Tributes are pouring in for Gospatric Home, founder of the Christian Resources Exhibition, who died on Easter Saturday, 11 April.
Known simply as ‘Gos’, the 87-year-old had heart surgery before Easter and returned home from hospital to recover but was re-admitted on Good Friday with complications and died shortly afterwards.
His son, Olly, diocesan secretary of the diocese of Bristol said: ‘He was a man full of hope and love, always seeing life, potential and giving thanks in all circumstances. He achieved so much for so many. We’ll miss him so much and it is tough not to be together while we trust he is risen in glory.’
Theologian John Drane said: ‘Gos was a true Christian entrepreneur if ever there was one. He certainly made a difference to very many lives, including mine. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.’
Cindy Kent MBE said: ‘Gos was a great man who made such a contribution to Christianity in the UK. He was a real visionary. I was sad to hear this news.’
Singer Sandra Godley said: ‘We owe a rich depth of gratitude to a wonderful person.’
It was while recovering from a hip replacement operation many years before that Gos heard someone say ‘pick up and read’ – the same words given to St Augustine. But where Augustine picked up the Bible, Gos took hold of the UK Christian Handbook!
‘It wasn’t the voice of God but Ernie Barnett, owner of a chain of Christian bookshops!’ recalled Gos. ‘Laid up for days on end, Ernie suggested I read the UK Christian Handbook. I did – from cover to cover. There were 5,000 entries spanning an unbelievable range of publishers, church suppliers, charities, architects, missions, newspapers, magazines, bookshops and much more. I realised there was no event where they could bring their products, services and ideas to the churches that needed to see them.’
In such unlikely circumstances, CRE, Europe’s leading series of Christian exhibitions, was conceived. The last exhibition Gos attended, as honorary president, was CRE National 2019 at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey.
Steve Goddard, owner of CRE, said: ‘I was privileged to attend the first exhibition in London in 1985, never dreaming I would one day own it. Gos had the heart of a lion and the tenacity of a terrier. But above all he was a gentleman in the true meaning of the term. He played a quiet but pivotal role in transforming the face of the UK church through CRE. Tens of thousands of people have benefitted from his vision.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Diana and the whole Home family, especially at this time of enforced social isolation.’
There is nothing good about this virus – but that does not mean good cannot come out of it. So said Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop-designate of York, recently. With a prime minister in intensive care, millions at home on furlough, NHS staff under intense pressure and major religious, social and sporting events cancelled – this year’s Holy Week finds us all in unprecedented territory.
However, lockdown hasn’t meant a let-up in local ministry. Video conferencing has been available to churches for many years but until now has been taken up by relatively few. Now hundreds are reaching out beyond the church walls through Zoom – and doing worship and mission in a new and creative way.
We think this exciting wave of innovation deserves to be highlighted, so we’ve produced the resource list below, featuring initiatives from our exhibitors to help you and your church during lockdown. Follow the links for more information – and if you use the resources, please let the providers know CRE sent you!
Church resources for lockdown
Need help webcasting or streaming your services? Novum AV will be more than happy to help!
You can now stream or webcast services legally, thanks to CCLI. Previously, it had only been possible to stream or webcast audio that included copyrighted songs.
Churches are invited to use iKnow Church at no cost until 30 Sep 2020 – to communicate more effectively with members, communities, accept online donations, message small groups and much more.
Stewardship are answering key questions currently facing churches concerning finances, paying staff, Gift Aid and emergency help to those in need.
Access Insurance are working with insurers to relax the normally very specific policy conditions where church buildings are not in regular use.
Youth for Christ have released videos specifically designed for 7-11s, 11-18s and families – to help us ‘stay in continuous communication and togetherness’.
For those facing social isolation, the Open Bible Trust have made 100 Bible puzzles available free of charge.
CPO are offering a list of links to resources, ideas and tools for use during the lockdown.
Forge Leadership Consultancy are running a series of six webinars at 3pm every Thursday until 7th May to help relationships thrive during social distancing.
Home schooling? Check out a list of Easter-based resources from Meaningful Chocolate.
CRE in 2020 and 2021
As for the exhibition itself – we expect CRE National 2020 (13-15 October, Sandown Park, Surrey) to go ahead as normal, but are reviewing the situation continually and expect to make a final decision sometime in June, based on government advice. Your thoughts and prayers for the team at a difficult time are appreciated.
Whatever happens, CRE will stay in business – whether our next exhibition is at Sandown Park in October, or at Westpoint, Exeter, on 17-18 March 2021.
As Bishop Stephen rightly says – great things come out of situations that seem hopeless. But isn’t that what Easter is all about?