With 200 exhibitors displaying everything from computers to clergy clothing, musical instruments to motorcycle funerals, the three-day Christian Resources Exhibition returns to Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey next month (Oct 16-18).
‘At a time when churches face a multitude of questions – from fund raising to dry rot, planning applications to databases – CRE offers a vital lightbulb moment,’ explained owner Steve Goddard. ‘Experts fill every aisle, guiding visitors through the complexities of local ministry in an ever-changing world.’
More than 50 free seminars, on a host of practical subjects, take place throughout all three days – but CRE, often dubbed ‘the ideal church show’, is not just about stained glass and sound systems.
There’s music from the sultan of slide guitar, Bryn Haworth and top UK contemporary worship song-writer Stuart Townend; drama from Saltmine Theatre Company and a lunchtime chat show hosted by Rev Cindy Kent, MBE, former lead singer of 60s band The Settlers. Worship Alive! is a masterclass for local song-writers and worship leaders. And the Church Times newspaper goes ‘live’ for the first time in its 155-year history hosting panel discussions on the environment, young people and worship with contributions from the Royal School of Church Music.
‘Thanks to social media, news is now questioned and interrogated more than ever before,’ said Church Times editor Paul Handley. ‘New technology brings new problems – all those uninformed, unguarded comments. So how do we bring journalism and contemporary comment into the open in an intelligent way? Our answer is Church Times Live – a day when we lift the lid on editorial judgements and open up discussion behind three hot topics.’
Parking at Sandown Park is free with hundreds of places available. By train, it’s only 25 minutes from London Waterloo with a courtesy bus running between Esher station and Sandown Park.
‘More than 4000 local church leaders, lay or ordained, attended CRE 2017,’ said event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘We are confident that a similar number will visit Sandown Park again this year at an event which aims to provide inspiration and innovation, for the whole congregation.’
* CRE 2018 at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey opening hours are: Tue 16 and Wed 17 Oct, 10am-5pm; Thu 18 Oct, 10am-4.30pm. Visit www.creonline.co.uk for more information.