CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

Let there be light – that’s ‘warm, welcoming and beautiful’

It would be hard to imagine another technological upgrade to a church that has the immediate impact of LED lighting. 

Once a humble on-off indicator replacing a tungsten or neon lamp on a car or electrical device, the Light Emitting Diode now provides an uplifting, energy saving, maintenance-free enhancement to thousands of houses of worship. 

‘The vast array of modern light fittings, providing opportunities for multi-beam angle – spotlights, floodlights and everything between – and variations of colour temperature (warm, cool white, daylight) can be used alongside a digital control that’s not as scary as it sounds,’ explains Stuart Graham of CRE exhibitor Clarity in Sound Light and Vision Ltd.

Adding to the character and versatility of traditional spaces and providing the current power infrastructure that meets regulations, LED fixtures can be direct replacements for existing fittings, without any additional control cabling.

‘This reduces cost and makes the whole upgrade process more palatable to diocese, faculty and congregation,’ says Stuart.

On the Great Somerford Church page on Facebook, Revd Steve Wilkinson shows the improvements to his church after an upgrade to LED lighting. He comments: ‘The lights and the controls are fully flexible allowing us to focus attention on different areas of the building according to need. We are really pleased with the back-lit internal stained-glass window which was previously ineffectively lit. It is now a real feature and draws the eye.’

Wireless digital control can be used to establish ‘scenes’ – setting pre-programmed lighting scenarios around the space for a range of activities or to highlight an architectural feature within the building. 

St Mary’s Church in Standon, Hertfordshire is a Grade 1 listed building whose original structure dates back to Saxon times. The growing use of the space for a wide variety of functions meant that the existing lighting provision was inadequate and the church turned to Clarity to determine the best way forward.

‘As well as the practical aspects of re-lighting the church, there were many important aesthetic considerations to take into account,’ explains Stuart. ‘There was a strong wish to highlight the beauty of a number of the church’s historical internal features, as enhancements to creating a warm, welcoming and beautiful space.’

The sensitivity of the interior fabric of the church meant Clarity had to be painstaking in their approach to the installation. The delicate ancient floor could not support heavy machinery, so ceiling access was obtained by the careful use of scaffolding. Every part of the job demanded careful attention to detail. 

Different feature areas of the church were lit with appropriate fittings from across the ETC ArcSystem range. In the chancel, two important tombs were lit with ETC MR16 fixtures, with the same units being chosen as uplighters for the ceiling.

‘The resulting installation looks stunning,’ says Stuart, ‘and highlights the rich architecture of the building whilst offering a warm, bright, practical lighting solution for the staging of worship and events.’

Lighting accounts for 20 per cent of the energy used in the UK which means it also accounts for a significant chunk of our energy bills. LED lamps use less than 15 per cent of the energy of their tungsten counterparts which impacts directly on CO2 emissions.

‘Let’s not forget the benefits of a product that boasts a lamp life of 55,000 hours when it comes to scaling the dizzying heights of the existing light fittings at 8, 10, or 12 meters, usually with annoyingly limited access!’ concludes Stuart.

Click here for more information

• Clarity in Sound, Light and Vision Ltd are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

The ‘love letter’ that still resonates

A wedding gift given to Virginia Moffatt 23 years ago proved such a life-changer that she brandishes it before viewers at the start of her CRE At Home 2020 seminar.

Pope Francis described the New Jerusalem Bible as ‘God’s love letter to us’ and Virginia, an author from Oxford, used it as the title of her seminar in which she outlines her passion for a new edition – the Revised New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition published by Darton, Longman and Todd (DLT).

In her seminar she provides a short history of the Jerusalem Bible which followed a call from Pope Pius XII in 1943 for a translation directly from the original Hebrew and Greek text into people’s everyday language. French scholars produced the Bible in 1956 and the French translation proved so successful that in 1966 DLT produced an English version. That was followed in 1985 by the New Jerusalem Bible with Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk from Ampleforth Abbey, as the editor. 

‘So I was very interested,’ she explains, ‘when I learnt that DLT were going to produce a new version and I was invited to meet Dom Henry, who was again the editor. It was to be a version doing away with patriarchal language, be easy to read and more accessible. The study notes would enable it to be a Bible for study and proclamation.’

