Monthly Archive February 2022

Dave HallByDave Hall

All smiles now, but it took 30 days to find safety

When fighting broke out in their village in South Sudan, Victor and his three brothers were forced to leave – not knowing whether their parents were alive or not.

For 30 days the boys walked tirelessly in search of safely, eventually arriving at a refugee settlement in Northern Uganda. Through the work of CRE South West exhibitor World Vision, Victor, his brothers and many more like them have found shelter and safely. 

All four boys have now been fostered by another refugee family living in the same area and are receiving food and water. Thanks to Angela, their foster mother, they are part of a loving family.

Victor and his brothers

‘Sadly, Victor’s story is not the only one of its kind,’ said World Vision’s Simon Gibbes. ‘An estimated 250 million children and young people currently live in countries affected by armed conflicts. We are fighting for children like Victor every day, to ensure they have access to clean water, food, a safe place to sleep and the chance of a future.

‘Inspired by our Christian faith, we have been working alongside refugee families living in Northern Uganda since fighting broke out. We help children, of all faiths and none, in some of the world’s most dangerous places. We are thrilled to be exhibiting at CRE South West this year, sharing our work with churches throughout the south west.’

A free devotional guide will be available at the World Vision stand and visitors will find out how the charity’s Matthew 25 Discipleship Challenge can help them discover God’s heart for the poor. This is also the subject of a seminar led by Simon at CRE South West (12pm, Wed 23 Feb).

‘Families and individuals are invited to take part in seven days of small challenges, bringing to life Jesus’ call in Matthew 25:35-40,’ said Simon. ‘These daily activities are designed to give people a glimpse into the realities faced by many children, like Victor and his brothers.’

• World Vision are on stand B21 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Competition celebrates Queen who’s served us right

Primary school children are being challenged to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by entering a competition run by a CRE South West exhibitor.

Kerry Evans, head of Open the Book, said: ‘The Queen values the stories in the Bible and has lived a life of service to the nation. We are linking these two aspects in the competition. We want children to use a Bible verse that talks about the importance of service as their inspiration and illustrate it by submitting a drawing, poem, a short story of no more than 500 words – or even a comic.’

Any suitable Bible verse can be used but examples given are 1 Peter 4:10: ‘Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God’, Acts 20:35: ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving’ and John 12:26: ‘And my Father will honour anyone who serves me’.

The competition starts on March 1 2022 and entries must be submitted by email up to 5pm on April 29. Ten winning entries will each receive an individual copy of the Family edition of the Good News Bible, and copies of Queen Elizabeth II: The Queen Who Chose to Serve by Alison Mitchell and Emma Randall for each of their classmates.

The book, published by The Good Book Company, is an inspiring children’s biography of Queen Elizabeth II highlighting the Christian faith that has underpinned her 70-year reign, chronicling key moments in her life.

Open the Book is part of the Bible Society and winning entries will be published in the Bible Society’s Word in Actionmagazine. 

Terms and conditions can be found here.

• Open the Book will be on the Bible Society stand D26 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

‘Martock massif’ head for Westpoint, Exeter

Martock Christian Fellowship are packing the church minibus next week and heading for a day of discovery at CRE South West.

From previous visits, fellowship leader Phil Reed (pictured) knows it will be a valuable experience and a dozen people from the church have bagged a seat on the bus.

‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to travel together and share quality time – something that has been lacking over the past couple of years,’ said Phil.

Phil Reed
Phil Reed of Martock Christian Fellowship

Those travelling from Martock in Somerset to Westpoint represent a range of activities within the church family –treasurer, administrator, communication officer, pastor, worship leader and others in charge of pastoral care.

‘Some have never been to a CRE, a few have been to the national exhibition in Surrey but all are looking forward to what Exeter has to offer,’ said Phil. ‘Our fellowship is beginning to open up after lockdown and we are all looking for fresh inspiration. We are hoping to find new input and resources. Many are looking forward to the seminars, too. Those of us who have been before always found them inspirational, challenging and very worthwhile.’

‘The event is designed specifically to give advice and encouragement to key decision makers in the local church,’ said Steve Goddard, owner of CRE, ‘so it’s always encouraging to see church leadership groups at the exhibition. I am confident that members of the “Martock massif” will be among those who get the most out of the event, pooling ideas over coffee throughout the day.

‘And it’s not too late for more church groups in the region to come out of Covid isolation and get together for a day of inspiration and insight.’

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Insure your home, ensure her future

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group’s Movement for Good awards has given a further £200,000 to five causes across the UK – to transform lives.

After receiving £10,000 last year, five charities were chosen by a panel of judges to benefit from an additional £40,000 each, two of which are based in the south west – Penhaligon’s Friends and First Light South West Ltd.

Penhaligon’s Friends in Cornwall provides support for bereaved children, young people and their families. The charity plans to grow its team and expand community support. 

