A charity born because UK farmers were forced to slaughter healthy dairy cows, is now in its fourth decade of operation.
In 1988, many UK dairy farmers were outraged by strict EU milk quotas which forced them to throw away good quality milk and even slaughter their herds. At the same time, families in Uganda were recovering from the country’s brutal civil war which had destroyed farm land and livestock.
Motivated to help, a small group of Christian dairy farmers from the west country decided to donate some of their own dairy cows to rural families in Uganda. It was a massive step of faith, supported in prayer.
On 4 July 1988, 32 cows were flown from Gatwick Airport to Entebbe, Uganda and given to struggling families living in the Mityana region. With nutritious milk to drink and sell and manure to nourish the soil and boost crop yields, the families and the cows thrived. Send a Cow was born.
The charity continued to send livestock from the UK to Uganda until 1996 when the BSE crisis took hold. Since then, the charity has sourced all livestock from within Africa. Comprehensive training in animal husbandry and welfare is also provided, ensuring the animals are well cared for and productive.
Send a Cow works in six countries in Africa and provides a proven package of support and training in farming, hygiene, business skills and gender equality. More than two thirds of the people supported are women. Working with families for up to five years, the organisation helps people to grow their own food, earn an income and lift themselves out of poverty permanently. Two million people across Africa have been supported by the international development charity since it began.
‘The charity now does much more than provide cows and works with rural communities to make the most of their most precious resource – the soil beneath their feet,’ says Send a Cow’s Ann Hatton.
• Send a Cow are on stand A30 at CRE North
The end of the one-man, church sound system operation is nigh – along with those pesky gremlins.
An annual MOT of your system, along with emergency repairs and training for several volunteer operators at once, is part of a new package offered by CRE North exhibitors Novum AV.
‘We are instituting silver, gold and platinum packages for sound and vision systems in any church with the option of a thorough check of the system on one, three or five-year contracts. We make sure the system works and that any hiccups are dealt with quickly on an emergency phone call system,’ said David Sharpe, installations manager of Novum AV, a Midlands-based company with a history of installing new systems and sorting out problems in established ones throughout the UK.
‘Churches will be able to trust their system to be problem-free. If something does go wrong we will provide expert help to put things right. We can also offer training facilities in churches in which we use a particular system, providing extra helpers when the expert is on holiday or ill.’
One of the constant complaints from volunteers is of ‘gremlins in our system’.
‘Our Beat the Gremlins scheme will be on offer for the first time at CRE North,’ said David. ‘We understand the pitfalls of working in historic churches, listed buildings or new builds – especially when that means making the screen and speakers “disappear” into the fabric of the building to protect the building’s aesthetic charm.’
Novum are committed to retaining the visibility of stained-glass windows, or elegant carvings, and at the same time enhancing the experience of worship and the communication of the gospel message.
‘Our dedicated team specialises in managing projects and carrying out sound and video installations on a daily basis,’ said David. ‘They have a passion for delivering systems that have the most minimal of impact with maximum efficiency and clarity.’
• Novum AV are on stand C41 at CRE North
It may be a simple colouring book but it can mean a great deal to a displaced person.
For what makes these products unique is that each one has the Scriptures in English, plus another language – for example Arabic, Farsi, Swahili and Somali.
‘It’s an unusual way of reaching refugees and immigrants but these are colouring books with a difference!’ said Jamie Pritchett, founder of The Good News Colouring Book Ministry, based in Merritt Island, Florida. ‘Each book is really a tract, using only the Scriptures to tell the story of Jesus – his miraculous birth, life, death and resurrection.’
Jamie believes there is nothing quite like arriving in a new country and seeing something written in your own language.
‘People immediately gravitate toward something that they can read easily,’ explained Jamie. ‘Being dual-language, the book helps them learn their target language and also tells the story of Jesus. And it can be downloaded, free of charge, from the internet.’
The ministry is in its 21st year and new languages are added as they become available, or as they are requested.
‘We are excited to have a stand at CRE North,’ said Linda Riddell, artist and illustrator of the books. ‘We hope many churches and individuals will find out how to use these simple tracts to share the gospel with people all over Britain.’
• The Good News Colouring Book are on Stand P13 at CRE North
First contact with families approaching your church for a wedding, baptism or funeral need not be the last – thanks to new online software that helps you develop lasting relationships with parishioners.
The Life Events Diary, a free resource for Church of England churches and developed in partnership with CRE North exhibitor iKnow Church, streamlines administration for classic rites of passage. It will be launched during a seminar at CRE North (2pm, Wed 13 Mar).
‘Every family that approaches a church for a wedding, banns reading, a baptism or a funeral begins a journey with that church,’ explained iKnow Church’s Kyle Cottington. ‘For the family, it can be a time of big emotions and questions. You will want to care for them and make their service the best it can be. Behind that are a huge list of tasks, not just to plan the services but to keep in touch with the families afterwards and encourage them to stay connected. That’s what Life Events Diary is all about.’
