Before he started visiting prisons, legendary slide guitarist Bryn Haworth had no idea about the church behind locked doors.
‘It started in 1990 with a “nagging” Bible verse,’ recalls Bryn, guest on Cindy’s Sofa at CRE 2017 (1pm, Thu 19 Oct). ‘Matthew 25:36 says “When I was in prison you visited me.” I discovered brothers and sisters there just like us. They had simply got into trouble and were more in need of help.’
That first exploratory visit developed into the Music in Ministry Trust with Bryn and his wife Sally reaching dozens of prisons across the UK.
‘The big difference is that prisoners are starved of resources – books, song books, music equipment, people to talk to and pray with them,’ says Bryn. ‘It has been shown that prisoners who maintain healthy contact with the outside world are six times less likely to reoffend. And prisoners specially respond to the blues!’
As well as doing concerts, Bryn, a singer-songwriter with a distinguished history as a recording and live artist, takes Sunday services and leads workshops – liaising with prison chaplaincy departments. He and Sally have seen many prisoners ‘saved, healed and released in creative gifts.’ On release from prison, their lives have turned around for good.
‘We know some wonderful prison chaplains, with workloads beyond their capacity, managing to cope only with the help of a few volunteers,’ he says. He has recorded two albums specially for prisoners – Time Out and Inside Out – and has just released a compilation Water from the Rock.
‘Our vision for the future is to let the church “outside” know about the church behind bars and what an extraordinary ministry it is,’ explains Bryn who still does regular concerts and will sing a couple of songs during Cindy’s Sofa (1pm, Thu 19 Oct). ‘If you would love to get stuck in where you’re needed, talk to me at CRE!’
• Music in Ministry Trust is Display Panel (DP) 6 at CRE 2017
At 78, Richard Ferguson can still recite the whole of Mark’s Gospel by heart – though he might need ‘a bit of prompting’ these days.
The retired rural clergyman took nine months to write his own translation of Mark from the original Greek, published in a 190-page book Rock and Breakers. Available at Richard’s Making Sense of the Gospels stand FC9 at CRE 2017, the book includes his translation, comments to help the reader and two CDs containing his own reading of the gospel.
At the time, as area dean of Morpeth, he performed live recitals of the entire gospel in churches, halls and community centres throughout Northumberland. It took him two hours to recite the entire gospel with a short break in the middle. By his own admission his memory is not what it was – but he doesn’t need much prompting.
Now retired from his final job as vicar of Kirkwhelpington, Kirkheaton and Cambo united benefice, he has produced another five books to aid those who have never read the gospels or who find them difficult to grasp. His subsequent books include:
Footsteps – following on from the original book, this is written to help those who know nothing about Jesus Christ.
The Great Gospel – an introduction to Matthew’s gospel, helpful to anyone reading it for the first time.
Listen to the Gospels – explaining why the four gospels are so different and why it is important to understand the differences.
A Reading of John – a new translation of the gospel with each chapter followed by explanations on why the text was written.
The Journey of Prayer – a short booklet to help those who have never prayed or whose prayer life is experiencing difficulties.
‘They will all be available at CRE and I look forward to meeting people there,’ said the man whose burning vision is simply to help those who struggle with reading the Bible.
• Making Sense of the Gospels is stand FC9 at CRE 2017
There is no excuse for not following the law and teaching RE in schools.
So says Julia Diamond-Conway of CRE 2017 exhibitor RE Today after news that one in four secondary schools in England do not offer RE on the syllabus. This startling information was obtained by the National Association for RE teachers (NATRE) using the Freedom of Information Act.
‘In collaboration with NATRE, we produce many high-quality resources to inspire and inform children – for their lives both now and in the future,’ said Julia. ‘There is just no excuse for not following the law and teaching a subject so relevant in today’s society.’
Following 14 years as a teacher in London, specialising in RE, Julia became a National RE Adviser.
‘Many people think RE is about issues from centuries ago and no longer relevant,’ she said. ‘But our material talks of modern times and uses modern techniques to involve children fully in the learning process.’
Julia will join Mark Markiewicz, of first-time CRE exhibitor Museum of the Bible, for a seminar at CRE 2017 introducing the Augmented Reality Bible Curriculum. They will explain how RE Today is helping to turn these impressive new resources from the USA into a form suitable for use by UK schools and churches (3pm, Tue 17 Oct, Room 2).
Visitors will be able to visit the Museum of the Bible and RE Today stands to try out the new Bible Curriculum technology and find out about RE Today’s ‘Understanding Christianity’ materials, which offer fresh ways to help children understand the key concepts of Christianity.
These may be challenging times, but for believers they are also filled with hope and joy.
That will be Dana’s message when she opens CRE 2017 on Tue 17 Oct (10am).
‘I am happy and honoured to cut the ribbon on this wonderful exhibition,’ said Dana, Ireland’s first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. ‘I’m really looking forward to being with everyone at Sandown Park but then I always enjoy being with hopeful, joyful people.’
As an 18-year-old schoolgirl in 1970 she was the last of 12 performers to sing before an estimated viewing audience of 200 million. Her ‘All Kinds of Everything’ pushed the UK’s entry, sung by Mary Hopkin, into second place.
‘It is a special pleasure to welcome Dana back to CRE,’ said the exhibition’s new owner, Steve Goddard. ‘And I’m especially delighted she will be with us for all three days when she will sing, be interviewed about her distinguished career in music and politics and take part in Worship Alive!’
Dana last opened the exhibition in 1993.
‘It has been some years since I last attended CRE and it is wonderful to see that with Steve and his wife, Allison, it continues to inspire and inform the Christian family,’ she said.
