Monthly Archive September 2020

Dave HallByDave Hall

Online church: where do we go from here?

If you have been streaming services from inside someone’s home, how will you replicate that intimacy when you broadcast from a church building?

That’s the question posed by CRE exhibitor DM Music.

‘Coming from a home, the service will probably have been personal, relaxed and intimate in style, delivered directly and closely to camera,’ said DM Music’s Iain Harvey-Smith. ‘However, a simple, single camera streaming system showing a wide, distant shot of the front of church, coupled with reverberant audio, will present a very different style of church.’

Ian suggests that developing a style for the weekly Sunday service stream may take time.

‘For continuity and to keep some of the familiar style you have been using during lockdown, you could pre-record small segments from home that appear at the beginning or end of your live stream from church,’ he said. ‘If you’ve been using Zoom you may consider sustaining  the interaction, perhaps at the end of the service – via a screen in an area where you would normally serve refreshments.’

DM Music offer a complete solution for streaming and audiovisual requirements – supply, design, quotation, installation, training, service, support and free advice.

‘Don’t rush into streaming, look to build on the elements you may have already,’ said Iain. ‘Aim to develop your style, operators and equipment as the ministry grows.’

To find out more visit DM’s Quick Expert Guide.

• DM Music 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

Trust me, these could be perfect gifts

The Christian Gift Company has grown from selling a few hundred lines in 2011 to a few thousand, including mugs for ministers.

‘Our range is pretty extensive and therefore we hope that we have something for everyone,’ explained the company’s founder, Marianne Needham-Bennett.

The company stocks greetings cards, stationery, notecard packs, prayer cards, colouring and Bible journalling resources, jotter pads, perpetual calendars, promise boxes and notebooks.

‘We also sell gold, sterling silver and fashion jewellery for men and women, including crosses, tree of life, doves, hearts, Ichthus fish necklaces and bracelets, plus accessories such as scarves and socks,’ said Marianne. ‘Whether you are a vicar looking for something with which to celebrate or commiserate with your parishioners, or for something small to thank church wardens or with which to welcome new members to your church, we believe we have a card and/or a gift just right for you!’

The company bring together products from a wide range of suppliers including Just Cards, Holy Socks, Jonathon Hemingray and Hannah Dunnett, enabling you to buy your favourite cards and gifts all in one place. Once on their mailing list you will receive 10 per cent off your first order and a twice-weekly email containing information on new products and a ‘word of encouragement’ written by Marianne.

‘With the country in varying degrees of lockdown, the ability to send presents directly to people you are unable to visit or be with, could be invaluable for maintaining the truly caring and meaningful spirit of Christmas later on in the year,’ she said.

Click here for more information.

• The Christian Gift Company 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

Take a breath and have a biscuit

Take a breath ­and have a biscuit – that’s Anne Wray’s advice to clients seeking financial advice during the pandemic.

‘We make people feel so welcome that, before Covid-19, they often dropped into the office for a coffee,’ said Anne. Now, with many meetings conducted through the Internet, she posts them a biscuit – so they can still meet over coffee!

It’s no wonder clients feel part of a family. Working alongside Anne are her daughter, Melanie (an independent financial adviser and mortgage adviser), son Tom (office manager, training to be a para-planner) and granddaughter Megan (office administrator). 

‘We like to think that anyone seeking our advice becomes part of the extended family,’ said Anne. ‘In fact, they are now helping to find mortgages for the children of our earlier clients!’

The company was formed more than 25 years ago. Anne left school and began working in a finance office – ‘because in those days girls didn’t go to university.’ That was followed by five years with Methodist Insurance, looking after the life pensions. When new regulations were invoked, the Methodist Church did not want to continue and Anne took that side of their work privately. She opened up the business to others after a few years offering a large range of financial help, including protection, mortgages, savings, investments, pensions, wills, trusts and funeral plans.

Now, because of the pandemic, there is significant uncertainty for many, particularly as the next round of Government intervention is implemented.

‘But it is a good time to take a breath and consider the future,’ she explained. ‘One of our principle objectives is to help people achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle. A major element in this process is to ensure the target lifestyle can be funded, preferably in a tax-efficient way, which involves a combination of tax planning, investment planning and cash flow management.’

And all that is where the company’s years of experience come into action – particularly for clergy and their families, and the wider Christian community. 

Taking the biscuit could mean a blessing.

Click here for more information.

• Anne Wray 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

Covid-19: young people learning to ‘value what they have’

More than one in three young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the UK say they have learned to cope with adversity since the outbreak of Covid-19.