She travelled to Ampleforth two years ago to interview Dom Henry about his work and clips from her interview are part of the seminar. Virginia also tells of her pleasure at being invited to oversee the study guides which go alongside the new Bible. Although four have been written, only two were published before the pandemic– Forgiveness, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Approaching the End of Life, by Virginia herself. Two others – Illness, Disability and Caring, and Welcoming the Stranger, will be published later with possibly more to follow.

‘I hope the guides will enable people to use the Bible in their personal journey, look at familiar texts from a different angle and see that the Bible stories still resonate today because they speak of ordinary human experience,’ she concludes.

Click here for more information

• Darton, Longman and Todd are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Remember them with brand new resources

Searchlight Theatre Company, together with international speaker and author Jeff Lucas, have combined to produce some helpful online resources for Remembrance Sunday and Advent.

‘All our tours are on hold for the foreseeable future,’ explains Searchlight’s David Robinson, ‘so we decided to join the great online migration of 2020 and professionally film some new resources for churches to use over Advent.’

The material for November includes extracts from Searchlight’s award-winning production of Woodbine Willie: Poet and Padre, as well as insights and devotions from Jeff Lucas. Woodbine Willie (real name Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy), was an inspirational WWI padre on the front line who gave out cigarettes and New Testaments in equal measure.

‘The lads loved him for staying with them in the trenches,’ explains David. ‘He believed he could only pray for them if he was there with them and the soldiers never forgot him.’

Five scenes from his life have been dramatised and filmed by Searchlight and these, together with reflections from Lucas, make an ideal Remembrance Day online package for churches.

In December he will give four seasonal short chats based around Searchlight’s light-hearted festive sketches. These are ideal for services and small groups alike. An added bonus is a 25-minute sermon from Jeff entitled The Hope We All Wish For.

The two online packages are available for all churches for the price of one: £49

Click here for more information

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Children: don’t cover up the truth

We don’t want children to be afraid but there are things they should be afraid of and we have to be truthful about that.

So says Debbie Duncan, an advanced nurse practitioner and lecturer in nursing, in her CRE At Home 2020 seminar Supporting emotional wellbeing in children. Highlighting some of the important problems to overcome – particularly children under nine – Debbie calls for our conversations to be honest, transparent and open.

She also encourages us to use the Bible as a guidebook, pointing to passages that are helpful in explaining some of life’s problems and calls for a positive approach. 

‘It is necessary to help youngsters identify who they can trust, bearing in mind that parents are not always the first choice when children want to talk through a problem,’ says Debbie, who is married to Rev Malcolm Duncan. ‘They need godly people they can trust to give good advice.

‘They might be concerned because they are not allowed to play with friends or because they have to wear face masks but these are problems which can be talked through. We don’t want children to be afraid, but there are things they should be afraid of and we have to be truthful about that.’

Debbie is author of BraveThe Art of Daily Resilience and The God Cares series from Lion Hudson. She has also authored more than 50 professional nursing journal articles and two textbooks in nursing.

Click here for more information

• Lion Hudson are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Hot summer leads to call-out surge

The hottest August on record led to a record number of lightning storms which kept family firm CES Lighting on full charge.

‘We received half a dozen calls related to lightning strikes on some of the nation’s major churches, when we would normally get no more than a couple,’ said Ryan Slessenger, senior partner in the company. ‘Lightning was not the only problem. Many churches suffered the effects of electrical surges from the lightning, others surges in power from sources outside.’

The company was well equipped to deal with the flood of calls, however, having successfully helped All Saints, Maidstone overcome the major effects of a lightning strike last year which wiped out the church’s lighting system and damaged much of the internal wiring. The church – which lost its spire in 1739 when struck by lightning and was never rebuilt – needed extensive repairs and replacement of the internal wiring.

‘We installed a lightning protection system which directed the lightning into the ground and then installed electrical surge protection devices to protect against another strike, and electrical surges caused by other means,’ said Ryan, who has been with CES Lighting since 1995 apart from two years when he was electrical officer on the mission ship MS Logos 11.

It was an early warning for the requests which came in during August as the severe hot weather resulted in a record number of lightning storms.

‘We were kept busy installing new lighting protection systems and internal electrical work,’ said David Burch, the company’s lighting design expert. He helped in his father’s electrical business as a child before branching out on his own and joining CES Lighting five years ago.

‘Surge protection devices are now a requirement of the regulations for new installations – and are strongly recommended for all existing systems,’ he explained. ‘While the system as a whole is protected, more sensitive electrical items such as audio-visual, lighting dimming systems, organs and clock mechanisms, may want to consider extra protection.’