Life Events Diary:
• Records legal and personal data of families safely and securely
• Reduces duplication of data-collection and data-entry
• Prints out key information about a service in relevant formats
• Customises, records, and tracks service fees
• Never forgets a significant date for pastoral care, or an opportunity for follow-up after a service, with email reminders
• Shares data, tasks and messages with others in the church to help you direct, delegate and coordinate, wherever you are
• Live Events Diary is available on the iKnow Church stand A34 at CRE North
• Tom Pearson (Church of England) and Kyle Cottington (iKnow Church) will speak on Just Ask: Introducing C of E Live Events (2pm, Wed 13 Mar)
UK churches are failing to reach the generation brought up on Elvis, according to Church Army captain Chris Harrington.
In his Grove booklet Reaching the Saga Generation, Chris highlights that, when churches reach out to older people, the focus is almost always on those born before the last world war. They do so by running everything from a regular drop-in coffee morning, to visiting those in nursing homes.
‘All good stuff,’ suggests Peter Meadows of CRE North exhibitor Afterworknet, ‘but it doesn’t touch those of a very different generation who are also no longer working full time – those brought up on Elvis rather than Doris Day, who jived not quick-stepped. They wore denim and still do and by no means regard themselves as “old.”’
Chris believes they are distinctly different from their older counterparts.
• They were the first ‘teenagers’ and have lived through the free-thinking era of the new pop-culture
• They do not trust governments, multinationals, institutions or authority figures
• They dislike being patronised, dictated to or treated condescendingly
• They demand honesty, consistency, reliability, quality, value for money and good service.
What’s more, this segment of our society represents a huge sector of the population.
In the main, churches lack plans and programmes to help those of this generation get ready for new adventures and seize new opportunities for service in retirement.
‘That being the case, those of us who are heading for retirement – or are already there – need to take personal responsibility,’ concludes Peter, Afterworknet’s programme director. ‘Life after work is not a rehearsal but the real thing. We’ll only get to do it once. Afterworknet will help you do it properly.’
• Afterworknet are on stand B16a at CRE North
• Church Army are on stand C2 at CRE North
If you’re considering taking your faith and practice to the next academic level, your first steps should be to CRE’s Study Zone.
A brand new initiative at CRE North, the Study Zone is for people of all ages interested in theological education – from short courses to doctorates, summer schools to evening classes, residential or online.
For the first time, representatives from eight major UK establishments, including college principals, will be available to discuss your options. After a plenary each day at 11am, where general questions will be answered by a hand-picked panel of experts, each participating college will present its distinctive approach to the whys and wherefores of theological study and training in a rolling series of short presentations (see schedule below).
‘We’ve also a consultation area in the Study Zone where you can have a short personal conversation (up to 15 minutes) with a particular college representative,’ said Karen Todd, CRE North’s Study Czar. ‘You can book your conversation before coming to CRE North by emailing me, or by coming to see me early in your day at CRE North.’
Welcoming the initiative, Revd Dr David Hilborn, principal of Moorland College, said: ‘The Study Zone is an excellent idea, showcasing the high-quality training and education on offer at a range of UK theological colleges. As principal of one such college, I’m thrilled to be part of it.’
Study Zone Talks
Wednesday 13 March
11:00 Study Zone Plenary: Introducing theological study for all ages
11:30 All Nations College
12:30 Cliff College
1:00 London School of Theology
1:30 Mattersey Hall
2:00 Moorlands College
2:30 Nazarene Theological College
3:00 Spurgeons College
3:30 Moorlands College
4:30 All Nations College
5:00 Spurgeons College
5:30 Nazarene Theological College
6:00 Cliff College
6:30 Mattersey Hall
7:00 London School of Theology
Thursday 14 March
11:00 Study Zone Plenary: Introducing theological study for all ages
11:30 Spurgeons College
12:00 All Nations College
12:30 Mattersey Hall
1:00 Capernwray College
1:30 Cliff College
2:00 Nazarene Theological College
2:30 London School of Theology
3:00 Moorlands College
Now churches can have a website to envy – with unlimited pages, podcasting, daily bible reading plans and seamless integration with UCB Radio and TV.
It’s all thanks to Church Edit, the UK’s largest Christian software company that has exhibited at almost every CRE for the past 13 years. And the company has chosen CRE North to launch its all new Global Office – a powerful tool that updates more than 1,000 church websites across the UK.
‘Global Office has been updated in function along with a fresh design to make it really easy for churches to manage their websites by adding unlimited web pages, upload images and media files,’ explained Church Edit’s managing director Kyle Cottington. ‘There are many features developed just for churches such as podcasting, a calendar, daily bible reading plans and integration with UCB. Church Edit is ideal for churches and ministries of all sizes, from small local churches to diocesan headquarters.’
