A new Christian conference and training centre, inspired by the works of classic authors Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, is under construction in outer London.
The Amana Trust, owners of a centre near Romford and a bookshop in central London for many years, have purchased a 17-acre woodland site within the M25 and 10 minutes from the Central line tube station. Easily accessible but removed from the busyness of London, the centre will be available for groups of up to 300 people in stylish wooden cabins, most with ensuite bedrooms and several with meeting spaces.
Watchman Nee’s classics include The Normal Christian Life and The Spiritual Man. In addition, the complete works of Watchman Nee comprises a mostly unknown 62 volumes. More than 15,000 pages of Watchman Nee’s ministry was continued by his closest co-worker, Witness Lee, whose ministry was even more extensive.
The Amana Trust endeavours to help believers grow in the Christian faith, both personally and in groups. Their events include weekend retreats, week-long training and a two-year full-time residential course.
• The Amana Trust are on stands S51 and S52 at CRE National 2019
A church in North London is the first in the UK to trial a ground-breaking donation kiosk – on show at CRE National 2019 (Oct 15-17).
Tubular Systems Ltd have designed and built the kiosk which aims to take churches and charities into the digital era.
‘It’s the 21st Century version of a collection plate and we are very proud of it,’ said Tubular Systems’ Kevin Egglesden. ‘Even in the first few weeks of the trial there has been a positive response at the trialling church in terms of increased giving via Apple and Google Pay.’
The Tubular Charity Kiosk, which can remain accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not only accepts contactless donations but also credit and debit cards, including chip and swipe – meaning no donation need be missed. It also comes with live telemetry reporting, so donations and power downs can be viewed at any time and anywhere through a PC or mobile phone app.
Designed and built in the UK, the kiosk takes up very little space yet will draw attention through its brightly-lit light box that can feature the church’s logo.
Tubular kiosks include a seven-inch touchscreen with customisable display graphics, personalised for each church. Fabricated from mild steel, the kiosk will stay robust for many years. Elegant and eye-catching, it fits neatly into church buildings or can be moved to fund raising events organised by the church.
‘Installation is super fast as communication is taken care of with its built-in SIM Card and the unit only requires one power socket,’ explained Kevin. ‘You can also customise donation amounts, e.g £5, £10, £20 and £30.
‘We are very proud knowing that a British-designed and manufactured kiosk will soon be helping local churches generate donations for the many excellent activities in which they are involved.’
• Tubular Systems Ltd are on stand B9 at CRE National 2019
The success of the first-ever Study Zone at CRE North in March has prompted two encores – at CRE National 2019 (Sandown Park, Surrey, 15-17 Oct) and CRE Midlands 2020 (Stoneleigh Park, nr Coventry, 4/5 Mar).
A number of stands will be located around a bespoke seminar/presentation area, where participating colleges will contribute a range of carefully-targeted ‘TED’ style talks each day – on subjects concerning study at every level, from short courses to doctorates, summer schools to evening classes, residential or online. Participating colleges will also contribute key speakers to CRE’s main seminar programme.
Rev Dr David Hilborn, principal of Moorlands College, said: ‘The CRE Study Zone is a great reminder that theological colleges are among the most important resources for the church and mission. In our secularised culture it’s more vital than ever that leaders and disciples are thoroughly grounded in God’s Word and effectively equipped for fruitful ministry. I look forward to being part of CRE’s Study Zone again, with friends and colleagues from many different places of learning. Together, we can show thousands of church leaders and members how to deepen learning and sharpen skills.’
Brett Pitchfork, CRE’s event director, said: ‘The Study Zone makes theological learning accessible to thousands of potential students of all ages. With a limited number of stands available at both venues, we urge colleges to book as soon as possible.’
Paul Jones and Fiona Hendley will be special guests on the opening day of CRE National 2019 (Wed 15 Oct).
Original lead singer of legendary band Manfred Mann, Paul also presented The Blues Show on BBC Radio 2 each week for more than 30 years. He and Fiona, a former West End and TV actress, first met while performing at a show in the National Theatre.
‘Our roles meant singing songs to each other and staring into each other’s eyes, proclaiming undying love, twice nightly for two years or so,’ admitted Paul. ‘And the inevitable happened.’
