CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Simon’s cool hand will bring Luke to life

Help us produce a bible comic!

That will be the challenge for visitors at CRE South West. Simon Amadeus Pillario (pictured) had the vision for bible comics some years ago and will be on his stand to chat about his latest production, the Gospel of Matthew. He will also give people an opportunity to help crowdfund production of the Gospel of Luke which he hopes to produce in November.

‘I became a Christian in my early 20s after reading the bible,’ explained Simon. ‘But I noticed aspects which seemed to be overlooked by many publications. I decided it would be good to produce comics using the actual bible text. As a child I loved to draw and felt God was telling me to do it.’

So he launched his own company – Word for Word Bible Comics. Based in Bristol, the 39-year-old artist has a degree in graphic design and has been creating comics for more than 20 years. He has a wife and two sons, aged eight and ten – just short of the 12 years-and-over his comics are designed for. He has already produced a range of comics covering Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, Mark and Matthew.

His Kickstarters crowdfunding campaign runs from February 4 to March 6, to raise £15,000 in just 31 days to fund the Gospel of Luke! Those joining could take advantage of unique offers such as owning the original cover art, collectors’ editions and other ‘goodies’. 

At CRE, Simon will also have advance copies of the NIV edition of the Gospel of Mark Word for Word Bible Comic and its Spanish counterpart El Evangelio de Marcos: Verso a Verso Bíblica-Cómic: Traducción NVI, which will be on sale in shops from March. 

‘This is our third edition utilising the NIV and NVI, all launched since September last year. We are really excited to have moved into a second language and we are keen to keep expanding the number of languages,’ he said.

Brought up in Bude, Cornwall, Simon lived in Exeter for a number of years before settling in Bristol.

• Word for Word Comics are on stand F25 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

SAT-7: a new narrative for the Middle East

Faith strengthened, love shown, and joy brought – not to a few, but millions.

It isn’t the usual story we hear coming out of the Middle East but SAT-7 UK, who bring life-changing faith and joy to the people of the region through TV and digital media,will be at CRE South West to share how God is changing things.  

‘We’ll invite your church to help write a new chapter, not just for the people of the Middle East and North Africa but for the people of your church, too,’ said Martin Thomas, SAT-7’s director of external engagement.

As a SAT-7 church partneryou choose a people group to support – for example, Arabic children or isolated believers in Iran. You then commit to giving and raising funds for your chosen people group over the following three years. SAT-7 helps connect you with producers and presenters in the region, through live events and pre-recorded programmes. The organisation also helps you and your church community pray for your people group and the SAT-7 team on the ground.

‘We hope that through this partnership, churches willwitness transformed lives, captured through inspiring stories, presentations and resources for the whole church, small groups and young people,’ said Martin. ‘And in the longer term, we hope our partners will be able to visit one of our studios across the region.’

SAT-7 also offers a way you can support a media project – a one-year commitment where you help to raise funds for a flagship media project, focused on impacting a specific people group across the region.

If you’d like to arrange a specific time to meet SAT-7 at CRE South West, contact Julia Jolley at jjolley@sat7uk.org.

‘We’re really looking forward to being able to speak with people face to face again,’ said Julia.

• SAT-7 are on stand B33 in Mission on the Map at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

I will make you Fisher BEM

An award-winning musician will bring his gospel choir to CRE South West (Westpoint, Exeter, Feb 23-24).

John Fisher BEM, and the acclaimed IDMC Gospel Choir, will help open the exhibition, give two performances each day and launch John’s new series of children’s books Music Town.

John, 55, has been in the music business for many years. He is the son of the late Bishop Cecil Fisher, of the New Testament Church of God, also a musician and preacher. At different times John has been a drummer, keyboard player, song writer, music producer, event organiser, production manager, radio DJ, TV presenter, choir leader – and vocal tutor!

The IDMC Gospel Choir was formed 29 years ago and performed at the wedding of Luciano Pavorotti in 2003 and in Trafalgar Square when London won the 2012 Olympic bid. He started We Sing, U Sing which serves 35 schools in five London boroughs, enabling more than 3,000 children to gain confidence in performing. Married to Maulin for 22 years, they have two sons, Andre and Dayna, both musicians. John is now a grandfather.

Working with children led him to writing books under the title Music Town, in which musical notes are characters living together, learning to overcome problems thanks to music and songs. On their stand at CRE South West, John and his team will make available the children’s books, IGMC Gospel Choir music – and talk about their work with the choir and in schools.

‘We want to help others take advantage of the wonderful way music can change lives,’ said John. ‘We will give advice, answer questions and offer to give workshops if it will encourage the setting up of a new means to help youngsters with music.’

John was recognised for his work with schools in London and communities across the UK when the Queen awarded him the British Empire Medal in 2021. John, whose mother died in 2019 and father passed away in 2020, proudly wore his father’s chained timepiece and cuff links.

‘My Mum’s spirit was with me,’ he recalled. ‘I cried when I got back to my seat and gave thanks to God for the example they left with me.’

• IDMC Gospel Choir are on stand B12 at CRE South West. Click hereto see when they will perform at CRE SW

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

Hope in a hand out

How about a newspaper that has nothing but good news? 

It was an opening gambit used by that evangelists Andy Godfrey, Robin McEwen (pictured left) and Colin Johnson as they handed out copies of the Good News newspaper in the markets of Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.

‘Every time we give away dozens of copies and it’s incredibly well-received,’ said Andy. ‘Market traders regularly ask for a copy and one shop worker says they have Good News in their staff room.’ Specifically designed for non-Christians, the paper is packed with stories of how Jesus is changing lives today, plus quotes about faith from celebrities and sports stars. It also has space on the back for church contact details and costs just 15p per copy plus p&p.

Andy Godfrey will speak at CRE South West on ‘Making evangelism easy – honestly!’ (11am, Wed 23 Feb). Copies of the paper will be available on the Good News stand at CRE South West.

• Good News Evangelistic Newspapers will be on stand D34 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

Church rotas: new software to make them simple

Love them or loathe them, rotas are a vital part of church life – and now there’s a solution to help make them hassle free.

Cambron Software’s web-based plan2gether.com, available to try out at CRE South West, is the answer!

‘We have one underlying philosophy – keep it simple!’ explained Cambron’s Colin Cameron. ‘There are some very powerful (and complicated) church management systems out there but we wanted to create something that did one thing well – make life easier for the people who organise church rotas. It had to be accessible from anywhere and easy to make changes and send reminders to people. plan2gether.com keeps all your rotas in one place – worship band, security, welcoming, coffee morning, creche, AV, flowers, cleaning – you name it, you can create a rota for it.

Most importantly, plan2gether.com will automatically notify people by email or SMS text when they are on duty. Users can make themselves unavailable and edit their rota duties to swap with others.

‘As churches open up again, now is the time to start organising your church volunteers and helpers using plan2gether.com,’ said Gordon. ‘We’ll show you how at Westpoint.’

You can even create your first event and team for free. For unlimited use, the cost is only £10 per month with a special 50 per cent discount for those visiting the plan2gether stand.

• plan2gether will be on stand D22 at CRE South West 2022

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

Understanding wellbeing, letter by letter

Since the pandemic hit, more and more of us have experienced loneliness and anxiety – and looking after our mental health has never been so important.

Ruth Rice (pictured) unexpectedly found herself on a journey of recovery from a breakdown and began to look for ways to renew her own wellbeing. She shares these insights in her new book A-Z of Wellbeing (Authentic Media),in which she encourages readers to live out their own alphabet of peace. The book presents 26 words of wellness to help you discover new practices, connect with God and share wellbeing with others.

Ruth Price, author of A-Z of Wellbeing

Based around the five ways of wellbeing, eachtopic connects the word to a biblical theme and helps you learn a new habit, get activesharing the habit with others, take notice of a personal story and give back with questions and further resources.

‘I hope readers will become fluent speakers, active doers and daily dwellers in wellbeing,’ said Ruth, now a director of Renew Wellbeing, a charity which runs simple café style spaces attached to a quiet room where inner habits of wellbeing are shared. ‘The language of wellbeing starts looking like kindness, love, acceptance and wholeness in our communities.’

By sharing the words that were helpful in her own journey,Ruth Rice encourages us to discover the language of wellbeing so that we can speak it, live it and share it with others.

• Authentic are not on the floor at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

How to make light work of recruitment

When Pilgrims’ Friend Society (PFS) wanted to recruit a chief executive and other key members of staff they knew exactly what they wanted – their problem was finding the right people.

Founded more than 200 years ago, the society operates as an umbrella charity and is the group trustee for a number of Christian charities, enabling older people to flourish through its care homes, residential housing and support for churches and communities. It runs 15 care schemes across England and, like other social care providers, struggles to recruit and retain care assistants and carers in many of its homes. 

PFS called in Action Planning, with its outreach across the Christian sector, to tender for the job of recruiting a new chief executive and also carry out research into the retention of care workers and managers at their homes.

‘We placed a notice for the vacant chief executive role on our website and sent it out on our 46,000 strong mailing list,’ said the company’s associate community co-ordinator, Tracy Madgwick. ‘We also put it out to 170 Action Planning consultants, made direct approaches to suitable individuals and searched LinkedIn for potential candidates. We then put forward a shortlist of five strong candidates. We followed a similar process to find a trustee, with additional research carried out through our church contacts and were able to present PFS with a suitable candidate. 

‘We also investigated the problem of care home staff retention by conducting “secret shopper” style visits, gathering first-hand accounts of the challenges staff faced and the incentives (eg salaries and other benefits) that might encourage them to stay on. A similar but more intensive exercise was carried out to find suitable candidates for care home manager roles.’

