Monthly Archive March 2024

ByDave Hall

The Word’s out! Acts of the Apostles next to get comic treatment

The next Word for Word Bible Comic will feature the Acts of the Apostles – unedited and untamed!

As a 168-page graphic novel, it will combine the words with in-depth historical research to make the illustrations as accurate as possible.

‘This is not the first comic to portray biblical stories,’ explains creator Simon Amadeus Pillario, ‘but unlike its predecessors, it will not abridge any of the text or attempt to “reinvent” any of the stories.’

Word for Word founder and artist Simon Amadeus Pillario

The project is being funded through Kickstarter.

‘I’ve already run and fulfilled several very successful Kickstarters to create our first instalments in the series,’ says Simon, who has an honours degree in Graphic and 3D Design and is a small group leader within the New Frontiers movement in Bristol. ‘The brain can absorb visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so with visual media like this, aspects of culture, history, locality and ethnicity as well as meanings, subtleties and emotions are conveyed instantly.’

In a fast-paced visual age of instant movies and TV-on-demand, Word for Word grabs the attention of those unlikely to sit down and read a dusty old book, let alone the Bible.

According to Simon, the primary consumers within the exploding comics market today are, surprisingly, not children but men aged 27-36 and women aged 17-26.

‘This series targets that market by using the multifaceted ancient narrative, without simplifying it, watering it down or attempting to repackage it in a child-friendly way,’ says Simon.

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

Mission on the Map: seven down, three to go

Just three stands remain in CRE 2024’s special zone dedicated to mission both at home and abroad.

‘Mission on the Map has worked well at previous CREs,’ said Mike Frith of presenting partner OSCAR. ‘When it’s hard to comprehend what’s going on in the world, there are still many great organisations doing crucial outreach and ministry in difficult places. You can meet some of these at the Marshall Arena in October.’ 

The organisations currently exhibiting in Mission on the Map are:

  • Transform Europe Network
  • Momentum Yes
  • Rural Mission Solutions
  • World Outreach
  • OSCAR (CRE Jobs Board)
  • Formission College
  • CMS

‘We want to help keep mission on the agenda for local churches because when a church ceases to be engaged and involved in mission, it ceases to be the church God has called it to be,’ said Mike. ‘Mission on the Map will introduce some key organisations involved in mission work in the UK and around the world, for you to meet and engage with. Many have resources to help your church raise the profile of mission to both young and old in your congregation.’

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

CRE 2024 in Milton Keynes – join us for lunch and the low-down!

Local church leaders and office holders within striking distance of the town are invited to find out about CRE 2024 – at a special lunch in Milton Keynes on Tue 21 May.

‘In our (almost) 40-year history, we are bringing the exhibition to the area for the first time in October,’ explains CRE owner Steve Goddard. ‘We know from experience that, while some will have visited the exhibition somewhere else at some point over the years, many hundreds will have no idea we even exist!

‘In association with Churches Together in Milton Keynes we are therefore inviting everyone in some form of leadership in their local church to join us for lunch. We will lift the curtain on our plans for CRE 2024 at the Marshall Arena and show how local churches of all denominations and sizes will be resourced in hundreds of new and innovative ways. Even if you live some way from the town, you are still welcome!’

  • Date of leaders’ lunch: Tue 21 May 2024
  • Time: 12.30pm
  • Venue: The Church of Christ the Cornerstone, 300 Saxon Gate Milton Keynes MK9 2ES

The buffet lunch is courtesy of CRE but numbers are limited, so please book your place today by contacting Jenny Brygan: jenny@creonline.co.uk by Friday 19 April. T: 0161 250 2737.

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

Where next? Check out the CRE Jobs Board at CRE 2024

Visitors to CRE 2024 will be able to scan OSCAR’s Jobs Board which brings together a variety of work opportunities, paid and voluntary, in churches and with Christian organisations.

‘Whatever stage of life or season you are in, you can usually find opportunities to help you follow your calling and use your gifts to serve the kingdom of God – full-time, part-time or spare-time,’ said OSCAR founder Mike Frith. ‘We will also be on hand to help you explore your options with access to our huge online database of organisations and opportunities.

One grateful user is Stephen Jennings.

‘I spotted a card for Hope UK, to be trained as a drug educator,’ said Stephen. ‘I contacted them and following five months of training, joined the organisation doing just that! Thank you, as I had not heard of Hope UK until I scanned the boards!’ 

The OSCAR Jobs Board is an integral part of Mission on the Map at CRE 2024, where 10 organisations will promote their specific area of mission, home and abroad. More here.

• The OSCAR Jobs Board will be on stand F16 at CRE 2024

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

Genesis to stay in the garden of Tywyn

One of the UK’s leading manufacturers of embroidered clothing was born in the beautiful Welsh town of Tywyn – and that’s where founder Mike Stevens wants the company to stay.

Mike started Genesis as a surf shop on the town’s promenade in 1973, selling and hiring surfboards and skateboards. From day one he also sold T-shirts and very soon started printing his own – thanks to a new, state-of-the-art printing machine bought from the USA.

