The 20th National CRE Explores New Image of Church

The 20th National Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) will be held from 11 to 14 May in Sandown Park, Esher. More than 350 charities, missions and church suppliers will be at Sandown Exhibition Centre, and the exhibition will bigger than ever before.

“Forty per cent of adults in England and Wales have left the church in their lifetime," explains Rev George Lings, Director of the Church Army’s Sheffield Centre. “That is an extraordinary volume of water to lose out of the church bath. It looks distinctly careless. Yet half of this de-churched group is open to return, if we find them and get our act together."

“A further 40 per cent have never had contact with the church and connecting with them is a tougher task that we also must face."

Facing the challenge of ever changing social atmospheres and social needs over the past 20 years, this year’s exhibition is themed 'Future Church'. It aims at helping churches to explore fresh ways of expressing their life and doing things differently.

As reported by Captain Philip Johanson, Chief Secretary of Church Army in the UK, there are fewer people in church in the UK and at the same time there is a greater search for real meaning and satisfaction among the general people.

He believes, “the challenges and opportunities facing a church committed to mission and evangelism are enormous. The theme of Future Church could not be more appropriate and relevant."

Many christians and para-church organisations are already exploring new ways of “doing church". CRE will provide an opportunity to showcase many ideas and enable participants to learn from each other.

In addition, some highlights of the seminars include 'Mission shaped church' in which Rev George Ling will share the principles that apply across a range of mission contexts, 'Ecumenical Church planting' by Revd Graham Horsley. The Evangelism and Church Planting secretary for the Methodist Church in Britain will focus on how to start a ministry; 'Truth and Trust - how can these values be restored to our society' by Rev John Smith UK Director of Evangelical Alliance, and 'Why? Unwrapping the mystery of unanswered prayer' by Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham.

The comprehensive seminar programme given by experienced practitioners will inspire Christians with much political and spiritual insight on a great variety of issues.

The first exhibition was held in 1985 and Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London is delighted to celebrate the amazing 20th year, “I was present at the planting of this acorn in the Royal Horticultural Halls in 1985. I am thrilled to see how the event has grown into something that no self-respecting Christian leader can afford to miss."

Until now, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the annual exhibition shows all over the nation, in London, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast.