Monthly Archive September 2020

Dave HallByDave Hall

Making a difference this Christmas is on the cards

If your church sends greetings cards to the local community, there are 50,000 reasons why you should source them from Just Cards Direct.

The company was established in 2007 and designs and sells high-quality Christian cards and gifts. 

‘We support craft projects in Africa,’ said the company’s founder Anne Stiles. ‘So far we have donated £50,000 to Christian charities.’ Having received numerous requests for their products, Just Cards now offer a dedicated churches’ account and discount.

‘You will receive 25 per cent off all of our products, including cards, notebooks, colouring products, colouring pencils, coasters, mugs, keyrings and lots more,’ said Anne.  

There’s also an invoice facility with 30 days’ free credit, which means no delay in getting your supplies. 

‘Even if you’ve never sent cards before as a church, this year might be a good time to start,’ said Anne. ‘With thousands of people isolated in their homes through Covid-19, why not send a Christmas card to those in your parish, or a small gift hamper to a struggling family?’

For more information click here.

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

Trust130: Insure your house and bless your church

One church in Leicestershire is staying at the heart of the community, thanks in part to a leading insurance company.

St Catherine’s Church, in Burbage near Hinckley, recently refurbished its kitchen – and £910 from Ecclesiastical Insurance came in very handy during the process.

Under Ecclesiastical’s Trust130 campaign, every time a new customer takes out a new home insurance policy the company offers to donate £130 to the church or cathedral of the customer’s choice.

‘Trust130 has been great for us,’ said Revd Andrew Hall, rector of St Catherine’s. ‘We have run a regular advert in our parish magazine, put posters in the porch and mentioned it in services. The response has been really terrific.

‘The kitchen is very important to the church members and also to the wider community. In normal times, we use it for luncheon and parent-and-toddler clubs, the Mothers’ Union, the WI, the choir, bell ringers… you name it, they’re in there!

‘It was looking very tired and in need of updating but with the help of the Ecclesiastical money and other donations we now have a space that is very modern and fit-for-purpose.’

Trust130 was launched in 2017, to celebrate Ecclesiastical’s 130th anniversary. To date, the company has given more than £325,000 to 845 parishes around the UK. Click here for more information.

• Ecclesiastical Insurance will be exhibiting at 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

Hoops, hope and a helping hand

The tranquil croquet lawn at the College of St Barnabas has seen little action this summer – another casualty of Covid-19!

The college is still a haven for some 60 elderly people, however, just as Canon William Cooper planned when he started the home in 1895.

‘Despite restrictions on visitors, and face-masks hiding the features of the staff, it is still a place to which Anglican clergy can retire and feel relaxed,’ explained Mike Herbert, a manager at the college.

The virus forced the college to cancel events during the annual Patronal Festival Week in June. This year sees the College celebrate its 125th anniversary.

‘We had a whole string of events planned to mark the milestone,’ explains Mike, ‘but the only one that could go ahead was my own 125km sponsored walk.’

Fr Kevin Scully, warden at the college, said: ‘Meeting the social welfare and healthcare needs of an ageing population is one of the major challenges of our time and the emergence of Covid-19 has made it all the more difficult.’

A one-time journalist and actor, Kevin moved from Australia to the UK to train for the priesthood and served as curate and rector for many years in London’s inner city, before taking on the challenge of leading the college.

‘There are significant number of Anglican clergy approaching retirement over the next decade and many will have inadequate retirement provision,’ he pointed out. ‘People also wish to remain in their own homes for as long as they are independent enough to do so but when they do need care it often has to be more specialised care because of their advancing years. Both are capacity and cost issues that need to be addressed urgently – the clock is ticking.’

The College of St Barnabas, a community of retired ordained and lay Anglicans, is an independent charitable care provider. 

While Covid-19 makes it much more difficult for the dedicated staff to achieve the college’s worldwide mission, it is a place which offers comfort and care to those in need.

All those years ago Canon Cooper saw many former priests in the workhouse. His determination to prevent that led to the college’s formation. 125 years on, clerical poverty still exists and the need is ever-present.

Click here for more information.

• The College of St Barnabas 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

Three vicars discuss the ‘pillars of priesthood’

It’s an unlikely title for a BBC radio series but the formula has proved so popular that a book containing the best moments is launched next week.

Three Vicars Talking (SPCK) brings together Revd Richard Coles who particularly loves funerals (‘where you go into the mystery of God’), Revd Giles Fraser who loves baptisms (‘where you enter into the body of Christ, you’re reborn’) and Revd Kate Bottley who particularly loves weddings (‘they have really good canapes and champagne and I get to wear nice shoes!’)

‘Baptisms, weddings and funerals are the three great pillars of our job,’ said Coles, who has reported from CRE for BBC Radio 4. ‘I think funerals are the greatest privilege of what we do’. The three share stories of poignant deathbed moments and funerals which didn’t go quite to plan. They discuss handling pain and fear, funeral etiquette, unusual requests and funerals which have been especially hard – including Fraser burying his best friend and having a crisis of faith after a child’s funeral – as well as their often-outrageous plans for their own ‘sending off’. 

Covering marriage, the three discuss unusual wedding requests, including Coles being asked to dress as Long John Silver for a pirate-themed wedding. Bottley, who was a special guest at National CRE in 2015, divulges her wedding ‘tool kit’ (including sewing kit, spare shoes and socks, and a spanner). Ultimately, all three agree that weddings can be ‘utterly beautiful and wonderful.’ 

The three discuss baptising premature babies and baby loss with Fraser sharing how the death of his brother as a baby still has a lasting impact on him. Yet there is time too for discussing lighter subjects, including unusual baby names and traditions, the logistics of baptising babies when you’re short and a lively discussion about favourite fonts! 

Reflecting during lockdown, the three consider Easter 2020 to be ‘the weirdest in our careers’ (Coles), while Fraser describes it as ‘the most Eastery, certainly the most Lenten Lent I’ve ever been through’.

The three also consider what the church will look like post-lockdown, sharing their hopes and fears. 

Click here for more information.

Photo: Neil Morrow, BBC

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