Bishop of London backs ExCeL’s comic Christianity
- Credit: Archant
The ExCeL centre gave more than 8,000 visitors the chance to fuse humour with religion as part of an exhibition that ran from May 19-22.
Christian Resources Exhibitions organised the events, bringing more than 300 exhibitors and more than 100 seminars to the organisation’s first show at the ExCeL.
The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, bishop of London, opened the exhibition, and praised the way comedy groups like Stand Up For Jesus brought humour and religion together.
“The clergy need to deflect the expectation that we will be heavy and humourless,” he said. “Humour in sermons get into the heart.”
Stand Up For Jesus trained the clergy in attendance in the art of joke-telling, with the aim of making sermons more accessible.
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Former pop singer Revd Cindy Kent, who had journeyed from Whetstone to the exhibition, said that she hoped her jokes would match up to Jesus’.
“Jesus must have used humour and he is the best role model of how to tell a story,” she said. “I was thrilled when the BBC asked me to take part in their recent Vicars Telling Jokes programmes – but terrified at the same time.
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“It’s one thing to tell a joke to a friend – but it’s quite another to do it on the telly to a potential audience of thousands.”
As well as comedy and theatre, the exhibition displayed stained glass, offered information on motorcycle funerals and advised visitors on preaching, publishing and social exclusion.
Speakers included the founder of Metro World Child, Bill Wilson, whose organisation helps nearly 100,000 inner-city families around the world each week.
The event’s director, Bill Allen, said that Christian Resources Exhibitions’ Newham breakthrough was the start of a journey that would propel the Swindon-based organisation onto the international stage.
“Our first-ever show at ExCeL provided us with a fabulous opportunity to go centre stage and begin building Christian Resources Exhibitions into a truly international event,” he said.