Monthly Archive June 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Worship made easy for Sunday morning

The ultimate legal source of song words and sheet music for worship – that’s how CCLI describes its popular SongSelect.

Featuring the authorised lyrics, chord, lead and multi-part vocal sheets for thousands of worship songs and hymns, SongSelect is available to any church which holds a Church Copyright Licence (CCL) for the projection/reproduction of song words. Subscriptions start from just £98 a year, but it’s possible to set up a free user account and try it out before you buy. All subscriptions are church-based and allow unlimited access for everyone within the church’s music and projection/multimedia teams.

‘More than 100,000 churches worldwide now rely on SongSelect so we’re always looking to bring more value to our users,’ said CCLI’s Rich Burrough. ‘In the last few months alone we’ve added the Nashville Number System (NNS) to our Chord Sheets as well as enabling ChordPro Downloads for our Premium level subscribers. We believe SongSelect is one of the best ways to discover and learn new songs, with videos, thematic search and top song lists that allow you to see what other churches around the world are singing.’

SongSelect is fully responsive and integrates with many leading song planning and projection apps, including Worship Extreme, OnSong, MediaShout and ProPresenter.

‘All this is designed to make song planning and delivery much easier, whether you’re preparing in advance or responding in the moment,’ added Rich. ‘You can find out more on the CCLI stand at CRE National 2019.’

* CCLI are on stand S75 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Three score years – and then? Afterworknet plan major series of seminars at CRE

Everything we hear about old age is negative – but God deliberately created it.

So says Louise Morse of Pilgrim Friends’ Society, exhibitors at CRE National 2019.

‘Old age is wrongly seen as something to be feared and fought against,’ explains Louise on Afterworknet’s website. ‘So I’m never surprised, when speaking to a large group of Christians, to find some are not convinced. However the majority, when they see the truth in Scripture, are delighted. When God created the universe, he set in motion times and seasons and the ageing process. When you realise the purpose God has in mind, you see how wonderful growing older is meant to be. It’s a reward and a blessing.’

The peak of the culture of Scriptural times was wisdom, and because it’s acquired with experience and age, older people were respected. By contrast, in our culture, the peak of attainment is youth.

‘There is no “use-before” date in 2 Ephesians 10, where God makes clear he has equipped us for the good works that he has already planned for us,’ continues Louise. ‘God spends our whole lives honing us to develop the character that will bless others – being reflective, less impulsive, able to take the long view, with emotional balance and empathy, compassion and listening skills. So much more could be done to see older people released into God’s purposes if this same message was espoused in our churches.’

Afterworknet will run a series of seminars and presentations throughout all three days of CRE National 2019.

• Afterworknet are on stand S155 at CRE National 2019
• Pilgrim Friends’ Society are on stand S53 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Embracing martyrdom: London lecture will be informative and challenging

The age of martyrs is not over.

So said Bishop Thomas of Qussia – and it provides the theme of Embrace the Middle East’s Annual Lecture (6.30pm, Thu 4 July, St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, London).


Timothy Radcliffe, OP and His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, OBE, both Embrace patrons, will share their personal insights on the theme before opening the floor to questions.

‘The evening promises to be informative and challenging,’ said Embrace’s Kerensa McCollough, ‘inviting us to think about what laying down our own lives for the sake of the gospel might mean today.’


Timothy Radcliffe is a Roman Catholic priest and Dominican friar of the English Province, and former Master of the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001. He is the only member of the English Province of the Dominicans to have held the office since the order’s foundation in 1216.

The day after hundreds of Christians were killed in a series of terror attacks on churches in Sri Lanka – and just weeks after the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand – Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, issued a powerful appeal urging all faiths to stand together.

Tickets for Embrace the Middle East’s Annual Lecture (£5) must be booked in advance.

• Embrace the Middle East are on stand S151 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Photo of St Margaret’s, Westminster, on the CRE homepage: Urban Biker Marc

Dave HallByDave Hall

‘Faster Pastor’ Paul roars off to glory

An inspiring entrepreneur, full of life and zeal – that’s how Marian, wife of the late Rev Paul Sinclair described him at his funeral in May.