In a survey by the Prince’s Trust, 37 per cent said they have gained coping skills or emotional resilience. A consultation with 150 children and young people showed they felt they had learned new hobbies, picked up old ones, and appreciated time to reflect. They also said they had experienced gratitude.

Luton-based Youthscape’s centre for research has analysed a series of surveys by various organisations on young people and their experiences during Covid-19 – and have amalgamated the findings. Most young people in one survey of 13 to 24-year-olds said they enjoyed spending more time with their parents – but had begun to worry more about their parents and family. A Barnardo’s survey of eight to 24-year-olds found an increase in issues related to mental health and wellbeing. The top feelings expressed by the youngsters were boredom (51 per cent), worry (28 per cent) and feeling trapped (26 per cent).

One 13-year-old boy said: ‘It has made me realise that the future is more unpredictable than I thought. I don’t know what will go on in the future, so I am going to value what I have now.’

One of a number of studies on young people and Covid-19 showed an increase in anxiety – and that anxiety rose the older the children got. Among those struggling were older teenagers, girls, those from black or minority ethnic backgrounds, those not in education, employment, or training and some already struggling with poor mental health.

Lucie Shuker, director of research at CRE exhibitor Youthscape, said: ‘We know the virus has heavily impacted young people’s mental health. All have experienced loss over this time, whether time with family and friends, education or normal teenage experience. But some who were already vulnerable have had a particularly rough time with increased anxiety, loneliness and depression.’

The local youth work team at Youthscape have developed a resource in response, for use with young people in schools.

‘It’s called Thrive and can be used by teachers, school visitors and churches to help teenagers process their return to school and develop resilience and mental wellbeing in these few weeks and months,’ said Lucie. It features four short films with teaching from Dr Kate Middleton and stories from some amazing students, ten creative activities suitable for self-guided or classroom work ready to be delivered by teaching staff with printable activity sheets.

Click here for more information

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

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

Pandemic sparks transformation of parish magazine

In the year of ‘more tech, vicar?’ live streaming has become essential for church services and even the humble church magazine has been digitally transformed.

According to a recent poll by CRE exhibitor parishpump.co.uk, who supply graphics and editorial material to nearly 1800 church publications, many magazines have coped surprisingly well during lockdown. 

In March, the Church of England warned against paper delivery of magazines because of Covid-19. ‘For this reason, parishes are encouraged to look to digital communication…’ said the notice. In response, Parish Pump subscribers report that a quarter of parish magazines ceased publication but around two-thirds went digital or are now producing both printed and digital versions.

Anne Coomes, Parish Pump’s editor, said: ‘It is great news that so many have gone digital – we warmly welcome it. Far from stopping your church magazine production during this crisis, we think it is critical to keep it going. People all over the country are now more isolated from their local church family than they have ever been in their lives.  A church magazine can help keep them in touch with each other.

‘In fact, we hope that many of the churches who at first decided to simply stop their magazines will now reconsider, and at least try the digital option for a few months. Of the hundreds of church magazine editors to have gone digital, many are attracting new readers at this time.’

Click here for more information.

• Parish Pump will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 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

‘Final flight’ for MAF founder

On the day Mission Aviation Fellowship celebrated 75 years since its inception, it also recorded the sad death of one of its founders – 98-year-old Stuart King.

Stuart had joined the RAF in 1941 in the early days of the Second World War and was hoping to be a pilot. However, because he had a degree in engineering, the interviewer told him that, while men could be taught to be a pilot in six months, it took three years for them to become an engineer.

When he left the air force after six years he rejected a call to take up a permanent commission in the RAF to join a small group of people determined to provide support for missionaries in isolated areas – Mission Aviation Fellowship.

It was only then that he learnt to fly, in a de Havilland Tiger Moth. With Jack Hemmings, a war-time pilot, they took off from Croydon Airport on a rain-swept day in January 1948 for the first flight in a MAF aircraft – a twin-engine Miles Gemini. It was to be a nine-month survey flight across Africa, surveying isolated areas to which MAF would eventually be flying. The pair went to Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya and what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo to prove that aircraft could make a difference.

MAF, a regular exhibitor at CRE, now flies to more than 1,400 remote locations in 26 developing countries – more destinations than the six largest airlines in the world combined –supporting more than 2,000 missionaries and humanitarian aid organisations. Every four minutes an MAF plane is taking off or landing somewhere in the world

Stuart was to become a leading figure as MAF UK expanded, taking part in surveys in Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad and Tanzania. He worked for 12 years in Sudan before returning to the UK to become the mission’s president emeritus in 1987.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev Justin Welby, said of him: ‘Stuart’s tremendous contribution to the founding of MAF has had a profound impact on the ministry of many people across the world and in the Anglican Communion.’

