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Dave HallByDave Hall

Charting the UK chaplaincy explosion

Chaplaincy operates on the edge of the church but at the heart of the gospel.

That will be the message from Rev Jonathan Woodhouse, CB (pictured), former Honorary Chaplain to the Queen (QHC), who will speak at CRE National 2019 on Chaplaincy: the new missional frontline (12pm, Wed 16 Oct). 

‘There is anexplosion of chaplaincy ministry in the UK, from the community of faith to the community of work and play,’ explained Jonathan, who lectures at Moorlands College, part of the exhibition’s Study Zone. ‘Chaplaincy is a soft-skilled, inclusive, relational and incarnational ministry offering spiritual support, pastoral care and ethical questions in contemporary public spaces.’

His talk will introduce visitors to effective ways to listen and discuss contentious issues with people of different faiths and no faith in fluid, life situations – and how chaplains work in teams with those of other faiths whilst remaining true to their Christian journey.

‘I will also look at the emerging opportunities of chaplaincy in every locality and region,’ he said.

Jonathan has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Falkland Islands, Germany and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

‘Because of the issues dealt with in the army, especially on operations – mortality, relationships, pastoral support, purpose and forgiveness – there’s a great call for chaplaincy that isn’t necessarily there in the civilian world,’ he explained. ‘Chaplains live, breathe, socialise and go on exercise and operations together, dealing with powerful issues. I don’t know of a comparable relationship that a priest or minister might enjoy in their parish.’

Jonathan was head of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department from 2011 to 2014 and the first-ever Baptist to become Chaplain General.

• Moorlands College are on stand SZ4 in the Study Zone at CRE National 2019

• Alliance of Town and City Chaplaincies (ATCC) are on stand S96 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Carla Jane: first steps to understanding the true meaning of worship

Worship is something we do a lot at church but understand little – an observation that has made one of the contributors to Worship Wednesday (Oct 16) think hard over the past year.

‘A leading pioneer of modern worship said we’re currently big on imitation not revelation,’ said worship leader and choir director Carla Jane (pictured). ‘In coming together at Sandown Park, we can equip ourselves and our church communities anew. My prayer is that we will discover greater truths of the revealed wonder of God, which causes our hearts and knees to bow in reverence.’

An award-winning vocalist and choir director for the New Testament Church of God, Carla facilitates workshops for gospel choirs and church vocal groups. For the past nine years she has worked as a vocal coach and choir director across schools in Manchester and Liverpool, inspiring adults and children to ‘Sing it like you mean it’ – a motto she uses to encourage them to sing with passion and conviction.

Among those joining Carla for Worship Wednesday will be Chris Bowater, Roger Jones, Lou Fellingham, Noel Robinson and Roy Francis. Beginning at 11am, there will be four sessions:

What on earth is worship?
Establishing an agreed definition and understanding

Who on earth is worship for?
Discussing our relationship with God and each other

How on earth should we worship?
Validating differing styles and genres of worship

Worship: heaven help us!
Worship in spirit and truth requires the help and leading of the Holy Spirit

‘Our worship – whether contemporary or traditional, high church or low – should eschew man-focused experientialism and embrace the transcendent God,’ said Chris Bowater. ‘We’ll be attempting to show you how to do that in your church during Worship Wednesday.’

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

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Retirement: your best is yet to come

It’s time to stop believing that ‘best before’ applies to people as well as food, believes Peter Meadows, programme director of AfterWorkNet.

‘When applied to food, it’s wasting millions, and it’s much the same when applied to lives,’ he maintains. ‘Retirement today presents opportunities and challenges past generations never dreamed of.’

Peter launched the popular Christian youth magazine Buzz (now Christianity) and co-founded Spring Harvest. He will host a series of seminars with Dave Fenton who left teaching to lead youth work at the Keswick Convention and Word Alive. They will impart plenty of good advice in the seminar room behind the AfterWorkNet stand (S155) to those who are about to, or already have retired. Their three seminars will be repeated twice each day. Click here for more information.

‘We must fight the false notion that people of a certain age are no longer valuable,’ says Peter. ‘This faulty labelling is also inflicting cost – in terms of missed opportunities, experiences, richness of life, contributions to society and more. If we are to kill off ‘best before’ on food, which is a plan of the government, let’s kill it off for people too.’

Peter wants us to think of the ‘talents’ that many have accumulated during their working years. 

‘Most likely they represent a treasure trove of valuable skills, knowledge and experience,’ he maintains. ‘It was what kept you afloat back then. But what about “now”? Because the call to be faithful stewards of the talents we have doesn’t end with our last pay cheque.’

• AfterWorkNet are on stand S155 at CRE National 2019

• See the AfterWorkNet seminar programme

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Square peg, square hole: discover the right way to recruit

Eldercare charity Pilgrims’ Friend Society (PFS) has cracked the problem of good recruitment – thanks to a fellow CRE exhibitor.

