Category Archive CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Glad tidings! Christmas Comms Clinic launched at CRE

If you’re tired of doing the same thing every Christmas at your church, the first-ever CRE Christmas Comms Clinic is for you!

CPO, who have supported churches with communications for more than 60 years, are offering visitors a free 20-minute consultation with a member of their friendly and knowledgeable team at CRE National 2019.

‘Your church has a hugely exciting piece of news to share,’ said CPO’s Jo Swinney. ‘We want to help you be the best at welcoming visitors to hear the Christmas message.’

Many churches are scared to change what they have always done because of limited time and budgets – but CPO do not believe these are barriers to communicating well. 

‘What you want to do with your 20-minute consultation is up to you,’ said Jo. ‘We recommend you bring along examples of previous Christmas outreach resources, ideas for this year, or if you are super organised, your design concepts. Whether you want to talk about printed resources, your website or digital resources as a whole, we’ll be delighted to help you plan for this pivotal time of the year.’

There are only 36 consultations available over the three days of CRE National 2019. If you are interested in meeting with our team please email CPO and they will let you know what slots are available. 

‘To avoid disappointment, get in touch as soon as possible as these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis,’ said Jo.

• The Christmas Comms Clinic is on stands E1/E2 at CRE National 2019
• CPO are on stand S81 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Ecclesiastical architecture: time we understood its subliminal messages

There is a liturgy behind gargoyles, grotesques and gothic flying buttresses – do we really understand the agenda in the ecclesiastical architecture we admire and cherish?

That will be Dr Sanjee Perera’s question to visitors at the first-ever Ladies’ Day (12pm, Thu 17 Oct) at CRE National 2019.

‘Power and its values are celebrated throughout our historic church buildings,’ she will contend. ‘Feudalism, monarchy and elitism are intermingled with raptures of the divine. Concepts of womanhood and beauty are splashed on glass and masonry – as virtuous, demure, chaste, pale, gentle and genteel.’

Dr Perera, a research fellow in Cognitive Ecclesiology at the University of Birmingham, Philosophy, Theology and Religion department, will call for a fresh understanding of the history of our churches, country and culture. 

‘The fabric of a church, whether it is the pews, rood screens, altar, font, all speak to a liturgy – the story of our salvation. It is a door to the divine, it is an invitation. The pews say: “Come sit with us, lay down your burden and hear the good news”. The table says: “Come eat together as a family”. The font tells us we are washed clean.’

Dr Perera will explore the whitewashed cognitive impressions, values and meta-narratives that are subliminally imposed on us, – when we are on our knees, at our most vulnerable – and how these shape the values of a congregation’s collective conscious. She will take CRE visitors on a journey ‘through Victorian stained glass and alabaster angels in verdant graveyards’, to examine how goodness, holiness, beauty and virtue became synonymous with whiteness, and how this becomes a double burden for women and minority ethnic Christians.

In a programme of special presentations and seminars, Ladies’ Day at CRE will subvert the racecourse stereotype of ‘big hair and bling’ and, instead, highlight the contributions of women in church and society, especially those who have been forgotten or neglected.

The Bishop of Dorking, Right Rev Jo Bailey Wells, will speak on women in leadership. Project 3:28’s Natalie Collins, will speak on sexism and Rachel Gardner, director of Youthscape, will offer a new vision for women and inspire visitors to see that vision realised in our churches, communities and families.

• See the Ladies’ Day schedule here

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Life-saving clinic that beats the blockade

With 80 per cent of the population relying on international assistance, a Well Baby Clinic is a life-saver for the children of Gaza. 

One of Embrace the Middle East’s partners, the clinic supports children up to the age of four offering them free check-ups and providing their parents with education about health and nutrition. 

The blockade of Gaza means the supply of medication is intermittent and often runs out. The mother of one young child, Aida*, admits the consistency of the clinic is a relief. After her first birthday, Aida began to lose weight and her energy levels dropped. 

‘Before treatment at the clinic, my child was always sick, her face was pale yellow and she refused food,’ said her mother. ‘I was ignorant about quality of different food. The nurse told me to feed my children food rich in iron.’

Aida is healthy now thanks to the Well Baby Clinic but the lack of availability of quality foods and sanitation means there are many other children who are suffering from poor health. In the first six months of 2019, Well Baby Clinics treated 11,770 poorly children.

‘We are proud to support such a high-quality service that is enabling a brighter future for the children of Gaza,’ said Embrace the Middle East’s events manager Kerensa McCollough.

• Embrace the Middle East are on stand S151at CRE National 2019

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the beneficiaries

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Time to glimpse Jesus through Eastern eyes

When Ethiopian pilgrims could no longer make the treacherous journey to Jerusalem, they built Jerusalem in Lalibela – with churches hewn out of rock.

And now a first-time exhibitor at CRE National 2019, Tadele Travel, will be at Sandown Park to tell visitors about two pilgrimages to this area of startling imagination and beauty.