Julie Parker, CEO of Penhaligon’s Friends, said: ‘We have been delivering support to bereaved children for more than 26 years and is the only service of its kind in Cornwall. Receiving this additional £40,000 will allow us to really invest in providing longer term, appropriate and meaningful support for bereaved young people throughout Cornwall. As a small charity this will allow us to make a big difference!’

First Light South West provides crisis and recovery support to around 11,000 individuals each year affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence living in Devon, Cornwall and Wiltshire.

‘The additional funding will help us establish an Educate & Prevent training venture,’ said First Light’s Lyn Gooding. ‘We will never turn the tide on people looking for support unless we begin to address societal and behaviour change. Funding will take our knowledge, skills and expertise out to sector professionals, further education settings and into communities across the region.’

Mark Hews, Group CEO of Ecclesiastical, exhibitors and a leading sponsor at CRE South West, said: ‘We believe business should be a force for good. Charitable causes need sustained support and a sense of financial stability. 

‘We know these additional grants can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do and we’re looking forward to seeing how these donations will change lives for the better.

‘Ecclesiastical, the fourth largest corporate donor in the UK, is a unique financial services group. We are owned by a charity which means all available profits can be given to the good causes that are so important to our customers. As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of our business.’

• Ecclesiastical are on stand E4 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Beating the path to a rural revival

The Church is the biggest grass-roots organisation in the country so healthy churches are an important sign of a healthy society.

So said the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev Robert Atwell (pictured below), making his maiden speech in the House of Lords in November.

‘Village churches are at the heart of rural communities,’ he stressed. ‘We need to strive for open church doors and open virtual doors.’

Rt Revd Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter

Sarah Cracknell, project manager for the Church of England’s Grow the Rural Church initiative, will lead two seminars on the subject at CRE South West (12 noon, Wed 23 Feb and 3pm, Thu 24 Feb) – two of 40 scheduled during the exhibition’s two days.

‘The Covid-19 pandemic has meant many people are rediscovering the gift of “local” and finding imaginative solutions to the challenges confronting us,’ she said. ‘For the first time many are working from home and investing in their village. We are discovering new ways of doing church, worshipping together online and connecting with the fringe in a way our urban cousins have been yearning to do for years.’

Grow the Rural Church Project is an eight-year project that has been running in the Diocese of Exeter since 2017. Jointly funded by the Church Commissioners Strategic Development Unit, it was set up to support rural churches in finding sustainable uses for church buildings – and to enable exhausted and burdened church communities find capacity for mission.

‘The mid-point of our project funding coincided with the first lockdown and we had to find new ways of working,’ said Sarah. ‘We used the time to deeply evaluate the situation. This CRE seminar will share the main points that we learned from the first half of the project and how we have adapted to support our vulnerable rural churches.’

Visitors will discover more about the resources the project has produced, including Lightening the Load, a self-assessment toolkit for churches, and guidance and support for festival churches in Devon. Sarah will also share the story of the development of the missional project Devon Pilgrim – an initiative developed in partnership with some rural churches, offering a different way of collaborating and sharing resources. 

‘Devon Pilgrim has brought new energy into churches and established new relationships with people outside the church,’ she explained. ‘As well as increasing visitor footfall to the church buildings it gives an opportunity for people asking spiritual questions to look to the church for answers.’

• Grow the Rural Church are on stand C24 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

The Bible with something for all the family

The Good News Bible – Family Edition is designed to get families engaging with and experiencing the scriptures together. 

Using a diverse range of features, it provides space and tools for families to find confidence and rhythm in exploring the Bible at home.

The Faith in Nexus report, published at the end of 2020 and commissioned by the National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER), highlighted the desire for family Bible reading at home and a need for the scriptures to be ‘you and me, exploring together’ as opposed to individually. 

‘But we were already working on the Bible before this was announced, knowing that the single biggest influence on a young person’s faith is their family,’ said the Bible Society’s Jack Imbert-Terry. The Good News Bible – Family Edition has a huge number of interactions and tools to help families find a path that best works for everyone as they engage in the text together. Some of its key features include: 

  • Unique opposing landscape page layout, allowing for multiple ways of engagement 
  • More than 400 interactions throughout, based on the themes of Think, Chat, Do, Create and Watch
  • Removable and reusable ‘whiteboard’ jacket, for writing, drawing and being creative
  • Loads of space inside for writing, doodling and drawing
  • 26 online videos that help guide, support and unpack the tricky bits as you journey through the Bible

‘There is something for everyone, whether you like to reflect on what you have read, openly discuss questions and opinions, draw and journal, take some kind of action, or watch some video content,’ said Jack. ‘It is all here in this Bible.’

• The Bible Society are on stand D26 at CRE South West 2022

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Mission means the world to George

World mission veteran George Verwer (pictured) will lead a seminar on the subject at CRE South West.

