Monthly Archive September 2020

Dave HallByDave Hall

Lockdown has been a grind, especially for coffee producers

The pandemic has affected billions across the globe ­– not least the farmers and communities in coffee and tea-growing regions.

‘Fairtrade have been working hard to support producers, farmers and their families,’ said Kingdom Coffee’s Darren Rayner. ‘And during lockdown we’ve found a way to deliver Fairtrade coffee and tea to the home market, so you can enjoy a lovely cup of Clipper tea or Fairtrade coffee while you join your congregation online.

‘We’ve missed seeing everyone at summer events and while a small number of churches have returned to offering socially-distanced tea and coffee, we await a time when we can get back together, sing and freely enjoy a cup of coffee together after worship.’

Kingdom Coffee was founded in 1998 to promote Fairtrade and fairness. More than 20 years on, the company continues to deliver products that are Fairtrade, ethical, sustainable, high quality and yet affordable.

‘Our new range of coffee equipment from brand leading names like Bodum, Hario and Pezzetti will help you produce an excellent cup of filter coffee at home,’ said Darren. ‘We’ve also introduced 500g bags of two of our popular beans – Fairtrade Blue Mountain and Ire Mocha Italia for those that like to grind their own coffee beans!’

For discerning tea drinkers, Clipper were recently praised for their sterling work in offering plastic (polypropylene) free recyclable and biodegradable teabags and string and tagged enveloped teas. Clipper are one of the very few tea companies not to bleach their teabags – so you just great tasting Fairtrade and organic teas – with no added nasties!

For more information click here.

• Kingdom Coffee will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

The dramatic conversion of St Paul’s

A congregation camping in a huge barn far too big for its needs.

Does it have a familiar ring to it? Like so many of its kind St Paul’s, Slough, is a very large, Victorian-style, 20th century church that had lost its former grandeur in a big way. But through the sale of some land for housing and fundraising, the church raised £1m to turn the church into a place fitting as an offering to the glory of God. Like the saint it is named after, it witnessed a dramatic conversion. Jeremy Bell, of CRE exhibitors JBKS Architects, explains how:

St Paul’s is enormously high and was so hard to heat that in the 1960s a flat-roofed interior structure was built to provide a smaller hall that was easier to heat hall, entirely within the west end of the church.

The result was an out-of-proportion piece of nave and a dowdy flat west end hall, with plastic fold-back doors. Inevitably the roof of the hall room had accumulated old chairs and cardboard boxes.

St Paul’s during the conversion process

The whole place had lost its former grandeur in a big way. Dusty utilitarian lights, ice-cold draughts and a rickety screen balanced on disused choir stalls. It all gave the impression of the congregation camping in a huge barn far too big for its needs.

However, the congregation is very much alive and represents the wide diversity of Slough itself, adding spice to this vibrant community. 

After more than a decade the team (consisting of tireless vicar Revd Mike Cotterell, church warden Chris Broadbent and JBKS Architects) finally saw the work complete in March 2020. It is stunning, and a modern interpretation of the original. All the former beauty is magnified by amazing lighting and colour, but it has been augmented by some remarkably successful features.

The chancel has been blanked off by a magnificent full-height glazed screen with a huge wooden cross holding it up. Far from being a partition, it is a sparkly glam structure in which are reflected the stained-glass windows which appear like exciting holograms suspended in space. The white stone colours have been up-lit, allowing them to contrast and accentuate the warm brickwork.

The completed conversion of St Paul’s

The lovely arts and crafts wall decoration has been restored and in places, repainted. It adds such a quality of delicate tactile decoration. There are additional frameless glass screens to form a chapel at the west end. Again, they sparkle.

The main feature is that the whole focus of the worship is now sideways in the nave, which is wide enough, and accommodates a gracious curved dais.  Everyone is gathered around, in one space.

The chancel is not lost. It is gloriously still at its axial east, and still features the old high altar and the richly painted reredos. However, the chancel is now the place of fellowship and gathering for a coffee and a chat after the service. Perhaps it is fitting that this part of the church, once reserved for choir and clergy, has been given over to the warmth of personal relationships. After all Jesus said: ‘Love one another – by this will all men know that you are my disciples’ (John 15:12). 

May the restored beautiful church at St Pauls Slough equip the congregation to love one another in the sumptuous new space and thereby make disciples.