‘It is not until you catch a glimpse of Jesus through eastern eyes that it dawns on you just how much more there is to following him. Ethiopia is a place that changes you,’ explained Andrew Proud, former Bishop of Reading and previously area bishop for the Horn of Africa in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.‘We want people who will return, not only having fallen in love with Ethiopia, her people and her faith, but with their own faith refreshed.’

Christianity arrived in Ethiopia in the third century, but it has been a Bible land for far longer. Surrounded by mountains and difficult terrain to the north, east and west, Ethiopian Christianity is untouched by the Enlightenment, and only latterly by waves of reformation and revival. Forty-five per cent of her people are Ethiopian Orthodox, oriental orthodox, shaped by Edessa and Alexandria, rather than Constantinople or Rome.

Girma Tadele grew up in Lalibela, an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. He has taken people to the holy sites for years. Together, he and Andrew lead groups there on pilgrimage. 

‘We love to go because each time we see Christ in a new way,’ said Andrew. ‘We are still changed by the place, and others are changed, too.’

Next year two pilgrimages are planned by Tadele Travel.

‘There is still room on both,’ said Andrew. ‘Join us. We’d love you to share the journey.’

• Tadele Travel are stand S79a at CRE National 2019

Photo: Richard Hancock LRPS

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Cashless collections? It’s on the cards (and smartphones)

The end of cash-only collections is nigh – thanks to two companies at CRE National 2019.

Givt, from Holland, will demonstrate state-of-the-art technology that allows worshippers’ smartphones to pick up a signal from a beacon placed in a collection plate. 

‘As soon as the user indicates that he wants to give, the smartphone searches for the signal,’ explains Givt director Sjoerd van Oort. ‘The giver simply moves his smartphone along the collection device and indicates how much he has chosen to donate.’

Most importantly, no-one knows who has given and how much. 

‘We believe that giving is fundamentally different from paying,’ says Sjoerd. ‘With Givt, the donor remains completely anonymous to the collecting organisation.’

Following the company’s debut at CRE National 2018, 17 churches in the UK began piloting Givt, among them Gas Street in Birmingham and the parish church of Walton-on-Thames. 

‘In the Netherlands people give much more with our solution than with cash,’ says Sjoerd. ‘We are finding it to be true in the UK as well.’

This year, the company is offering churches an early bird special. 

‘Those that adopt our solution at CRE will not be charged for any use until the end of the year,’ says Sjoerd. ‘They will also receive a very special reward. Come to the Givt stand to find out more!’

Meanwhile, UK-based Tubular Systems Ltd will display a kiosk which sits permanently in a church, accepting contactless donations but also credit and debit cards. The seven-inch touchscreen with customisable display graphics, can be personalised for any church. Elegant and eye-catching, the kiosk fits neatly into church buildings and can be moved to fund-raising events outside the church. 

‘Installation is super fast as communication is taken care of with a built-in SIM Card,’ explained Tubular Systems’ Kevin Egglesden. ‘You can also customise donation amounts, e.g £5, £10, £20 and £30. We are very proud knowing that our kiosk will soon be helping local churches generate donations for the many excellent activities in which they are involved.’ 

• Givt are on stand S110 at CRE National 2019
• Tubular Systems Ltd are on stand B9 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Eight-day prayer journey that ‘lets your mind wander’

Pray for those longing for a home – particularly the UK’s 320,000 homeless people and the world’s 69 million displaced souls.

That’s the message of a new, free prayer resource, available online, which champions those who need housing. Published by the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, who are exhibiting at at CRE National 2019, Octave encourages us to pray for carers, the homeless, refugees and housing policy makers – as well as the society’s work.

Prayers are offered for MMHS as it looks after a sweeping nationwide network of nearly 1,000 properties, rented out to retired Methodist ministers.

‘We pray for all those who long to be settled in a place they can call home,’ says Octave, based on an ancient Christian practice of an eight-day prayer journey. Each day focuses on a different topic, following the same pattern every time – a reading, a prayer and an extract from a hymn. This simple guide takes the user through eight days of reflection.

‘Start somewhere and finish somewhere,’ said MMHS Board member Revd Glynn Lister, who wrote Octave. ‘If you get lost in the middle, that’s fine, too.’ He approached his subject with a simple philosophy – prayer is ‘letting your mind wander in the presence of God’. 

Octave is beautifully adorned with graphics by design house Lindisfarne Scriptorium. MMHS seeks to meet the housing needs of retired Methodist ministers of limited means, their spouses, their widows and widowers, and to offer support for their wellbeing.

• Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society are on stand DP5 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Brian re-imagines life of Joseph

A new, meditative fable, imagined as it might be told by the archangel Gabriel, helps us understand the part Joseph played in the greatest story ever told.

Joseph and the Three Gifts (Darton, Longman and Todd), by award-winning writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley (pictured), follows Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in hiding in Egypt and a return to his carpentry in Nazareth – as Jesus grows from boy to man to messiah. It also asks what Joseph might have done with the Magi’s gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.

Brian, who will speak in CRE’s Arts Cafe (11.15am, Tue 15 Oct) and is a guest on Cindy’s Sofa at 1pm on the same day, is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He dramatised the celebrated BBC radio adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, and is the author of many books on fantasy films and literature, and biographies of C. S. Lewis (Shadowlands), the Rev. W. W. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine and legendary Tolkien filmmaker, Peter Jackson.

