CRE to promote new ways of being church

By staff writers
March 24, 2004

-24/3/04

'I am delighted the church is exploring fresh ways of expressing its life - and doing things differently.'

That will be the message from Church Armyís George Lings to the 20th National Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) - 11 to 14 May, Sandown Park, Esher.

ëForty per cent of adults in England and Wales have left the church in their lifetime,í explains Rev Lings, Director of Church Armyís Sheffield Centre. ëThat 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.

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

At CRE, Lings will introduce the exhibitionís major theme Future Church - a stream of lectures on radical new expressions of church (11am, Tue 11 May).

ëThere are fewer people in church - yet a greater search for real meaning and satisfaction,í believes Captain Philip Johanson, Chief Secretary of Church Army. ëThe challenges and opportunities facing a church committed to mission and evangelism are enormous. It is for this reason we need CRE more than ever. Future Church could not be more appropriate and relevant.í

The initiative comes hard on the heels of Mission-Shaped Church, a report presented to General Synod earlier this year, which asks searching questions about how the church relates to networks, local communities and diversities of cultures.

ëOur call is to infiltrate a society moving away from - and out of touch with - church,í says Lings. He will show some new expressions of church - and how we can learn from them, however fragile and vulnerable they may be.

ëWith high mobility and multi-media communication, people's relationships and circles of community are built more around work, recreation, sport and interests, than the neighbourhood where they sleep,í say Bob and Mary Hopkins, of Anglican Church Planting Initiatives. How we engage in mission in these contexts - and how we create fresh expressions of church to meet new needs - is the subject of the Hopkinsí seminar (11am, Wed 12 May).

Since the first CRE, held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London in 1985, the world and church have changed greatly. CRE has been a showcase for innovative resources and ideas. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited shows in London, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast.

More than 350 charities, missions and church suppliers will be at Sandown Exhibition Centre - with more floor space available than ever.

ëI was present at the planting of the CRE acorn in 1985,í says Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, who will officially open the 20th CRE (10am, Tue 11 May). ëI am thrilled to see how the event has grown into something that no self-respecting Christian leader can afford to miss.í

-24/3/04

'I am delighted the church is exploring fresh ways of expressing its life - and doing things differently.'

That will be the message from Church Armyís George Lings to the 20th National Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) - 11 to 14 May, Sandown Park, Esher.

ëForty per cent of adults in England and Wales have left the church in their lifetime,í explains Rev Lings, Director of Church Armyís Sheffield Centre. ëThat 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.

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

At CRE, Lings will introduce the exhibitionís major theme Future Church - a stream of lectures on radical new expressions of church (11am, Tue 11 May).

ëThere are fewer people in church - yet a greater search for real meaning and satisfaction,í believes Captain Philip Johanson, Chief Secretary of Church Army. ëThe challenges and opportunities facing a church committed to mission and evangelism are enormous. It is for this reason we need CRE more than ever. Future Church could not be more appropriate and relevant.í

The initiative comes hard on the heels of Mission-Shaped Church, a report presented to General Synod earlier this year, which asks searching questions about how the church relates to networks, local communities and diversities of cultures.

ëOur call is to infiltrate a society moving away from - and out of touch with - church,í says Lings. He will show some new expressions of church - and how we can learn from them, however fragile and vulnerable they may be.

ëWith high mobility and multi-media communication, people's relationships and circles of community are built more around work, recreation, sport and interests, than the neighbourhood where they sleep,í say Bob and Mary Hopkins, of Anglican Church Planting Initiatives. How we engage in mission in these contexts - and how we create fresh expressions of church to meet new needs - is the subject of the Hopkinsí seminar (11am, Wed 12 May).

Since the first CRE, held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London in 1985, the world and church have changed greatly. CRE has been a showcase for innovative resources and ideas. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited shows in London, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast.

More than 350 charities, missions and church suppliers will be at Sandown Exhibition Centre - with more floor space available than ever.

ëI was present at the planting of the CRE acorn in 1985,í says Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, who will officially open the 20th CRE (10am, Tue 11 May). ëI am thrilled to see how the event has grown into something that no self-respecting Christian leader can afford to miss.í

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