On 23-24th February we had a great time exhibiting at the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) in Exeter! Fifteen SWAN partner agencies were present to chat with guests and visitors. There was a real sense of community and togetherness among the mission agencies, as we worked and prayed together to inspire and equip the Church for mission. We had our own SWAN stand, to help people in the Southwest think through how they can get involved with mission, and to show them what organisations they might be able to get involved with. We received fantastic support from CRE, who dedicated a large area to be their ‘Mission on the Map’ section. The carpets in the section were red to distinguish it from the rest of the hall – we felt that they rolled out the red carpet to give royal treatment for mission! MAF even had a plane at their stand, which was a striking centerpiece for the area. We had a steady stream of visitors through the section, and lots of good conversations with people about their place in God’s mission. A few divine appointments were made in which it was clear that God was doing all the orchestrating to connect people with specific jobs, opportunities and organisations. It was also a fantastic place to network and build connections with other Christian organisations. For example, one mission agency that has a focus on business as mission was able to connect with somebody who provides training in this area.
There really was something for everyone at CRE: Christian coffee companies, charities, companies that provide church lighting and sound systems, and even a puppet company! William from Christian TEFL noted:
“There is something quite engaging listening to a full-blown church organ pipe up when you are chatting about TEFL and mission. With TEFL and travel, you think sometimes of exotic locations, far off sun-filled places. Or at least that’s what I remember of time in Mexico and Portugal. Having background organ music with all the stops pulled out while chatting about TEFL is something quite different!” SWAN members also came together to put on two panel-style seminars: ‘Global Mission: What’s changed post-pandemic’ and ‘What’s a Mission-minded Church’. It was fascinating to learn from one another’s knowledge and experience, and to think through the ways in which the mission field has changed through the course of the pandemic. Thank you to all of those who came along and helped make it such a fantastic event. And thank you to CRE for making it all possible, and for making mission such a priority! Why not come along to the next CRE? It will be their national event in Surrey, from 11-13th October. You can find out more at this link: Welcome to CRE National 2022! (creonline.co.uk)