Category Archive CRE News

Dave HallByDave Hall

How Chawton Hill got to the heart of Oakhall

A church that originally cost £206 to build in 1894 now features a multi-use auditorium, office complex, cafe, classrooms and a nursery.

Oakhall Church, in Caterham, Surrey boasts a new all-purpose building – thanks, in part, to CRE exhibitors Chawton Hill who took on the mantle of project manager, quantity surveyor and principal designer. The quality of their work has been acknowledged by receipt of the Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Award for the South East and the project will go into the national finals later this year.

Liaising closely with church officials, the work was overseen by Abigail Peters, Chawton Hill surveyor and project manager. Together, they were tasked to produce a building adaptable for multi-use. Derelict offices were demolished, old foundations removed and ground levels re-worked. A new steel-framed building was erected, clad with various materials including textured blockwork, through-colour rendering, brickwork and glazed curtain walling.

‘And the building is already making an impact in the community,’ said Peter Thompson, a former operations director for the church. With large glazed areas and a variety of roof levels with varying pitches, the church’s external appearance is striking. Inside it offers a high-quality finish with hardwood joinery, acoustic folding partitions and various flooring types.

It’s all a far cry from the building in Francis Road (then called Elizabeth Road) in Caterham –the site of which was bought for £32.

Chawton Hill are happy to chat to CRE visitors about all kinds of church building projects, large and small.

• Chawton Hill are on stand S108 at CRE National 2019

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Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
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Dave HallByDave Hall

Who wants to see a million shared?

It’s the colourful outreach tool that has sold almost one million copies every year for the past six years.

Good News is used by churches of all denominations – a colourful, breezy publication features stories about celebrities and ‘ordinary’ people, showing how the Christian faith transforms lives.

Run by a small team as a registered charity, Good News started from scratch in 2001 and now sells more than 77,000 copies every month, with the Christmas edition rising to more than 106,000.

‘We are not publicising these sales figures to crow about them but to let local congregations struggling to reach their communities know that other churches have found a way to do it,’ said editor Andrew Halloway (pictured). ‘Good News distribution is a tried and tested method. We give the glory to God as we support the Church in its task to reach the unchurched.’

The team receive a regular flow of responses from readers who have made faith commitments and from churches who relate how Good News provides opportunities for meaningful conversations. 

One user in Orpington, Kent, said: ‘Praise the Lord that you keep the paper interesting to non-church folk. I deliver it to a number of people who live nearby and out of 80 people I’ve asked so far, more than 70 per cent like to read it.’

• Free sample copies will be available on the Good News stand S42 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Bishop Jo to speak at first-ever Ladies’ Day

Hats, big hair and bling may be stock-in-trade but one Ladies’ Day at Sandown Park will subvert the stereotype.

In partnership with Mothers’ Union and Project 3:28, CRE National (15-17 Oct 2019), will devote its final day, Thu 17 Oct, to issues faced by women in today’s world.

‘In a programme of special presentations and seminars, our Ladies’ Day will highlight the contributions of women in church and society, especially those who have been forgotten or neglected,’ said CRE owner and managing director Steve Goddard. ‘It has been 25 years since the first woman was ordained by the Church of England – and this provides an ideal opportunity for reflection.’

Rooted in Christian tradition and biblical values, a panel of specialists will consider issues like gender stereotyping and the barriers women face in achieving their potential. 

The Bishop of Dorking, Right Rev Jo Bailey Wells (pictured), said:‘I’m thrilled to hear what is planned and to be invited to speak. Our church is built on the leadership and service of women, even though so much of this has been unrecognised for centuries. I rejoice that this is changing and long to empower all God’s people in the ministry to which God calls each of us. Saying “Yes!” is the best thing I ever did – an adventure of faith that I’m still discovering.’ Bishop Jo will speak at 1.15pm on Ladies’ Day, Thu 17 Oct.

Project 3:28’s Natalie Collins, who will speak on sexism, said: ‘Although the Gospel is liberating for both women and men, too often Christian culture limits women and colludes with the harm done to them. More broadly, the #metoo movement has shown harm to women is depressingly widespread. How great that CRE is responding and equipping churches to empower and liberate women!’

Among several artists contributing to the day will be Saltmine Theatre Co, presenting Chosen, a play about the life of Mary Sumner, founder of the Mothers’ Union and a duologue and monologue from a passion play about Mary Magdalene. Musicians will include Marilyn Baker, Christine Asamoah and Daughters of Davis.

• Ladies Day is Thu 17 Oct at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

OSCAR celebrates two decades of finding the ‘missing link’

Helping Christian organisations find the right people for the right job – that’s the thinking behind OSCAR (One Stop Centre for Advice).

And CRE is one of the organisation’s most useful hunting grounds.