All CES Lighting’s work during the pandemic is being done using all necessary protection.

Click here for more information

• CES Lighting are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Covid-19: make sure it’s a clean machine

Good hygiene is vital when operating church AV equipment if we are to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

‘Droplets of saliva that transport the virus can accumulate in and on AV equipment,’ explains Courtney Brown, managing director of DSAV (Distributed Sound & Video Ltd) Ltd. ‘Frequently touched items such as mixers, remote controls, keyboards, touchscreens and microphones used close to the mouth, will require extra vigilance.’

While DSAV, regular exhibitors at CRE, are not virologists and cannot provide 100 per cent medically proven advice on disinfecting technical equipment, they are offering practical tips that could help to protect you and others.

  1. Avoid shared contact – The most effective way to combat cross-contamination is to allocate equipment to specific people for their sole use. If you can control your AV system by app, download this to your personal device and if possible, use a personal stylus instead of your finger.
  2. Practise good housekeeping – AV desks can be a magnet for bits and bobs. Reduce clutter and remove non-essential or difficult to clean items.
  3. Improve storage procedures – Store headset mics in separate sealed lunchboxes and lapel mics in zip-up pouches with their transmitters, each container should be clearly labelled with the mic wearer’s name. Ensure that the designated user is the only person to handle their mic. Avoid a third party handling this equipment – for example, to change batteries.
  4. Sanitise equipment – Surfaces and devices should be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.  Antibacterial screen wipes, isopropyl alcohol cleaning solvent and non-abrasive disinfectant foams should be in your arsenal but remember to test the cleaner first on a small area before applying it to the entire surface of the device.
  5. Invest in consumables – Foam windshields for headset, gooseneck and vocal microphones are relatively inexpensive and should be replaced regularly.  Contact DASV with the make and model of your mic for availability and pricing.

‘Always wash your hands regularly and thoroughly before, during, and after operating AV equipment as per internationally recognised guidelines from the WHO and the NHS,’ suggests Courtney. ‘When cleaning equipment, take all relevant hygiene measures to avoid any risk of infection. And if you haven’t already, help support the NHS test and trace app by creating a QR code for your church here.’

Click here for more information

• DSAV Ltd will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Your building is a partner in mission

Church buildings are not an end in themselves but active partners in local mission.

That’s the view of Nigel Walter of ChurchBuild (Archangel Ltd), who believes we can learn important lessons from the Covid-19 crisis.

‘New technology has enabled church members to engage effectively over the past few months,’ he said. ‘We might conclude we no longer need buildings at all. But is a Zoom meeting really “church”, or do we need to be assembled together in one place, as the Greek word ecclesia suggests?’

Even before Covid-19, many people found their buildings to be awkward, expensive and a distraction from the purpose of mission and worship. Yet they also help play a role in the formation of community.

‘If Jesus “moved into the neighbourhood” (as The Message renders John 1.14) then we shouldn’t be surprised that we, too, are called to commit to the places we find ourselves,’ said Nigel. ‘And for all sorts of practical reasons, that commitment often takes the form of bricks and mortar.’

His view is practical and down to earth – seeing buildings as important, not as an end in themselves, but as active partners in local mission.

‘We bring design skills and decades of architectural experience to churches and see our vocation as equipping them to deal better with their buildings,’ he explained.

ChurchBuild is the result – a suite of free resources to help churches create a better fit between a church community and the buildings it occupies.

‘We have also recently set up a Facebook group where people can share experiences and help each other to save time, money and heartache, and hopefully provide inspiration, too,’ said Nigel. ‘Beyond that, we can also offer paid architectural services, if relevant.

‘We live in an age of increasing rootlessness, made worse by the pandemic. In that context, buildings, and particularly old buildings, offer opportunities to build bridges with local neighbourhoods.’

Click here for ChurchBuild’s range of free resources

A free Cambridge Paper on Church buildings recently published by Nigel Walter is available here

• ChurchBuild will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Don Maclean: my resource is the rosary

Actor and comedian Don McLean has one simple resource that has helped him through Covid-19 – the rosary.

‘I have one in my hand now,’ he told Cindy Kent in an interview for CRE At Home 2020. ‘Through the pandemic we have discovered that me and her (Toni, Don’s wife) are very happy in each other’s company, which is just as well because we have been married for 53 years. We’ve also discovered that Facetime is one of the best inventions of all time. Actually, talking to your nearest and dearest and seeing them at the same time, has been very important.’