Stuart’s experiences are recorded in his book Hope Has Wings (Marshall Pickering).

Click here for more information

• Mission Aviation Fellowship will be exhibiting at CRE South Wes 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter 17-18 Mar 2021)

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

Don’t let ‘egg and spoon’ streaming speed spoil your services

You may have all the latest gear to stream church services but if your internet speed is slower than an egg and spoon race, you will have wasted your money.

So says Dan Herbert of DSAV, exhibitors at CRE South West 2021 and CRE National 2021. 

‘You may have heard the terminology SD, HD, 4K and now even 8K which all relate to display resolution,’ he said. ‘A 4K display, for example, will have a greater number of pixels than a 720p display of equal area and will therefore appear sharper with greater image detail.  The key to remember is, the greater the pixel count, the higher the resolution, the better the image quality.’

Failure to consider the correct integration of 4K-capable equipment into a wider visual system may result in needless cost with little benefit.

‘We recently visited a church that had bought a 4K switcher and cameras,’ said Dan, ‘but as their existing projector and displays supported a maximum resolution of only 720p, and their internet speed was slower than an egg and spoon race, they saw zero benefit.

‘Budget is a key factor but you don’t have to look far to see that adding a camera and associated equipment could cost you many thousands of pounds. However, there are continuing advances in technology and cost-effective solutions are available that don’t compromise on quality. There’s never been a more important time to ensure good stewardship by investing in the right solution.’

If you are contemplating investing in 4K, particularly for streaming services, these are DSAV’s top tips:

  • Check the resolution of your existing AV equipment – Some 4K switchers/mixers require input and output resolutions to match, therefore all items of equipment must be capable of displaying at 4K.
  •  Check your target output – Scaling switchers mixers that upscale to match your chosen display resolution are available. However, the target output needs to be considered, particularly if you are feeding both a live stream and displays with the same content.
  •  Check your internet connection will handle 4K without buffering – To stream 4K you will need a minimum 25MBps upload speed. For live 4K broadcasts however, at least 50Mbps is recommended.
  •  Check that your laptop/media-player supports 4K – Most laptops aren’t 4K-compatible and old Blu-Ray players cannot play the new format 4K Blu-Ray discs.
  •  Check your storage capacity – 4K video files are large and if you intend to keep them on your system you will need extra storage capacity.  This is important if you are planning to playback or record content locally.
  •  Check your content resolution – Presentation content will display at its native resolution (e.g. a photograph or image with a 720p resolution will be displayed as 720p even on a 4K display).

Click here for more information

• DSAV are exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (17-18 Mar) National 2021 (12-14 Oct 2021)

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

Ofsted ‘misapplied law’ in connection with Christian adoption agency

An evangelical Christian fostering agency has won the right to retain its religious ethos.

The High Court rejected Ofsted’s attempt to force Cornerstone North East Adoption and Fostering Service to work with non-evangelical Christian carers. But while the court ruled that Ofsted’s attempt to get Christian organisations to abandon faith when they enter the public square was out of order, they also ruled that Cornerstone cannot require carers to abide by its Christian beliefs on appropriate sexual conduct.

Cornerstone North East, an exhibitor at CRE National 2021, welcomed the court’s ruling confirming that the organisation can continue to require carers to sign up to its statement of faith but will consider appealing on the sexual conduct issue. 

The ruling vindicates the decision by Cornerstone to take legal action against Ofsted over an inspection report demanding that the agency abandon its religious ethos. Despite previously being rated ‘Good’ in all areas, the report issued in June 2019 downgraded Cornerstone’s fostering work to ‘Requires Improvement’. It accused the charity of unlawful discrimination because it only recruits evangelical Christian carers. Ofsted also said it was discriminatory for Cornerstone to require its carers to abide by its code of conduct on living consistently with the charity’s Christian beliefs about marriage between a man and a woman. Cornerstone claimed that Ofsted had misapplied the law. 

Under the Equality Act 2010, religious charities may restrict ‘the provision of benefits’ to those who share their faith and beliefs. Cornerstone’s right to rely on these provisions was endorsed by the Charity Commission in January 2011. 

