Stand Up for Jesus is a one-day comedy workshop (Tue 19 May) at the show, opened by the Bishop of London, Rt Revd Richard Chartres.
Bentley Browning, who will lead the course, believes Jesus was a master communicator and story teller.
‘Many suggest his allusion to a camel going through the eye of a needle would have been construed as a quip,’ said Browning, a regular performer on the stand-up comedy circuit. ‘The course is a lot of fun and will help anyone wishing to develop communication skills.’
Revd Cindy Kent, from St John the Apostle, Whetstone, London, will take part in Stand Up for Jesus. The former pop singer and Premier Radio presenter said: ‘I was thrilled when the BBC asked me to take part in their recent Vicars Telling Jokes programmes – but terrified at the same time! It’s one thing to tell a joke to a friend – or friends – but it’s quite another to do it on the telly, to a potential audience of thousands! Jesus must have used humour and he is the best role model of how to tell a story.’
Baptist minister Revd Michael Page will join Cindy. Michael, who works as a prison chaplain, said: ‘I work with people who are often experiencing great emotional stress. My colleagues and I are always looking for ways to start to break down the barriers and laughter can be a great way to get good conversations going. I’m hoping the session will give me some practical tips about raising the laughter level in a setting where it’s often in short supply.’
At the end of the afternoon, participants will be invited to show people what they’ve learned on CRE’s Spotlight stage.
Already firmly established as the leading annual exhibition of church resources in Europe, CRE International, often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’, was held at Sandown Park, Esher for the past 28 years where it regularly attracted more than 10,000 visitors.
‘ExCeL provides us with a fabulous opportunity to go centre stage for the first time and to grow into a truly international event,’ said event director Bill Allen.
More than 300 organisations are expected to exhibit, displaying everything from computers to communion wine, printers to puppets, stained glass to sound systems. More than 100 seminars will provide advice on subjects ranging from preaching to self-publishing, church websites to social exclusion.
‘Our move the the heart of London has already opened up countless new options for exhibitors and visitors alike,’ said Bill Allen.