An Inspiring Event: CRE, Exeter

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Compared to the same event in Sandown in October the CRE Exeter was buzzing, especially on the first of the two days.  Perhaps people were now prepared to come out more readily with the Covid issues receding in severity and in number.   

It is always inspiring to see how much life there is in the Christian Church at the moment.  As Architects we are there to find out who wants to do works to their churches and to see if we can assist in a professional capacity.  We had lovely banners showing work that we have done previously.  Many people stopped just to look and we were often complimented.  However, more encouraging were the those who stopped and said that they were from a certain church who had plans for their buildings.  We had people from Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Canalside, Sidmouth, Bristol,  Ross-on-Wye, and Brixham.  We even had a visit from the Bishop of Bath and Wells.  

Of course we do hope that we pick up some projects from these contacts, but it is so wonderful to know that God has plans for the future of churches, and they are not doomed to decline into morbidity, as the media would like to portray them.  One particularly inspiring visit was from The Revd. David Winstanley and his wife Julie, who were our clients in Crewe, some years ago and who are now near Bath.  As well as pastoring a church they work with Aldersgate Renewal Ministries.  It is an international ministry who take the renewal of the Holy Spirit into churches. They holed weekends at any church who invite them, and they pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be present.  They work with churches in a low-key respectful way, and pray for those attending as well as for the church leadership.  It sounded wonderful.  Where would the church be without the Lord Jesus our Saviour and the presence and functioning of the Holy Spirit. 

Those who were around in the early 1990’s and who were aware of, or who attended visits from John Wimber, will remember the power and signs and wonders which were experienced.  Many of the very active churches today, which have thriving congregations had the impetus around that time of the active power of the Holy Spirit in healing, deliverance, and congregations being empowered to witness to what God was doing.  We can recommend any church to contact Aldersgate Renewal Ministries if they want to experience spiritual renewal and church growth.

This needs special mention because it is not necessarily the inclusion of toilets and kitchens and community use that grows churches sustainably.  Growth comes from people knowing and experiencing the Lord Jesus who forgives sins and sets people free, and the on-going work of the Holy Spirit who  ministers in power to address the  challenges that we all face in our daily lives.  

It was amazing to walk around the stands at the CRE Exeter and get a window on how many Christian organisations and charities there are out there.  One particularly memorable stand was Sat-7, a satellite ministry to the Middle East.  Can you believe that they have an audience of 25 million people?  

We pray, “Thank you Lord that you are in your church and whatever it faces you will never leave it or forsake it.  This your promise in Deuteronomy 31 verse 8.”  Amen! 

Jeremy Bell