CRE News

ByDave Hall

A Bible for new Christians? Easy does it

The company which has made Bible reading easier to understand for children and young people has completed the age range with its latest publication – the ERV (Easy-to-Read) Holy Bible (Anglicised).

‘It is packed with extra help to enable you to understand what you are reading and encourage you to apply godly wisdom to your life,’ said Rachael Franklin, product manager for Authentic Media.

Based in Bletchley, the company is already the producer of the International Children’s Bible and the Authentic Youth Bible. The new publication, which completes the range, includes book overview guides, 164 ‘Bible Bits’ that explore key passages, 275 ‘Insights’ that explore the meaning of verses, as well as advice on how to read the Bible and maps of the Bible lands.

‘The ERV uses accessible and contemporary words and phrases,’ said Rachael, ‘and will be particularly helpful for new Christians, anyone new to reading the Bible or those on discipleship and evangelistic courses.’

It is available in three hardback designs – Floral, Black and Teal – for £19.99. The individual Matthew’s Gospel (£1.50) makes a helpful outreach tool. Bulk discounts are available from Authentic Media for churches and organisations.

‘Our range of books and Bibles for both adults and children are designed to bring people closer to God over a whole lifetime, helping them to mature in their faith. We want people to grow spiritually and be open to what God may be doing in their lives,’ said Rachael.

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Christian Vision: helping churches bridge online and offline

Providing a bridge between the online and offline world and engaging people in meaningful conversations about Jesus.

That’s one of the current aims of Christian Vision (CV), whose overall goal is to introduce people to Jesus and encourage them to become his true followers.

Josh Smith
Josh Smith

‘Our vision is to reach one billion people with the Gospel,’ said CV UK’s Josh Smith. ‘Over the years we have used numerous strategies and activities – from producing radio programmes to on-the-ground humanitarian and pioneering missions.’ Today, the organisation’s primary focus in the UK is the creation and distribution of digital media across multiple online platforms – introducing people to Jesus as well as equipping and mobilising churches and individual Christians to outwork the Great Commission. 

‘We’re passionate about the local church, and believe it is best placed to build community with non-believers,’ said Josh. ‘CV Outreach connects people who encounter evangelistic content online to a local partner church in their area and around the country.’

Through CV Outreach, the organisation also serves churches by equipping and training them in dealing effectively with responses from non-Christians seeking answers to big questions or looking for prayer and support. All this provides a bridge between the online and offline world and a valuable opportunity to engage in conversations about Jesus.

Through CV Resources, churches can access a huge library of free-to-use digital content and training materials. CV’s Online Evangelism Academy, not yet launched, will show churches how to create simple yet effective digital content to distribute locally on social media. The academy will also give advice on how to deal with ensuing responses.

‘There is a huge opportunity for local churches to build community with their local area in the digital space,’ said Josh, ‘and we are here to support churches in their endeavours.’

CV also equip young adults to share Jesus with anyone in their world through yesHEis, a multi-platform initiative providing evangelistic videos and content to inspire them along their faith-sharing journey.

‘Believing the local church is a huge part of God’s plan to reach the lost, we love to partner with a number of fantastic churches across the UK and around the world,’ said Josh. ‘We are so excited to announce that, as of May 2022, our gospel content has been engaged with over one billion times across the world, which is a big part of our initial vision. This is a huge celebration, and we give God the glory for the role CV has been able to play in this.

‘Although we have reached this milestone, our vision remains unwavering. We are more dedicated than ever to introduce people to Jesus and encourage them to become his true followers. If you are a church or ministry leader who shares our passion for evangelism and would like to partner with us, we look forward to meeting you at CRE National in October.’

Josh will speak on ‘Online Evangelism – Reach your local community in the digital space’ (2pm, Thu 13 Oct)

• Christian Vision UK are on stand L4 at CRE National 2022

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Time to slay the ‘dementia dragon’

On ancient maps the boundary of uncharted areas was marked with ‘Here Be Dragons’ to indicate the potential dangers beyond.

CRE speaker Louise Morse, of Pilgrims’ Friend Society, sees it as a good metaphor for danger on the border of our lives as we approach the uncharted territory of old age.

Louise Morse
Louise Morse

‘The dragon that we fear most over this border is dementia: invisible and invidious,’ explained Louise. Health guru Dr Michael Mosley echoed this sentiment when he said ‘the disease I’m most afraid of is dementia, which last year was the most common cause of death in the UK, after Covid. I fear it because I hate the idea of slowly losing my mind and becoming a burden to others’ (Daily Mail, July 2 2022).

‘The good news is that the dementia dragon is slowly being slain,’ said Louise. ‘Rates of new cases are falling significantly in the west as modifiable factors that prevent or delay the disease have been proven and applied at different life stages.’

They include psychosocial interventions such as Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s Brain and Soul Boosting.

‘In my seminar at CRE (2pm, Tue 11 Oct) I’ll be looking at the most recent news and our newest Brain and Soul Boosting workbook,’ said Louise who has published several books about dementia (Lion Monarch, SPCK). More about her here.

• Pilgrims’ Friend Society are on stand T7 at CRE National 2022

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Lockdown opens up worldwide audience for Veira

Less than 18 months after wife Sue donated him a kidney, opera and gospel singer Jonathan Veira will perform again at CRE National (Thu 13 Oct) – singing songs which earned him a massive following during the pandemic.

Over the long months of lockdown he, Sue and other helpers, produced a two-hour programme of songs and interviews each Sunday evening on Facebook and Youtube – to entertain thousands in isolation all over the world.

JV Live from the Steinway Room saw Jonathan chatting and singing with guests on Zoom or in the room itself when allowed. The programmes are still being broadcast on a fortnightly basis, live shows permitting.

An online community, which grew larger by the week, crowdfunded Jonathan to make three CDs of the songs they had grown to love – available at CRE National alongside his Hymns Project 2 album.

The popular singer, who has starred in most of the world’s famous venues in a variety of roles, and whose visits to churches and halls across the country continue to attract large audiences, was hospitalised for some time in June last year for the successful operation to give him one of Sue’s kidneys.

‘It feels brilliant to be back and performing again, in front of a live audience,’ he said.

• Jonathan Veira is in concert in the Arts Café at CRE National (3pm, Thu 13 Oct)

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Bell on song for CRE return

When asked to create a rainbow ark stole, Yvonne Bell was told a triceratops had to be included.

Yvonne, from Deanshanger, Northamptonshire, phoned the vicar when the stole was finished, asking if she could deliver it the next day. He agreed – providing it was after 4pm when his six-year-old son, who had insisted on the inclusion of the herbivorous dinosaur with a massive head and two large horns, would be home from school to give it the OK!

Exhibiting at this year’s CRE National for the first time in some two decades, Yvonne specialises in silk painting for vestments, icons on wood and acrylic on canvas. A Christian herself, she produces hangings for churches, altar frontals, pulpit and lectern falls and banners. Vestment ranges include chasubles and stoles for priests and copes and mitres for bishops.

Above left and centre: Given for you. Above right: For just such a time as this

Her original painted silk artwork is stretched over canvas or framed and canvas prints of her work have proved particularly popular. Commissions include designs for book covers and backcloths for conferences – ‘For just such a time as this’ is 14 ft high by 9 ft wide. A series of backcloths for Birmingham Cathedral, and a stole featuring an abstract of spaghetti junction, were part of her display at CRE in 1998.

Artwork often crosses over from paintings to vestments, as in ‘Given for you’ a set featuring a painting, stole and chasuble. The hands of God the Father are shown in rainbow colours as a reminder of the flood and covenant represented by the rainbow.