Nominated to run in the 1997 Irish Presidential election, the first non-political candidate ever to do so, she campaigned to protect Christian family values, and while not winning, took 14 per cent of the votes, ahead of one of Ireland’s major political parties. She was subsequently elected as an MEP, representing Ireland’s Connacht-Ulster constituency for five years until 2004.
Thousands of musicians are saying goodbye to paper, thanks to CRE exhibitor Cambron Software.
‘We have converted thousands of musicians from dead tree to digital technology,’ said Cambron’s Gordon Cameron. ‘Ukulele players, guitarists, organists – and everyone in between. In fact, it’s exactly a decade since we launched our first version of Power Music, at CRE.’
Power Music is the ultimate digital music management and display system – for Windows, Mac and iPad. From page-turning foot pedals to complete digital music stand solutions, Cambron have it all.
‘Come to stand S84 and we’ll tell you about the big advantages of dropping paper and going digital,’ said Gordon. ‘If you are already a digital music user, you can discover the latest hands-free page turners, iPad and tablet mounts, along with our new MusicOne scanner. We’ll give you free advice on software, hardware and legal sources of digital music – and answer any questions you have about digital music display.’
• Cambron Software are on stand S84 at CRE 2017
A sip of coffee at CRE will remind us that more than 90 per cent of everything we own comes to us over the waves.
BySea is a new exhibitor offering a brand from which every penny in profits goes to help seafarers and their families in more than 27 countries.
An initiative of the Sailors’ Society, BySea’s eye-grabbing Land Rover coffee bar will be in the paddock at Sandown Park where you can sample one of their five blends – African, Americas, Asia Pacific, Brazilian, Indian and decaffeinated.
The Land Rover can be hired for corporate events and private parties, providing exquisite coffee on demand. Or you can simply buy the coffee – in pod format for machines or ground.
‘Seafarers are typically away from their homes from nine to 12 months at a time, facing violent storms, loneliness and isolation, even piracy and terrorism,’ explained Stuart Rivers, chief executive officer for the Sailors’ Society, an international maritime charity. ‘BySea reminds us of the journey our coffee has made before it reaches our cups. It tastes good, too!’
• BySea are on stand S136 at CRE 2017 and their Land Rover will be in the paddock.
A picturesque Bavarian village will welcome more than half a million visitors in three years’ time and an exhibitor at CRE 2017 will make sure you 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 S101
God cares no less for the old than the young – and the church must take an ageing population seriously when it comes to mission and growth.
That will be the message to CRE 2017 from Rev Dr David Hilborn of St John’s College, Nottingham.
‘The generational distinctions we use today are relatively recent and specific to western culture,’ David will contend. ‘Scripture shows us that God’s people tend to go wrong when the young are set against the old.’
The biblical writers tend to see economic status, race and gender as of more concern to God than distinctions of age – and cut across generational lines.
‘In our pastoral care, we need to get these concerns into proportion,’ said David. ‘After some 30 years dominated by a generationally-segmented approach, recent mission and church growth thinking has recovered the importance of intergenerational Christian life and witness.’
In his seminar David will offer practical examples of intergenerational church and mission, alongside case studies of how it can be complemented by generationally-specific strategies.
• Millennials, X-ers and Boomers: Should Mission and Church Growth Be Generation-Based? Rev Dr David Hilborn of St John’s School of Mission (3pm, Wed 18 Oct)
• St John’s College Nottingham are on Stand S26 at CRE 2017
A new resource to help with mission work leading up to the eve of All Saints (Halloween) will be seen for the first time at CRE 2017.
The Meaningful Treat Pack is suitable for light parties, outreach events, schools or simply for children who call at houses to trick or treat on 31st October.
Inside each pack is a bag of Fairtrade chocolate buttons and a poster with eight challenges including a quiz, maze, word game, a call to buy Fairtrade, a prayer suggestion, a national competition with a prize – and a challenge to treat someone less well off by donating to a children’s charity.
Produced by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, creators of the Real Easter Egg, each box costs £30 (there are 30 packs per box – £1 per pack). If ordered before September 30th, delivery is free.
‘Most people feel there has to be more to Halloween than dressing kids up as serial killers or monsters,’ said Meaningful Chocolate’s David Marshall. ‘The Meaningful Treat box is a way for adults to challenge kids to look at the good in the world, give to a charity and to enjoy some great Fairtrade chocolate at the same time.
‘The word Halloween means “the night before All Saints Day” – a time when we celebrate men of faith who have gone before us. We also remember friends and family members and celebrate good triumphing over bad, light over darkness.’
• The Meaningful Chocolate Company are on stand S3 at CRE 2017
Young Ukrainian music and dance group Zozulenka will perform at CRE 2017 – before setting out on a tour of the UK.
Under the auspices of Youth Zone exhibitor Hope Now, the talented teenagers offer brilliant entertainment and excitement but join us from a beautiful country that is struggling with war and years of political upheaval.
Hope Now, who have been working in Ukraine since 1992, provide healthcare for children and adults in need, as well as working in orphanages and with children taken to the Rescue Shelter by the authorities.
‘We share the love of Jesus and attempt to make him known by ministering to those in spiritual, physical and emotional need,’ said Hope Now’s Jonathan Budgell. ‘We want the Gospel to touch the hearts of young and old, rich and poor, healthy and infirm, free and imprisoned.’
Since 2014 the charity has extended its reach into Moldova and Sri Lanka.
Among the places Zozulenka will perform after their debut at CRE 2017 are Southampton, Swanage, Milford On Sea, Leamington, New Milton, Paignton, Chard, Stroud, Peterborough, St Neots, Great Yarmouth and London.
• Zozulenka are in concert at 11.30am, Wed 18 Oct, in Cindy’s Bar
• Hope Now are on stand C12 in the Youth Zone in Surrey Hall