Founder of Motorcycle Funerals, and known as the Faster Pastor and Revving Rev, Paul holds the Guinness world record for the fastest speed on a motorcycle hearse – 126mph at Elvington Airfield in York in 2013. He also had the loudest laugh of any exhibitor at CRE.

‘It was amazing to watch him serve the public,’ said Marian, who will be on the Motorcycle Funerals stand at CRE National 2019. ‘He never tired or got bored. He wasn’t perfect but he certainly looked after his staff and was a brilliant boss. He was friends with people from all walks of life and his funeral reflected that.’

Passionate about the Bible, Paul preached at various United Reformed churches in Birmingham and around Leicestershire. He also spoke in schools, encouraging children to be entrepreneurs whatever their age. 

He once told The Guardian: ‘I don’t want anyone to say I was nice, or that I was a good man. 
People always say that at funerals and it is never the truth. I want it to be said: “This guy was a dirty sinner and he didn’t deserve to go to heaven – but God saved him”’.

‘Paul enjoyed nothing more than to crack jokes and puns, often at his own expense, as he introduced his hearses to our bemused visitors,’ said Steve Goddard, owner of CRE, recalling the time Paul put his tandem hearse up for sale at an exhibition in Exeter – because he wasn’t fit enough to ride it.

‘I’m a biker, not a cyclist,’ Paul told the local TV news. ‘It’s seen some lovely funerals but I’m always wrecked afterwards. I even have to ask if the cemetery is at the top or bottom of a hill!’

‘We will really miss Paul at CRE,’ said Steve, ‘but we are delighted Marian is carrying on the business and hope that many thousands of visitors will make a point of discovering Motorcycle Funerals at Sandown Park.’

• Motorcycle Funerals are on stand S33 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Caption: Marian Sinclair (left) with Rev Pal Sinclair (centre) and the tandem hearse

Dave HallByDave Hall

Hundreds unite to beat knives ‘from death to life’

Hundreds of young people and adults from across East London united last Saturday (15 June) to take a stand against a growing culture of violence and knife crime epidemic.

The Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police in Newham, Waheed Khan, agreed to release knives that had been seized from the streets of Newham, which had the highest murder rate of any London borough last year. Under the supervision of a metalsmith and two blacksmiths, people were invited to ‘beat these knives from death to life’, in the words of liturgy crafted for the occasion.

Rev Dr Sally Mann, minister at Bonny Downs Baptist Church, East Ham, and a trustee and spokesperson for Red Letter Christians UK, said: ‘Newham has been at the heart of this crisis of violence. We watched as young people who had lost friends to knife crime, and our mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, beat those knives. They are being transformed into a beautiful sculpture for our community garden and for tools we can use to grow food together in a community project.’

Author Shane Claiborne (pictured above) was also at the event. He leads Red Letter Christians in the US, along with Rev Dr Tony Campolo, who has spoken at several Christian Resources Exhibitions over the years. Both men are in the UK to launch the movement here.

‘We’ve been melting down guns in the US,’ said Campolo. ‘Some 37 cities have taken donated guns and turned them into garden tools, inspired by the prophetic vision of Isaiah: ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares.’”

Shane Claiborne said: ‘The vision reminds us that life is more powerful than death and love is more powerful than hatred. God invites all of us to participate in building the world we dream of.’

The group are called ‘Red Letter’ Christians because many printed and online versions of the New Testament feature the words of Jesus in red.

‘We come from a diverse range of backgrounds and church affiliations and want to be people who take Jesus’ words seriously in our personal devotion, in our communities and in UK public life,’ said Campolo.

• Click here more information about Red Letter Christians UK

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Ladies’ Day at CRE: Saltmine celebrate Mary Sumner

Saltmine Theatre Company will present Chosen, the life of Mary Sumner at CRE’s first-ever Ladies’ Day (Thu 17 Oct 2019).

