Category Archive CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Sally Phillips will open CRE and celebrate ‘the topsy-turvy topology of the Kingdom of God’

Actress and comedian Sally Phillips will open CRE 2018 (9.45am, Tue 16 Oct) and encourage hundreds of churches to put people with additional needs at the top of their agenda.

Sally, whose son Olly has Down’s Syndrome, will be joined by a 12-year-old best-selling author – Jonathan Bryan has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is entirely non-verbal. At the opening ceremony, blind singer-songwriter Marilyn Baker will be accompanied by a choir from Notre Dame School, Cobham, using Makaton, a language programme of signs and symbols to help people communicate.

CRE 2018 comes at a time when things are tough for disabled people and their families. The UNHCRPD investigation found the UK guilty of ‘grave and systematic violations of the human rights of disabled people.’

‘This concerned restrictions of welfare benefits, access to independent living and appropriate schooling,’ says Sally, ’but not included were the three avoidable deaths a day of people with learning disabilities within the NHS and the ethical questions around the commercialisation of our prenatal screening programme in the form of the roll out of the new “Downs test”.

‘I believe that the church is ideally placed to promote and model a way out of this miserable situation. Many of the problems faced by those with disabilities are mitigated by being loved. In community and in the church we are not only called to be blessed by carrying each others’ burdens but understand that in the topsy-turvy topology of the Kingdom of God, in which the weak are strong and the poor are rich, we will certainly be richly blessed for doing so. After all, we are only the body of Christ if we are all included. All in communion together.’

Sally will be at CRE to encourage churches to be accessible and welcoming to those suffering the effects of social and economic exclusion.

‘We can think creatively about church services and house groups as well as about buildings,’ she suggests. ‘There are also many job opportunities within the church. We could work with charities to open up some of these to people with different disabilities. We could also prioritise inclusion within our vibrant network of church schools at a time when exclusions of children with SEN are at an all-time high.

‘I also believe that we need the church as a body, and church members as individuals to speak prophetically about the need for an inclusive society. The prevailing political philosophy of utilitarianism has resulted in the normalisation of the idea that society will always have winners and losers – and we’re not OK with that, are we?’

It will be Sally’s first visit to an event often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’. She rose to prominence as one third of the all-female sketch show Smack the Pony, and then gained lead roles in the hugely popular BBC sitcom Miranda, as well as in the Bridget Jones films, as Bridget’s best friend, Shazza. As well as opening CRE, she will be interviewed by Rev Cindy Kent in Cindy’s Bar.

Gordon Temple, executive officer for Churches for All, an association of organisations seeking to improve universal access to church buildings and programmes, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Sally to our zone at CRE, representing as it does a great opportunity to highlight the need to bring people living with disabilities into the centre of church life.’

• Sally Phillips will open CRE 2018 at 9.45am and be interviewed in Cindy’s Bar at 11.30am on Tue 16 Oct

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Be seen and heard – to be understood

At a time when a lot of local church leaders are dependent on smart phones and state-of-the-art computers, why do so many still preach from a microphone-free, raised pulpit? It’s a situation that troubles David Sharpe, of CRE exhibitor SES Technical.

‘New technology enables first-time visitors to a church, at a wedding perhaps, to enjoy the experience more if they hear the message through a clear sound system, sing hymns from a screen and see the finer points of the sermon reinforced on a Powerpoint display,’ he maintains. ‘Even churches with a limited budget can take steps to ensure that everything that happens is seen, heard and understood.’

SES understand the pitfalls of working in historic churches, listed buildings, new build or even churches making renovations – especially when that means making the screen and speakers ‘disappear’ into the fabric of the building, to protect the beauty and aesthetic charm of a church.

‘We want to retain the visibility of the stained-glass windows, or elegant carvings,’ says Dave, ‘but also enhance the experience of worship and communication of the gospel message. We are happy to evaluate the needs and requirements of any church, design a system which provides the maximum quality of sound and vision – with a minimum of disturbance to the building or the congregation.’