For ten years, founder Mike Frith worked as a pilot and engineer for fellow CRE exhibitor Mission Aviation Fellowship – flying mission workers, medical teams and much-needed cargo into isolated parts of Africa. As he did so, the vision came for his next challenge – helping organisations find people for a whole range of work, paid or voluntary.

‘There are too many missing links between those looking to use their gifts and organisations wanting key roles filled,’ explained 54-year-old Mike. ‘That gave birth to OSCAR, almost 20 years ago. Since then we have helped hundreds of people find fulfilment in their work for God in this country and abroad.’

OSCAR’s online job shop provides details of more than 1,000 opportunities a year and the organisation will provide details of at least 120 jobs at CRE National 2019.

‘Not only are we able to point people in the direction of something which may suit their particular training or gifts but we can also speak to their particular situation,’ said Mike, ‘helping them see where God might be leading them.’

To celebrate OSCAR’s 20thanniversary, Mike is holding the first-ever Mission Resources Exhibition on Tue 4 Mar 2020. It will run alongside CRE Midlands at Stoneleigh Park (Tue 4 and Wed 5 Mar 2020) – aimed at all those working and interested in worldwide mission. Already, 15 organisations have booked stands.

• To add a job to the OSCAR board at CRE National 2019, click here. If you are looking for an opportunity to use your skills in Christian service visit the OSCAR stand at Sandown and Stoneleigh Park

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Dave HallByDave Hall

A grand way to share glad tidings

More children will receive regular meals, medicines, vaccines and nursery education – thanks to £1000 awarded to CRE exhibitor Starfish Malawi.

The financial boost is part of fellow exhibitor Ecclesiastical’s Movement for Good awards, through which £1m is being given to 500 charities this summer.

Starfish Malawi will use the award to fund their Glad Tidings Orphan Care project, which provides day care for 400 orphans and vulnerable children in the rural Ngolowindo district of Salima. The community faces inadequate levels of income, fragile food security and a lack of education and investment.

Starfish Malawi was one more than 7,000 charities nominated by an amazing 98,000 members of the public.

Peter Bell, head of fundraising and marketing at Starfish Malawi, said: ‘I am delighted and overjoyed to receive this amazing award. It is going to make such a difference to the children. Starfish Malawi is a Christian organisation seeking to make a difference in education, vocational training and health awareness by helping to build the Kingdom of God in their lives. Many thanks to Ecclesiastical and to all those who have made this possible.’

Mark Hews, group chief executive at Ecclesiastical, said: ‘As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of our business. We know that £1,000 can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do and we’re looking forward to seeing how this financial boost will change lives for the better.’ 

• Starfish Malawi are on stand FC30 at CRE National 2019
• Ecclesiastical Insurance are on stand S149 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Lou Fellingham joins contributors to Worship Wednesday

A distinctive voice, prophetic edge and an unwavering energy to see lives changed – there’s no better way to sum up Lou Fellingham, one of six contributors to Worship Wednesday (16 Oct) at CRE National 2019.

If you’ve spent any time listening to Christian music, the chances are you’ve already heard her sing. A worship leader tireless in her pursuit of writing and recording powerful songs, she leads people in singing of truths that lift heads and hearts. Her albums are packed with inspiring melodies wrapped around lyrics reminding us of who God is and who he has made us to be.

‘Worship is one of the most sought after resources every year at CRE and it is wonderful that time has been carved out of the event’s busy agenda to dig deeper into how we can worship and receive an incredible blessing as we do so, comparing different styles and genres as we do so,’ said Lou.

Worship Wednesday will be led by Chris Bowater, a long-established composer and a father of the modern worship movement. Other contributors include Roger Jones, a composer, teacher, leader of CMM (Christian Music Ministries) and receiver of 2019 Thomas Cranmer award from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Roy Francis, former producer of BBC TV’s Songs of Praise, record producer and author.

• Worship Wednesday runs from 11am on Wed 16 Oct at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Church silence over porn is ‘increasing problem’

Two thirds of Christian men are viewing pornography in the US and in the UK the figure could be higher still.

So says Mike Genung (pictured), founder of Blazing Grace, first-time exhibitors at CRE National 2019.

‘In 2016, the Barna Group, leading researchers of faith and culture, teamed up with Josh McDowell Ministry to survey porn use in the US church,’ said Mike. ‘They discovered two-thirds of Christian men view pornography. I’ve seen surveys suggesting the figure is as high as 70 per cent in the UK.’

Mike believes some churches shy away from discussing sex or pornography, with resulting isolation and silence exacerbating the problem.

Blazing Grace is a ministry that offers help and resources to those struggling with pornography or other forms of sexual sin.

‘Unfortunately, hurting wives are often forgotten,’ said Mike. ‘We put as much emphasis on the wife’s healing as we do their husband’s recovery. Most men don’t seek help for years, putting their marriage and family at risk. Surveys show that more than half of divorces now include one spouse addicted to pornography.’