Speaking after the judgment was handed down, Cornerstone’s chairwoman, Revd Sheila Bamber, said: ‘The judgment justifies our decision to pursue this legal action. Our right to support Christian families in providing the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people has been upheld. But I am saddened that the fundamental place of biblically-based Christian marriage in our beliefs has not been recognised.’

A spokesperson for Cornerstone said: ‘Everybody at Cornerstone is a practicing Christian so we can understand and support our families as they fulfil a call from God to foster or adopt. It’s important to make it clear that children in our care can, of course, have any or no religion and we do not try to convert them in any way.’ Cornerstone is not yet an adoption agency, however the majority of children placed with its foster carers go on and adopt the children in their care. This means that the charity stops receiving money from local authorities when a fostering placement turns into adoption. 

Cornerstone specialises in so-called ‘hard-to-place’ children, including large sibling groups, children with complex medical needs and disabilities. The organisation will be at CRE National 2021 to meet Christians from all over the UK who are already foster carers and would like to transfer to an agency that can fully support them. It is also interested in meeting Christians who are interested in fostering.

Click here for more information

• Cornerstone North East Adoption and Fostering Service 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

Retired but not redundant: unearth your new role

When Dave Carlos stopped working he was determined not to come to a grinding halt – and those experiences form the backcloth to his CRE At Home 2020 online seminar Retired but not Redundant.

Now available to view on the CRE YouTube channel, the seminar will be helpful to those considering imminent retirement and others who have retired but are finding it unfulfilling. It also provides useful advice for churches wanting to help mobilise members who are in similar situations.

Dave Carlos

‘Retirement is not what is used to be,’ said Dave, now 68. ‘People develop skills and expertise over the years, and it can be helpful to identify areas in which their retirement can be personally rewarding and of great use to church and community.’

With a lifetime of interest in computers – in the early 1980s he was editor of Home Computing Weekly – Dave started his own PR company, advising producers of computer games, before moving to Christian charities Agapé UK and then Care for the Family.

His talks on cyber security have been welcomed by many organisations and he has also teamed up with Lancashire Police, helping to train new officers. On top of all this, he is a leader in his local church and helps run a computer clinic, along with other computer enthusiasts! They meet regularly in a local pub, inviting anyone with a problem computer, or who has difficulties with an application, to pop in and allow them to sort it out.

‘This gives me the opportunity to gently give a Christian prod to those I am helping and also to those working with me,’ he said.

The key to knowing what to do when retiring, he maintains, is not just about the person’s skills and interests, but prayer.

‘The individual must pray about his or her circumstances,’ he said, ‘and local church leaders should certainly pray for those they know who are about to retire.’

Retirement is not simply about finding something to do that is fulfilling, he points out, but to becoming involved in something which provides opportunities for evangelism and simply helping others. The seminar is a valuable aid, reflecting Dave’s personal experience, and provides many helpful tips for those approaching ‘the great change’. It is one of more than 20 seminars available on CRE TV in the week beginning Mon 12 Oct 2020 – when CRE National 2020 should have taken place but for Covid-19. The seminars will remain available for months to come.

Click here to watch Retired but not Redundant by CRE’s Dave Carlos, part of CRE At Home 2020.

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

Printer ink: costing you more than Dom Pérignon?

When Gestetner closed its offices and made one man redundant it did churches a great big favour.

Nigel Page went on to launch Apple Office Equipment, specialising in reducing the cost of printing for churches and charities. Now, 27 years later, his company leads the way in auditing the way photocopiers are being used and suggesting cheaper and more efficient alternatives.

‘Some printing devices are expensive to run,’ he said. ‘Our audit makes sure organisations are not paying above the odds for ink, toner, or the use of a particular machine. A national newspaper recently pointed out that printing ink can be more expensive than Dom Pérignon champagne. That is perfectly true. We recommend the best machine for the setting and the most efficient way of using it. We often find churches and charities have the printer set at colour when it is totally unnecessary. There are ways to ensure the machine only prints in black unless a code is put in to allow the user to switch to colour.’

With a fully-trained team of technicians available to deliver a high quality of friendly service – suitably protected in these days of Covid-19 – Nigel’s promise is that all their machines have been through extensive testing before delivery, to ensure that they reach the customer at a high standard. And he can also offer various purchasing and leasing options including the company’s Apple Rental Agreement.

‘We have no tie-ins, no contracts, no hidden costs – just honest ethical trading with friendly advice and expert help,’ he said. ‘We will miss CRE at Sandown Park. We love meeting old customers and making new friends. It’s a great meeting place for those looking for a better way to do everything.’

Click here for more information.

• Apple Office Equipment will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 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