Fiona, an accomplished actress and singer, has worked in all areas of show business from her acclaimed TV series Widows (for which she won Personality of the Year Award) to leading roles at the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has starred in many West End productions including the highly-praised and award-winning musical City of Angels. She has sung on many show recordings and has a collection of gold discs that rival Paul’s.
Paul came to faith from a background of intellectual arrogance. In 1968, he argued against Billy Graham with Cliff Richard on TV, convinced he had won the argument. Yet all his immense success in show business could not remedy the failure within himself. Fiona sought God from an early age, thinking that she was a Christian, but was surrounded by deception (including spiritualists and mediums). She too hoped that success in show business would bring her happiness.
They will be at CRE National 2019 to relate how each of them found true happiness and real faith.
Positioned somewhere between a domestic undercounter and a commercial ‘pass-through’, the new Nelson dishwasher has been ergonomically designed to avoid the need for the operator to bend.
Passthrough dishwashers make the washing process in a professional kitchen fast and efficient, especially important during busy periods – but they’re often too expensive for organisations on a limited budget.
‘Back problems are the most common occupational ailment for staff and volunteers working in a church context,’ explains John Nelson, managing director of CRE National 2019 exhibitors Nelson Dish & Glasswashers. ‘The Advantage Plus AD51 Ergo provides an affordable solution for people who may not need to invest in a pass-through but who want a comfortable means of loading and unloading a dishwasher.’
Highly specified, and energy and water efficient, the Ergo lends itself to forming part of a dishwashing system with appropriate tabling and shelving – something usually only possible with a passthrough machine. It also features a useful base cupboard for storing baskets and chemicals.
* Nelson Dish & Glasswashers are on stand S105 at CRE National 2019
As much at home singing opera at Glyndebourne as gospel at Godalming Baptist, Jonathan Veira’s considerable vocal and comic talents make him a hugely popular performer.
He has performed across the globe in a variety of roles and musical styles from Mozart to John Adams. In addition to operatic roles, Jonathan regularly broadcasts on BBC radio and TV, has recorded numerous CDs (his latest being the Hymns Project) and performed in TV programmes across many genres.
‘It will be great to return to CRE National 2019 with my old friend Cindy Kent MBE (who will host Cindy’s Bar),’ said Jonathan. ‘I look forward to performing a short programme of what I can offer to the modern church – and renewing many friendships.’
Jonathan will be a guest on Cindy’s Sofa at lunchtime on Wed 16 Oct, before performing at 3pm on the same afternoon. His books and CDs will also be available.
Ending homelessness is Green Pastures’ big vision – and your church can be part of it.
That will be the message to CRE National 2019 from Pastor Pete Cunningham, Vicki Woodley and Andy Cunningham, members of a local church in Southport, who raised their own funds and purchased two flats in 1997.
‘We housed a couple with a child living in a garage, along with a single mum and child living in a derelict caravan,’ explained Pastor Pete. ‘The rest is history. We are now housing more than 1000 customers across the UK and the Lord is growing our ministry every year.’
Pastor Pete pastored several churches before taking on the small congregation in Southport in 1993.
‘At first, we provided temporary accommodation in our church building, for homeless individuals and families,’ said Pete. ‘We used our fellowship room, a converted garage and church cellar, making them as pleasant as possible. But the local environmental health department informed us we were contravening the law.’
He maintains that the years since have been some of the most wonderful they have experienced in the service of God.
‘Our first resident, a single mother aged 21, had been living in one room with her baby,’ he recalled. ‘What a joy it was to help her and fulfil God’s word. It appeared to us that the 21st Century church was not so eager to help the poor as the one we read about in the 1st Century.’
Today, Green Pastures have partners all over the UK, housing hundreds of formerly homeless people.
‘We have seen some amazing changes in people because they have a key to their own home,’ said Pete. ‘Alcoholics are free from alcohol addiction. Drug addicts are free from drug addiction. Unemployed young people with life skills problems are now working. Most wonderful of all is the number of people who have come to Christ, not through our preaching of the Gospel, but by our doing the Gospel.