From the shortlist, PFS selected their new chief executive, Stephen Hammersley, under whose leadership they have begun to put in place Action Planning’s proposals for recruiting and retaining care home managers and staff.

‘They were equally delighted with their new trustee and have discussed the possibility of recruiting more,’ said Tracy Madgwick.

There is always a much smaller pool of candidates for senior posts in faith-based organisations but Action Planning know where to look. If you need help in finding the right person for your organisation chat to their representatives at CRE South West. Action Planning’s David Saint will lead a seminar at the exhibition, ‘Fundraising for capital projects for churches’ (11am, Wed 12 Feb and 3pm Thu 24 Feb).

• Action Planning are on stand P10 at CRE South West

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

Simon Thomas to open CRE South West

Former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas will open CRE South West at Exeter (10am, Wed 23 Feb).

Simon, 49, whose wife Gemma died suddenly from acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) four days after being admitted to hospital, has dedicated himself to increasing awareness of AML.

Gemma visited her local GP three times over six days in 2017 and on each occasion was told to rest at home from flu-like symptoms. Survival rates for this aggressive type of blood cancer are dreadfully low. Only about 15 per cent of the 2,500 people who contract AML survive for five years or more.

Following his wife’s demise, Simon launched the Gemma Thomas Fund to raise awareness and money for research. He also became president of Blood Cancer UK, then known as Bloodwise.

‘I want to make sure more people are made aware of the signs and symptoms of all blood cancers so we can improve early diagnosis and give people a fighting chance,’ he said. AML symptoms include persistent and unexplained tiredness, infections, fever, bleeding and weight loss.

He has also written a book, Love Interrupted: Navigating Grief One Day at a Time, and although he has never been to CRE before, told CRE News: ‘I have known about it for some years and will be delighted to see at last the many ways the exhibitors help the Church in its mission.’

The son of a Church of England vicar who sadly died last year, Simon worked on Blue Peter for six years during which time he ran two London Marathons and made more than 40 solo sky dives. On one of his early dives his parachute did not open until two instructors jumping with him bumped it to make it open! 

He joined Sky in 2005 and presented live Premier League football on Sky Sports from 2016 to 2018 and is currently presenting Premier football coverage on Prime Video, streamed by Amazon.

Last year Simon married Derrina Jebb, daughter of a Methodist minister. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: ‘Right from the early stages, she had this empathy towards me. She’s a Christian as well and that’s important to me as a man of faith.’

Simon’s son Ethan was one of the best men at their wedding in Norwich Cathedral.

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

Helping young cope beyond Covid

With young people struggling with poor mental health through the pandemic, the Ugly Duckling Company has launched an innovative resource to help them. 

10:10 shows the difference living well can have on their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Designed for use in churches, schools, youth clubs and community groups, the initiative has been supported by a £60,000 grant over two years from Allchurches Trust. Providing at least 30 hours of adaptable material, the recource can be used in small groups, lessons, assemblies and lunch time clubs.

Ten themes, built on spirituality and positive psychology, help 11 to 17-year-olds explore different ideas around happiness and the art of living life well. It covers themes such as thankfulness, kindness, forgiveness, healthy relationships, coping strategies and how to look after mind, body and soul. The resource features a series of films, group discussions, creative exercises, experiments and additional downloadable resources.

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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

Dave HallByDave Hall

More stands now available as dozens of organisations head west

A sudden surge of interest from companies and individuals wishing to exhibit has meant organisers of CRE South West have increased the number of stands available at the exhibition.

Bookings in the new year include World Vision, Ecclesiastical Insurance, Countdown Creative, Snug Architects, Crosslink Transformation Network (CTN), Cambron Software, Creative Solutions and StageEngage.

‘Most people are optimistic we are at the beginning of the end of the pandemic,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘They are keen to get back where it really counts – face to face with customers, clients and supporters. Safety is still paramount for all, so we are instigating similar precautions to those we introduced at Sandown Park in October, including wider aisles, and remain hopeful that churches throughout the south west will support our first  exhibition in the region for seven years.’

Expert advice will be on hand in 40 seminars with several speakers from the region including the Bishop of Crediton, Rt Rev Jackie Searle; the Archdeacon of Exeter, Venerable Andrew Deane; Canon Sarah Yardley of Creation Fest, Paul Friend of South-West Youth Ministries and Tim Moyler of Agapé UK. The exhibition will be opened by former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas.

The Bishop of Exeter, Rt Rev Robert Atwell, said: ‘CRE was last at Westpoint in 2015 and much has happened at local church level since then,’ he said. ‘It is a great opportunity to access new resources, ideas and practical tools to meet the many challenges of local ministry.’ 

A short introductory video to CRE SW can be viewed here.

Book your tickets to CRE South West! – and save up to £5

Seminar Guide – See the complete guide to seminars at CRE South West 2022

Your invitation – See an online version of the CRE South West 2022 brochure

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2022
23-24 February 2022
Westpoint, Exeter

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