And the rosary took on a new meaning five years ago.

‘Toni went through all the instructions to become a Roman Catholic,’ recalled Don. ‘I decided I wanted to give her a gift and very interestingly Toni’s grandfather was a Frenchman killed in the First World War. One of the things found on his body was a crucifix that was sent back to Toni’s grandma. When my father-in-law (the son) died my mother-in-law gave me the crucifix which was black and tarnished. I knew it would come in handy at some time. I bought a very nice rosary and took the crucifix to a jeweller who revived it. It looked brand new and he put it on the rosary. That is what she uses now.’

The former presenter of BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday came to fame when he starred in Crackerjack in the 1970s and he has had regular spots on television, radio and in pantomime. He was more cautious when looking to the future, however.

‘Coronavirus is almost a curse on the world but I have been one of the luckiest blokes on earth,’ he admitted. ‘I have spent my life doing exactly what I wanted to do. I worked on four cruise ships last year but the cruise business is off the charts now and it will take years to get back to normal.’

Cindy’s conversations with several personalities, including singer Sir Cliff Richard, are all part of CRE At Home – a ‘virtual’ exhibition that replaces this year’s national exhibition. They are all available at CRE TV.

Click here for the full interview with Don Maclean.

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

One small step to effective mission

The beginning of a major church building project can seem daunting but Phil Winch of CPL Architects thinks the simple answer is – take the first step.

Architectural design, technical complexity, site constraints, complex approvals, funding, procurement – what do you when faced with a challenge of this scale?

‘The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It’s the same for many churches,’ explained Phil. ‘The beginning of a major building project can often seem like beginning a journey of a thousand miles.’ 

The answer is to put one foot in front of the other.

There is a well‐established process for the design and procurement of building projects, defined most famously by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the Plan of Work, namely:

  • the envisioning and briefing process
  • feasibility analysis and research
  • option appraisal
  • consultation and concept design development 

After this comes statutory and other approvals, technical design and production information. Finally, there’s project procurement, with contractor selection, tendering, construction and handover. 

‘These are all significant steps in the design and construction process to deliver a first class building to meet the needs identified in the initial vision of a church project,’ said Phil. ‘You might say that building design is in fact a journey of a thousand small steps.’

One way in which this scheme can be applied is in the phasing of construction projects where funding is limited or being raised over a period time. 

‘We have been working with members of Dunchurch Baptist Church (pictured) in Rugby,’ said Phil. ‘They have a vision for a new building to replace an old, prefabricated structure. Phase One, the weatherproof shell is now complete, allowing Phase Two, the internal fit‐out work, to proceed under separate contract to suit funding at their own pace.’

Phasing is a simple and yet powerful way of achieving a significant building project, in a series of manageable steps.

‘If you have a vision for a new building project, do let us know if we can help you take that first step,’ said Phil.

Click here for more information

• CPL Architects will be exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (17-18 Mar 2021) and CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey)

Photo: Dunchurch Baptist Church, Rugby

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Drug abuse: church is not a safe haven

At a time when one in three of all UK school pupils have been offered drugs, the chances are that many of the young people in your church have already been targeted.

So says Sarah Brighton, CEO of Hope UK, in her CRE At Home 2020 seminar Drugs and the Church.

‘If this is the case, have you considered how they will manage the situation?’ she says. ‘Do you just leave them to get on with it or is there something you can do to help them before it happens?

‘It’s nice to think your church doesn’t have a problem but most church members are living in the wider world and sadly are not exempt from coming into contact with and possibly using drugs.’

In her seminar Sarah explains:

  • The help or support you should consider giving the children and young people who attend your church and those with whom your church come into contact
  •  The legal responsibilities you have regarding buildings you own or hire
  •  How you can help people in your church or community with drug-related issues – in their families and as individuals

For more than 160 years, Hope UK have equipped young people to make drug*-free choices (including legal substances such as alcohol and cigarettes), working with groups and individuals in formal and informal settings helping them develop the knowledge and skills they need to live healthy lives. 

‘Our aim at Hope UK is that we will be so good at our work that young people will be equipped to deal with the issues around drugs (and other areas) that they can make healthy choices for themselves and won’t need to be “rescued” later in life,’ says Sarah.

  • Click here to watch Sarah’s seminar
  • For a list of CRE At Home 2020 seminars click here
  • To view the CRE At Home 2020 handbook click here

CRE At Home

See the CRE At Home resources guide!

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021
23-24 June 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021
12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey