Monthly Archive September 2020

Dave HallByDave Hall

Open the door to your financial future

No one should reach the age of retirement without adequate provision for the future. 

So say Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services (EFAS), providers of expert, unbiased, independent financial advice for clergy, church people and PCCs.

‘Clergy, church staff and officials need reliable guidance and advice they can trust,’ said Richard Wood, director and head of EFAS. ‘We have provided independent advice about investments, pensions, savings and planning for retirement to clergy, church organisations and staff since 2009. You can have full confidence that the advice we give is impartial and concentrates on finding a suitable solution to meet your needs.’

Ecclesiastical’s fully independent advice services include:

  • pension and retirement planning advice about the clergy pension, other church pension schemes and all other plans and schemes you or your partner have from previous employers or insurance companies across the market
  • saving and investing for your future (including ethical investments and PCC funds)
  • life assurance and protection for you and your family
  • mortgage advice and specialist advice for those living in tied accommodation who want to buy a home or re-mortgage

‘I am also proud to say that EFAS were named as South West Local Mortgage Hero by NatWest for 2019 and have been nominated for the NatWest Mortgage Awards again in 2020,’ said Richard.

  • Email getadvice@ecclesiastical.com to get more information or click here.
  • Ecclesiastical will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Please note: The value of investments (including pensions and property) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount invested. Your capital is at risk. Your home may be at risk if you do not keep up repayments on any mortgage secured on it.

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

Prayer: gain strength from Anne’s struggles

One in 20 UK adults started to pray during lockdown according to a recent survey – and Anne Graham Lotz (daughter of the late Dr Billy Graham) has written a timely new book to help us all pray with more confidence.

As soon as we bow our heads, many of us start thinking of other things we need to do. How do we make time to pray in our busy lives? And how do we know what to say and how to say it?  Anne has also struggled with these questions.

‘Over the years, I have discovered that writing out my prayers draws me into deeper, more intimate conversations with God,’ said Anne, 72, who in addition to her itinerant teaching ministry, has authored 11 books.

The Light of His Presence, published by CRE exhibitor Authentic Media on Tue 6 Octoffers 40 tender, honest prayers for real-life situations.

‘My prayer is that God will use my struggle with prayer to help you overcome yours. And that, as a result, you will be drawn nearer to the heart of God,’ said Anne. 

Authentic Media is a family owned publishing and distribution company based in Bletchley Milton Keynes. Its two key publishing imprints are Authentic and Paternoster. The company publishes a wide range of titles with a focus on bibles, children’s books and biographies. It also distributes Christian music and DVDs.

Read a sample chapter of The Light of His Presence.

Photo: Anne Graham Lotz

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

Christchurch Ware: 160-year-old building renewed and revitalised

Eleven years after making first contact with a leading firm of chartered architects at CRE, members of Christ Church, Ware are making full use of their revitalised church building.

Closed for almost a year, while the Grade 2 listed 160-year-old building in Hertfordshire was gutted, the church re-opened at the end of November last year.

Martin Dudley, the church’s operations manager, described the choice of MEB Design to oversee the £1.2m project as ‘a wise decision.’ Church representatives made contact with the company at CRE and when the major redevelopment project was mooted, proved ‘highly capable, calling in other companies in areas where extra expertise was needed,’ added Martin.

The church was gutted to its foundations. Flooring, heating and electricity were all stripped back and the old pews replaced by chairs. 

‘With new flooring, heating system, lights, toilets, a kitchen and the addition of a balcony it proved a major project,’ said Martin. As the lockdown eased, new chairs made it easier to implement social distancing. The sound and vision system meant services could be live streamed for those unable to attend.

Paul Chester, a director at MEB Design, said: ‘The project presented a number of difficulties, not least because the Victorian building was in a conservation area. It suffered from dilapidated fabric and the heating delivery system was spent in particular. It communicated an unhelpful message.’

One of MEB Design founders, Mark Eddison, was in charge of the project and managed to overcome many difficulties. The new layout works liturgically. Gone are inflexible pews and there is space for carers to look after babies and toddlers during services. The chancel now provides an appropriate area for smaller meetings. There is proper space for a music group and all areas are backed up by modern communication equipment.

No wonder MEB Design see architecture as ‘an adventure, and enjoying creativity is at the heart of what we do.’

Click here for more information.

Click here to watch MEB’s Mark Eddison and Joel Callow from QODA Consulting lead the CRE At Home 2020 seminar entitled Climate change: how can church buildings be best adapted to meet the challenge?

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

Photo: Christ Church, Ware revitalised

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

Christmas 2020: bringing meaning beyond the mistletoe

The first-ever Fairtrade Christingle, Fairtrade bars and a special edition of the Real Advent Calendar will ensure Christmas 2020 is not cancelled.

That’s the message from The Meaningful Chocolate Company (MCC) as it launches its 2020 festive range.