For more information click here.

• JBKS will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Idolatry: time to expose today’s false gods

How should Christians be faithful disciples in the political turbulence caused by Donald Trump and Brexit?

It’s a question at the heart of a new book that combines exegesis with practical discipleship. Written by Christopher J H Wright, an esteemed Old Testament scholar, Here Are Your Gods! (IVP, published 29 Sep 2020) calls readers to consider connections between ancient idolatry and today’s culture that leans further and further into the worship of our leaders.  

He also sounds a warning about the approach of many Christians to politics.

‘There is still a curious imagination, flying in the face of the Bible’s insistence that there is only one Saviour and Lord on the throne of the universe, that the best way for Christians to save the world would be for Christians to rule the world, or at least, that part of the world we might have some realistic hope of ruling over by having Christians in the seats of government,’ he said. ‘In fact, we desperately need to name and expose the false gods and idols we are tempted to bow down to – and find our stand in these turbulent times.’

An international ministries director of the Langham Partnership International, Wright previously taught at Union Biblical Seminary in India, and acted as academic dean and then principal of All Nations Christian College.

‘Wright’s careful dive into Scripture on the meaning of idolatry packs a punch for our times and provides an important reminder that idols, including political idols, are false gods that we create in our image,’ said John Inazu, professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis, USA.

‘The biblical warning to “keep yourselves from idols” hones in on the source of spiritual, social, moral and existential ruin,’ said Paul Copan of Palm Beach Atlantic University. ‘Wright’s fine study on idolatry, and his application of it to our Western world, helps us see more clearly what is at stake.’

Click here for more information.

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

The green, green grass for homeless people

In 1999, Pastor Pete Cunningham, his son Andrew and Vicki Woodley, already housing the homeless in their church building in Southport, put their hands in their pockets and purchased two flats in Southport to give homeless people somewhere to live.

The first recipients of Green Pastures were a single mum and her child. Two decades later, there are now hundreds of people housed by the charity at any one time and thousands more have benefitted over the years.

In 2003, a chaplain from North Staffordshire found out about the work and asked the charity to buy a property in Stoke-on-Trent – so his team could take ex-offenders from the prison gate to house and care for them.

‘Taking a step of faith, we bought a property for someone else,’ recalled Pete. ‘The results were amazing! As we provided more housing, the re-offending rate reduced. Now we partner with dozens of other churches across the UK and house more than 1100 people. Many of our partners look after ex-offenders and a good percentage stay out of prison and become good citizens. Many go on to have faith in Jesus Christ. This is our modus operandi – saving souls. Our properties and staff work to that end.’

For those who cannot work with homeless people direct, it is possible to invest in the work – with the funds working ethically. Investors are paid up to five per cent and with the money Green Pastures buy property for local churches and provide all the paperwork, expertise and ongoing support to operate a successful supported housing project. 

The enormous changes in towns and individual lives can be seen everywhere. Residents of The Greenhouse Project in Plymouth have experienced the faith of the support workers in their Green Pastures home. One resident said: ‘When I met the guys at The Greenhouse and saw how they love Jesus and the way that they were living for God, that appealed to me, and that helped me get back into recovery and faith.’

For more information click here.

• Green Pastures will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Andrew’s seminar aims to de-mystify the data regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides a legal framework for keeping everyone’s personal data safe.

It requires companies to have robust processes in place for handling and storing personal information. It’s also designed to protect us as individuals from being contacted by organisations without our express permission. However, the details are still a mystery to many people, so we asked Andrew Horler of CRE exhibitor AMDH Services, to record a seminar for CRE At Home 2020 which explains how your church can get on top of GDPR. Listed below are five key areas you need to consider.

Do you know what constitutes personal data? If you don’t understand what personal data is, it’s very difficult to ensure you meet your obligations concerning it.

Do you know what personal data you hold? This could be data about people who attend church, kids’ clubs, men’s breakfasts or even people in the local community. This includes names, email addresses, phone numbers and financial information on how they support the work of the church. You must understand what data you hold, where you keep it and who has access to it.

Do the people about whom you hold personal data know you have their data and why? You can’t just keep personal data because you might have a use for it in the future. You need to keep it only for a specific reason or reasons and you must have told the people whose data you are keeping what this reason is.

