Monthly Archive September 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Eight-day prayer journey that ‘lets your mind wander’

Pray for those longing for a home – particularly the UK’s 320,000 homeless people and the world’s 69 million displaced souls.

That’s the message of a new, free prayer resource, available online, which champions those who need housing. Published by the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, who are exhibiting at at CRE National 2019, Octave encourages us to pray for carers, the homeless, refugees and housing policy makers – as well as the society’s work.

Prayers are offered for MMHS as it looks after a sweeping nationwide network of nearly 1,000 properties, rented out to retired Methodist ministers.

‘We pray for all those who long to be settled in a place they can call home,’ says Octave, based on an ancient Christian practice of an eight-day prayer journey. Each day focuses on a different topic, following the same pattern every time – a reading, a prayer and an extract from a hymn. This simple guide takes the user through eight days of reflection.

‘Start somewhere and finish somewhere,’ said MMHS Board member Revd Glynn Lister, who wrote Octave. ‘If you get lost in the middle, that’s fine, too.’ He approached his subject with a simple philosophy – prayer is ‘letting your mind wander in the presence of God’. 

Octave is beautifully adorned with graphics by design house Lindisfarne Scriptorium. MMHS seeks to meet the housing needs of retired Methodist ministers of limited means, their spouses, their widows and widowers, and to offer support for their wellbeing.

• Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society are on stand DP5 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Brian re-imagines life of Joseph

A new, meditative fable, imagined as it might be told by the archangel Gabriel, helps us understand the part Joseph played in the greatest story ever told.

Joseph and the Three Gifts (Darton, Longman and Todd), by award-winning writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley (pictured), follows Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in hiding in Egypt and a return to his carpentry in Nazareth – as Jesus grows from boy to man to messiah. It also asks what Joseph might have done with the Magi’s gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.

Brian, who will speak in CRE’s Arts Cafe (11.15am, Tue 15 Oct) and is a guest on Cindy’s Sofa at 1pm on the same day, is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He dramatised the celebrated BBC radio adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, and is the author of many books on fantasy films and literature, and biographies of C. S. Lewis (Shadowlands), the Rev. W. W. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine and legendary Tolkien filmmaker, Peter Jackson.

‘Brian Sibley’s radio adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings were masterpieces and now he has written a little masterpiece of his own,’ said screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce. ‘Joseph and the Three Gifts tells the story of an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary events. The twist is the discovery that in this miraculous world there is no such thing as ordinary. It is also one of the best things I’ve read about fatherhood.’

• Darton, Longman and Todd are on stand YZ11 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

‘God of the small things’ shapes Rut for future ministry

Insecure and wounded because of her past, Rut Quevedo was hungry for more of God – and The International Bible Training Institute (IBTI) answered her prayer.

Originally from the Canary Islands and now serving in Spain, Rut graduated this year after completing a two-year Applied Theology course.

‘I really wanted to know Jesus more, but I didn’t know how to do it in a practical way,’ she admits. ‘The IBTI enabled me to do that – and more!’

The IBTI is a vocational bible college in West Sussex and, throughout its rich 72-year history, has never lost its original vision to train up Christians to minister effectively in God’s kingdom, in accordance with their calling and gifting.

‘During my course I learned how to work in a team with people from different cultures and backgrounds,’ says Rut. ‘The weekly ministry opportunities helped me develop my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and also apply this in worship as well as my work with the homeless community – one of my chosen activities during the course.’

Preaching and leading church services taught her not just how to minister to people, but also how to do it in English – especially helpful because she is now serving in an international English-speaking church in Spain. 

‘In my time at the IBTI God even used small things like my daily cleaning duties to shape my character,’ says Rut. ‘From regular mentoring sessions and rich teaching in lectures, God brought great healing and showed me my real identity in him. My two years at the IBTI were the best years of my life and have shaped me for my current ministry.’

• IBTI are stand S99 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Tackling taboos: Sarah calls for honest conversations about sex

With relationships and sex education now statutory in schools, Sarah Smith (pictured) will be at CRE National 2019 to help Christian educators deliver this important topic in schools, churches and other youth settings.

In her seminar ‘Awkward, but essential: How to talk effectively about relationships and sex in church’ (2pm, Tue 15 Oct), 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 National 2019 exhibitor Lion Hudson and features detailed chapters on topics such as masturbation and same-sex attraction. The book 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.’