He will speak in connection with The Roy Hession Book Trust, a registered charity that makes available worldwide the books written by Roy Hession and Verwer. 

The Calvary Road was Roy Hession’s most influential book. It has been published in more than 80 languages, with over three million copies in print. Hession died in 1992 but the ministry of his 10 books is promoted worldwide by the trust. 

The charity, an exhibitor at CRE South West, holds the copyright to all books and audio-visual format materials, relying upon royalties from its publishers and also gift income to continue work in poorer countries.

George Verwer is the founder and former international director of Operation Mobilisation (OM). He is as passionate about the distribution of Christian books and literature as he is about missions. Amongst George’s books are Messiology and Confessions of a Toxic Perfectionist.

The trust sends permissions for the authors’ books to be printed by publishers around the world, including countries like Ethiopia, Vietnam, Croatia, Ukraine, India, France, Nepal, Nigeria – and many others.

George Verwer’s seminar is at 3pm on Wed 23 Feb.

• The Roy Hession Book Trust are on stand P12 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Dramatic church growth in France sparks new development

French evangelicals number over 600,000 today – ten times more than 60 years ago – and a new evangelical church is planted somewhere in France every 10 days.

The growth has been so dramatic that training institutions have been unable to keep pace, which is serious given that half of France’s pastors are due to retire over the next decade!

‘God is on the move in the country,’ said Dr Paul Cooke, UK director of France Mission. ‘That’s why the imminent opening of a new accommodation block at the Nogent Bible Institute – or IBN (Institut Biblique de Nogent) – is such a significant event. It’s particularly fitting that this should be happening now as 2021 marked the IBN’s centenary. This year is therefore very much about looking forward to the next phase of God’s provision and mission.’

Located close to Paris, the IBN offers vital training – online and in-person – for many local Christians. But it also offers residential courses for students from all over the world to prepare them for Christian ministry in a French-speaking context. Sadly, though, for several years the Institute has been forced to turn away potential students owing to lack of accommodation and local rental prices are often prohibitively high due to close proximity to Paris.

The new accommodation block will therefore make a huge difference. Two years in construction, the new building will be officially opened on 2ndApril and will almost double the Institute’s capacity.

‘The total cost of the project has been over £2.2m, with funds being donated from around the world,’ said Dr Cooke. ‘France Mission has been delighted to help channel support from the UK and provide regular prayer updates on the project.’

• France Mission are on stand P24 in Mission on the Map at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

How green was my vestry

Free saplings will be available at CRE South West to publicise a green church heating initiative.

ChurchEcoMiser has no boiler, is compatible with solar panels, silent in operation, virtually maintenance free and (most importantly) warms the fabric and congregation.

Chris Dunphy (pictured), who launched the system a year ago as an all-electric carbon neutral system, will give away 150 trees as an indication of his determination to help green the planet. The saplings will be about 150-200mm in a hessian bag of soil.

Chris Dunphy with sapling
Chris Dunphy

‘The trees will be given to people who visit our stand for information,’ he said. ‘Our commitment to working towards a greener future is to plant 500 square metres of woodland for every church heating system installed. We will be doing this through the National Trust and each church will be issued with a certificate and proof of purchase.’

Chris, a long-standing exhibitor at CRE, has 47 years’ experience in church heating. He developed ChurchEcoMiser in 2016 as the ideal system for remote country churches where gas was either unavailable or too expensive to install – ‘but it proved a popular option with all churches.’

Over the years, he has designed and installed more than 1,000 heating systems in church buildings and he was the heating adviser to the Diocese of Sheffield for 10 years. Many of the churches he has worked on are Victorian or medieval where protecting the fabric of the building is as important as heating the congregation.

‘It has always been a challenging but rewarding task,’ he said.

• ChurchEcoMiser are on stand P56 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

‘Busiest start ever’ for AV specialists

The south west is a happy hunting ground for one company that has just had the busiest January ever.

Audio Visual Direct install and repair projectors, screens, TVs, sound systems and streaming equipment.

A first-time exhibitor at CRE, the company, based in Weston-super-Mare, has been operating for many years but for the past five has turned its attention to churches and village halls, installing equipment in more than 400 throughout the region. 

‘This is growing by around two new church users a week,’ said Audio Visual Direct’s Mark Thyer. ‘With 10 installations already we’re having the busiest start ever to the year. We’re looking forward to introducing ourselves to CRE visitors and, where requested, booking a visit to churches requiring a free on-site survey. 

‘We’ll go through your existing equipment, update you on new technologies and see if there are any improvements to be made.’

Audio Visual Direct pride themselves on the quality of their work, have a five-star Google review score and try to keep everybody up to date with details of their work on Facebook.

• Audio Visual Direct are on stand B20 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2022
11-13 October 2022
Sandown Park, Surrey