Category Archive CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Single people: don’t lock them out during lockdown

The Single Friendly Church campaign has worked harder than ever during lockdown.

‘We are only too aware that single Christians may feel especially lonely, isolated and frustrated – whether they are living with others or indeed by themselves,’ said Amelia Gosal, executive director of Single Friendly Church. ‘In the UK 40 per cent of the adult population are single. For many not being able to go to church and meet regularly with other Christians will have had negative impacts for their mental health, spirituality and general wellbeing.’

The organisation has created a series of five-minute videos featuring single Christians who talk about how they are looking after themselves spiritually. They also share top tips on surviving during these unprecedented times. 

The first video was created by Kate Wharton, vicar of St. Bart’s in Roby, Liverpool and author of Single Minded: being single, whole and living life to the full.

‘As a well-known voice on Christian singleness in the UK, we were so grateful for her support,’ said Amelia. ‘A number of different single Christians have come forward to share their thoughts and experiences as well.’

Find out more by visiting Single Friendly Church, and see the video here

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Kate brings hope at the double

Extraordinary times require extraordinary initiatives and one publisher has responded by offering two of their top titles on a ‘buy one, give one away’ basis.

‘When we can’t spend time together in person, we long to send some love, to show we care,’ said Stephanie Heald, founder of Muddy Pearl in Edinburgh. ‘Sending a book is a lovely way to do that. As an independent Christian publisher we would love to support you and your church, and through our authors, believe we have something special to share – hope.’

For the price of one book, Muddy Pearl are donating a free copy of the same book – ‘so you can bless a friend or a church member in need of encouragement.’ The two books to choose from are by Kate Patterson, a gifted writer and speaker who has been in church leadership for more than 20 years.

The Promise of Blessing is a journey to explore the Aaronic blessing from the book of Numbers, ‘phrase by shining phrase’. Kate invites us to join her in discovering the fullness of God’s blessing in whatever situation we find ourselves.

The Gift of Blessing is an encouraging devotional offering us the opportunity to see God afresh through the shining blessing of Numbers 6 – ‘an ideal gift for those who long to be blessed that they might be a blessing to others.’

‘If you would like us to mail the book direct to your chosen person let us know when you make your purchase,’ said Stephanie.

Find out more by visiting Muddy Pearl

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

It’s back – to brighten up the summer

A paper bringing much-needed good news in a disrupted summer is now available for distribution in your locality.

The monthly eight-page newspaper, Good News, which includes a variety of encouraging articles, has returned after the May edition was cancelled due to COVID-19. Its front page gives a message of hope and other articles include a story on the miracle of Dunkirk in May 1940, when thousands answered the call to prayer and thousands of troops were rescued from the beaches of France.

Boxer Tyson Fury talks about his faith and remarkable comeback. Villagers in Whaley Bridge tell of how they believe prayer stopped last summer’s dam from breaking.

Good News editor Andrew Halloway hopes churches will return to door-to-door delivery (bearing social distancing in mind) and points out that scientific experts have said that newspaper is a safe agent and does not pass on the virus.

‘We have produced 70,000 copies of the paper and trust churches will grasp the opportunity to engage with people in their local area,’ he said. ‘We have also sent double our usual quantity of copies to prison chaplains, knowing that prisoners, having to spend longer in their cells during the lockdown, could be glad of extra reading matter.’

Good News is ideal for door-to-door distribution, or leaving in hospitals, doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms. It is also an excellent resource for visitors to services or people who attend parent and toddler groups, senior citizens’ luncheon clubs and so on.

With more than 30 years’ experience in Christian publishing, Andrew’s first issue as editor was in October 2007.

Find out more by visiting Good News

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Collecting cash a problem? Tap the app!

With cash collections currently proving a problem because of Covid-19, one innovative company is rolling out the solution.

The Givt app enables members to give anonymously using their smartphones (iOS or Android), without payment terminals or expensive hardware. 

‘You simply open the app and choose your amount,’ explains Givt’s Sjoerd van Oort. ‘You then select giving based on location and the app knows where you are. That’s all there is to it! After COVID-19, you will be able to move your smartphone past the collection bag. People joining the service via a livestream can scan a Givt QR code displayed during the service. In this way, all people can give, wherever they are.’

Sjoerd, who first brought Givt to CRE National in 2018, is convinced that giving is more than a financial transaction – it is also relational.

‘All current solutions for donations only provide the financial side of the transaction,’ he said.

‘We are sure that if we optimally support the person donating, that person will give more freely. Giving becomes fun.When I donate, I want to have one solution for all situations – to the guitar-playing busker on the street, to the charity coming to my door. When I donate, I want it to be fully anonymous and still add Gift Aid.’