• acet are on stand YZ2 at CRE National 2019

• Lion Hudson are on stand FC10 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Living and Telling: New resource turns ‘scary’ evangelism on its head

A major video-based training course, designed to envision and equip Christians to share their faith naturally  as a way of life, will be launched at CRE National 2019.

The initiative goes back to 2007 when Tim Moyler (pictured) of CRE National 2019 exhibitor Agapé UK decided to run a version of a Living & Telling course developed first by David Wilson, also of Agapé UK.

‘I was hearing story after story of young people going to university and falling away from their faith,’ said Tim. ‘I was passionate that this wouldn’t happen to my own kids and other young people in the church. I adapted the course for school leavers. It was just a small group but one of them is now in the leadership team of a church plant in Exeter, another leading a national movement amongst students in the UK.’ 

In the autumn of 2008, Tim, who lives in Woodbury in Devon, connected with Dave Pegg and together they ran Living & Telling in Exeter. Although pitched at primarily college and university students, it has always attracted people of all ages and is now aimed at churches and groups who are looking to equip Christians to become more confident in sharing their faith.

‘Discipleship is evident throughout the whole course,’ explains Tim. ‘Living & Telling can help people discover a whole new adventure and sense of fun, working with the Holy Spirit in what he is already doing in people’s lives. Instead of it being something scary and off-putting for ourselves and possibly for others, we turn the whole thing on its head. Living & Telling can help people do that. It really does encourage as well as equip Christians to look at discipleship and sharing this amazing news in a fresh way.’

Tim will lead a seminar on Living & Telling at CRE (3pm, Wed 16 Oct).

‘CRE is where we hope to chat with the very people for whom we have made the course,’ says Tim. ‘We hope that our seminar will attract leaders of churches, small groups, youth groups and CUs who are looking for a user-friendly way of getting members to talk about Jesus with those around them.’

Everyone at the CRE seminar will be offered a free copy of the participant’s journal.

‘We will briefly take them through some sample material, explaining what makes Living & Telling different from other personal evangelism courses. The core transferable principles have been used for decades by Campus Crusade International to release tens of thousands of Christians into the adventure and fun of sharing their faith confidently and helpfully.’ 

• Agapé UK are on stand S118 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

UK clergy: Too many ‘struggling in silence with debt’

More than 200 clergy needed help in escaping debts of almost £3m last year.

They were among 459 clergy given a total of £1.8m by CRE National 2019 exhibitor Clergy Support Trust which exists to help clergy in financial hardship. Jeremy Moodey, chief executive officer of the trust and a former banker, admitted he is shocked by the number of clergy who are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

‘Many clergy with families struggle to cover the cost of everyday living,’ he said, ‘and because of the nature of their profession, are reluctant to ask for help.’

The trust and its predecessors have been helping clergy since many lost their jobs in a purge by Oliver Cromwell. A group of businessmen and the sons of clergymen began the support mechanism which was then given a Royal Charter in 1678 by King Charles II. Earlier this year the name was changed from Sons and Friends of the Clergy to Clergy Support Trust.

The trust provides confidential and focused support to clergy facing financial and other challenges, working directly with beneficiaries but also, when appropriate, in partnership with the Church of England and other like-minded organisations. There are 20,000 serving clergy and hundreds more in the Church of Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Ireland and hundreds of retired clergy no longer active in the ministry. A further 1,500 people are training for the ordained Anglican ministry. The trust plays a massive part in providing help and support.

A recent survey showed that 20 per cent of the ordained clergy and 34 per cent of ordinands are ‘struggling’ or ‘just getting by’ financially. Three in every ten ordained clergy with children under 16 admitted having financial difficulties. 

‘Clergy are not going to be serving their communities as well as they might if they are worrying about paying bills and not getting a holiday,’ said Jeremy Moodey, who is training to become a vicar. ‘They live in a goldfish bowl in the vicarage and need to get away but often cannot afford to if they have families.’

• Clergy Support Trust are on stand S35 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Youth work: Share the journey

Morethan 1,000 youth workers will gather in November for three days of inspiration, training, teaching and worship – and organisers Youthscape will be at CRE National 2019 to tell you more.

Fifty speakers, worship leaders and entertainers from across the world, including Mark Oestreicher and CRE Ladies’ Day (Oct 17) speaker Rachel Gardner, will be at the National Youth Ministry Weekend in Birmingham. A huge choice of seminars and events are scheduled, ranging from deep theological teaching to practical equipping.

