How can churches face the future with Covid still hovering on the horizon?
Des Stewart, co-founder of Good to Give, will look to the future in a special seminar at CRE National (3pm, Wed 13 Oct).
‘In 2020 the way we do church changed forever,’ he said. ‘Although many churches continue to re-open their doors for face-to-face services, for some online church is here to stay. What does that mean for the way leaders and members allow the church to move forward? We know it takes faith to do God’s work but it also requires practical wisdom – and that’s what we will be looking at in this seminar.’
Des thinks there are five pillars for building the hybrid church and they can be used to grow a church on and offline. The seminar will give local church leaders and members an opportunity to consider how to create a different future for their church.
‘It’s always been our mission at Good to Give to help churches grow, improve and operate more efficiently, helping them extend their influence in their communities and increase their ability to do good,’ said Des. ‘Many churches have resources that are under-utilised – such as premises, enthusiastic members and trustees with specific skill sets.’
With 25 years’ experience working in the private and public sectors, and having co-founded Good to Give in 2000, Des has spent two decades working exclusively with third sector faith-based organisations.
• Good to Give are on stand U6 at CRE National 2021
CRE keynote speaker Jeff Lucas is launching an exciting new Bible reading product – Life with Lucas – at CRE National.
Jeff, who will speak on four occasions at CRE, has written daily Bible reading notes for 17 years. Life Everyday, published by CWR (now Waverley Abbey), impacted thousands of readers. Their production called for him to write more than a million and a half words – no mean feat!
When new leadership at Waverley decided to cancel the contract, Jeff thought his Bible note writing was at an end – but he was quite wrong. Hundreds of readers made personal contact, asking for a continuation of his notes in some form.
So an exciting new product, Life with Lucas, has been born – a publishing endeavour launched by Jeff’s ministry and Sortedmagazine’s Steve Legg.
Published on a quarterly basis and available by annual subscription, or directly through Christian bookshops, Life with Lucas will take Bible reading notes to a new level, with links to podcasts, online video introductions and – if all goes well – linked resources for small groups. An online ‘going deeper’ section is also envisioned.
Commenting on the new initiative, Jeff said: ‘We’ve spent a long time in a variety of lockdowns and I’ve come to realise much of the Bible was written by people in lockdown, for people in lockdown! Consider the Israelites enslaved in Egypt, Joseph falsely accused and incarcerated, Daniel and his friends exiled in Babylon, Paul writing his amazing prison epistles and John, trapped on the prison island of Patmos – the Bible speaks so directly to the challenges that have become so pressing for the world recently.’
The notes will be Christ centred. At least one month in each edition will focus on the Gospels and offer a balanced ‘diet’ of themes and doctrinal exploration. Printed in full colour, the publishers aim to ensure Jeff’s trademark humour and authenticity will continue throughout. And at CRE National, there will be a generous subscription offer, too.
Look out for Life with Lucas!
• Life With Lucas is on stand D6 at CRE National 2021
Aldersbrook Baptist Church (pictured) in Wanstead, East London, had problems with a renovation project.
Meanwhile Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance wanted to sell part of the garden at Dedham vicarage and expand the graveyard.
Both knew where to go: Rapleys Charities Consultancy, a new exhibitor at CRE National 2021.
The company has provided several recent quinquennial survey reports for churches of varying ages and design to identify possible problems and point out realistic ways to repair or improve the property. At the same time issues have been identified which could have huge cost implications.
As Graham Smith, Charities Consultancy partner, said: ‘We provide a comprehensive range of services for the charity, ecclesiastical and non-profit sectors in respect of all aspects of land and property matters throughout the UK. Our experienced professional teams provide authoritative insights from our market specialists. We can provide bespoke single service delivery or comprehensive advice on multi-disciplinary instructions.’
With more than 30 years’ experience working for non-profit organisations, the firm is expertly placed to provide ecclesiastical advice across the full spectrum of property-related issues, involving:
Rapleys experts understand the needs of charities and non-profit organisations and the complexities of this sector.
‘We tailor our support and advice to meet the individual requirements of each client,’ said Graham, enabling them to concentrate on what they do best. We are delighted to be getting back into church buildings after Covid, but it also reminds us of the unfinished jobs and the ongoing plans in how to use the buildings. After what has been a tough 18 months, now is the moment for picking up where churches left off and seems ideally suitable to starting something fresh.
‘Both I and Adam Harvey, fellow Charities Consultancy partner, look forward to the opportunity of supporting the future of your ecclesiastical needs at CRE National 2021.’
• Rapleys Charities Consultancy are on stand H9 at CRE National 2021
After 20 years in mainstream radio Gareth Cottrell (pictured) wanted to see a new station playing secular and Christian music – bridging the gap between the two.
So, in the height of the pandemic, he launched Konnect Radio, a digital station covering the middle ground. And news of its launch when viral during the virus.