On the birth of her first grandchild in 1876, Mary was moved by the lack of help offered to mothers and their families. Together with her husband and close friends she founded Mothers’ Union, a community representing all social classes and championing the importance of parenthood, faith in God and mutual support.

Chosen is a story of compassion, faith and the inspiring force a company of women can be in a community, nation and the world. Mothers’ Union is now an international organisation in over 80 countries with more than four million members.

‘Ladies Day will give us an opportunity to look back at pioneering women like Mary Sumner and, in the 25th year of women’s ordination in the Church of England, consider the many challenges and opportunities presented to them in today’s world,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork.

• Saltmine Theatre Co are on stand AT2 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

How your home can be a haven of hope

No leader worthy of the name can look the other way while men, women and children are held against their will.

So said Theresa May, addressing the UN International Labour Organisation in Geneva, days before she stepped down as Prime Minister.

The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 136,000 people in slavery in the UK at any one time.

‘The duty of fighting slavery doesn’t simply belong to world leaders,’ said Jared Hodgson, co-founder and CEO of Hope at Home, a national Christian charity fighting the cycle of modern slavery and human trafficking. ‘God calls his church to set the oppressed free.’

Providing the opportunity for churches to practically live out God’s call, Hope at Home, exhibitors at CRE Midlands 2020, equip Christians to host adult survivors in their homes for an agreed time period.

In 2018, 6,993 people were rescued from exploitation in the UK and taken to a safe house – but there is no statutory provision after leaving the house. Many survivors become destitute and extremely vulnerable to being re-trafficked.

‘We step in at that point, preventing homelessness, and place them with our well-trained hosts who provide a room, a family, love and acceptance,’ said Jared. ‘We support our hosts and work in partnership with agencies who support the guest (survivor). Our collaborative approach provides the best platform on which guests can rebuild their lives.’

Several guests have found employment and their own homes.

‘One guest looked for a night shift job because she couldn’t sleep,’ recalled Jared. ‘After a few weeks with her hosts, she slept so well she decided to find a day job instead! Another guest celebrated her birthday for the first time at the age of 42. As her hosts sung to her and presented her with a birthday cake, tears rolled down her face. She felt loved and valued.’

• Hope at Home are on stand P5 at CRE Midlands 2020

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

How to be on guard against terrorism

One of London’s leading detectives will lead a seminar at CRE National 2019, helping churches become safer for corporate worship.

DC Richard Fidge (pictured below) has been a police officer for 35 years – working with the Counter Terrorist Command (SO15) for the past 25. After the 2016 murder of Fr Jacques Hamel, while conducting Mass in Rouen, France, Richard was also tasked with the responsibility of Christian Faith Liaison Officer. As an ordained minister in the ICC group of churches, and the son of missionaries in India and Pakistan, he is ideally placed to keep churches safe.

Photo of DC Richard Ridge

‘While there have always been crime issues pertaining to churches – the stealing of silver vessels or lead from the roof – there is now a more sinister dynamic,’ he said. ‘Terrorist activity knows no boundaries and the Church is as much a target as anywhere else. By their very nature, they are often open for anyone to walk in and sit and pray or eat their lunchtime sandwiches. Rarely does anyone ask who the visitor is – making them more vulnerable than the meeting places of other religions which tend not to be open, except for official meetings.’

The sort of security needed is a step up from the necessity for people who work with children and vulnerable adults to have the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The extra measures involve a visit by police to the church itself to assess the possibility of terrorist activity and create a system to prevent it.

‘Along with fellow officers I regularly speak to conferences and groups all over London,’ he said. ‘Larger church groups such as the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, are regularly engaging with police and other law enforcement agencies on many levels, but having a Christian Faith Liaison Officer ensures that many of the smaller denominations and ministries have a direct line to the Command and the larger Counter Terrorist framework – ensuring that our “duty of care” is significantly increased.’

He recalled how a man walked into church carrying a meat cleaver and machete and was only stopped from doing harm by the bravery of an elderly worshipper who took him aside ‘for a chat.’ One Catholic dean told him how a group of Muslim women entered his church during Mass, with faces completely covered.