Givt provides an overview of where donations have gone. For all charities and situations, only one registration is needed. No complicated logins, long lists of possible charities or annoying top-ups.

‘The speed, ease, and joy of giving cash are retained,’ said Sjoerd, ‘so that people can just keep on giving.’

Find out more by visiting Givt

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Transform your church into a welcoming arena for everyone

A YouTube channel for the UK’s 1.5 million adults with learning disabilities has expanded during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Launched initially with daily Bible readings and thoughts for Holy Week and Easter, Count Everyone In now includes Ascension to Pentecost and includes simple worship songs and signing of The Lord’s Prayer.

Pete and Christine Winmill are keen to inspire and equip the Church to be more welcoming and accessible to adults with learning disabilities. They believe the whole approach to church life needs extra consideration, not just the reliance on being able to read an order of service, hymn book or words on a screen.

‘We want to challenge and encourage church leaders and congregations to think of how their church or group can be transformed into a welcoming arena for everyone, especially people with learning disabilities,’ said Pete.

The third member of the team is Janneke Klos, a senior social worker with adults with learning disabilities and a Makaton tutor.

At Christian festivals and events the couple and their teams of volunteers have led simple – but not childish – programmes based on the theme of the event. 

‘We believe God gives gifts to all Christians, able and dis-abled. Our aim is for each of us to express our faith and utilise the gifts God has given us to spread the message of Jesus and to encourage the church so it grows strong,’ added Pete.

The range of daily devotionals, also available in print at £2.50 each, is being expanded. Count Everyone In offers three training days which they hope soon to deliver face to face once again:

  • Know and Grow 1 – foundational training for ministry with adults with learning disabilities
  • Know and Grow 2 – supplementary training addressing relationships, mental health, healing, death and bereavement as they affect people with learning disabilities  
  • Know and Grow Makaton – an introduction to key word signing for Christian worship, teaching and communication.

Find out more by visiting Count Everyone In

Photo: TV personality Timmy Mallett meets Heidi Crowter, a visitor from a church in Coventry.

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Your church and CAVS: it’s the stream team

More people viewed your online church service in lockdown than would normally attend in person – so what do you do in the future?

Creative Audio-Visual Solutions (CAVS) experts are willing to offer church leaders some helpful advice.

According to a poll by Savanta ComRes for Tearfund in April 2020, one in four of the UK population claim to have visited an online service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Service streaming allows those attending the service to enjoy being back in church but also gives others still wary of stepping over the threshold of a church building, or are housebound, a chance to hear the worship and message.

‘Streaming is a vital way for churches to keep communicating to their congregations and wider world,’ said Rob Alvis, a director of CAVS. ‘A simple-to-use, reliable and high-quality online streaming system will allow your church to be ever present when fellowship is more important than ever.’

CAVS can design the ideal system for your church, from a single fixed camera to a multi-camera broadcasting set-up. 

‘A camera system can also provide the added benefit, when linked to your installed projector or display system, of showing activities for those with limited view on the “big screen” – such as baptisms and children’s activities,’ said Rob.

Consultations are possible online or on site where social distancing can be maintained.

Find out more by visiting Creative Audio-Visual Solutions

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Addiction ‘supercharged’ by isolation

Isolation fuels porn addiction – and it has been supercharged by the lockdown. 

So says Mike Genung of CRE exhibitor Blazing Grace.

‘On March 17 Pornhub, the largest porn website in the world, announced that worldwide porn downloads were up more than 26 per cent – in just one month,’ said Mike. ‘To put this in perspective, Pornhub’s 2019 Year in Review revealed that the site was visited 42 billion times in 2019 – that’s 115 million searches a day. Remember, Pornhub is just one site. There are thousands of other similar sites.’

Mike points out that Google Trends consistently shows the regions with the highest percentage of porn searches are in those with high concentrations of religious organisations.

‘Quarantine restrictions resulting from COVID-19 are pushing many Christians deeper into bondage to pornography,’ claimed Mike. ‘It’s not that the church wasn’t already isolated. When I speak at churches, I ask those who meet with another believer weekly for the purposes of support and prayer to raise their hands. Usually only 15-20 per cent do so. Now isolation, the fuel that breeds and feeds porn addiction, has been supercharged.’

According to Mike the UK is the second largest consumer of pornography in the world, and upwards of 70 per cent of UK Christian men are viewing it.

‘This adds more urgency to the need to face the porn epidemic in the church and provide God’s people with effective answers for freedom and healing,’ he said. ‘Every marriage and family infested with pornography is at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic will lessen but the decades-long porn epidemic in the church will not without sustained, effective steps.’ 

Blazing Grace is a ministry to persons and couples who want healing and recovery from pornography and adultery. It offers counselling, group sessions and other resources for men and wives.

For more information visit Blazing Grace.

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Families: no lapse in care during lockdown

The ups and downs of family life have not gone on pause in lockdown – and one charity is making a difference for families throughout the UK.

‘Our team is working from home and ready to help,’ said Care for the Family’s chief executive Robin Vincent. ‘We still support families, not through live events that usually go out on tour but through various platforms online. The response to one online offering, The Marriage Sessions, has been incredible with 10,000 couples signing up.’

A four-part series, The Marriage Sessions explores how couples, whether newlyweds or married for years, are able to build or strengthen their relationship. Each part takes just one hour and the series will be available via the Care for the Family YouTube channel until 30 June.

‘It has been such an encouragement to see couples willingly make time to invest in their relationships, even with numerous other challenges faced by so many at present,’ said Robin, ‘The impact of the pandemic has been felt across the UK. For many families, hope is needed now more than ever. We recognise the ups and downs of family life have not gone on pause but have, in many respects, been intensified. Alongside widespread economic uncertainty, some couples will be fighting to keep love alive, parents will still be trying to do their best for their children and many people are having to live with the pain and heartache of a close bereavement.’ 

The organisation has also produced Covid-19 specific support on a dedicated page on their website, and as a charity they have made it very clear that whatever situation families are facing right now, Care for the Family will be continuing to create new resources every day to support them. Dates for their autumn events will be released soon. Sign up here and Care for the Family will let you know the details when they are to hand.

Dates for your diary

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021 Westpoint, Exeter
CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021 Sandown Park, Surrey 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Online services: keep it simple at the start

When it comes to starting church services online, keep things as simple as possible.

That’s the advice from Andy Pidsley, managing director at CRE exhibitor API Sound and Visual. ‘Phones and tablets have built in microphones and cameras and generally just work,’ said Andy. ‘Plenty of helpful YouTube videos will help you get started.’

There are several ways to broadcast services and meetings, he believes, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. ‘Live streaming is like a radio broadcast, offering one source to many listeners,’ he said. ‘Video conferencing, however, is more like a council meeting with a chairperson and a number of participants.’

There are pros and cons to each.

‘With live streaming the potential for congregational feedback is limited to a text message and it doesn’t allow users to see each other,’ said Andy. ‘Platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are well suited to a Sunday service format. They can also be promoted and anyone can join the service without a specific invitation. While they are free to use, you should have the correct CCLI licence to cover streaming to the public.’

Video conferencing platforms, however, such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, give users the opportunity to see and hear everyone in the gathering as well as the chairperson.

‘They also offer the facility to share the users’ desktops so you can run a Powerpoint presentation or song words for example,’ said Andy. ‘Many of these platforms offer a free service but subscriptions are very reasonable.’

This type of service is ideal for smaller churches of 50 or less, however strict discipline is necessary as people can talk over the top of each other. 

‘If you have a paid-for Zoom account you can also stream to Facebook or YouTube direct for those who want to watch but not interact – or visitors who don’t have the login details for the Zoom meeting,’ said Andy. ‘Our church has a Sunday meeting on Zoom weekly with around 40 participants. We led worship from our lounge and someone else operated Easy Worship, church presentation software, in their kitchen! There was a great sense of togetherness with many contributions and we even had coffee and chat afterwards.’

Dates for your diary

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021 Westpoint, Exeter
CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021 Sandown Park, Surrey 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Fired up during lockdown: how to keep your church on mission

How to keep a locked-down church on mission is a short video from the initiator of Back to Church Sunday.

‘During these unprecedented times, something significant is happening in our communities,’ said Michael Harvey, also director of the National Weekend of Invitation. ‘More are recognising that life is not guaranteed, we are not masters of our own destiny and life is fragile and death more real that we would wish. More are praying. More are “visiting” church through streamed services. More are open to a loving Christian approach. 

‘This video offers everyone a simple approach to asking God who he is nudging them to contact – and experience his help as they do so.’

Michael describes the approach as a ‘spiritual practice’, called ACORN, with each letter standing for a step in a simple process.

It has already been enthusiastically received from several church leaders including Rev. Richard Heard of St Francis, West Bessacarr, who said: ‘I am writing to the whole congregation with a link to this video and strongly encourage people to watch it. If lots of people get involved, I can see it making a really big difference.’

Michael Harvey added: ‘This is what every church leader could encourage their members – young and old – to do each day during lockdown. It is about more than reaching out to communities, friends and families. It is also a way to help us grow as disciples.’

See the video: How to keep a locked-down church on mission

Dates for your diary

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021 Westpoint, Exeter
CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021 Sandown Park, Surrey