CRE News


CRE now taking stand enquiries

Stand enquires are now invited for CRE 2017 at Sandown Park (17-19 October).

A floorplan is available to view and exhibitors are invited to contact the sales team (see below).

There are tentative plans to take CRE back to regional cities. Since 1985 it has been held in places afar apart as Exeter and Edinburgh, Belfast and Bristol, Manchester and Harrogate.

‘CRE will continue to serve all those who care about the future of the local church and its ministry in the community and world at large,’ said CRE managing director Steve Goddard. ‘Our aim is simple: to offer inspiration and innovation for the whole congregation.’

To discuss your exhibition requirements, please contact one of the sales team.


Carol Malpass, Sales Manager
0161 250 2467

Brett Pitchfork, Event Director
0161 250 6297

Steve Goddard, Managing Director
0161 250 2701

David Ramsay, Sales Manager

Photo: Cremetti Commercial


CRE goes back to the future

Under new management that looks very familiar, CRE returns to Sandown Park this year (17 to 19 October 2017).

The largest annual exhibition of its kind in Europe, CRE is now owned by Stephen Goddard, its media consultant for more than 25 years.

‘Last May, the Bible Society decided to focus on its core mission of offering the Bible to the world and purposed to find a new home for CRE or close it down,’ said Goddard. ‘Offering a host of new ideas and initiatives in a fast-changing world, CRE is a strategic event in the ecclesiastical calendar. We have therefore pulled together a team with vast experience of running the exhibition successfully.’

CRE’s founder, Gospatric Home, is its new honorary president. Brett Pitchfork returns as event director. All the sales and administrative staff have worked at some time for one or both of CRE’s previous two owners.

‘The first thing we did was to listen to hundreds of exhibitors, the majority of whom wanted CRE to return to Sandown Park, its home for 28 years until 2014,’ said Goddard. ‘They also asked if it could run for three rather than four days. We therefore decided not to take up the dates reserved at ExCeL in May 2017 and instead return to Sandown Park (Oct 17-19, 2017).

‘We are working hard to put together an exhibition which builds on the experience of the past yet will present fresh ideas, products and suppliers to church leaders and members.’

If you would like to exhibit at CRE 2017, please go to the Choose your stand page, or contact one of the team below.


Carol Malpass, Sales Manager
0161 250 2467

Brett Pitchfork, Event Director
0161 250 6297

Steve Goddard, Managing Director
0161 250 2701

David Ramsay, Sales Manager

Photo: Georgie R


Juliet’s journey: it started with a scarf

When Juliet Hemingray was asked to make an embroidered preaching scarf for a friend, an amazing journey began that has seen her become a leading creator of church textiles.

Countless members of the cloth now wear Juliet’s ecclesiastical vestments, including three Archbishops of Canterbury – George Carey, Rowan Williams and Justin Welby. The colourful robes worn by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu at his enthronement were also made by Juliet and her talented team, in collaboration with Watts & Co.

‘Over the years we have made more than 30,000 stoles, with countless banners, altar frontals and pulpit falls now in schools, chapels, churches and cathedrals around the world,’ said Juliet, a dedicated exhibitor at CRE since its inception and the inspiration behind CRE’s popular Clergy on the Catwalk show.

CRE has enabled her to showcase her team’s skills on a much bigger stage than the usual displays she does at theological colleges and diocesan conferences.

‘I am able to meet people from all Christian denominations and meet people from schools, multi-faith chapels, prisons and hospitals,’ she explained.

At CRE in Birmingham many years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu opened the show and was given a stole designed and stitched personally by Juliet. Cliff Richard received a special waistcoat from her at CRE in 1994 which he has sported on TV.

Photo: Cremetti Commercial


‘Messy’ Martyn: It’s time we abandoned Sunday schools

If asked to start a new church, Martyn Payne would definitely not include a Sunday school in his plans.

‘My own thinking from more than 40 years as a teacher and working with churches has been challenged,’ said Messy Church team leader Martyn. ‘Like many, I used to accept that the best way to nurture children and young people into faith was to have separate groups for their learning and fellowship. Today, I am increasingly uncomfortable with this inherited proposition.’

He points out how research into children’s spirituality and how adults become rooted in the Christian faith, reveals that both family and other significant adults really make a difference. In other words, a multigenerational approach to faith nurture is something the church needs to rediscover!

‘Of course it was there in the Bible all along,’ continued Martyn, ‘where faith was passed on at festivals as well as family gatherings and definitely not in some special Sunday school arrangement for children or youth group facility for teenagers. The young need to be alongside the old, the old the young – arguably even more so today in our fragmented communities.

‘My own grandparent generation needs to be in touch with how young people and children are thinking – to be stimulated and refreshed in faith through their questions, wonderings and sense of adventure – every much as the young need to see for themselves that God remains faithful throughout all the stages of life.’

Martyn remains excited about Messy Church, which offers a successful model for bringing the generations together on a shared journey of faith.

‘This isn’t the traditional Sunday school way of things with children,’ he says. ‘In fact, were I to be asked to start a new church, I would definitely not include a Sunday school in my plans! There is an argument for some separate age and interest groups but not for the main church gathering, where for me the default must be togetherness. It might be messy but it is certainly the best way to form healthy Christians.’

Photo: Cremetti Commercial


How building a stronger marriage is on the cards

A married couple are hoping that a card game they’ve invented will help couples draw closer and enjoy frank, open conversations.

Marie Reid invented My Truth after writing subject headings on paper, screwing them up and challenging husband Clif to share his views on the subjects in question.

‘I was amazed and surprised at some of the insights Clif shared,’ admitted Marie. ‘Even after 17 years of marriage, I really saw his heart on issues more deeply. If this “game” could bring out new insights for us I figured it could do the same for other couples.’

‘Answering the questions really made me dig deep,’ said Clif. ‘I found it a very valuable exercise. Marie and I have a strong marriage but this game made it stronger.’

The Reids piloted the game with more than 25 couples and received great feedback. Couples who purchase My Truth will get a pack of cards with a total of 80 topics for discussion.

Having established themselves as major gospel artists over the course of the last four years, the Croydon-based couple have performed at over 100 churches around the UK and released an album in 2012, If Only, now available on iTunes.


An end to meeting room mayhem

New, cloud-based software takes care of all aspects of managing church rooms.

‘There is no longer any need to use paper or multiple calendars to manage who is using which room or when,’ explained Kyle Cottington of iKnow Church. ‘Our new software saves church administrators a great deal of time every month.’

The room booking module clearly shows you who is using each room and what they require. The module:

• Prevents double booking
• Shows clearly which rooms are being used
• Allows for repeating bookings – with clash warnings
• Manages items such as projectors
• Makes provisional bookings


Stressful lives spark ‘phenomenal’ interest in colouring-in scriptures

What are you doing at your computer screen when you should be colouring in!

That was illustrator Jacquie Grace’s message to CRE TV.

‘Colouring in has been big in secular circles for quite a while because we lead stressful lives,’ she explains. ‘We need something that will help us unwind and give us time away from computer screens. Lots of research has been conducted on how colouring in and meditation sit side by side. As you slow down and collect your thoughts, your mind is given space to dwell on something. There is nothing better to dwell on than Scripture, so that is what inspired the project. It helps people to take time with God and be creative.’

Some people colour in the verses in Jacquie’s books – and learn them at the same time

‘Jacquie has designed cards for us for many years,’ said Anne Horrobin of Just Cards. ‘She is inspired and anointed by God. We could see there was a need for a Bible-based colouring-in book and we have  sold 10000 copies in the first two months – a phenomenal response.

‘People are using them in women’s groups, Bible groups and in outreach situations. There are even colouring-in groups in prisons and hospices.’


Cut the clutter! Put it on the app

Mobile apps can simplify and enrich your church’s communications and help reach and engage new followers.

So says James Dickson, founder of Piota (Put it on the App) who make high quality, affordable mobile apps for schools, churches, charities and local community organisations.

‘Keeping your congregation engaged and in touch is not easy,’ said James, who worked in finance for 20 years before setting up Piota. ‘They want to hear from you but with crowded inboxes, a young adult demographic that doesn’t do email, a website which broadcasts information but can’t personalise it, social media sites which are unfocused and limited in format, and ever-decreasing attention spans and patience levels, even the most inspiring or urgent material goes astray or unread.’

If you are struggling to cover everyone through a mix of emails, texts, Facebook feeds and website announcements, you already know the problem!

‘You need a high-quality mobile app versatile enough to double up as both a messaging centre and information hub for your congregation, volunteers and wider church family,’ he contends. ‘Our church app is your one-stop shop. It speeds up communications in rich formats, directly to everyone with the app or specific sub-groups. It’s a quick reference source with immediate access to everything people might want to know, from meeting timings to last week’s sermon, to how to donate. It is affordable and should even pay for itself in cost and time savings.’


Hope Now meets young people at crossroads

Where is God calling me and what does he want me to do?

These are just some of the questions young people face at key points in their journey of faith.

‘We want to use our hugely diverse ministry to encourage them to discover how they can bless others, lead people closer to Jesus and bring hope to the world,’ said Hope Now’s Jon White. ‘We pray that God would prompt their hearts to pray, go and tell others about what he is doing.’

Hope Now is an international Christian charity striving to share the love of Jesus through giving practical aid and spiritual support for the past 30 years. The organisation currently works in Sri Lanka, Moldova, Myanmar but most of its work is in Ukraine.

‘We work in areas of healthcare, orphans and fostering, prison ministry, education and Bible teaching, evangelism and church planting, summer camps and care for the elderly,’ explained Jon.

‘We are keen to meet youth leaders, introduce them to our work and show them what we can offer their young people. We want to give churches the opportunity to have Hope Now speak at their youth groups about the work of the charity, aiming to inspire them in their faith.’


Outdated building? Discover the godly game-changer

A game changer for churches struggling with the way their missional life fits their buildings.

That’s how Nigel Walter of CRE 2018 exhibitor Church Build describes Building for Mission. Packed with potential for effective engagement with the whole community, the book covers a wide range of practical issues affecting church buildings, from caring for medieval masonry to installing multimedia electronic systems.

‘We’ve set out to offer essential information and easy-to-follow advice on heating, lighting and energy efficiency, installing a kitchen or toilets, dealing with damp and much more,’ said Walter. Church Build believe the best buildings are created from a close partnership between client and architect.

‘We like to think of our role as being a critical friend,’ said Walter. ‘We’re at your side to support and guide, but we’re also there to question. When choosing an architect, what you are really buying, therefore, is not a product, not even a service but a relationship.’