Is the personal data you hold held securely and kept only for as long as you need it? You cannot keep personal data about someone indefinitely but only for as long as you need it based on the reasons you gave when you collected it. You must hold it in a secure manner which means you must intentionally control access to it.

Do your staff know their responsibilities regards data protection? Your staff and volunteers should understand the UK data protection act and the GDPR along with what data you hold and why you hold it. They must understand what they can and cannot do with that data.

Andrew’s seminar is just one of more than 20 that will be available, at no cost, on CRE TV – as part of CRE At Home 2020

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Itching to be switching? Andrew gives your church the power

It is still complicated for churches to change energy suppliers and save money – so it makes sense to use the services of someone who can look after the complicated paperwork.

Andrew Silley is an award-winning energy broker – the first independent consultant to win at the prestigious TELCA Energy Awards 2019. For more than 10 years he has been on a mission to bring Christian values to a market that is more complex than you might imagine with trust, transparency, integrity, honesty and understanding watchwords of his service.  

A popular exhibitor at CRE, the former church warden has built up a wealth of knowledge about the various energy companies and how to switch from one to another.

‘Householders can change quite easily now,’ he said, ‘but it is more complicated for churches. Church volunteers often have other jobs and do not have enough time to understand the problems of switching accounts and take the easy way out, leaving things as they are. But with my experience I can make the switch easier, look after the complicated paperwork, and save them money in the process. It also leaves them more time to attend to Kingdom matters.’

The impact Andrew’s had on clients is significant. One inner London vicar said: ‘Andrew has become a good friend to our church and has always gone the extra mile. We are deeply grateful for his expert service.’

The name might be Silley but Andrew’s business is certainly not. And placing your energy supply contracts through Andrew will help support The Message, an organisation passionate about sharing the love of Jesus to some of the poorest and hardest to reach in our communities. 

Click here for more information.

• Andrew Silley will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Lockdown spurs outbreak of ‘weird-free’ evangelism

Lockdown could have inhibited Christian witness – instead it has spurred many churches to take a fresh look at sharing their faith.

Recent research by the Evangelical Alliance, under the title ‘Changing Church: Responding to the Lockdown Crisis’, confirms a significant increase in people who are looking for spiritual answers from the Bible, prayer and their local church. 

And Living & Telling from Agapé UK has been welcomed as an engaging way to conquer our faith-sharing fears, with any group or church now able to run the course in their own homes.

One member said: ‘We had a great time together. With Zoom we were able to break off in pairs which worked really well for me. From the security of my own home I felt I could be more honest and vulnerable with the person I was paired with. The course content really makes you stop and think about how you can share your faith in Jesus without being weird.’

Agapé Europe had to halt applications after more than 100 students from 22 countries registered for their launch of Living & Telling some weeks ago and three countries are currently translating of all the resources.

Gavin Calver, chief executive officer of the Evangelical Alliance, said: ‘Living and Telling is a simple, practical and powerful tool to help us all start sharing our faith more effectively. I wholeheartedly encourage every Christian to get involved.’

Tim Moyler, of Agapé UK, said: ‘If you are a Christian, and find yourself reticent to talk about your faith (or even if you are ready and raring to go), Living & Telling is for you. We believe that helping people discover Jesus can be done by all kinds of Christians, so this course is suitable for everyone.’

Click here for more information.

• Agapé UK will be exhibiting at CRE South West (17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

The begging letter that blessed a nation

Insurance broker Chris Knott thought he was entering a cattle shed in Malawi – only to find out it was a school.

Filled with compassion, the Oxford graduate, who studied law before moving into insurance, sold his business in a management buy-out and set up Starfish Malawi – a charity which has since helped hundreds of thousands of children. It now leads bible explorer classes in 30 schools, hundreds of secondary school students have been sponsored and thousands of primary school children are being taught as UK schools link with them. 

‘When most people get a begging letter from Africa it goes straight into the waste-paper bin but 17 years ago Chris wrote a tentative reply to a pastor and then decided to visit a country he had never thought about before,’ explained Peter Bell, head of fundraising for the charity.

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, in which one in four of the 19 million people are under 14 years old. But that simple letter has resulted in a massive impact in the land to which Christian explorer Dr David Livingstone took the message of Jesus Christ in 1859.

