The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth (pictured above), has welcomed the return of CRE to the Midlands for the first time in five years (NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, nr Coventry, 4/5 Mar 2020).
‘I’m delighted that more than 100 specialist organisations will once again bring their skills, services, ideas and resources to Stoneleigh Park,’ said Bishop Christopher. ‘I encourage people from all church traditions to enjoy a day of rich discovery.’
Often dubbed ‘the ideal church show’, everything from computers to communion wine, puppets to pulpits, will be on display. A series of seminars, given by both regional and national experts, will cover issues of vital concern to local church leaders and members of all kinds – from parish magazine editors to treasurers, youth workers to worship leaders.
The Gospability Choir, created by Coventry singer Sandra Godley and made up of more than 20 people who have overcome mental or physical health problems, will help open the exhibition (10am, Wed 4 Mar). Gospability sang at Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before the couple’s wedding last year.
Clergy on the Catwalk will follow – a presentation of the latest in clerical clothing, from formal vestments to round-the-parish leisurewear, modelled by ordained ministers. Several theological colleges will form a Study Zone, for people of all ages interested in lifelong learning – from short courses to doctorates, summer schools to evening classes.
On the exhibition’s second day (Thu 5 Mar) long-established composer Chris Bowater leads a day-long conference on corporate worship.
‘Battles over musical styles, levels of volume, kinds of instruments and old versus new – they’ve gone on for decades,’ said Chris, a father of the modern worship movement. ‘Ironically, in heaven worship unites us! So what is it we fight over – and why?’ Attempting to answer these and other allied questions forms the basis of CRE Midland’s Worship Thursday. Chris will be joined by several leading songwriters and worship leaders representing different traditions and styles.
‘Local churches face a multitude of questions and the exhibitions will offer some vital lightbulb moments,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘Experts will fill every aisle, guiding visitors through the complexities of local ministry. Located in the heart of England, Stoneleigh Park offers thousands of free parking places in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.’
Up to 2500 local church leaders and members, representing all major denominations, are expected to visit the two-day event.