With different design options to suit churches of all budgets, Church Edit also comes with unlimited free technical support plus on-demand tutorials within a dedicated support site.
‘This is the biggest update we have ever done,’ said Kyle. ‘The feedback has been fantastic and we are looking forward to showing people at Event City. And you can benefit from our one-year free offer as well as get 25 per cent off website design.’
• Church Edit are on stand A34 at CRE North
Clever computer criminals want to take over your money, your identity – even your church.
That will be Dave Carlos’ stark warning to CRE visitors at both Event City (March 13/14) and Sandown Park (15-17 Oct).
When it comes to cyber security, Dave has a lifetime of experience. An interest in home computers in the early 1980s resulted in his appointment as editor of Home Computing Weekly. The cover story on first edition under his management introduced readers to the way in which the early Prestel system had been hacked.
Eventually he started his own PR company, advising producers of computer games, before moving to Christian charity Agape and then CRE North exhibitor Care for the Family. However, a request from a local group in Fleetwood determined his current role.
‘I devised a talk on computer security and presented it to a number of organisations,’ he recalled. ‘That same presentation has been revised substantially over the years and I can even provide a link to watch it online.’
Dave also works with Lancashire Police after responding to an advert asking for a group of cyber volunteers to give presentations to groups, churches and companies – ‘I was accepted as a cyber volunteer and now also help to train new police officers.’
At 66, with about 40 years’ experience of using computers, his CRE North seminar – Cyber Security and Digital Safety in Your Church (11am, Wed 13 Mar) – helps church representatives and home computer users grasp some of the basic safety measures when online.
‘There are so many clever criminals wanting to take over your computers, your money, and even your identity, that it is a subject of growing importance,’ he said. ‘Everyone using a computer and going online ought to be aware of the many pitfalls.’
• Dave Carlos will talk on Cyber Security and Digital Safety in Your Church (CRE North, 11am, Wed 13 Mar)
For 20 years Anne Coomes has provided much-needed editorial and graphics for church magazine editors of all mainline denominations – and she will deliver a seminar at CRE North (5pm, Wed 13 Mar) helping editors make the most of their much-loved publications.
‘Church magazines still play a critical role in community life,’ said Anne, co-founder of Parish Pump. ‘They are a pro-active way to keep in touch with both church members and the community. Websites are good, of course, but how many people wake up and say to themselves: “I really must visit my local church website today!” However, if you deliver a magazine through their door, or hand one out in church, people WILL look through it – and if it is good, or relevant to their needs, you will keep their attention.
‘We know of at least one suicide that was prevented in this way. A magazine contained a Parish Pump article about depression, and it led to the person seeking help instead of over-dosing.’
Turning out a regular publication, against deadlines, can be a daunting task. Ironically, since computer software offered us generative text and spellcheckers, typographical errors (or typos) have actually increased in number.
‘Every editor can recall that awful moment when they realise their mistake and there’s nothing they can do about it,’ said Anne. ‘I once ran a headline that should have read: “Make flowers that look like satin.” But instead it said: “Make flowers that look like satan.” Not one of my more glorious moments!’
In advance of CRE North you can vote here for your favourite parish magazine and service sheet typo.
• Parish Pump are on stand A29 at CRE North
• Anne Coomes will help you ‘Pump up your parish mag volume’ (5pm, Wed 13 Mar)
With 30 years’ experience bringing hope in Christ to communities, the people behind Ambassadors Football GB are keen share their vision.
‘We want to show others how simple outreach through football can have an impact on local communities,’ said national director Martin Bateman. ‘With women’s football, walking football for the over 50s and under-11 sessions on a Saturday morning, we will explain how churches can get involved in reaching others through our national game.’
Ambassadors host training days, when church leaders and volunteers are shown how easy it is to organise a football programme. A new initiative in the north west includes working alongside schools with a unique style of coaching.
‘We develop skills but also encourage character values,’ explained Martin. ‘In Christian schools that is linked to a Bible verse but in a non-Christian context we show how good these values are and serve the school and community through the football programme.’
A number of churches have discovered that forming a football team and playing friendly games, or even joining a local league, gives them the opportunity to emphasise Christian values to the players, with opportunities to witness to opposing teams.
‘We were founded in 1990 and work in partnership with other sports groups and denominations to see God’s kingdom established,’ added Martin, ‘especially in hard-to-reach places such as housing estates and with homeless and marginalised people.’
Visitors to the Ambassadors stand will be able to chat to the organisation’s representatives about the possibilities for sporting mission involving football.
• Ambassadors Football are on stand A36 at CRE North
• A CRE North seminar ‘Your church and sports ministry’ will be led by Christians in Sport, Scripture Union, Sports Chaplaincy UK, Ambassadors Football and the C of E Ministry of Sport Initiative at 4pm, Wed 13 Mar