The company also trains volunteer helpers so ‘you are never left in the lurch with no-one on the sound-desk or controlling the screen!’

SES are part of Novum AV, a company which has worked effectively with major businesses such as Nivea, Elastoplast and Australian Christian company Hillsong conferences in the UK. They have also provided expertise and equipment at major events at the NEC, Birmingham and Echo Arena, Liverpool.

‘The pyrotechnics used in some of our productions would be out of place in a church!’ admits Dave. ‘However, we are just as happy to install a simple sound system or provide a screen with a facility to show hymns, missionary photographs or video sequences which can increase people’s interest.’

Anyone leaving their visiting card at the SES stand (S55) at CRE 2018 will be put into a draw at the close of the event with two winners each being given a high-quality, reconditioned microphone with a full 12-month warranty.

• SES are on stand S55 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Bringing the Bible to life… including waterlogged apostles

Cheering when a ship gets wrecked is not generally encouraged in school – but Year 3 pupils could be forgiven on this occasion. Open the Book’s Nefyn team, in Gwynedd, Wales, acted out the story of Paul’s shipwreck at their school in June.

‘It seemed quite complicated to stage at first, but proved to be a huge success, with a clear message as children echoed Paul’s response to danger – trust God,’ said Barbara Custance, leader of the team.

The production was helped by the group’s chief prop support person whose vessel made its maiden voyage in the school hall.

‘Mike is skilled at creating visually effective props that can be dismantled and packed into portable units,’ explains Barbara. ‘It also helped having the story and materials in Welsh which was appreciated by the children and staff at the school.’

Open the Book’s Nefyn team is one of hundreds across England and Wales which regularly help 700,000 hear Bible stories in a dramatic way. Using props and costumes to recreate Bible stories during assemblies, some 14,800 volunteers from thousands of local churches are currently reaching 2,600 primary schools. Many children are hearing Bible stories for the first time.

Part of Bible Society, Open the Book’s long-term aim is to bring the Bible to life to all 4.5 million pupils in 18,280 schools across England and Wales.

‘CRE provides a great platform to spread Bible storytelling into new parts of the country,’ says Julie Jefferies, the organisation’s development and training manager. ‘We meet storytellers, find out local news, and receive helpful feedback.’

‘It is also the ideal place for people to discover how they can set up a local group,’ says Val Ralston, Open the Book’s promotion and training officer.

• Open the Book are on stand S43 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Maintain your building, improve your mission

Tackle those essential maintenance tasks sooner rather than later and you reduce your longer term costs significantly.

That’s the message from CRE 2018 exhibitor the National Churches Trust, who believe a well-maintained place of worship is an important tool for mission and outreach.

‘No matter how important it is to them, congregations frequently find it difficult to look after their building cost-effectively and in particular how to fund any major works,’ says the trust’s Cicely Barnett. ‘At its most extreme this can lead to closure or demolition and the possible end of the local church itself.’

As of this month (Sep 2018), the trust’s new free, web-based maintenance service, MaintenanceBooker, is available across England and Wales following a pilot project in Yorkshire in 2017.

Cicely has been working with project manager Janet Edmond, alongside several denominations across the UK. They are available on Stand S100 at CRE 2018.

‘There has been a lot of support for MaintenanceBooker as a way to help faith volunteers and staff find qualified contractors more easily,’ she explains. ‘MaintenanceBooker can help groups of churches, too and this can significantly lower maintenance costs.’

‘Maintaining your church building is the bedrock of keeping it open,’ believes Becky Clark, director of churches and cathedrals at the Church of England. ‘Simple tasks like keeping gutters and drains clear, identifying problems with trees and properly maintaining them and ensuring stonework is well looked after, will help prevent unexpected large repair bills.’

Churches and chapels of all denominations can use the MaintenanceBooker service to request online quotes for essential maintenance services from qualified contractors before going on to book the job.