In September, Alexandra Davis joins PFS as director of marketing and communications, having been selected from a rigorous process managed by Action Planning consultants Tracy Madgwick and Hayley McDonald.

‘Good directors are hard to find in any circumstances,’ said Tracy. ‘For a Christian charity like PFS, which requires candidates accepting the organisation’s statement of faith, the field is narrowed drastically. But with the right contacts, the right candidates can be found.’

Action Planning has that level of experience, as well as a number of Christians like Tracy within its associate community. Their knowledge and connections are a valuable source of candidate referrals. Having provided recruitment and salary benchmarking services to PFS in the past – including the recruitment of current CEO Stephen Hammersley and one of the trustees – Action Planning was asked to help fill this crucial position.

‘We have quite a conservative basis of faith, which means we fish in a small pool,’ said Stephen. ‘That said, care for the elderly is one area within our secular state in which the regulatory regime is set up to encourage spiritual care and it is important to make Christians aware of this opportunity. Action Planning understand where we’re coming from, which means that, as well as screening out unsuitable candidates, they can screen in people who have the same perspective as us.’

• Pilgrims’ Friend Society are on stand S53 at CRE National 2019
• Action Planning are on stand FC31at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Where have all the black saints gone?

Stories of prostitutes set on fire are not the most popular of biblical narratives but we need to grasp their significance, according to Dr Sanjee Perera (pictured).

‘Many of us know the stories of aristocratic saints who lived centuries ago,’ said Sanjee, a keynote speaker during Ladies’ Day at CRE National 2019  (12pm, Thu 17 Oct), ‘but have we considered how their stories might clash with the earthy biblical narratives that speak of famine and slavery, unbending dictators, genocide and the fall of empires?’

Sanjee, a research fellow at the University of Birmingham, had to search to find stories of black women who have served and inspired the church and she will take CRE visitors ‘on a poetic 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 with black and minority ethnicities.

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

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

• Dr Sanjee Perera will speak on Where have all the black saints gone? (12pm, Thu 17 Oct)

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Finding the good in grief

Through TV, radio, social media, YouTube, films, newspapers we are bombarded with death and dying – so how should we respond?

Rev Canon Dr Sandra Millar (pictured), head of projects and developments in the Church of England, will lead a seminar at CRE national 2019 (11am, Thu 17 Oct) to explore how we can best deal with the effects of bereavement and serve communities in grief.

Dr Millar will present insights into recent research by an innovation consultancy around how we remember loved ones online. She will also share information on how the bereaved expect and want to be kept in touch with – and for how long.

‘I will also introduce visitors to a wide range of resources available to churches through the Church Support Hub and Church Print Hub – all tailor-made to increase the number of ways we can reach and support bereaved people,’ she said. ‘And I will lead a discussion on the Church of England’s unique role in ministering to the bereaved – at the very heart of our vocation.

‘Very often we will not know what happens to those we meet, whether wider or warm contacts. They may light a candle in a cathedral or a small church when on holiday; years may go by until the next occasion triggers big feelings, big questions, big thoughts. But we can touch many lives every week, sowing seeds of the good news of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ, and known in love, hope and grace in life’s big moments.

‘We have the privilege of meeting people and journeying with them, locally and nationally, in prayer and in person. Let’s recognise and value all whom we meet.’

• Rev Canon Dr Sandra Millar will speak on Death, Dying and Bereavement (11am, Thu 17 Oct)

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Dave HallByDave Hall

All in all it’s more than just a prayer in the wall

The architects of one of Britain’s most unusual design awards will welcome visitors to their stand at CRE National 2019.

The Wall of Answered Prayer will be built with a million bricks, each one telling how God has responded to a specific prayer. Situated alongside the M42 and M6 motorways and clearly visible to half-a-million people a day, the £7.2 million project will have a visitor centre, 24/7 prayer room, cafe and Christian bookstore. A chaplain will be on hand to provide additional support.

‘We want it to be as imposing as the Angel of the North,’ said Richard Gamble (pictured), director of the project. He became a Christian in 1990 and is a former chaplain of Leicester City FC and CEO of Sports Chaplaincy UK.

The Royal Institute of British Architects’ competition was won by Snug Architects of Totton, Southampton. The firm beat 133 entries from 24 countries with their innovative design.

‘It was a major achievement,’ said Paul Bulkeley, who set up Snug after building his own home. Instead of one home he erected two one-bedroom houses and it led to the launch of Snug in 2003. Now 44, Paul is technical director and provides design and management to ensure client objectives are met and design quality is maintained.

‘It is part of our core character – fitting together clients’ aspirations and the environment,’ he said.

Snug representatives at CRE National 2019 will be delighted to advise on church or community projects and also introduce visitors to the award-winning Wall of Answered Prayer project.

‘We are hoping it will be open in time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022,’ said Paul.

Richard has appeared on BBC’s Songs of Praise enthusing over the project and believes that getting a major site near Colehill Manor, alongside two key motorways, was itself an answer to prayer. When the site is open, visitors will be able to download an app enabling them to read about answered prayer on any particular brick, even those high up in the structure.