‘It had been on my heart for eight years,’ said the 37-year-old broadcaster, ‘but in a few months we have 33,000 regular listeners and the numbers are growing fast.’
Under Gareth’s guidance, the station produces a regular supply of music with a range of presenters. While Gareth hosts the breakfast show from 7am, other presenters include recent acquisition Steve Legg, a comedian, magician and editor of the Christian men’s magazine, Sorted. Steve runs The Big Lunch, a Saturday programme from noon to 1pm packed with chat, music and special guest interviews.
John Clayton, former presenter on Greatest Hits Radio, joined the daytime schedule as the station’s first mid-morning presenter. Other regular spots are linked by continuous music bridging the secular-Christian divide.
‘Konnect Radio is the UK’s positive alternative,’ explained Gareth. ‘It’s a national radio station dedicated to bringing safe, family-friendly, contemporary content with added fun, laughter and great music. In addition, we believe that music helps people on a spiritual journey whether that be a new encounter or developing existing faith. So, as part of the mix, we broadcast contemporary Christian music and hope this helps our readers on their journey.’
The station is accessed by smartphone or tablet on Amazon Alexa desktop or laptop through the website. Gareth will be at CRE National 2021 to chat to those who share his vision. He will also introduce plans for a mobile studio to take to events across the UK.
‘Having crunched the numbers, for £6500 we can invest in a state-of-the-art mobile broadcast studio,’ said Gareth. ‘At events such as New Wine, Spring Harvest and CRE we can have live shows running throughout.’
You can hear a Konnect Radio interview with CRE managing director Steve Goddard here
• Konnect Radio are on stand V1a at CRE National 2021
As more and more donations are made by card, churches can be at a disadvantage – but one company has changed all that, without the need for obtrusive terminals.
David Lynch, co-owner of CRE National exhibitor Givt, said: ‘We want to see a world in which people enjoy giving a lot. That’s why we’re on a mission to make it effortless and fun so you can make an impact whenever, wherever.
‘Our unique solution allows everyone to make a difference with just their smartphone. Working with more than 400 churches and 5000 users, we are seeing churches and their members rediscover the joy of giving.’
River Church, Maidenhead have been impressed by Givt.
‘Signing up with Givt as a church was much easier than we expected,’ said senior leader Ceri Davies. ‘We’re a family of churches with a slightly unusual structure but Givt were able to accommodate that easily and it has been a straightforward and quick process to begin using the application.
‘It was reassuring to have someone at the end of a phone or a Zoom call to answer my questions and encourage me! Givt have thought of everything, and the promotional materials, text, web and media tools are excellent. It was really easy to incorporate them into our publicity and media. We’ve already had a good number of people signing up who are all really impressed by how easy it is to use.’
The Givt system is a secure and trouble-free way to donate, simply by using a smartphone.
‘Just as with cash, you donate anonymously and decide how much you would like to donate,’ said David Lynch. ‘If you make a mistake you can always nullify your donation.’
• Givt are on stand A12 at CRE National 2021
The economic and social consequences of the global pandemic have been profound, creating a new set of challenges.
So says Philip Winch, principal architect for long-established CPL Architects, exhibitors at CRE National 2021.
‘As churches consider the stewardship of their land and building, new challenges and opportunities are arising within the emerging socio-economic landscape, which will require a strategic and often transformative approach,’ Philip told CRE News.
He pointed to Emmanuel, a Methodist-URC Local Ecumenical Partnership Church in Eastbourne, which called on CPL to design a church to achieve their mission objectives and dispose of three sites in the process.
‘Their approach of “expecting great things… and attempting great things for God” can be seen in this transformative project, currently under construction,’ said Philip. ‘The project provides a modern and flexible building, which will be suitable for both worship and community use and will enable the church to fulfil its mission well into the 21st century.
‘The contemporary, energy-efficient design includes a modern double-height worship space with passive ventilation, flexible hall, commercial kitchen and offices at first floor level, with a welcoming entrance foyer, community café and parking at ground floor level and nursery facilities, meetings rooms and roof gardens at second floor level.’
The new building will be partly funded by the sale of three other sites, which are being redeveloped sympathetically to provide much needed housing in the town for local people. The congregation is raising the balance through a series of imaginative fund-raising initiatives and from generous donors.
‘If, like them, you are “expecting and attempting great things”, and would like to review how your church buildings and property can better deliver your vision and mission objectives, contact us at CRE National 2021,’ said Philip.
• CPL Architects are on stand U15 at CRE National 2021
The organisers of the upcoming CRE National 2021 have spent several months working on the safety of visitors in light of Covid-19.
‘While we can’t wait to get back to meeting in person, we are aware the virus is still with us and people will, rightly, want assurances of their safety,’ said event director Brett Pitchfork.
Six measures already taken include:
The government has not required exhibition venues to introduce an NHS Covid pass scheme so this will not be implemented at CRE National 2021.
‘We know our visitors well and they will be conscious of a shared responsibility to ensure each other’s safety,’ said Brett. ‘We expect them to respond positively to these measures.’