‘Brian Sibley’s radio adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings were masterpieces and now he has written a little masterpiece of his own,’ said screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce. ‘Joseph and the Three Gifts tells the story of an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary events. The twist is the discovery that in this miraculous world there is no such thing as ordinary. It is also one of the best things I’ve read about fatherhood.’

• Darton, Longman and Todd are on stand YZ11 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

‘God of the small things’ shapes Rut for future ministry

Insecure and wounded because of her past, Rut Quevedo was hungry for more of God – and The International Bible Training Institute (IBTI) answered her prayer.

Originally from the Canary Islands and now serving in Spain, Rut graduated this year after completing a two-year Applied Theology course.

‘I really wanted to know Jesus more, but I didn’t know how to do it in a practical way,’ she admits. ‘The IBTI enabled me to do that – and more!’

The IBTI is a vocational bible college in West Sussex and, throughout its rich 72-year history, has never lost its original vision to train up Christians to minister effectively in God’s kingdom, in accordance with their calling and gifting.

‘During my course I learned how to work in a team with people from different cultures and backgrounds,’ says Rut. ‘The weekly ministry opportunities helped me develop my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and also apply this in worship as well as my work with the homeless community – one of my chosen activities during the course.’

Preaching and leading church services taught her not just how to minister to people, but also how to do it in English – especially helpful because she is now serving in an international English-speaking church in Spain. 

‘In my time at the IBTI God even used small things like my daily cleaning duties to shape my character,’ says Rut. ‘From regular mentoring sessions and rich teaching in lectures, God brought great healing and showed me my real identity in him. My two years at the IBTI were the best years of my life and have shaped me for my current ministry.’

• IBTI are stand S99 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Tackling taboos: Sarah calls for honest conversations about sex

With relationships and sex education now statutory in schools, Sarah Smith (pictured) will be at CRE National 2019 to help Christian educators deliver this important topic in schools, churches and other youth settings.

In her seminar ‘Awkward, but essential: How to talk effectively about relationships and sex in church’ (2pm, Tue 15 Oct), visitors will gain an insight into the relational and sexual health issues young people face today. 

‘It is vital that parents/carers and youth leaders tackle topics often seen as taboo and become more effective in talking about bodies, relationships and sex,’ said Sarah, CEO of acet UK, a Christian charity delivering relationships and sex education in secondary schools and training to youth workers, teachers and parents. 

Her book A Guide to Growing Up is published by CRE National 2019 exhibitor Lion Hudson and features detailed chapters on topics such as masturbation and same-sex attraction. The book aims to support parents in talking to their children and is an essential guide in any young person’s journey – ‘a guide they can go back to time and again.’

• acet are on stand YZ2 at CRE National 2019

• Lion Hudson are on stand FC10 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Living and Telling: New resource turns ‘scary’ evangelism on its head

A major video-based training course, designed to envision and equip Christians to share their faith naturally  as a way of life, will be launched at CRE National 2019.

The initiative goes back to 2007 when Tim Moyler (pictured) of CRE National 2019 exhibitor Agapé UK decided to run a version of a Living & Telling course developed first by David Wilson, also of Agapé UK.

‘I was hearing story after story of young people going to university and falling away from their faith,’ said Tim. ‘I was passionate that this wouldn’t happen to my own kids and other young people in the church. I adapted the course for school leavers. It was just a small group but one of them is now in the leadership team of a church plant in Exeter, another leading a national movement amongst students in the UK.’ 

In the autumn of 2008, Tim, who lives in Woodbury in Devon, connected with Dave Pegg and together they ran Living & Telling in Exeter. Although pitched at primarily college and university students, it has always attracted people of all ages and is now aimed at churches and groups who are looking to equip Christians to become more confident in sharing their faith.

‘Discipleship is evident throughout the whole course,’ explains Tim. ‘Living & Telling can help people discover a whole new adventure and sense of fun, working with the Holy Spirit in what he is already doing in people’s lives. Instead of it being something scary and off-putting for ourselves and possibly for others, we turn the whole thing on its head. Living & Telling can help people do that. It really does encourage as well as equip Christians to look at discipleship and sharing this amazing news in a fresh way.’

Tim will lead a seminar on Living & Telling at CRE (3pm, Wed 16 Oct).

‘CRE is where we hope to chat with the very people for whom we have made the course,’ says Tim. ‘We hope that our seminar will attract leaders of churches, small groups, youth groups and CUs who are looking for a user-friendly way of getting members to talk about Jesus with those around them.’

Everyone at the CRE seminar will be offered a free copy of the participant’s journal.

‘We will briefly take them through some sample material, explaining what makes Living & Telling different from other personal evangelism courses. The core transferable principles have been used for decades by Campus Crusade International to release tens of thousands of Christians into the adventure and fun of sharing their faith confidently and helpfully.’ 

• Agapé UK are on stand S118 at CRE National 2019

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