Yvonne began producing beautiful clerical items after returning to the UK from the United Arab Emirates. She was unable to get a job in her profession, operating electroencephalograms! A lover of art, she went to college and it led to a change of career and a switch to the C of E from the United Reformed Church.

‘That was fortunate,’ she explained, ‘because the URC do not wear clerical clothing of this kind!’

• Yvonne Bell is on stand R6 at CRE National 2022

Main picture: Yeshua’s Promise

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Big wave of mission to hit UK beaches

With his mission active on 700 UK beaches this summer, Tim Howlett just loves to be beside the seaside.

‘We are getting back to a more normal time after the pandemic,’ said Tim, executive officer of CRE exhibitor United Beach Missions. ‘Already 600 missions are booked and after the exams, when more volunteers come forward, I expect the 700 target will be reached.’

Tim, 54, went on his first beach mission in 1984 in St Ives and has had sand between his toes ever since. In 2010 he quit his job in IT to work full time with UBM which has been growing since the first team ran a mission in Rhyl in North Wales. Today, it operates in about 35 locations in England, Wales, Ireland and continental Europe.

United Beach Missions at work

Last year those attending the beach missions were far more likely to engage in spiritual conversations, reports Tim – despite the problems created by Covid-19. Even out of the summer season the organisation is still active. So far this year there have been a number of city centre events in places like London, Oxford and Cambridge – plus a Victorian extravaganza in Llandudno.

Each one, he said, was ‘very encouraging with a lot of talk about Christian things. People were very responsive to our message’. He believes that will continue this summer. Missions are also planned in Italy, France and Switzerland – despite the latter having no beach! ‘We would usually be operating in Spain and Portugal but are unable to this year,’ he added.

For the first full year back in business since the pandemic, UBM are hoping to get 900 or so volunteers.

‘However, we need that figure to be nearer 1,000 so we can increase the size of our teams and expand the work,’ said Tim.

Anyone wanting to volunteer for a mission this summer can find details here.

• UBM will be exhibiting in Mission on the Map, on stand A6 at CRE National 2022

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Primark and the Passion: Saltmine bring Easter to Norwich high streets

More than 1,400 local shoppers forsook the city centre high street and went to church over Easter – to see the final resurrection scene in a dramatic passion play.

The 80-minute contemporary performance was put on in various sites in Norwich by CRE National 2022 exhibitor Saltmine Theatre Company who partnered with Celebrate Norwich and Norfolk on Easter Saturday.

‘Not many people see what happens inside church but this was outside for everyone to see and experience. I enjoyed it,’ one shopper told the local evening newspaper.

Norwich-born Freddy Goyner was back in his home city to take the lead role.

‘It’s a big responsibility to play Jesus and bring a bit of what I know and believe the Son of God to be,’ he said.

The cast included 12 professional actors from Saltmine Theatre and about 40 actors, singers, and musicians from various local churches. The action took place twice in different locations, concluding with the resurrection in St Peter Mancroft Church. It had to be performed three times to accommodate all those wanting to see it.

Saltmine are available to perform at churches, schools, theatres and festivals with custom-designed sketches, national productions, issue-based theatre and workshops, or a range of programmes suitable for all kinds of settings and occasions. The Dudley-based theatre company has been reaching people with the gospel for more than 40 years using the creative arts.

‘We aim to reach all ages, teaching people about real life issues and inspiring faith, hope and love,’ said Rachael Orrell, Saltmine’s chief executive officer. ‘As we cautiously and gratefully celebrate surviving the covid-19 pandemic, our work will continue to evolve and diversify.’  

The company will perform samples of their work at Sandown Park in October.

• Saltmine Theatre will be on stand R1 at CRE National 2022

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Puzzled by parables? Let the penny drop

Jesus’ parables are given a fresh perspective by theologian Michael Penny in a new, fascinating 30-minute talk on CRE TV.

Learning from Preposterous Parables is an intriguing glimpse into the reason Jesus used this form of communication. While many share the view they are ‘simple stories illustrating a moral or spiritual lesson,’ Michael explains how such an interpretation causes confusion when reading the parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-9) or the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:1-9). In the latter case, the disciples actually had to ask about the parable’s meaning.