Grants have been made available by The Pilgrim Trust and the National Churches Trust to help congregations to get started. They are easy to apply for through the MaintenanceBooker website and applicants will also receive a quick decision on their application. You can find out more about MaintenanceBooker at CRE 2018 and by watching an introductory video here.

* The National Churches Trust are on stand S100 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Discover the CRE stand that’s just the job

Whether you are looking for a new challenge or have a vacancy to post, CRE 2018 is where jobs meet candidates.

In partnership with OSCAR, dozens of unfilled positions will be displayed on the CRE Jobs Board.

If you have a vacancy in your church, charity or business you can post it for all visitors to see for just £30.

Or if you are looking for a job with a church or parachurch organisation, be sure to check out the Jobs Board at CRE 2018.

‘We know many highly-motivated and well qualified visitors come to the exhibition considering new opportunities in their careers,’ explains CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘It is an important shop window for work opportunities in both commercial and vocational situations.’

To book an advert on the CRE Jobs Board click here.

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Fifty years on: the Christingle candle burns ever brighter

Hundreds of churches, schools and more than 30 cathedrals are stocking up on oranges – to celebrate 50 years of Christingle.

The Children’s Society’s John Pensom, known as ‘Mr Christingle’, is credited with adapting the Moravian tradition and introducing it to the Church of England as a way of raising money for the society’s work with vulnerable children and young people.

‘We’d love people to come to our stand at CRE (FC32) to hear more about our plans for the 50th anniversary,’ says the Children’s Society’s Tracey Messenger. ‘We will have free resources available to make your Christingle celebrations this year the best ever! And if you’re quick, you may also receive one of our special bags of dolly mixtures!’

The first Christingle service took place at Lincoln Cathedral in December 1968. Only 300 people were expected but as many as 1500 turned up. Since then, Christingle has become a well-loved Christmas tradition, with more than 6,000 held in the UK last year. Many find it to be one of the most popular services of the year, attracting children and families who don’t normally attend church.

‘Christingle season begins at Advent and continues through until Candlemas,’ explains Tracey. ‘We’ve teamed up with tutors and ordinands at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, who have produced a suite of all-age seasonal resources, with prayers and all-age talks for Christingle services suitable for use on Advent Sunday, Christmas Eve, Epiphany and Candlemas.’

For children’s groups, there is a Messy Church Christingle session from Lucy Moore, and a Diddy Disciples resource for under 7s developed by Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby. A new song, ‘Light a Candle’, has been composed exclusively for the anniversary by Louise Drewett, a young composer currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The words have been written by British poet Clare Shaw.

‘Whether you are a school choir, amateur singing group, professional, cathedral or church choir, or just love singing, ‘Light a Candle’ is the perfect way to raise your voice in celebration,’ says Tracey.

Download ‘Light a Candle’ here.

• The Children’s Society are on stand FC32 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Add years to your life – go to church!

Going to church regularly can help ease stress and add years to your life, a new study shows.

‘Attending church is actually good for your health, particularly people between 40 and 65,’ explains Prof Marino Bruce, a social and behavioural scientist who led the study. ‘Middle-aged adults reduce their risk of dying by 55 per cent. Those who do not attend church at all are twice as likely to die prematurely than those who attended church at some point in the past year.’

The survey findings show that churches – which includes temples, mosques and other faith establishments in the attendance category – are ‘encouraging individuals to participate in something,’ said Prof Bruce, a Baptist minister and research associate professor of medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

His findings provide a backdrop for three seminars at CRE 2018 where experts will speak about encouraging elderly people and involving them in the work of the local church.