‘We dream of every church in the UK having at least one house to house the homeless. That would mean an additional 100,000 people would be housed and cared for. We’ll be at CRE National 2019 and CRE Midlands 2020, showing local church leaders and members how they can join us in this exciting initiative.’
• Green Pastures will be on stand S110 at CRE National 2019
Visitors to CRE North posted prayers for Brexit the day after Prime Minister Teresa May saw her latest Brexit Agreement with Brussels defeated in Parliament. The Brexit Prayer Wall was CRE’s response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for five days of prayer in the approach to Brexit. Dana, a former MEP, was among the many who posted prayers.
The prayers were part of a prayer ministry initiative at CRE North, with its own stand, and a dedicated team, Colin and Sandra Findlay. Says Colin: ‘To be involved in prayer ministry is such an honour for us, and we really noticed the benefit of meeting again many of the exhibitors, and picking up on some of their worries and concerns. It was such a blessing to have our own area, where we could take people to pray with – that was invaluable to us.’
The Brexit prayers are listed below, warts and all, just as they were written.
• Please bring the power or reason to all involved in the negotiations for Brexit.
• Please bring your light and truth into our country and into decisions made. May they be godly decisions honouring to You.
• We lay before You the life of our nation and long for your gentle rule to be established here.
• Where there is division we call upon you for unity, where there is hate please bring love, where there is selfishness, bring selflessness, where there is greed, bring generosity, where there is hopelessness bring hope, where there are lies, bring your truth, and where there is darkness bring Your light Almighty God.
• Deuteronomy 4:7 ‘For what great nation is there who has a God so near to them as the Lord our God is to us in all things for which we call upon Him?’ Lord may we as a nation call upon you.
• We pray that you would grant truth and compassion to the media as they report on Brexit.
• Father God we call out for Your Holy Spirit to work and dwell in our land and in our leaders.
• In this time of change and trauma lead us by your Holy Spirit, we pray. Give wisdom to our politicians and leaders.
• Lord thank you that you know what is going to happen. May Your church be a light of peace and reconciliation in Jesus’ name.
• We pray for God fearing, righteous leaders.
• Lord grant our leaders wisdom and wide vision. Defeat the darkness of division and xenophobia. Bring peace, hope and love.
• Lord so many people feel fearful of what the future holds would you help Your Church to be a community where all feel welcome, heard and loved.
• Lord we know that Brexit will cause some disruption and realignment here and in Europe, we pray for this to be achieved with understanding, patience and with a sense of common purpose.
• We pray that God’s wisdom and strength will guide us and His Holy Spirit fill the nation.
• Lord please bring Brexit to pass and grant greater freedom to Your Church.
• Show your church the truth about Brexit.
• Job 12:13 ‘True wisdom and power are found in you God.’ Please bring your wisdom and power to those serving in our government.
• Please bless all those who work in government.
• Lord may Your Will be done in our country.
• Dear Lord, please have Your way.
• Lord, speak to your church in the UK – so they cry out for mercy and grace for the UK.
• Dear God in whom we find true love, mercy and compassion would you help us as we take our next steps in the Brexit decisions. May we strive to love each other, to embrace our differences and show respectful kindness to all.
• We pray that God will have His way and bring peace and security to our country and that democracy is respected and businesses can have surety in how to proceed.
• Dear Lord, please guide all involved in making the right decisions, not just for Britain but for all nations. In Jesus’ name.
• We pray for unity.
• 1 Chronicles 29:12 ‘Power and might are in Your hands, Lord. It is at Your discretion people are made great and given strength.’
• Wisdom, hope, peace, God’s fingerprints in it.
• Lord please grant Teresa May humility and clarity of vision.
• Loving God you were wounded and broken for us. Help us to bind up the wounds in our nation and bring us your peace and wholeness.
• God heal our land.
• Turn the will of the people to Your Will. may Your way rule, govern and protect this land.
• Daniel 9:4 ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey His commands, we have sinned and done wrong, we have been wicked and have rebelled, we have turned away from your commands and laws.’ Forgive us Lord.
• May your will be done O Lord in our land.
• Lord we pray for wisdom for our government.
• Micah 2:13 ‘The Lord breaker goes before me.’ Let our country ‘break’ through this confusing situation and move according to Your Will O God.
