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CRE bids farewell to Sandown Park

16 May 2014


THERE were mixed emotions at the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) this week, as the event celebrated its 30th anniversary and also marked the last ever CRE at the Sandown Park Racecourse.

Next year, the exhibition moves to the ExCel exhibition centre, in London, ending a 28-year association with Sandown Park, in Surrey.

On Tuesday, CRE held a reception for exhibitors that had been exhibiting throughout its 30-year history. Among them was the audio-installation and consultancy company Cunnings Recording Associates. They were regular participants at exhibitions organised by the Association of Professional Recording Studios, and the Sound Broadcasting Equipment Show.

"Not only were you getting the national broadcasters . . . you were also getting people saying 'I do the Christian show on Radio Cornwall, and I need a small recorder. . .' It was fascinating to me just how many Christians were in the secular broadcast field," the company's owner and managing director, Malcolm Cunning, said.

"When I heard about the possibility of doing an exhibition just to Christian people, that sounded to be interesting . . . the Lord has given us a particular gifting, and why shouldn't we be using it for the furtherance of other Churches rather than just the Church that we are worshipping in ourselves?"

At the first CRE, there wereonly two pro-audio companies exhibiting. This year, there were about 20, among more than 300 exhibitors, including Hymns Ancient and Modern, the publishers of the Church Times, as well as youth ministries, stained-glass-window designers, architects, travel and pilgrimage companies, and church suppliers.

This week, the Polish company Christiana-Dąbrowski returned to CRE for its second visit. There were many more "smaller churches here in England that we don't experience in other countries", the company's president and CEO, Daniel Dąbrowski, said. "We see that our clothes are popular. Not every church uses alcoholic communion wine; others don't use altar breads . . . but, generally, vestments are a universal thing."

The founder of CRE, Gospatric Home, sold the exhibition to the Bible Society in 2007. The chief executive of the Society, James Catford, told a 30th-anniversary party on Tuesday night that CRE was an expression of the Bible Society's "generous orthodoxy". He said: "We are committed to Jesus Christ as our ever-living saviour . . . but we are generous in our outlook. We are encompassing of everybody who has a high view of scripture and the centrality that there is with Jesus."

CRE holds one large exhibition each year, CRE International, as well smaller exhibitions around the country. CRE South West will be held in February next year, before CRE International moves to its new home at the ExCel Centre next May.

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