‘Even with current uncertainties, we can still do meaningful mission work during Advent,’ said David Marshall, founder of MCC. ‘That’s why we have produced a special edition 2020 calendar, complete with rainbow markings and a free 24-page Christmas story activity book. We hope folk will buy the calendars, encourage others to give one to their loved ones, buy for a school or sponsor a food bank donation.’

The 2020 calendar has a new design. As well as being made from Fairtrade chocolate, the free book remains a helpful mission resource.

‘No other calendar enables parents and children to experience the Christmas story for 24 days with a challenge to do some good in the season,’ explained David.

Calendars cost £3.99 delivered free in multiples of 18 or as singles (NB must be ordered by Fri 6 Nov to qualify).

Money raised from the sale of this year’s calendar will help Fairtrade farmers receive a fair price for their goods and a Fairtrade premium to spend on the priorities of their communities, ranging from solar panels and fresh water to teaching resources.

‘We will also help The Funzi and Bodo Trust provide care for mums and babies in Africa,’ said David. 

Click here for more information.

• Meaningful Chocolate Co will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

Make the most of that mask!

One Scottish woman is determined to make the ubiquitous facemask a positive talking point.

‘I want it to be an opportunity to share our faith in a fun way,’ said Margaret Wyllie who launched CRE exhibitor Holy Socks 20 years ago. ‘It’s a new addition to our range and one we wish wasn’t required. However, in these Covid days, it seemed a good idea to introduce some biblical masks and team them with our socks. Who knows, they might start a conversation. If you have the socks on your feet, you can show them off, too!

‘We’ve started with our Jonah design and hope to introduce more in the coming weeks.’

Masks are sold singly with the same A4 story leaflet giving the reason behind the design. They are also available with a pair of Jonah and the Whale holy socks, accompanied by an A3 story leaflet. 

‘Jonah and the Whale was one of our first sock designs when we started the company,’ recalled Margaret. ‘Holy Socks were born partly out of a desire to have a quiet, non-threatening way of opening a conversation about the Christian faith. Covid makes that conversation urgent now. I hope the Jonah masks do as good a job as the socks have done over the years.’

The masks are in two colours, hot pink and grey version and have a 93.6% particle filtration efficiency (PFE) rating protects against particles and viruses. Both are 2-ply, reusable and washable.  

Click here for more information.

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

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

From stained glass to lightning strikes: get a world of advice

Offering all that’s new in church and heritage matters with a special focus on restoration and refurbishment – that’s Ecclesiastical and Heritage World.

To boost the readership of its print version, the magazine, which has existed in print and on the web for more than 20 years, is now offering a free annual subscription. All the publishers ask is coverage of the postage and packing costs of £4.80 per year – that’s for four issues!

To take advantage, click here to provide them with your email and the name and address of the subscriber. They will arrange everything else for you.

‘Visitors to our website will find a searchable directory of all the expert services their church could need: from specialist architects and surveyors or technical wizards offering live streaming of church services to new sound systems or heating and lighting,’ said Ecclesiastical and Heritage World’s Steve Foley. ‘There’s metalwork, stained glass and even advice on keeping you safe from lightning strikes!’

You will also read a regularly-updated section previewing upcoming CREs and containing an array of experts offering services for your church. Back issues can be viewed here

‘If your church has a story to share or if you are an expert with services to offer the sector, we would love to hear from you,’ said Steve.

For more information click here.

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

New door opens for key workers

As the country clapped for key workers, one organisation wondered how they might continue to bless them in the foreseeable future.

Lee Abbey is a Christian community in Devon that has welcomed guests for more than 74 years – to join in inspiring worship, prayer and teaching. 

‘Whether it’s as part of an individually-guided retreat, a “walk and talk” or a family-themed break, the lives of guests and community have been transformed as they encounter God,’ explained Lee Abbey’s Grant Forrest. ‘Like many places, we have pivoted and adapted to the changes 2020 has brought, but we remain true to our vision of seeing the Church renewed, lives transformed and people encountering God.’

The challenge of offering the ministry of hospitality with a smaller community needed some creative thinking, which led Lee Abbey into identifying a unique opportunity to bless key workers.

‘Their contribution to the wellbeing of the country has been hugely significant in recent months,’ explained Grant. ‘Many are now feeling the need to rest, retreat and be refreshed so we’re delighted to open two additional self-catering properties on our estate, specifically for them, at just £60 per night. Recognising our response is faith based, we go forward in faith, believing others too will want to be part of this initiative.’

Lee Abbey’s bursary fund will make this possible.

‘We’re looking for supporters to help us raise the £23640 needed,’ said Grant. ‘Could you help bless a key worker?’

Click here for more information.

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

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

‘Bikers’ bench’ is fitting memorial to 59 Club founder

Motorcyclists who make an annual pilgrimage to Lincoln Cathedral can now witness the woodworking skills of CRE exhibitor Nicholas Hobbs.

Influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Nicholas has crafted a bench in memory of 59 Club founder Fr Graham Hullett. Positioned in the Lady Chapel, it provides the ideal spot for contemplation by motorcyclists in memory of Fr Hullett. Officially recognised by the Church of England, the 59 Club was formed in London during the 1960s, a period infamous for clashes between Mods and Rockers.

The club claimed a worldwide membership of more than 10,000. A rider himself, Fr Hullett wore his dog collar under his leathers and ostensibly ran the club without rules. Nevertheless, he gained respect by being a father figure to many, approachable and down to earth, offering them moral, occasionally financial support and attending court cases. He visited prisons and carried out the duties of a cleric ­­– marrying, christening offspring and burying those who perished in road accidents. 

He had a long-lasting influence amongst a large group of disaffected youngsters. In recognition, a number of early members clubbed together in 2005 to buy a Royal Enfield Bullett 500 for Fr Hullett – to get him back in the saddle and on the road again. Upon his death, Fr Hullett’s specially-painted bike was left to a member of the Spirit of 59 who subsequently offered the bike to auction to fund the permanent memorial bench at Lincoln.

Each December, on the anniversary of its dedication, motorcyclists travel to Lincoln Cathedral from around Britain, gathering in the Lady Chapel to remember the man as they sit on the bench and later meeting in a local pub to recall stories from an earlier era.

Nicholas, who studied creative design at Loughborough University, makes functional furniture to commissions.

‘I create work that will stand the test of daily use and the test of time,’ he said. ‘It was my great pleasure to be invited to make this memorial bench which, alongside the Pumfrey family bench, is available for use by pilgrims for reflection every day.’

Nicholas has created many memorable items including a blanket chest in selected, figured English oak which is in the permanent Arts & Crafts collection at Leicester City.

Churches and cathedrals regularly draw on Nicholas’ specialist skills to create striking, long-lasting items, blending a strong architectural design style with the exacting construction standards of the Arts & Crafts tradition. 

Click here for more information.

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

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

High five for church wi-fi

When two of your premises are divided by a main road and the rectory is even further away, how do you link them up?

St Giles Church, Northampton called CRE exhibitor Midshire Business Systems who installed an easy-to-operate system that pumps wi-fi through all three sites.

The church runs various groups such as parent and toddler, blood donor (NHS) and English language lessons for the community, and members can access the system as well. Wi-Fi points were installed on the ceilings so that perfect signals were distributed around all three buildings. A VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone system allows the use of handsets in all three premises, linking them and enabling calls to be transferred between sites with a click of a button. All calls are also free of charge.

A wireless bridge transfers the broadband wirelessly over the road, eliminating the need for an extra analogue line and broadband, avoiding the problem of the church’s thick walls which make it difficult for a wireless signal to penetrate

‘We were delighted with the way Midshire installed a telephone system and broadband in both the main church and the parish office,’ said Helen Goff, the church’s officer administrator. ‘The work was carried out efficiently and professionally. After sales care, including any teething issues and trouble-shooting, has been equally met with efficiency, professionalism and a thoroughness in seeing a job through to the end.’

Social distancing has made it more important ever that a wi-fi solution is in place to avoid forcing people to crowd around in a tight area.

Martin Hill, senior salesman for Midshire, said: ‘Most churches I now deal with have a wi-fi solution. It is required for laptops, PCs, interactive screens, digital signage printers, card reading machines (donations), and mobiles etc – all equipment which we can supply.’

Click here for more information.

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

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

New church development that’s streets ahead

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to link three disparate buildings with an internal street.

That was the task facing EMJ Architects in 2012 by Grace Church in Yate, near Bristol.

The growing fellowship had purchased a development site comprising a former physiotherapy centre and an older building dating from around 1880. A new 220-seat meeting hall and entrance also needed to be constructed that was welcoming, warm, light and comfortable.

‘In essence, the hall was to be an extension of someone’s own home,’ explained EMJ director Esmond Murray.

Grace Church redevelopment in Yate, near Bristol

The design focused around an ‘internal street’ – a large, multi-purpose circulation space that would remove the need for a series of corridors and could be used as a meeting or activity space in its own right. The street would be angled to allow central access to the new meeting hall, while a timber-clad wall, appearing as a continuation of the external cladding, would visually draw visitors to the heart of the building.

The work was completed in 2019.

‘It was a challenge to avoid impacting detrimentally on the setting of the locally listed building, while providing an attractive and legible entrance to the church,’ said Esmond. ‘A key element of that was to break down the overall mass of the design by wrapping the main body of the new meeting hall and the existing building with flat roof elements, lessening the overall visual impact of the proposal and keeping its overall height to an appropriate level.

‘Our aim, in all our work, is to produce design solutions that are attractive, practical, sustainable, sensitive to their environment and that above all respond to the individual needs of each client.’

Click here for more information.

• EMJ Architects will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct)

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

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

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