‘The T-shirt printing developed very rapidly following demand from schools, outdoor centres, churches and charities who wanted their own designs produced,’ he recalls. ‘We’ve never looked back and now supply a wide range of clothing, printed or embroidered to clients’ design, throughout the UK and Europe – for companies, events, festivals, promotions, top London shows and still, of course, churches.’

Genesis is now an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) run by company staff. Operating from a 6000 sq ft factory unit on the Pendre Enterprise Park, the company has recently invested in the very latest design printing machine to ensure it remains at the forefront of new technology. The very latest embroidery machine was also purchased a couple of years ago.

‘Our new product catalogue for 2024 is the biggest we have ever produced, featuring a massive choice of clothing and merchandise,’ says Mike. ‘We look forward to introducing our goods to churches at CRE 2024.’

Mike has had many enquiries in recent years from competitors wanting to buy the company.

‘Had I taken that route, however, we would have moved away from Tywyn,’ he explains. ‘Genesis was born in the town and that’s where I want it to stay. By converting the company to an Employee Ownership Trust, the staff now own the business which secures employment in the town for many, many years to come.’

Genesis will be on stand C37 at CRE 2024

Main picture: Genesis founder Mike Stevens presents Roy and Ben Castle with T-shirts at CRE National 1994

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

From rural mission to interactive storytelling, new exhibitors book for CRE 2024

CRE takes place for the first time in Milton Keynes this October (9-10) – and a number of organisations are taking the opportunity to exhibit for the first time as well.

Rural Mission Solutions want to see a vibrant, credible and caring Christian community in every UK village. This might be in the local church (pictured above), or an informal group of Christians drawn from local fellowships. The organisation has a wealth of experience to ensure that strategies are culturally relevant, appropriate and effective. Rural Mission Solutions are part of Mission on the Map at CRE 2024.

Church Services TV help local churches set up systems to stream their services. ‘Through our services parishes help housebound parishioners, people living in nursing homes or those abroad or just feeling lonely, to stay connected with their own church or new churches,’ said David Harvey, a director of the company. More here.

Churches without a regular bookshop can install a pop-up version, thanks to 10ofthose who offer help to churches wanting to distribute good quality Christian books at a competitive price. ‘We’re a ministry that hand picks the best books that hold to the Bible, then we discount them, so more can go out,’ said co-founder Jonathan Carswell. ‘We use our profits to support missions around the world’. More here.

Led by Dr. Michael Youssef, Leading the Way’s international team of experts provides hope that is revolutionising lives here in the UK and around the world. Currently celebrating 35 years of ministry, Leading The Way’s television and radio programmes are broadcast in 28 languages to audiences across six continents.

The Field Studies Council is best known for providing residential and day field trips for those studying biology and geography. The charity organises primary school trips offering first-hand adventures in nature, from day visits to first overnight stays and activity-packed residentials. Secondary school and college courses are tailored to curriculum requirements, with relevant practicals and fieldwork content. 

A project of Frontiers, Momentum Yes focuses on sending teams to live out and share the love of Jesus in Muslim communities where no one has previously made him known. Momentum Yes are part of Mission on the Map at CRE 2024.

Interactive Storyteller’s Tale Trails is a new, interactive, digital, story-based scavenger hunt, which can be carried out in any venue. The first in the series, The Nativity Trail, features eight original illustrations which participants hunt for, scan the attached QR code, and watch a short and entertaining video of one of the characters from the story.

And two returnees…

Go Teach Publications publish Bible teaching material for use with children and young people aged three to 14 years. Go Teach began publishing dated Sunday School materials (under another name) in 1946 and is the longest established producer of such materials in the UK.

Established in the 1970s, Genesis is one of the UK’s most experienced wholesalers of printed and embroidered garments, supplying a massive range of tee shirt styles, hoodies, polo shirts and much more, available in Fairtrade and organic cotton. The company last exhibited at CRE way back in 2016 – so to us they’re as good as new! More here.

CRE 2024

ByDave Hall

Your church service, beamed worldwide

More than 500 churches now reach audiences in 228 countries and territories – thanks to Church Services TV (CSTV).

David Harvey, a director of the company, said: ‘Our streaming services help parishes reach housebound parishioners, people living in nursing homes or abroad or those just feeling lonely. They can stay connected with their own church or find new churches online.

‘CSTV was designed for non-technical users and can be remotely controlled from smart phones or tablets. This means authorised church personnel can turn the system on or off, set up schedules and recordings and track viewer statistics.

‘We provide embedded players on church websites and also on Facebook and YouTube automatically, making CSTV the most versatile and user-friendly application available.

‘We believe our range of services will far outstrip anything else available to your parish and, in our opinion, is the most comprehensive package available. We work with churches, taking them through every step of the process to make sure they are confident and happy with our top-level service.’

• Church Services TV will be on stand E8 at CRE 2024

CRE 2024