A Comedian, a Bishop Two Lads, and a Laptop Walk Into A Racecourse…

WHEN a comedian, a bishop and two lads and a laptop walk into a racecourse it can mean only one thing – the return of the Christian Resources Exhibition to Sandown Park (Oct 11-13 2022).

‘The engaging diversity that characterises our programme can be summed up in three contributions,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘Much-loved comedian Tim Vine (picture attached) will open the exhibition, Bishop Mike Royal (picture attached), general secretary at Churches Together in England will help us explore the Windrush legacy and Mike Roberts, Nick Ingles (picture attached) and their laptop computer are set to serenade Sandown Park over all three days.’

On the opening day Rev Jessica Foster, head of church engagement at the Trussell Trust, will encourage Christians to join the call for an end to the need for food banks and the poverty which had led to their necessity. Then, of course, there is the exhibition itself with more than 150 organisations displaying everything from emergency pods for the homeless to clergy clothing, and church renovation services to retreat centres.

For the first time, a Mission Aviation Fellowship plane (picture attached) will greet visitors as they climb the foyer stairs – a central part of Mission on the Map, which brings together several mission agencies including Church Mission Society, OMF and United Beach Missions.

Hosted by Hand in Hand and Children Matter, Lifting the Lid on Children’s Ministry is a day conference (Wed 12 Oct) helping churches develop a well-structured ministry to families and children – and discover the latest relevant resources. Contributors include author Bob Hartman and Sue Price. Mission Worship Wednesday (12 Oct) will do the same for worship leaders and features Lou Fellingham (picture attached), Philippa Hanna and Noel Robinson.

With a focus on the practical side of church life, CRE’s 70-strong talks programme offers expert advice on online evangelism, holiday clubs, climate change, chaplaincy and much, much more. Wrapping up the entertainment on Day 3 will be drama from Saltmine Theatre Co and music from Jonathan Veira (picture attached).

Decades of experience have given the exhibition’s organisers unequalled understanding of local church needs. More than one in three visitors will be ordained and 38 per cent come as part of a local church leadership team ­­– looking for advice on everything from heating to seating, lecterns to lighting, publishing to pulpits.

‘Our visitors rely on us to bring together specialists with the expertise to help them,’ said Brett Pitchfork. ‘The nearest thing to a trade show for churches, we encourage local church leaders, officers and decision-makers to attend, particularly those with responsibility for the mission and maintenance of their churches.’

Written by: Steve Goddard

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