In a new series Cross Rhythms will be visiting cities across Britain to discover what exactly is happening on the Christian music scene. We begin our city-wide surveys with the West Country hot spot fast gaining a reputation as "Britain's Nashville", Bristol. Helen Knight and Tony Cummings report.

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Recording studios
Redland Studios
Location: The Crypt, Elm Grove Cent Redland Road, Bristol
Facts: Over the last few years this facility, housed in the crypt of a one time Anglican church, has become the major source of independent Christian music in the UK. Dozens of CDs from Bristol artists like Psalmisty, Bushbaby and Psionics and further afield acts like Jonee, Nuffsed and 1:Lite have flowed from the hot recording desk of resident recording engineer Tony Silcock. Tony's versatility means they are able to handle everything from banging beats to sensitive acoustic while the ambience, though decidedly rough and ready, has the huge attraction to the grassroots of being amongst the cheapest master recording facilities in the country.
About The Ministry: Tony: "Redland Studios is a resource to record albums with artists who normally wouldn't have sufficient funding to make a decent recording. Our God is a God of excellence and we strive to produce music that stands comparison with music recorded for far higher budgets."

Location: Caedmon Complex, Bristol Road, Thornbury, Bristol
Type Of Ministry: Music and Mission/Training/Church Planting/Artist Management/Record Production
Facts: NGM, the ministry called New Generation Ministries, has an extraordinary past and an even more extraordinary present. Formed by Scottish bom musicians and Bible teachers Ray and Nancy Goudie in the '80s, from its original Malmesbury HQ, NGM was the home base for pop praise team Heartbeat (Ray and Nancy were founder members of the groundbreaking group). After a series of influential albums and even a pop chart single in 1988 the group finally broke up in 1991. But Heartbeat's ministry with its twin thrusts of youth-orientated mission and prophetic sounds of worship were the first expressions of a media ministry but continued to grow and develop down the years. 65dBA, a dance-orientated band, recorded successful albums in the mid-'90s while a year or two later rock band steve and schools ministry outfit Tomorrow's Girl and deejays Andy Hunter and Doug E Ross demonstrated NGM's ability to stay in touch with the ever changing musical styles of youth culture. The ministry expanded with a range of initiatives. It was the birthing and building of NGM's missions and arts training complex Caedmon that has catalysed the vision of NGM to impact the emerging culture.
About The Ministry: Nancy: "Our vision in NGM is 'to take Jesus to the furthest regions of our youth culture.' This is outworked in three main areas, church planting, training and the media. Our church planting division Elements is headed up by our assistant director, Phil Ball, who oversees a number of church plants. In the Heartbeat days, we saw many hundreds come to know Christ each week through our schools and universities work, however, when we visited the area a year later, out of many who had made commitments, only a handful were attending and integrated into the life of the church. We spent time praying and seeking God as to how we could change this statistic and we felt God said very clearly that the only way to effectively reach and disciple young people was to build a new wineskin and plant church in their culture. So along with the local church or churches, we began planting churches out of our missions with tremendous results. In the first place where we did this, a year later, not only were the original people who got saved still going on for God but they had brought their friends and families too. We have now planted churches in the youth culture in Glasgow in Scotland, Swansea in Wales, Birmingham, Clitheroe in Lancashire, Yeovil in Somerset and in Thornbury where we are based. There are many churches who want us to help them plant an initiative in their own town or area. It's been very exciting to see this vision develop over the years.

"Our training division Innovate is headed up by Liz Ball who is also on our leadership team. We have various training courses where people aged 17/18 and upwards can come and be trained whether it be in church planting, youth work, discipleship or in their art form. We also have a course called Artist Development Training which helps develop the artist whether that is in drumming, deejaying, singing, dancing, preaching or communication, etc. We also have short term courses which run for several days. Our new Caedmon Complex is ideally suited to our training. In the complex itself we have two state of the art recording studios, several training rooms, a fully equipped dance studio, engineers room, programming rooms, a new media internet room and a fully equipped performance venue.

"Our music/media division Engage is headed up by Helen Pett and Tom Fowler. Helen and Tom look after all our bands, DJs, singers, dancers and authors. We work in schools, colleges, universities, clubs, pubs, television and radio - both in the mainstream as well as in the Christian world. Our bands include steve, T-Girl and two fresh new bands put together in 2001. One is called First Class, who are working in the primary schools, and one called Tsunami, who are working in the secondary schools. We also have two DJs working in mainstream clubs called Andy Hunter and Doug E Ross. We have seen hundreds come to know Jesus through the work of Engage."


WRM (Worship Renewal Ministries)
Location: 23 The Readings, Kingswood
Type Of Ministry: Praise And Worship
Facts: The idea behind WRM is to provide a quality band, Mercy, and training for those involved in worship ministry. Initially designed to resource local churches, their work has taken them to national and international destinations. WRM became a charity in May this year and preparations are currently underway for Day One (11th - 13th April 2002). This three day event aims to present the Gospel to young people through a cringe-free production. Psalmistry, Oxygen and Transition are lined up to play. Last year saw over 250 kids respond to the Gospel. WRM will combine forces with Trans World Radio to broadcast the event live on Day One FM whilst Christian Witness Ministries will provide a mobile stage to take the music to the masses at Castle Park.
About Their Ministry: Andrew: It was a powerful and impressive experience with the Holy Spirit at a national Christian conference in 1997 that led me to quit my job as a policeman and begin a worship ministry to provide biblical and musical support to the local churches. To be able to show that there is another dimension to worship that comes from within and not just from our mouths, an expression of joy to God, an expression of thankfulness and reverence to God is what we do." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.