‘Above all, we want to preserve the nation’s Christian heritage and inspire people to pray,’ said Richard.

• Snug Architects are on stand S157 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

The moment everything changed for ‘lost’ Krish

Dr Krish Kandiah had been a missionary, youth worker and pastor – but found himself lost in his relationship with God.

That was until he rediscovered his Christian faith through understanding a simple secret: he had been adopted by his creator.

Interweaving a personal story with theological insight, Krish, sponsored by leading Christian charity World Vision, will be at CRE National 2019 to show visitors how his understanding of the doctrine of adoption ‘changed everything’. The seminar will introduce visitors to his latest book – The Greatest Secret (John Murray Press).

‘It is for anyone seeking new depth and intimacy with God,’ explained Krish. ‘The “secret” is woven throughout the pages of the Bible.’

Krish is an entrepreneur with a vision to help solve some of society’s seemingly intractable problems through building partnerships between civil society, faith communities, government and philanthropy. He is also founding director of Home for Good, a young charity seeking to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children by finding loving homes for them in the care system. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and seven children (through birth, fostering and adoption).

• Krish will speak on The Greatest Secret: Why adoption changes everything about our discipleship (3pm, Tue 15 Oct)

• World Vision are on stand S41 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Introducing the throw-away microphone that’s catching on fast

Throw a microphone at people and catch their imagination.

That’s the thinking behind a new, cube-shaped device that will be flung to the far corners of seminar rooms at CRE National 2019.

The Catchbox, available from CRE National 2019 exhibitor Clarity in Sound Light and Vision, is a cunningly-disguised portable microphone that enables members of an audience to pose questions through the venue’s sound system. A brilliant ice-breaker, the Catchbox can then be tossed, safely, to another member of the audience for the next question.

‘We have found people happily speak from where they are and when they pass, or throw it around, there is usually laughter,’ said Rev Alison Davis, minister at Geddes Place United Reformed Church, in Bexleyheath, Kent.

Alison, who recently celebrated 25 years since her ordination, bought a Catchbox after first seeing it on display at CRE. Clarity believe many other churches will improve congregational participation through the device. Best of all, there is no need for anyone to wander round, microphone in hand, especially when the person waiting to use it may be hemmed in by other people.

‘It is easy to get the Catchbox to the right person, you just throw it!’ said Clarity’s Yvette Faris. ‘It can be adapted for most sound systems and has a foam cover which means it will take being dropped.’

The casing can also have the name of the church or organisation printed on it making it ideal for conferences or regular group meetings.

Clarity will welcome visitors to their stand at CRE National 2019, to talk about all manner of sound and lighting issues in churches or community buildings. Their expertise is in the design, supply and installation of tailored flexible audio visual (AV) systems that are simple to use, including sound, lighting, projection and interactive screen solutions.

• Clarity in Sound Light and Vision are on stand S120 at CRE National 2019

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Dave HallByDave Hall

Beyond Brexit, hit the road to growth

Brexit uncertainty is one of the reasons why hundreds of charity professionals will attend a series of free events this autumn.

Charity Bank, an exhibitor at CRE National 2019, have invited trustees, directors, CEOs and managers of charities, churches and social enterprises, to the half-day conferences entitled Road to Growth.

‘We’re hosting these events as part of our mission and commitment to support the social sector,’ said Ed Siegel, chief executive of Charity Bank. ‘We’ll be looking at how political uncertainty is impacting the sector and how charities and social enterprises are responding. We’ll also reveal the latest on funding and grants, regulation, technology and governance.’

Taking place in towns and cities as far apart as Edinburgh and Tunbridge Wells, Road to Growth comes at a time of change and challenge. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) will present an update on the state of the sector and specialists will engage with the audience in unpicking challenges and opportunities. 

‘We expect attendees to leave with practical insight and guidance to help their organisations survive and thrive in a changing world,’ said Ed Siegel.

As well as the NCVO, Road to Growth is being delivered in partnership with a wide range of national and local social sector partners, including the National Lottery Community Fund, Directory of Social Change (DSC) and Access, The Foundation for Social Investment.

Each event will be hosted from 9.00 – 12.00 at the following places: 

  • Edinburgh, 12th September at the Greyfriars Charteris Centre 
  • London, 18th September at Mercers’ Hall
  • Tunbridge Wells, 26th September at The Spa Hotel 
  • Leeds, 3rd October at St George’s Centre 
  • Reading, 8th October, The Meadow Suite at the University of Reading 
  • Derby, 16th October, at YMCA Derbyshire 
  • Manchester, 17th October at GMCVO 

To find out more and register, click here

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank for charities and social enterprises. It uses its savers’ money to provide much-needed loans to small and large organisations working to drive positive social change – bringing benefits for people, communities and the environment.

• Charity Bank are on stand S103 at CRE National 2019

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