At 79, Michael, a leading Bible teacher for many years and author of many study books, points to other simple reasons for parables that could lead to confusion and misunderstanding. He explains how Miles Coverdale (1408-1569), on the publication of the Coverdale Bible in English, realised that once people could read the words themselves, things could be misinterpreted.

Coverdale, says Michael, grasped the right method of approach. ‘It shall greatly help you to understand scripture,’ said Coverdale, ‘if you mark not only what is spoken or written but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where. To what intent, with what circumstances, and considering what goes before and what follows.’

Michael, administrator and editor of The Open Bible Trust, amplifies this advice as he examines several popular parables. His talk on CRE TV will benefit ministers, preachers and anyone who wants to understand the Bible better.

• Michael’s talk, Learning from Proposterous Parables, can be heard here on the CRE TV

• The Open Bible Trust will be on stand F5 at CRE National 2022

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Tributes flow in as ‘Mrs CRE’ is called home

Diana Home, who had the original vision for CRE in the early 1980s, died earlier this month after a six-month battle with cancer.

While her late husband, Gos, got on with the vital nuts and bolts of the exhibition, Di always saw beyond its business side. The event was a means to an end, bringing new and sometimes radical ways for churches to extend the kingdom of God in today’s world.

Di and Gos Home

‘For decades she was “Mrs CRE” and we will miss her infectious personality, sense of humour, generous spirit and determination to see a vision realised,’ said current CRE owner Steve Goddard. ‘To her it wasn’t just about inventive projects and systems. A people person, she would often be seen “chatting” the gospel to bemused exhibition venue staff and praying with them when the opportunity presented itself.’

Long-standing exhibitor Juliet Hemingray said: ‘Diana was a very supportive friend who truly cared for us all, a wonderful mother hen who nurtured many an exhibitor. Thank you, Lord for loaning us Gos and Di, a wonderful couple.’

Peter Bell, of Starfish Malawi, was also sad to hear of Di’s demise. ‘She was an inspirational person and always had time to chat to exhibitors,’ he said. ‘Praise the Lord for her life of service.’

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool

ByDave Hall

Denial and delay on racism in churches ‘must not go unchallenged’

The Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice has published the first of six reports on how to implement cultural and structural change within the Church of England – and its chair, Lord Paul Boateng, will be at CRE National 2022 to discuss the project to date.

In a foreword, Lord Boateng said it was a painful process as the examination of racism was often met with denial and delay, which ‘must not go unchallenged’. The commission is asking for a minimum of £20 million to be set aside to deliver the 47 recommendations of the earlier taskforce report From Lament to Action, adding that it was disappointing ‘how little thought has seemingly gone into utilising existing funding streams’.

A meeting of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice

It is also advocating fundamental change to the process for removing statues and memorials associated with the slave trade. It says the guidance is inadequate and incomplete and does not give sufficient consideration to the communities impacted, or the authorities in charge of the buildings. The consistory court process is too expensive and the chancellors/judges should be drawn from a more ethnically-diverse pool and receive diversity training.  The commission expects each diocese to develop a racial justice strategy by the end of the financial year.

Welcoming the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby said: ‘It identifies the difficult and long path to eradicating the pain and injustice felt by so many but provides us with hope that, through the commission’s work, these issues will be addressed.’

Roy Francis, who will join Lord Boateng at CRE National to consider the commission and the Windrush legacy, said: ‘This initial report is timely and lays before us some of the issues the church and society must seriously confront. It offers some immediate, practical and workable solutions and I look forward to hearing Lord Boateng when he speaks on the commission’s findings at CRE in October.’

Book your tickets to CRE National 2022 for as little as £3 (£8 on the door)

Our next exhibitions

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

CRE North 2023
3-4 May 2023
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool