Monthly Archive July 2024

ByDave Hall

Get some sound advice from CRE first timers

From a single lectern microphone to a full sound system with lighting and screens, MTS Live can meet the needs of your church, however big or small.

‘With dynamic lighting and video wall, we were able to create a fantastic party atmosphere for the 20,000-plus visitors to the Big Church Festival,’ said Keith Forster, who launched MTS Live in 2006. ‘And what we did for that event can be done on a smaller scale to make church services easier to understand.’

Based in Oldham, the company, which will exhibit and provide technical resources to CRE 24 for the first time, is heavily involved in providing sound, lighting, video and staging for major conferences, awards shows, exhibitions, festivals and community events. It also has a busy installation department. Alongside the company’s more commercial work it offers support, both practical and financial, to churches and other Christian organisations. A good example would be their continuing work for The Message Trust.

‘We cover the vast majority of their UK events, everything from a small PA system for a day’s work in school or prison, through to larger conferences and outreach gigs as well as completing extensive installation work at their HQ in Manchester,’ explained Keith.

‘Our in-depth professional knowledge and wide-ranging experience allows us to calmly and flexibly meet the demands of our varied clients.’

When The Ark, Isleham moved the growing church to a green oak building outside the village, MTS Live created a full 3D visualisation of the space so the design could be viewed and changes made before any installation work. The MTS Live experts assisted The Ark’s team with the installation, programming and commissioning of the lighting system.

‘We look forward to talking to church leaders at CRE 24 about any problems they may have with their systems,’ said Keith. ‘It will be our first visit to the exhibition and we know that visitors will find us receptive to any problem or proposal. There is nothing that our skilled team will not be able to solve!’

• MTS Live are on stand P32 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

ByDave Hall

From pass the plate to tap the app

The brand-new Tap To Give contactless app from iKnow Church is now available, allowing people to donate by simply tapping their bank card or their own phone against the phone with the iKnow giving app installed.

The money is then securely transferred from donor to church bank account.

iKnow Church is one of the first organisations in the UK to develop a contactless app of this kind, beating many secular donation platforms. With a smartphone all that is required, specialist contactless-giving hardware does not need to be purchased. Many contactless solutions charge a subscription but the iKnow app can save the church an additional monthly payment as it is included as part of the iKnow Church package of resources. 

Since the soft launch of the app, iKnow has found the average donation to churches using contactless giving is £8.89 with donations given so far starting at just £1 and going up to £100. 

‘Before the global pandemic many churches still had a sizable number of donations given through cheques and cash placed in the offering basket,’ explained iKnow’s Kyle Cottington. ‘Situations surrounding Covid-19 quickly pushed giving to online where donations could be made digitally 24/7, through online banking or website forms. For many people, habits have changed following the pandemic and the amount of people who carry cash continues to decrease.’

Andrea Best of New Life Bible Church, said: ‘As a small church, we were pleased to be able to download the iKnow Church app via our mobile phones, which was easy to set up alongside our iKnow software. Having used it at church, everything went smoothly and individuals were very receptive to using it. Thanks for making this facility available!’

‘We’ve received fantastic feedback from churches using the app,’ said Chris Gibson of iKnow Church ‘Many are surprised at just how easy it is to set up and start receiving contactless donations.’

iKnow Church offer administration software developed just for churches to help with administration, pastoral care and finances. Used by churches in different denominations it was also selected as the Church of England Partner for Administration Software.

• iKnow Church will be at stand F1 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

ByDave Hall

CRE Podcast launched: riding Ripple Effect’s wave of change

An interview with Ann Hatton, of leading charity Ripple Effect, is the first in a series of new podcasts highlighting the work of key CRE exhibitors.

Formed in 1998 under the original title Send a Cow, the organisation helps farmers and families in six east African countries discover the benefits of growing their own food and passing on the skills learned to others.

‘Our three key targets are to help sustainable farming, social development and business management,’ she explains.

Ann Hatton of Ripple Effect

Ann (above), who has been connected with the charity for more than 20 years, got involved with the charity because she wanted to play her part in trying to end global poverty. In the podcast she relates how CRE is a key platform at which she can introduce church leaders and individuals to the work of Ripple Effect.

Supporting garden planning, for instance, enables a family in rural Africa to create a small kitchen garden which will provide three meals a day for a family. It also enables the family to introduce others to the scheme. Families learn to build productive farms and adapt to the effect of the climate crisis. People with different needs and abilities get a greater voice and influence in their communities and farmers learn enterprise skills to become resilient entrepreneurs.

‘We are delighted to make Ripple Effect our first showcase podcast,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘While we are constantly promoting news from our exhibitors in CRE News, over the next few months the CRE Podcast will provide an opportunity for a deep dive into several organisations across the many vertical sectors on the exhibition floor.’

• Ripple Effect are on stand F23 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

ByDave Hall

40 up! Open Bible Trust look forward to next chapter

The Open Bible Trust will hold a service of thanksgiving next week to celebrate 40 years in operation (2pm, Sat 13 July, St Stephen’s Church, Upper Basildon, Reading, RG8 8LS).

It was early in 1984 that eight friends, who had met on Christian holidays, shared their concern at the decline in bible study in churches – and lack of accessible resources.

Mike Penny of the Open Bible Trust

‘There were plenty of good daily reading notes and many excellent deeper commentaries, but there seemed few resources for that intermediate level,’ explained Michael Penny (above), one of the eight. The friends decided to do something about it and the Open Bible Trust was born. In April 1984 the first issue of Search magazine came out, to be followed two months later by the second edition, accompanied by a bible study booklet – a pattern which has continued for 40 years.

Penny was the trust’s first administrator and editor before moving to the USA in 1991 to pastor a church, where he set up a sister organisation to work with the OBT. He returned to the UK in 1999 and in 2007 took up the reigns of administrator and editor once again.

‘It has been a great 40 years,’ he said, ‘and we have so much to thank the Lord for. St Stephen’s is a lovely church set in the countryside of West Berkshire, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and there is plenty of parking. Everyone is welcome.’

Michael pointed out that, as well as publishing the bi-monthly magazine and booklets, there have also been extra booklets and books – so much so that the trust now has more than 400 publications, all available in print and as eBooks.

‘Thanks to companies like Amazon and Apple, these are available is many countries of the world,’ he added.

From bible studies on videos and then DVDs, OBT now produce material on YouTube, with more than 320 videos currently available. Studies once on cassettes and then CDs are now on the OBT podcast channel.

‘One of our best series is six podcasts on Exploring Ecclesiastes,’ said Penny. ‘An Old Testament book so relevant to the affluent 21st century!’

What of the next 40 years?

‘Only the Lord knows,’ said Penny. ‘I won’t be around for all of it!’

• The Open Bible Trust are on stand A21 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

ByDave Hall

Let your phone be your guide

Visitors to two churches in Oxfordshire can now benefit from a digital guide to the buildings and ministries.

The first Info Point system installed in the diocese is at St Mary the Virgin in Great Milton. A tour of the building can be streamed on a mobile phone and includes details of the recently restored and significant 17th century Dormer Monument and an unusual church organ in the vicar’s stall.

Great Milton’s neighbouring church, St Peter’s in Great Haseley, Oxfordshire, loved the idea and held a launch event in April to reveal their interactive, 10-stop church tour.

Simon Cronk, Rector of Great Milton, Little Milton and Great Haseley, said: ‘Our Info Point is just the first step in our church eventually getting more in tune with the expectations of the 21st century. We already have an excellent guide book but we can now compare favourably with some of the country’s well-visited places for innovative interpretation. This will be appreciated by the local residents as well as our visitors.’

St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Kingsland will be the third Herefordshire church to install an Info Point (with a further three more to follow later this year). The Info Point includes a church tour with behind the scene videos of bellringers and the organist, plus a fun children’s trail with quizzes, puzzles and a word search.

Dan Boys, MD of Derbyshire-based Info Point, said that the system is the ideal way for a church to help people understand important features of a church as well as providing fun activities for children – all of which do not require the church to have personnel on duty. There is also a solar-powered version available.

• Info Point are on stand P18 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

ByDave Hall

Your event: off to a great start with Genesis

Energetic visitors to this year’s Spring Harvest availed themselves of neon green sweatbands bearing the legend Big Start Boot Camp – 5000 of which were produced by CRE 24 exhibitor Genesis UK.

Now one of the UK’s leading producers of personalised items, the company originally sold surfboards in Tywyn on the mid-Wales coast before printing while-you-wait t-shirts in 1975. It is now one of the UK’s most experienced wholesalers of printed and embroidered garments, providing a massive range of tee shirt styles, hoodies, polo shirts (available also in Fairtrade and organic cotton), plus clothing for work, sport and catering.

‘We are always looking for innovative products to give customers the best available,’ said managing director Wayne Griffith. ‘They are available for individuals who want a one-off product or a number of items that include details publicising a local church event, for example.’

Genesis UK will be at CRE 24 when visitors can discover their organic tee shirts, recycled polo shirts, school and college leavers hoodies, work uniforms, race and event t-shirts, children’s garments and much, much more – printed or embroidered to their design.

‘You will be able to browse our extensive range of promotional products which can feature church or company logos – including pens, lanyards, mugs, banners, key fobs, keyrings, magnets, stickers, drinks bottles, to name just a few,’ said Griffith.

• Genesis UK Ltd are on stand C37 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.