With an impressive track record heating imposing Victorian structures and small country churches, a family-run business is set to make its debut at CRE National 2021.
Druggitt and Harding have taken over long-established church heating specialist Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical. Warren Taylor, the company’s managing director, is now looking forward to his first visit to CRE – and bringing the latest technology to churches large and small.
‘It is going to be good to see what happens and how well we are received,’ he said.
Warren has worked for Druggitt and Harding since joining as a third-year apprentice.
‘I followed my father into the business and the same company,’ he said. ‘Druggitt and Harding is a nationwide company dedicated to the design and installation of heating, electrical and lighting systems and building works in churches and historic buildings, so I come with a wealth of knowledge in the commercial plumbing and heating sector in designing, building and delivering projects.’
The company will still trade under Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical.
‘We bring expertise in adapting to modern technologies,’ said Warren. ‘When it comes to heating and lighting systems, we can install something entirely new or adapt an existing one.’
The product he is finding most popular is a control system that enables the heating to be operated anywhere with a wi-fi signal – useful in churches where someone can turn the heating on and off and adjust the heating levels remotely.
‘It is an intelligent controller, meaning it could also save on your energy bills,’ he added.
‘We can also design and install new lighting which will give the correct lux levels and energy saving LED lighting which can offer savings on energy costs. Decarbonising heat is vital to meet net-zero emissions, so we offer help and advice on any “green” options available today.’
Because Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical is now part of a bigger group, the company can offer other services, from building works to the installation of new toilet systems.
Christopher Dunphy will also be at CRE National 2021, with ChurchEcoMiser – a new, all-electric heating system designed for smaller churches.
• Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical Heating are on stand J4 and ChurchEcoMiser are on stand J1 at CRE National 2021
Book Aid are back – giving you yet another reason to attend CRE National 2021!
‘Our van will be at Sandown Park, near the main entrance,’ said director Christine Pulsford. ‘We always need Bibles, theological books and commentaries, in fact all manner of Christian books. If you have any you can donate, please bring them with you. All we ask is that they are in good condition.’
While many British Christians have dusty tomes languishing in lofts, their fellow believers around the world are bringing the faith to others with limited literary resources at their disposal.
Started some 34 years ago, Book Aid has distributed around 35 million second-hand Christian books and Bibles to overseas partners – mainly in Africa.
With a network of collection points in the UK, donated books make their way to the warehouses for sorting and selecting. Many are shipped overseas to Book Aid partner bookshops. Others are sold in Book Aid’s four UK Book Aid shops in London, Doncaster, Belfast and Barnard Castle – to help cover shipping and administration costs.
‘Our shops are filled with a wide range of Christian books – from rare finds to contemporary publications. If you enjoy reading, we look forward to welcoming you,’ said Christine. ‘And if you are unable to visit our bookshops, we also sellbooks online to support the ministry.
‘Our current project, “Spreading the Word”, started as a project to provide more Bibles for our partner in Zimbabwe. We simply cannot supply enough! So if you have Bibles, we would be delighted to receive them. Just remember – if you’d be happy to receive it, we’ll be happy to send it. More partners are asking to join this project too, so we need more Bibles than ever.’
• The Book Aid van will near the main entrance to CRE National 2021
Image: Jessica Ruscello/Unsplash
Thousands of churches, often heroically, continued their ministry of worship and preaching during lockdown – by taking their services online.
In a matter of months, new skills were learned, sometimes under extreme pressure. One year on, the idea of local churches live streaming their activities on a permanent basis is here to stay. But where to from here? CRE National 2021 will offer visitors the opportunity to hear and learn from a range of experts who spend their professional lives helping people buy the right technology and develop the skills required. Click here to see the exhibition seminar programme.
Of course, as is the case with any live event, things have sometimes gone hilariously wrong. To celebrate these moments CRE teamed up with online comedy magazine Ship of Fools in a search for the funniest online church gaffes. The four finalists are below.
Scroll down to enjoy these moments of unintended comedy and vote for your favourite in our online Streaming with Laughter poll. The results will be published before CRE National 2021 – where you can find out how to avoid similar calamities!
Vicar on fire – Revd Stephen Beach, Vicar of St Budeaux in Plymouth gets into a spot of bother during an online worship experience.
Cat and cassock – The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, discovers his inner cat during a Bible reading.
Drummer v foliage – The worship drummer of First Church of the Nazarene in Marietta, Georgia, does spiritual warfare with errant foliage.
Blues Brothers worship – Revd Vaughan Roberts leads livestream worship at St Mary’s in Warwick with the comedy filters turned on.
Vote for the funniest online church fail below. Click on the image of your choice, and then click the Vote button. Thanks for taking part!
Book your tickets to CRE National! – and save up to £5
Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars and special features at CRE National 2021
Welcome Back – See an online version of the CRE National 2021 ‘Welcome Back’ brochure