Starfish Malawi now run a school-linking programme, currently involved in approximately 30 construction projects, from adding toilets, to building complete school blocks, teachers’ homes, school halls, offices and libraries. A Gateway project provides over 10,000 free reusable sanitary kits to girls and more than 200 pastors are given access to Christian study books through pastor’s resources libraries. Some 4000 children have had nursery education, food, clothing provision and child healthcare. 

‘From July this year, four villages in the rural community, with an estimated 13,000 people, will have access to the facilities at our new Hope Clinic, providing free adult and child outpatients care,’ said Peter.

As a response to the recent Covid 19 crisis, Starfish Malawi has provided 80 washstands to be installed in the Salima town centre and in rural areas, together with distribution of face masks, made by a sewing group. The washstands use foot pedals to provide clean water and liquid soap.

‘It’s all embracing – life encapsulating,’ explained Chris. ‘This is a job which demands the whole of you – just to give a bit of yourself is not enough.’

The Starfish story speaks about how even the smallest act of a young child can change a life forever.

‘We can’t help everyone but we help as many as we can – one at a time!’ said Peter.

Click here to find out more about Starfish Malawi.

Photo: A Starfish Malawi nursery education site.

• Starfish Malawi will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Oct 12-14, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Packer pulls out all the stops

From cathedrals to churches, schools to private homes, one man pulls out all the stops to keep the music flowing.

Tony Packer started Viscount Organs Wales 12 years ago, to coax new life into traditional organs or, where necessary, suggest a suitable replacement.

‘We are a unique, refreshing and dynamic professional team of organists and technicians whose aim is to help people get the very best from their chosen instrument,’ said Tony, 59, who took to playing with electronics as a ten-year-old and moved into the business as an adult. ‘We help from a simple home practice organ to school, church or cathedral! We are the only company to offer high quality instruments custom-built in the UK, at surprisingly modest prices.’

Tony, who has 34 years’ experience in the field, worked in Las Vegas – where such equipment abounds in many guises. Among some of the artists he worked for were Sammy Davis Junior, Willie Nelson and Barbara Mandrell – specifically her giant stage piano that Tom Hanks played in the hit movie ‘Big’. He then returned to ply his trade in the UK music industry.

‘We will ensure that your instrument is perfectly installed, voiced and tonally finished to the highest standard when installed in its new home, combining this with technical support and a solid warranty,’ he said. ‘Our in-house engineers are always available to guide and assist you for any operational, servicing and general maintenance needs.’The company can work in any situation, fully ensuring that social distancing and hygiene are top of the list.

‘In these unprecedented times, why not let us be part of your endeavours to reunite our world in music and singing?’ said Tony. Click here for more information.

• Viscount Organs will be exhibiting at CRE South West (17-18 Mar 2021, Westpoint, Exeter)

Photo: Members of Carmel Baptist Chapel in Pontrhydfendigaid in Ceredigion, Wales with their Viscount Chorum 40 – a very popular model in Welsh chapels.

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Read yourself away from the jaws of fear

A real privilege to help nurture faith in times of crisis and point people to Jesus.

That’s how Michael Belcher has summed up his role as marketing manager at publishers Lion Hudson during the pandemic.

‘Being locked in for long periods has meant books have become more important than ever,’ said Michael. ‘We praise God that we are able to continue to publish titles that support and encourage. Covid-19 has served us with a stark reminder of our mortality but we believe some of our new books can help to ease some of the frustration and fear.’

In an intensely personal journal, Malcolm Duncan’s Good Grief guides the reader through grief and loss, examining how it changes us and affirms that God is with us every step of the way.  

In a forthcoming title, What Good is God?, Professor Robert White and Reverend Doctor Roger Abbott bring together a variety of voices to explore how we respond to tragedies, from both practical and faith-led viewpoints.

The children’s publishing team has listened to requests from parents, teachers and children’s workers for books that open a dialogue with children about mental health and emotional well-being. To that end, Debbie Duncan has launched God Cares, a new series for children which provides a biblical approach to discussing emotions and behaviour.

The series works at two levels: illustrated readers aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds and chapter books aimed at 8+ years. Additionally, The Good Thing About Bad Days by Margaret McAllister is a warm, practical book full of advice, suggested activities and encouraging messages to help young children (5 to 9 years) express and cope with their emotions.

Click here for more information. If you sign up to Lion Hudson’s newsletter you will receive a free ebook.

• Lion Hudson are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey