless people and assessed the immediate need on the streets.
‘Our first vehicle is for vulnerable males,’ he says. ‘With more funding, other buses could be deployed in future to help more groups. We would love to meet people at CRE North who share our vision.’
The bus is staffed with a skilled permanent manager and a team of highly-trained and caring volunteers – though more are always needed. It provides safety and rest to help people face the process of finding permanent accommodation and restoration. It also gives them a place to make connections to other organisations and agencies, empowering them to get back on their feet.
‘We provide physical, mental and spiritual rest and care with a Christian faith-based focus,’ concludes Sid. ‘Have a look around the bus outside Event City and then come and talk to us on our stand.’
* The Embassy Bus will be stationed outside the entrance to Hall 1 at Event City with representatives of the project on stand P7
Facing more competition than ever, how do you successfully find the right job?
‘Specialisation, mobility, education and the breakneck pace of technological advancements mean that “choosing a job” is likely to be something most of us will do several times in our lives,’ explains James Everall of CRE North exhibitor Christian Jobs. ‘We need to begin with God. As obvious as that sounds, the fact is that most Christians don’t begin job searches there. They begin with themselves.’
James, who has more than 12 years of executive and RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) experience across a number of industries, formed the organisation with Robert Mumford, to connect Christians with Christian organisations. In the past seven weeks alone some 4000 unique visitors have visited the Christian Jobs website every week with more than 200 opportunities advertised and 140 organisations supported.
James will lead a seminar on job hunting in the digital age at CRE North.
‘There is no simple equation that will always lead you to find the best job but I’ll pose a number of questions to help people develop a framework of thinking about what is most important, which opportunities should be ruled out and which ones you should be pursuing. The principles laid out are not determinative, but I hope they are helpful.’