• We pray for healing on all sides as we break off from the European Union.
• Dear God grant humility and strength for all working in Parliament as they represent their communities.
• Lord Jesus please be with our ministers in Parliament at this time when our country is in such need of your wisdom. We pray for the outcome you would have.
• Let’s be free and trust God.
• Father God grant wisdom and vision for the Prime Minister and Party leaders as they negotiate the political future of our nation.
• We pray for our leaders, that they will lead wisely, listen attentively, exercise grace and know peace in their deliberations. Guide them as they make decisions about future relationships with Europe.
• Lord, we pray that your will be done and that your kingdom becomes evident during these trials over Brexit. Let people know You are in charge.
• Lord – 1 Timothy 2:2 – Lord we pray for leaders, for blessings on all, those with whom we agree and those with whom we don’t.
• Lord, please break us from the idolatry of nations, end the sin of injustice and turn our eyes and hearts to you.
• Lord we pray for wisdom as to how the borders are to be reclaimed and re-established.
• Please bring us through the chaos of Brexit. May Your Name be honoured once again in this land. Your will for us to be done.
• Please Lord, help our way forward to Brexit.
• Gambling with millions of people’s lives and livelihoods is a sin. Tearing down bridges and building barriers is a sin. Brexit is a sin. Good Lord, bring repentance and deliverance for Brexit.
A circular cage will be in use at CRE North – not to restrain over-enthusiastic visitors but to demonstrate just how easy it is to use a sports setting for outreach.
‘It’s just one of the resources we are introducing to churches at Event City,’ said Richard Witham, national sports mission leader for Scripture Union. The cage can be used to enable two teams of two to play football, cricket or hockey in short matches – drawing a crowd and the opportunity to connect with the local community.
And with the cricket world cup coming to England later in the year, SU are promoting Sticks for Stumps – a whole raft of related resources aimed at helping churches create occasions to present the Christian message.
‘From cricket on the beach to a school assembly, the material is there to be used,’ said one-time rugby player Richard, who knows how sport can bring together groups of any age. ‘It isn’t difficult to create a faith-sharing opportunity when sport is involved. The resources we have are tried and tested for churches, schools and community groups. They are also great for Messy Church – or Sweaty Church – when all ages can share a sporting activity but also pause for prayer or a short talk.’
Scripture Union will be involved in a seminar at CRE North, Your church and sports ministry, (4pm Wed 13 March) when a number of Christian organisations, involved in various sporting ministries, will present a range of opportunities now available.
• Scripture Union on are stand A 36 at CRE North
Bean bags, biscuits and books, books, books are one man’s vision for the perfect ‘quiet spot’ in every church.
Dave Gatward, managing director of Kevin Mayhew Publishing, said: ‘I want to start a revolution in which churches choose a place where everyone, whatever their age, reads together, where an 89-year-old sits down and enjoys a book with a child of three.’
The company imprint, Palm Tree, is to launch new books in an ever-expanding range for children with the first in the series available at CRE North next week. The first ones include Bible Birds and Beasties, What Happens when You Die, Grandpa? and Dedication Prayers, along with The Classic Children’s Bible.
‘We will publish new books in the series at least twice a year in an ever-expanding range,’ continued Dave, who wants churches to start a children’s library ‘filled with amazing books that they will want to read again and again, and thus learn more about just how much God loves them. Books are the best gifts – they never run out of batteries.’
He also aims to see churches hold prize-givings, celebrating children’s achievements by the presentation of books ‘they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.’
Palm Tree plan to release a book with the Christmas story in September, and Dave hopes others in the range will be used to mark dedications and Christenings.
‘Don’t let the family walk away with nothing,’ he said. ‘Give them a book. Write in it some lovely things from the church and keep in touch. Visitors to our stand at CRE North will be able to get a special pre-order offer complete with samples of the first set of titles. This has me tingling with excitement. I have absolute faith in the transformative power Palm Tree books will have in churches and families.
‘These are books chosen with care and love. I want churches to fall in love with them and to be desperate to find out what’s coming next. And I want children to have books to love, books to be read to and from, books at church and books at home.’
• Kevin Mayhew are on stand C29 at CRE North