Mike Genung has written six books on freedom and healing for porn addiction and adultery, for both men and women. He will speak on the subject at CRE National 2019 (2pm, Wed 16 Oct).

• Blazing Grace are on stand S60 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Thank goodness for Theo! Bath Abbey opt for award-winning chair

Inflexible and uncomfortable seating was just one of the problems in Bath Abbey’s ‘statement of need’ – at a time when it was also expected to ‘strengthen links with local communities’.

The mid-19th century pews, designed by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, had to be removed – a decision that attracted nationwide media attention and was disputed by the Victorian Society.

‘Taking them out will enable us to open up the abbey’s nave and side aisles to all and make it possible for people of different physical abilities to sit where they choose,’ said Bath Abbey’s Rev Edward Mason. ‘Stackable chairs mean the nave can be used for a wide variety of traditional and contemporary worship and we can restore the abbey to the community use for which it was first designed.’

The abbey successfully won the case – but the decision to install a wooden stacking chair from UK-based company Trinity Church Furniture, an exhibitor at CRE National 2109, was not made lightly.

The chosen chair, called Theo, was designed in 2009 by British furniture designer, Simon Pengelly. It was created specifically for use in church buildings and has won the Church of England’s ‘Design a Church Chair Competition’ and been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers as ‘outstanding’. It has since gone on to earn recognition in the wider design community, picking up accolades from Design Guild Mark, Reddot Design Award and The Wood Awards.

The north side of Bath Abbey is the focus of phase two of the ‘Footprint’ project with works to the floor, heating and ledger stones predicted to take approximately one year to complete. This will be followed by the third and final phase on the south side of the abbey.

• Trinity Church Furniture are on stand S23 at CRE National 2109

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Social media: how your church can make the most of it

In a seminar during the first-ever Ladies’ Day at CRE National 2019 (Thu 17 Oct), Jo Swinney director of church communications at CPO, will consider the effect of social media on the mental health of women and girls, and the potential for women (and men) to use new technology of all kinds for good. Jo is a writer, author and regular speaker at women’s retreats and events including the Gathering of Women Leaders.

‘Although there are fewer women than men working in technology industries, they communicate more through social media,’ said Jo. ‘Churches are increasingly seeing the potential and impact of new media for their outreach.’

CRE owner and managing director Steve Goddard, said: ‘In a programme of special presentations and seminars, we’ll aim to will subvert the Ladies’ Day stereotype, highlighting the contributions of women in church and society, especially those who have been forgotten or neglected. It has been 25 years since the first woman was ordained by the Church of England – and this provides an ideal opportunity for reflection.’

Rooted in Christian tradition and biblical values, a panel of specialists, co-ordinated by Natalie Collins of Project 3:28, will consider issues like gender stereotyping and sexism, and the barriers women face in achieving their potential.

Among several artists contributing to the day will be Saltmine Theatre Co, presenting Chosen, a play about the life of Mary Sumner, founder of the Mothers’ Union and a duologue and monologue from a passion play about Mary Magdalene. Musicians will include Marilyn Baker, Christine Asamoah and Daughters of Davis.

* CPO are on stand S81 at CRE National 2019

> Who’s exhibiting at CRE National 2019?
> Book tickets for CRE National 2019

Dave HallByDave Hall

Celebrating 20 years of Bibles, bedsheets and tea towels

It started with a small group of mostly newly-retired people in Bedford ‘performing’ Bible stories in local schools – 20 years later Open the Book involves more than 17,000 volunteers reaching some 800,000 children every year.

Finding Bob Hartman’s Lion Storyteller Bible proved a turning point – with props and costumes helping to bring the stories to life. Roll on a couple of decades and there’s now an army of no-longer-working ‘Tims’, ‘Junes’, ‘Daves’ and ‘Brendas’ sporting bedsheets and towels in school assemblies across the country – so children can hear and experience Bible stories and truths.

Open the Book, exhibitors at CRE National 2019, present a three-year rolling programme to schools, telling Bible stories in chronological order – meaning that, each year, children hear 33 Old and New Testament stories.

Julie Jefferies, head of Open the Book, says: ‘Our success is due to the simplicity of the storytelling, a high fun factor and the dedication and creativity of so many volunteers’. It’s also true that schools love it. More than 95 per cent of those questioned said they believed Open the Book had a positive impact on school life.

The project has also proved to be a strategic stepping stone with more than a quarter of the churches involved in Open the Book going on to launch a Messy Church. Now, under the supportive and enabling wing of Bible Society, the organisation is going from strength to strength, though there’s still a long way to go if they are to achieve their aim – bringing the Bible to life for every child in every primary school in England and Wales. That means reaching more than 18,000 schools with 4.5 million children.

Open the Book staff will be at CRE National at Sandown Park encouraging visitors to become volunteers.

• Open the Book are on stand S106 at CRE National 2019

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Save the date for CRE National 2019!
Join us at Sandown Park
15-17 October 2019