Louise Morse, from Pilgrims’ Friend Society, will look at ways to help church leaders empower and enable older people to discover the role God has planned for them (11am, Tue 16 Oct). More here

Peter Meadows and Dave Fenton, from AfterWorkNet, will point out the opportunities retired people have to serve the church and others without overburdening themselves (3pm, Tue 16 Oct). More here

Alex Burn from BRF will outline the latest move from Messy Church –Messy Vintage: The Gift of Years. She will explain how churches can not only help those living with dementia and their carers but show why ministry among older people really matters and makes a difference (2pm, Wed 17 Oct). More here

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

From hell to Yeldall: How Jesus became ‘Class A’ for Tony

Released from prison three months ago, Tony headed straight to Yeldall Manor.

As a long-term down-and-out, prison had been a routine consequence of his drug addiction. Losing his father at an early age had warped his perception of love – he used Class A drugs an attempt to fill the huge void. Stabbed on five separate occasions, he was estranged from his family, and most hurtfully, young son.

‘In 2015, with fear overwhelming him, he saw no way out of his hell,’ explains Chris Wood, marketing and admissions manager at Yeldall. ‘Slowly but surely he reached out for help, acknowledging that God had been there all his life, saving him from himself.’

A residential rehabilitation centre, Yeldall is set in 38 acres of Berkshire countryside near Reading. For more than 40 years, the centre has been helping men overcome serious drug or alcohol addictions and Tony saw God in the nature, wildlife and creation around Yeldall. He asked for prayer at church and felt on fire!

‘He couldn’t find the words to express the multitude of emotions and feelings running through him,’ recalls Chris. ‘He was sweating, in tears and finally accepted the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit. He is in awe that Christ chose him to forgive and he has peace and hope.’

Staff and peers from Yeldall joined Tony on the beach for his baptism earlier this month.

‘This is the God that loves us all in visible action,’ reflects Chris. ‘Tony is one of hundreds of men saved at Yeldall through that same love.’

• Yeldall Manor are on stand 135 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

Tailor-make your visit to world-famous Oberammergau

A picturesque Bavarian village will welcome more than half a million visitors in two years’ time and one exhibitor at CRE 2018 wants you to join them.

The world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed 386 years ago. With neighbouring villages ravaged by the bubonic plague, the villagers vowed to present the drama of Christ’s journey into Jerusalem, his death and resurrection – if the village was spared.

More than 2,000 villagers, an orchestra and a vast stage have enthralled audiences every ten years since.

The last time the play was performed in 2010, Tailored Travel took one in every 10 people who travelled from the UK and Ireland. So, as an independent tour operator with more than 20 years’ experience in putting together escorted holidays, they understand exactly what’s needed to make every aspect of your trip to Oberammergau a success.

• Tailored Travel are on stand S104 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3

 

Dave HallByDave Hall

New Christmas resource gives ringside seat to marginalised people

Outsiders get a ringside seat for the Christmas story in Lifewords’ brand new Advent resource.

OUTSIDE/IN, available at CRE 2018, is a beautifully illustrated FREE booklet telling the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and sages. Produced in partnership with Biblica, Livability and Torch Trust, OUTSIDE/IN welcomes everyone into the story.

‘We are challenging churches proactively to consider people marginalised in their own communities,’ explains Matt Currey, Lifewords’ UK development manager. ‘It also provides specific ways to extend access to the Bible for people who are non-hearing or visually impaired, or who have a lower reading age.’

Fellow CRE exhibitor CPO (stand S81) are providing customisable posters, invites and other supporting resources. Biblica’s NIrV translation is used as the text – a version of the Bible accessible to people with reading ages from 7+. Torch Trust (stand B5) have created braille, super-large print and audio CD versions of the story. A new downloadable animation for churches to stream or share is available on social media. The animation tells the OUTSIDE/IN story, with BSL signing included, so the story is accessible to the deaf community.

‘After a record-breaking year of Christmas distribution in 2017, we want to equip local churches to share the Christmas story this year as effectively and accessibly as possible,’ says Matt Currey.

• Lifewords are on stand S40 at CRE 2018

Click here for a list of more than 200 exhibitors at CRE 2018
Click the button below to pre-register for CRE 2018 for as little as £3