Youth workers will have space to relax, get away from the everyday pressures and recharge, spiritually and physically. They will also meet and talk with others who are facing the same challenges, whether in a rural or urban setting, with a small or large youth group, or in a particular context like a school or mental health services.

Mike Palin, who was at last year’s event, said:‘To know someone else is on a similar journey and has experienced similar things immediately connects us, and through this connection we can offer support and encouragement to one another.’

In addition to the main weekend, there will be an Early Day event, which gives attendees an opportunity to focus on rooting prayer at the heart of their ministry. The day will be led by Pete Greig, one of the best and most experienced communicators on prayer in the world.

For one of a limited number of tickets still available, visit the Youthscape stand at CRE National 2019.

• Youthscape are on stand YZ1 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Spin along to Sandown and hear the Reconciliation DJs

‘LAST night a DJ saved my life’ sang 80s pop trio InDeep – and salvation is the long-term aim of two seasoned disc jockeys returning to CRE next month (15-17 Oct).

One is a pastor, the other a worship leader but together Brian Smith (Anglo Irish) and Eddie McCalla (Scottish Jamaican) are the Reconciliation DJs – with a mission to bring people together through music. Both are life-long jazz fans and specialise in playing soul, r ‘n’ b, blues, gospel and jazz. 

‘We like to call it big people music,’ explained Brian. ‘We don’t even think about competing with under 30-year-olds. Most successful radio DJs are aged between 30 and 60. In any case it should be about the music rather than the personality of the presenter. We play very little rap and hip-hop. We offer different styles for almost any function – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and parties.

‘We like to provide an event for churches who want to reach the wider community. We encourage members to invite not-yet-Christian family, friends, neighbours or workmates to a function where people dance, eat and drink (depending on denomination of course!) – enjoying themselves without drunkenness, drugs or violence.’

Under the motto ‘unity in diversity’, the Reconciliation DJs have their own top quality sound equipment and a tour bus. Talk to them about your event at CRE.

• Reconciliation DJs are on stand E3 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Saving your back for the future

The new Nelson dishwasher is ergonomically designed so the operator doesn’t have to bend – backaches being the most common occupational ailment for church volunteers.

‘Our Advantage Plus AD51 Ergo provides an affordable solution for people who may not need to invest in a pass-through (used by large companies) but who want a comfortable means of loading and unloading a dishwasher,’ explained John Nelson, managing director of Nelson Dish and Glasswashers.

Nelson will introduce the substantial benefits of a commercial catering kitchen to CRE National 2019 visitors. These range from hosting coffee mornings for members of the community, providing snacks for youth clubs or, more ambitiously, hiring out the facilities for functions such as weddings.

Churches that serve any form of food and drink are classed as commercial catering establishments, which means they must abide by the same rules that apply to cafés and restaurants. This helps ensure that a high level of safety and hygiene can be achieved and maintained both for those preparing food and those consuming it. Nelson can provide the advice, designs and equipment a church needs to make sure the kitchen will not only pass the scrutiny of a environmental health officer but will also provide a very real means of increasing church revenue.

‘We recently had our church coffee shop kitchen refitted by Nelson,’ said Sue Massingham, facilities manager at Epsom Methodist Church. ‘Although we knew what we wanted, the space was very restricted, yet the Nelson designers managed to include everything we needed. The team was friendly and helpful which made the whole experience remarkably easy to manage. As our church building is heavily used by both church groups and commercial lets, the new kitchen allows us a greater degree of flexibility – we can now offer hot food for the first time – and has proved a real asset.’

• Nelson are on stand S105 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

GoPak: The next generation

It’s the next generation in slick, easy-to-handle tables – displayed by top table manufacturer, Gopak, at CRE National 2019.

Five per cent lighter than previous models, with a simplified folding mechanism, a reduced lip round the edge and improved protective corner mouldings, the new table is a smart addition to the range. With a great selection of sizes, heights and colours, the Contour 25 will still match aesthetically to existing models and fits into a Gopak trolley.

‘Putting up tables has always been a fraught activity in churches – preparing for tea parties, meals, or just spaces on which children can colour,’ said GoPak’s Diane Ponting. ‘If your church or community hall already has one of our tables, the newer models will not be out of place but will be easier to handle and able to take more wear. We think you’ll be tempted by its sheer design and appearance.’

• GoPak are on stand S48 at CRE National 2019

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