‘As with all places of worship, Christians should be able to institute a “security” check that’s polite and non-confrontational,’ he explained.

Married with two children, Richard is involved in leadership in his local church. While he is confident that, to date, no significant threat against churches has been recognised he is convinced precautions should be taken. In his seminar at CRE National 2019 (date and time to be confirmed) in October he will highlight some of the basic things churches can do to make their buildings and services safer.

Dave HallByDave Hall

New book lights path from spiritual abuse

A book published this month attempts to discover what the term ‘spiritual abuse’ really means and how to prevent it in our churches.

In Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures (SPCK), authors Dr Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys draw on a combination of extensive research, individual testimonies and years of hands-on experience – concluding that recovery is possible.

‘Findings from a new study highlight big gaps in our understanding around the topic,’ said Justin Humphreys. ‘Recognition that coercive controlling behaviours do, in fact, occur in churches and other religious settings has begun to take place, but many more steps are necessary to understand and address the issues. Common factors include control through misuse of scripture, claims to divine authority, pressure to conform and enforced accountability. Individuals may be isolated and compelled to secrecy and silence.’ 

Oakley and Humphreys consider the link between theological ideas and harmful behaviours and how leaders can create opportunities for spiritual and emotional flourishing.

‘Writing a book that is honest and clear about spiritual abuse while also being open and responsible about its complexity is a great gift to the Church, and beyond,’ said The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham. ‘Lisa and Justin have succeeded in doing this; that they do so with winsomeness and humility simply adds further to this gift.’


Author, speaker and broadcaster Jeff Lucas said: ‘Spiritual abuse disguises itself masterfully, and preys not only upon the vulnerable but also the most passionate in the faith. Lisa and Justin have created a vital resource in this unique, timely and accessible book. It exposes the culture created by bullying leaders with clarity and compassion and calls us towards health and freedom.’

Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures (SPCK) is published on Thursday 20 June.

• Thirty-one Eight are on stand S49 at CRE National 2019
• SPCK are stand FC26 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Marilyn on song for first-ever Ladies’ Day at CRE

One of the most popular performers at CRE returns to perform during the exhibition’s first-ever Ladies’ Day (CRE National 2019, Thu 17 Oct).

‘I want to encourage women to know what a dynamic impact they can have in the kingdom of God,’ said Marilyn. ‘Society needs nurturers and us ladies can help to bring more tender heartedness back in to our world showing what God’s love is really like.’

Blind almost from birth, Marilyn Baker began to write and sing her own songs in the early 1980s, releasing a series of albums which aimed to draw people into God’s healing presence.

Word spread and soon churches were inviting her to do evangelistic and encouragement concerts. She gave up her job as a music teacher and started ministering full time, travelling extensively in Britain and many parts of the world. A familiar performer at Spring Harvest and other major Christian events, Marilyn quickly became Britain’s top-selling female gospel singer.

In 1986 she was joined by Tracy Williamson, whose gifts in speaking and prophecy enriched the music with a new dimension. Marilyn’s recordings and Tracy’s books enabled them to reach an even wider audience.

As well as concerts, Marilyn and Tracy undertake church encouragement weekends, workshops and conferences. They minister to large or small groups or in elderly people’s homes and prisons. Wherever they are, the focus of the ministry remains the same.

‘Our heart is to see people entering into joy instead of mourning, beauty instead of ashes, praise instead of despair,’ said Marilyn.

‘We want them to understand the intimacy of God’s tender love and be empowered by it to reach out to others, that they too may be healed and changed.

‘He has been wonderfully faithful guiding and providing for us over all these years and has brought so much transformation to individuals and groups. We are excited about what lies ahead in his plans for us.’

Marilyn will perform in CRE’s Arts Theatre and during Cindy’s Sofa at lunchtime on Thu 17 Oct. Ladies Day at CRE will focus specifically on issued surrounding women in areas of work, community, church and family life.

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

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